Saturday, August 11, 2007

Asahel and the Tree of Promises

Asahel and the Tree of Promises

The church around the corner from my apartment has had what I, at least, think of as a "tree of promises" sitting outside it for a few days now. It's a wire-coathanger structure with paper leaves, each containing a Bible verse involving some sort of promise. I find it a compelling object, even though I don't really know why it's there. On my way home tonight, I realized that it might well have something to do with a service planned for tomorrow, so I stopped to try to get a picture or two in the dark.

As I was shooting away (and muttering under my breath, for long-exposure hand-held photography is an exercise in frustration), a man emerged from the bushes a few yards away. I watched his approach with some concern. I wasn't worried for my personal safety--the church is on a busy street with lots of foot traffic, and he was hobbling to a degree that made me pretty sure I could outrun him in any case. My worry was that he would ask me for money, or tell me drunkenly that I was pretty, or in some way or another want some response from me that I was unable or unwilling to give him.

That didn't happen. We had a nice conversation, the kind of conversation I'd like to have with any of my neighbors but rarely do, and then we parted ways. As I was leaving, he asked if I would take his photograph--which turned out to be the best picture I took at the site. I hope at some point I'll be able to track him down to give him a print of it.

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