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“An Eye for Trees” by Richard Higgins

“An Eye for Trees” was inspired by Thoreau’s way of seeing trees, according to Higgins, the author of Thoreau and the Language of Trees, published last year by the University of California Press. He said that vision combined poetic insight with keen observation.

The exhibit, in the art gallery on the second floor of the library, is free and open to the public.

Most of the 40 photographs depict common trees in Concord and surrounding towns, including Acton. About a third of them appeared in Higgins’s book. The majority are black and white. Higgins said he took many of the photographs in winter, when snow and ice transform trees and disclose them anew.

“If there’s an artistic aesthetic, it’s finding beauty in the familiar and ordinary—a skill he developed to a high degree,” said Higgins, a writer, editor and lecturer. “The delicate gold bark of yellow birches in Estabrook Woods meant more to him, he said, than the gold nuggets miners were rushing to find in California.”

“Thoreau said that we only truly see when we look, and he was ever looking to discern the expressions, character and beauty of trees.”

Higgins displayed in his photographs of trees earlier this year at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History.

A former longtime writer for the Boston Globe and resident of Concord, Higgins is also coauthor of Portfolio Life: The New Path to Work, Purpose, and Passion after 50, and the editor of several books. His writing has appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times, Atlantic Monthly, Christian Century, and Smithsonian. Book available for sale at the Thoreau Society Bookstore











Nov 09 2018


9:00 am - 4:00 pm


Concord Free Public Library
129 Main Street, Concord MA 01742

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Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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