The meaning of a photograph can be obvious to me before I press the shutter release. Here is the meaning I gleaned after, rather than before, I made this photograph: Aren't our lives like these leaves? Aren't we often, and perhaps always, balanced on the brink of falling into the unknown? Life, whether as complex as that of a human being, or something as simple as a leaf, is changeable, and in the scheme of things, emphemeral.
When I made this photograph, my camera was balanced on the railing of a foot bridge. The leaves in this photograph achieved temporary equilibrium on the edge of the dam at the base of the amazing Sycamore Pool. Filled year-round by the waters of Big Chico Creek, Sycamore Pool is an enormous, concrete, municipal swimming pool in the town of Chico, California. To me, Chico is paradise lost.
I'm not sure anyone else noticed these leaves; they probably caught my attention because I've seen leaves balanced like these on other occasions, in other places. This is the first time, however, that an interior meaning of this kind of scene percolated through my unconsciousness, surfacing to make me think about the symbolism of objects in such precarious balance, enduring, if only for a little while, against a force which will not be denied.
No matter how firmly planted we think we are, our lives are on hold, with only so much time to make what we can of ourselves, to create and understand what in our world gives us meaning. At some point we all have to surrender to a greater force, to discover what will happen when we learn to let go of our own lives, to discover if we will land on our feet.