Then, after I found out that miscarriage was inevitable and I was plunged into the process of grief, I began to look at this photo as a comfort. The days were going by so slowly and the month lay ahead so long--it was painful to see all those squares on the calendar I had yet to get through. So I concentrated instead on the scene.
In the pictue I could see my little one slipping away with the tide into a brighter place, leaving shadows behind. I could think about goodbye when I looked at this and feel a small sense of rest.
Then February. I was in a pit. This was a hard picture to look at because I felt like I was at the bottom of this lake. It is Crater Lake, the deepest lake in North America. In real life, Crater Lake is stunningly blue. This picure shows it as being nearly black in parts. Identifying with this scene, I felt I was down at the bottom of this deep lake, beyond the reach of the sun. Not only did I have to make my way up to the surface, there also remained the steep sides to climb. I knew from having been to Crater Lake that those are indeed very rugged, cliff-like sides. I was stuck at the bottom of the lake. I lacked the strength to slog my way up.
When I turned over the March page, I felt conflicting emotions. It's Crater Lake again. (Which surprised me--I was expecting the usual lush green leafy-spring picture.) We're at the top of Crater's rim. Hooray for that! But the focus of the picture is a dead tree. I thought "Oh, great. I may climb out of the pit but the process will kill me." Granted, this is a very "photo-esque" dead tree. But when I looked closer, I saw that actually the tree still lives after being mangled like that--there are green needles growing out of some of the branches.
All month I've been trying to decide whether this picture is a good or bad omen. I don't like that the tree is mostly dead, even though that's what makes it interesting to look at. But the sign of life it shows is a good foretoken. I'm also so glad to be out of the pit. And the color of the sky is amazing--it must be early morning, which is another good sign. (Actually, I think the morning sky is the true hero of this photo.) At the top of a cliff in the morning light stands a tree twisted and bare, yet still sending out green.
I've never had such personal responses to calendar pictures before, but it's been truly strange how they have reflected my thoughts so accurately and served to move me forward at the same time. I'm waiting with baited breath to see what April's picture will be.
Pictures from Wild & Scenic Oregon 2007, Brown Trout Publishers, Inc. Photography by Terry Donnelly and Mary Liz Austin