In this past year, the JDPP Ensemble and I have been exploring the beauty, power, and wisdom of trees. We have appreciated them viscerally – body to tree bark – in Greater Hartford parks and forests, understanding their healing power, their knowledge, and their model of community. Trees help each other: when a tree is in need, others send nutrients so that it can survive.
I have always loved nature and the peace and healing of the outdoors. The pandemic and its isolation have made me appreciate it even more. The work on ‘In the Presence of Trees’ has been a deeper dive. Most days I now watch the sunrise and feel its inspiration, and when I am walking or traveling by car, I notice the trees in a way I never did before and feel their blessing.
Tyre Nichols was ahead of me in this understanding. In his young 29 years he was becoming a photographer and artist. He particularly loved photographing landscapes and sunsets. In his own words, from his website:
I am an aspiring photographer…. It [photography] expresses me in ways i cannot write down for people. I take different types of photography, anywhere from action sports to rural photos, to bodies of water and my favorite… landscape photography.
On the evening that Tyre was brutally murdered he was returning home from photographing the sunset.
Tyre goes on to say:
Photography helps me look at the world in a more creative way. My vision is to bring my viewers deep into what i am seeing through my eye and out through my lens. People have a story to tell why not capture it instead of doing the “norm” and writing it down or speaking it. I hope to one day let people see what i see and to hopefully admire my work based on the quality and ideals of my work. So on that note enjoy my page and let me know what you think.
Tyre never got the chance to share his work to a larger field in the way that he planned and hoped for, or hear what his viewers thought. The beauty that he understood and was communicating was ended brutally and for all to see.
When will it stop? —these horrific murders of innocent, unsuspecting Black men and women?
February is Black History Month. In this moment of heightened awareness and reflection, it is time for us all to not only pledge to end systemic racism and police brutality in this country, but to do something about it. Can we act with firmness and non-violence to realize this commitment?
Intentions are not enough.
May Tyre’s voice live on in our hearts and activate us to speak out. May we all pledge to do our part. Never again. Never again!