We passed this tree on our way through Central Oregon and Tim, knowing how much I love photographing these kinds of scenes, kindly turned the car around, then woke me up with this surprise. (he's starting to get it, that we cannot go on a trip -- anywhere -- without at least a few photo-stops along the way.)
The tree has been dead for a long time. The shoes hanging in it's bone-white branches are a poignant reminder -- rememory -- of people who died in car accidents over the years ... along this narrow two lane highway. The twisting road dips into treacherous blind spots through rolling palouse prairie and dryland farm fields.
There are women's heeled boots, athletic shoes, dance shoes, work shoes, farm boots and child's keds. Even a small pair of baby high-tops ... the shoes bear the imprints, the stories and bendings of their owners' lives. Some shoe pairs are worn-out and ragged while others are barely used, almost new.
I am reminded of our humanity, of our individuality and our connection to each other, to all of creation. I am reminded of how the death of one of us affects so many, of how a loved one can be taken from us in an instant ... whether we have loved that one for a few months or a lifetime.
Here are a few more pics of shoe trees:
and a few more recent tree images. It's worth clicking on the slideshow below to see the larger images: