As a kid growing up in Black Forest, trees were my favorite place to while away a summer day: scent of pine, sticky sap, whispering wind, choosing the next limb to climb ever higher, a quiet kingdom of my very own.
Still at points of stress, I like to think about trees. Something about their rootedness anchors me. Something about their stretching limbs reminds me to hope.
This week I stumbled along the shoals of a cesspool of pain with one of our children. As I drew and painted, I found myself choosing bright colors, probably a sub-consciously chosen counter-point to the darkness. And of all things, with the heights and depths of earth available for inspiration, I found myself painting trees.
I suppose I should not be surprised. Isaiah 55:12 describes vivid imagery (maybe no more true than when we ourselves are silenced, wearily trudging in a barren winter landscape), in which the trees pick up where we leave off:
“For you shall go out in joy and be led back in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”