Leaving Main Beach in Laguna (Laguna Beach, California), I spotted this knitted tree. Having heard and read about random yarnstorms (also called yarn bombing, urban knitting, guerilla knitting, and knit graffiti) in big cities across the globe, I was familiar with the phenomenon, which Knitthecity (London) defines as “the art of enhancing a public place or object with graffiti knitting,” but I was not prepared for the kapow of energy and unexpected intimacy I felt with the tree and its then-unknown artist. Putting down my beach gear, and hollering to friends and family that I would catch up with them in a bit, I grabbed my camera and began shooting. As I became more familiar with the wrapped branches, I fell into silent revery, the colors beckoning me to come closer, to explore.
If you click to enlarge the gallery below, you will be privy to some of the whimsical and soulful details knitted into the wraps.
As I explored further, I discovered a small plastic bag with something inside. Being careful not to tug too hard, I extracted the note, which contained words no longer legible, as rain or morning mist must have seeped inside the bag long enough to blur everything into a blue smudge. But I could read a name, or at least part of one: M i c h, and silently thanked Michelle (or Micha, Michael, or Michaella) for touching my heart at the end of a day in which I had vowed, just a few hours before, to remember to notice, to breathe deeply, and to appreciate life and it’s inhabitants even more fully than I had been doing.
A day or so later, I suggested to two sets of visiting friends that they should stop by “The Knitted Tree,” having an unidentified urgency in my gut, an unbridled desire to share the magical branches with others who appreciate random acts of beauty. Little did I know (Or did I?) that my next visit to Laguna Beach would have me standing before the same tree, only this time in its naked form. I should have felt sad at the absence, and I was surprised that the emotion I experienced instead was a fresh and unexpected kind of reverence, the kind that comes from knowing that I had serendipitously witnessed a fleeting gift, that I had received a message of hope that spoke to me regarding life’s unending challenges: There will always be something beautiful and unexpected around, literally, a random corner…and sometimes that redeeming or soothing or mind-blowing something will have been placed there by the hands and heart of someone who wanted to make me smile and celebrate my miraculous life.
Thank you Michelle Boyd and Twisted Stitchers for your Beach-umbrella-themed project, for receiving permission from the Laguna Beach Arts Commission to install your beautiful work from July 1-July 31, 2012. On July 25th, 2012, I was deeply moved by your gift. Thank you.
Thoughts and photographs are the creation and property of Britton Minor and The Jaded Lens Photography/Writing