• Alina Cebula

The Orchard

For my recent project (BE STILL) I have ventured into creative writing. I love reading about mountains and I think that text can bring out so much more from a photograph. I thought I could use the text I have written about my images and turn them into a small series on this blog. I might share the snippets of each text every couple of weeks. I'd love to know what you think about it! Do you write yourself? Do you think it helps images come to life?


I walked across the frosty field. Deep snow crunching beneath my feet. A silver silhouette of a deciduous, naked broad-leafed tree appeared in the distance. Its white branches reflected the weak sunshine barely touching the landscape. As I headed onwards, the view behind me vanished but more trees started to appear through the fog in front of me.

Everything slowed down and the fog drifted through the orchard slowly. The motionless trees made no sounds. I saw fresh deer footprints in the snow and listened carefully for distant sounds, but there was nothing. No sounds of birds chirping away, or wind whirling through the air. I spotted a unique tree to my right; its trunk was twisted and its branches formed an oval shape. With snow in my shoes, I clumsily walked towards it. The arms of the trees extended upright as if it was celebrating my arrival.

The lone tree was surrounded by a fog of frost, making every one of its hundreds of branches wear a thick layer of ice, like a tightly knit turtleneck jumper. The outline of the other trees softened. In the background, there were three stems of ‘albino’ bracken. The rest of the plant was buried under a thick layer of snow. The plant’s outlines sharpened and softened as the fog moved past. One second it was there, the next it was gone; like it was teasing me to come closer with a promise of a unique shot. I didn’t fall for this trap. My hair started to turn white – just like the branches. I felt like I was becoming a part of the orchard. My hands were hurting from the cold. I shook them vigorously and clapped loudly. I heard the echo slowly quietening in the distance. This experience quickly turned into a fight to keep warm for as long as I could. As I photographed this dreamlike scene, it was hard to believe that those delicate trees could power through these tough conditions. I was so weak compared to them.

The skin on my dry hands started cracking from the cold, I knew I had no choice but to retreat back to safety. With regret, I started walking away.

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