Trees

Singing the Morning In, 2013, 13″ x 17″, collagraph, ink, pastel, watercolor

Singing the Morning In, 2013, 13″ x 17″, collagraph, ink, pastel, watercolor

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.”

Perhaps painting trees is just a whimsical escape to a childhood place where I always felt safe, or perhaps it is a defiant battle cry that the darkness will never win.

They Sing While We Sleep, 2002, 13" x 17", collagraph, ink, pastel, watercolor

They Sing While We Sleep, 2002, 13″ x 17″, collagraph, ink, pastel, watercolor

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