Resilience Tree: a visual poem for our times

Not just a tree, but a metaphor of resilience in times of adversity.

summer
turns
to fall

to winter

and
spring

shifting 
sand
rising
waters
nothing
as it was
with roots
exposed

but not
uprooted

and then
budding

standing
firm

moving
upward

sheltering
hope

as if
nothing
changed

as if 
the world
is not
on fire
not
drowning

just
being
a tree
being loved

being loved

holding court
proclaiming
summer
under
sunny blue
skies
and
dark
stormy clouds
on sunny days

and 
assaulted
by angry waves

resilient 
as 
we all 
are


The story behind the tree photos.

As soon as you see this tree it captures your heart. It’s one of those trees that says “tree”. I first noticed it in 2012 as I was searching for a free-standing, tree looking tree, for my project Omnipotence of Dream that involved mirrored images of isolated structures and trees. I ended up chronicling the tree for over two years, but only concentrating on the top of the tree. 

In the following years, I kept visiting and photographing the tree as it stood firmly at that upper edge of, what was then one of the biggest beaches in Evanston, on the shores of Lake Michigan.

By the beginning of 2020 the landscape started changing noticeably and dramatically, coinciding with the start of the pandemic, the never ending police killings of Black Americans, and a government that abandoned its people.

Metaphorically this little tree stood firm as the waters of Lake Michigan steadily rose and crashed with angry waves upon the shore. With roots exposed and storms whipping its branches the tree budded new leafs and went about being a tree.

People noticed, fretted, and then rejoiced as the tree persevered and reminded us of our own, inherent, resilience and

Joerg Metzner is a photographer and graphic designer living in Evanston.
His website is: joerg-metzner.com