This is a story of two pine trees that grew together, side by side, like arboreal twins. They were basically the same hight, one slightly bent towards the other, as if it wanted to touch its sibling pine tree. They must have been the same age. Two trees planted together a long time ago. They were easily 50 or 60 years old, maybe more.
I say were, because both trees fell down during a night-storm a few days ago. It was a monster storm. Rain cascading down from the clouds. Winds howling at 60 miles an hour. Hundreds of trees fell in Minneapolis that night. The wind was so fierce, that most trees were completely uprooted. Laying down, roots out of the underground, pointing up to the sky. Trees that fell on cars, next to houses, and across the street. Trees of all sizes, but many very large. Felled trees were of all types. There were felled oak trees, and elm trees, and the two pines.
I noticed the two pine trees quite a long time ago. The trees had been planted close to a walking path that bisects Fair Oaks Park. They had a special location in the park. They were in an open, somewhat elevated area, almost by themselves. They soared towards the sky. One next to the other. One bent, ever so sligthly towards it’s partner.
The park is next to the MinneapolisInstitute of Arts, where I work. I have been biking to work for many years, and going on that path almost every day, to go through a green space before going to my office. Once in a while, when the light was right, I would stop in the park to take pictures. I have taken pictures of people walking the path, of crabapple trees in bloom during Spring, of kids playing, and of course, of the two pine trees.
Earlier this year, in February, with a fresh blanket of snow covering the park I took a picture of the two pine trees. It was possibly the best picture I had taken of these trees. I had a short wide angle lens which allowed me to cover both trees in the frame. The light was perfect, somewhat subdued, yet bright enough to get good definition. It was a good composition.
Then last May, I had an opportunity to show some work at VidTiger in North East Minneapolis, during Art-a-Whirl. It was a group show, and although I shoot mostly street photography, I decided to show a variety of work at the show, and included a print of the two trees
(the two trees, side by side, are towards the top of the picture)
So now we are back to the storm and its aftermath. The rain started on Friday, June 21st. I was in my 3rd floor apartment. The living room has windows on two sides of the room, with views of the street below and of an interior garden, it was easy to see the rain. It was intense rain. Pouring down in sheets of water. The rain was accompanied by strong winds which made trees sway violently from side to side. The storm lasted a few hours, and then it was gone.
The next morning, I went running. I was surprised to see trees blocking the running path. I run around a lake, and this too was littered with fallen branches, cracked trees, and uprooted trees. Later on, people began to post pictures of fallen trees on Facebook and Twitter. It was obvious that this had been a major storm. In fact, the storm had caused a number of black outs throughout the city. Over 500,000 people lost power. It was the largest number of people loosing power in the history of the state.
On Monday, as usual, I biked to work. I saw a few fallen trees on the way, but the worst surprise was when I biked through the park. I didn’t notice the fallen pines immediately. Probably because there were fallen trees allover the place, but then I saw them. It was a strange sight. Both pine trees laying down next to each other. It was almost as if they had agreed to die together. I can imagine, one falling out first, and then the other one going too.