The shadow in the frame

The frame gave more clarity to my mind than the tranquil river scene that displayed within it. The white frame made me feel secure but also trapped within my own world. I tried looking at specific spots within, notable signs of interest to take me away from the uneasy feeling.

I was drawn to a bunker or tunnel underground on the other side of the river. It was painted yellow, a concrete structure that stood out amongst the surrounding gum trees. The excavation of the hill behind was disconcerting.

‘Where did the tunnel lead?’ I pondered.

It was only small enough for people, not cars. Trucks went along a road in front of it, towards the bare landscape. No doubt filling the trucks to make their concrete. It only brought me sadness to look at their bare hill where the trees were no longer living. My mind wanted to know more about this bunker.

‘Was it a tunnel? Or are my eyes playing tricks on me? Do I want it to be a bunker so I can escape?’ Thoughts continued to flood my mind.

The factory building was 500-metres away. A hive of activity was happening there, and yet it gave nothing away about the purpose of this tunnel!

Pen and watercolour by Mel Baker 2022

Occasionally dogs would pass by with their owners on my side of the river. This was a welcome distraction. I would imagine playing with the fun-loving creatures and would dream on, wondering would I cope now to have a dog of my own.

There was a gentle breeze as I watched the leaves of trees slightly moving in front of me. It was cold enough inside; I couldn’t imagine what it would be like out there.

There’s another place I am drawn to, when the tunnel seemed too far away, was the willow tree right in front of me. It took up two-thirds of the view in the frame. This reminded me of my childhood. Playing outdoors, finding little places to hide. This huge tree had an opening to the right like an invitation to enter, whilst the rest of the tree hung right down to the ground. The trunk was strong and secure. The tree itself gave refuge inside to anyone who dared to enter it.

I enter with my mind’s eye. If it wasn’t for the cold and wet muddy ground from the heavy rain overnight, I would be there, feeling its energy and security. That wouldn’t stop me as a child. Today, the frame stops me. I am merely the shadow in the frame if anyone outside stopped to notice.

The view in the frame, Mel Baker photograph April 2022