I was at a show lately and a few people commented on the loneliness of my work. They found it sad that the trees stood alone. I found it interesting that loneliness and aloneness where the same to them.
When I am camping I am struck by the strength and the power of the lone tree. The tree uses the space around it to grow to its full potential, it reaches for the sun and digs its roots deep into the soil. Aloneness for a tree is power. It gives it the ability to grow as it wants, to not be hindered by those around it. The lone tree relishes its solitary life.
But what is interesting about the lone tree is that it is not always alone. After years of solitary existence another tree will join it and the lone tree will welcome the companionship. It will have grown tall, its branches will stretch out, its roots will be healthy and deep and it will be able to share its space without harming its growth.
I paint lone trees because they are a lesson to me. Aloneness is needed. IT is important to take time to be alone and to stretch your branches. It is important to reach for the sun and plant your roots deep into the earth. Aloneness should not mean loneliness. Aloneness should mean growth, deep, intentional, growth.
Every evening me and my wee dogs go for a walk. It has become our custom. A few nights ago we were at the cottage for our evening walk. My Dad joined us as we walked along a gravel road that was muddy from the rain and held a mixture of animal prints. We were surrounded by dark evergreens and pale birches. The forest floor was littered with trilliums and fiddleheads. The dark shadows of evening mixed with the last rays of sunshine. Beauty was the backdrop for our walk. But instead of focusing on the beauty we talked about the stress of the day and the worries of tomorrow until we were interrupted by a flash of white bounding through the woods. A deer, its tail high, sprang across our path and then stopped and stared at us. The unexpected interruption made us change focus. All of a sudden the worries of tomorrow were nothing compared to the beauty of our surroundings. Standing hoof deep in trilliums, its tawny brown fur blending in with the bark or the trees, stood a deer. Its presence brought joy, peace, and the thrill of the unexpected. If this beautiful creature had not bounded across our path with its white tail held high we would have missed it. I had gotten so use to the backdrop of the forest. It had become common. I had stopped looking at beauty and therefore I had almost missed it. Nature demands us to pay attention. We cannot fully understand the majesty of nature until we take the time to experience it, to walk in it, to look at it. The forest should never just be a background, a place were I bring the stress of the day. The woods should be my escape the chance to bathe in untainted beauty. Thank God for deers and their shockingly white tails or I would have missed the awesomeness of an evening forest.
In this world of instant gratification Spring is a practice in patience. Nature moves at a methodical intentional pace. Each step deserves time. Each movement deserves notice. From the thaw of the snow and ice, to the first bud that breaks forth, to the blooming of early flowers and trees – Spring takes its time. This process drives the impatient human crazy but it also teaches us a lesson – growth and rebirth cannot be rushed. Life, strong healthy life, takes time.