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A close look at the details lets us see

I found the photo above to be immediately compelling when it came across my personal Facebook page. Of course, I love the colors, but the photo intrigued me beyond just that. I kept returning to it. I posted it on my computer as a background image. I kept looking at it and studying it. I think I’ve seen apricot trees before—yes, I’m sure I have (there’s one at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum, a favorite place to visit).

It took me a while to figure out what it was that so captured my attention. I have never been up close and personal with an apricot tree. Probably you haven’t either.

The photographer, Barbara Anderson of Wing Shadow Farm, invited me to look at this tree in a new way. The shape and texture of the leaves caught my attention. The pattern of the veins, the notched edges, and the pointed oval shape varied slightly in each repetition. The tiny imperfections—spots and holes—made each leaf unique. Leaf shadow upon sunlit leaf created interesting patterns of light, bringing depth to the close-up. The crisp focus of the foreground stood out against the blurred orchard and hills in the lower left.

The details captured my attention and caused me to think about an apricot tree in a way I never had. The imperfections helped me see that tree! I felt I knew it intimately, even though most of the tree was unrevealed.

When you write about yourself, include those details that let us see you. Let us see how you are like us, yet different. Let us see your imperfections (like the spots and holes). Show us the influences on your life (like the shadows of the other leaves). Show us the dark places in your life or soul as well as the bright. Give us a hint of your background without bogging us down in those details. Invite us to see part of who you are in a way that feels intimate. Yet feel free not to reveal the entirety of you (the whole tree).

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