Photo Essay

A Clearing in the Woods: Bearing Witness to Change Through Repetition


Text and photographs by Lyndon Valicenti.


When our lives get to the point where days, weeks, months, and even years blur into one another, it becomes more difficult to drive a stick into the earth and resist the ever-rushing current of time. The repetition of our daily routines masks change. We become unaware of the subtle changes going on around and within us, until one day we finally see evidence and it shakes us to the core. Be it the grayness in our hair, the cold winter air on our cheeks, the weakness in our arms, or the unacknowledged passing of anniversaries.

The sudden act of noticing change can be an unfriendly reminder of the breakneck pace of our daily rhythms.

But what if we offered ourselves the gift of intentional repetition with the pure goal of witnessing change? What if an aspect of our routine was the planting of a stick in the ground and rooting ourselves in a moment of witness? Or to see the geese flying south overhead or the slow coloring and eventual fall of leaves?

Last autumn, I offered myself this intentional pause every Saturday morning at a clearing in the woods. These photos on the following page are evidence of my quest to bear witness to change through repetition.