Branching Out

On my recent sojourn to Concord, Massachusetts, I stopped off at the Tsongas Art Gallery in The Shop at Walden Pond. The current exhibit, “Branching Out,” is a mélange of color photographs by artist Linda Allen. They share the common theme of the natural world. Through the lens of her camera, Ms. Allen captures “gnarled branches and broken stumps, fallen logs and leafless silhouettes, colors that sing and shadows that whisper.”

Ms. Allen started photographing the woods around Walden Pond shortly after completing her final treatment for advanced cancer in 1992. At that time her prognosis was grim. “These photos became my ode to life,” she writes. “Everything I saw was significant; every precious detail of water, woods and wildlife was equally worthy of being held, celebrated and preserved.”

Ms. Allen is turning 70 this year, and her cancer is in remission. “Sixteen years ago I was surviving; today I am thriving,” she writes. “Perception lies in the sense and in the soul.”

Sometimes it takes a major crisis to awaken us to life. The world around us does not change; but rather, it is we who change our outlook, our perspective. How many times do we look and not see; how often do we hear and not listen; how many times do we touch and not feel? Yet each one of us possesses the innate capability to see, to listen and to feel—to experience the natural world through our senses.

It is when we choose to do so that we, like Ms. Allen, truly begin to live.

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