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  • Good morning Hank, it's Tuesday.

  • So imagine you're a photographer living near the Southern shore of Lakettern in Sweden,

  • On your commute to work each day, you pass a tree in a lakeshore park,

  • that looks kind of like a huge stalk of broccoli,

  • and the Broccoli Tree always makes you smile,

  • there's just something about a single tree in an otherwise empty landscape,

  • something that makes farmers harvest around them and

  • U2 put them on album covers.

  • And then one day, in the spring of 2013, you take a picture of the Broccoli Tree on your iPhone camera

  • And post it to Instagram. There's a bit of dirt on your lens,

  • It's certainly not the fanciest picture you've ever taken, but people like it.

  • 43 people in fact.

  • Over the next few months, you upload a few more photographs of the Broccoli Tree,

  • The pictures aren't only about the tree, but also about the life happening around it.

  • A bird in the sky, a jogger, a happy couple,

  • In November, you post a picture of the tree with a caption

  • saying that you are reminded of an old quote, "You don't take a picture, you make a picture."

  • That one gets 107 likes.

  • By April of 2014, 11 months into the project,

  • you're posting a few pictures of the Broccoli Tree every week,

  • and you decide to give it it's own Instagram. The tree becomes the focus of your creative life,

  • You photograph it through the seasons and rain and snow and sunshine,

  • capturing the people who line the beach for the brief and glorious Swedish summer,

  • luxuriating in the Broccoli Tree's shade.

  • Your audience grows into the thousands. In the summer of 2015, you have

  • an exhibition of your Broccoli Tree photographs, at the Broccoli Tree.

  • And your pictures keep getting better as the project becomes more popular.

  • The Broccoli Tree calendar is a success, and people all over the world buy Broccoli Tree prints for their homes.

  • By 2016, the Broccoli Tree project is so successful that the Broccoli Tree is becoming, like, famous.

  • People visit it as a tourist destination, and you find yourself in the surreal position of

  • photographing the Broccoli Tree, while people are photographing themselves with the Broccoli Tree.

  • Type "the broccoli tree" into Google Maps,

  • and you're taken there immediately. You can even street view it.

  • Sure, by sharing the Broccoli Tree's so widely it has come to belong less to you and your close friends,

  • but it's amazing that so many people are seeing your photographs,

  • and that what started as you looking at a tree on your commute,

  • has become this huge deal.

  • The Broccoli Tree now has over 27 thousand followers on Instagram,

  • Which means that you are the photographic force behind the social internet's

  • single most famous tree.

  • And then...

  • On September 27th, 2017, you go to photograph the tree in the morning,

  • but something is different.

  • Upon close examination, it becomes obvious.

  • In a furious and heartbroken Instagram post you write,

  • "You absolutely cannot un-saw a tree."

  • And indeed, the damage prove irreversible.

  • A few days later, its gone.

  • The Broccoli Tree, once your Broccoli Tree, is no more.

  • You loved something, you shared it. Many people loved it too.

  • And then one or a few people decided to cut it down.

  • Given enough time, such people will always cut down such trees.

  • The Joshua tree from that U2 album cover, gone.

  • The sacred golden spruce tree in British Columbia, gone.

  • The location of the oldest tree in the world,

  • a five-thousand-year-old bristle cone pine somewhere in California

  • is kept secret. Because otherwise, we all know what would happen.

  • To share something is to risk losing it. Especially in a world where sharing occurs at

  • tremendous scale, and where everyone seems to want to be noticed,

  • even if only for cutting down a beloved tree.

  • If you'd never photographed the Broccoli Tree,

  • it might still be there for you to see on your commute everyday.

  • It might still provide shade to the real people

  • who live with you on the southern bank of that lake.

  • But then again, the far away people who loved your pictures of the Broccoli Tree were real too.

  • They took shelter under it's canopy as well, even if only virtually.

  • And the truth is, if we hoard and hide what we love,

  • we can still lose it.

  • Only then, we're alone in the loss.

  • You can't un-saw a tree, but you can't un-see one either.

  • The Broccoli Tree is gone, but it's beauty survives.

  • Hank, I'll see you on Friday.

Good morning Hank, it's Tuesday.

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B1 中級

ブロッコリーの木。譬え話 (The Broccoli Tree: A Parable)

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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