There’s one path in the woods that takes me past an old garbage dump.
They aren’t rare around here. Almost every old house and farm has one. They’re filled with old rusted cars, bedsprings, bottles and enamel pots and pans.
Some of the dumps are more up to date with plastic buckets and traps and of course, tires.
Just across from the old garbage dump, is this tree with the tire in it.
Normally I would find an old tire balanced between two tree limbs disrespectful and I would remove it. But there’s something so sculptural, so intentional about the placement of the tire in this tree, that I came to see it differently.
It made me think of how some Native Americans would shape the growth of a tree to use as a landmark. It also reminded me of some of my drawings. I’m often compelled to fill in those triangular shapes in my drawings with circles.
So I walked around the tree, as if it were collaboration between some person and the tree. As if it were a sculpture. I looked at it from all angles and noticed how it changes from different views. I looked though the tire as if it were a lens on the world around it.
I still have mixed feelings about the tire in the tree. If it were on my property, I would definitely remove the tire. But it isn’t mine to do and I don’t think the tire will hurt the tree. (I’ve seen trees grow around whole tractors.)
Those garbage dumps are just as much a part of the landscape, as much a mark on our world as the stone walls. Not as pretty to look at, but a reality.
The tire in the tree speaks to that reality. Whether the person who put it there meant it to or not.