“I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree…” (“Trees” by Joyce Kilmer) There is this tree. I pass it every day on my walks. It is perfect; even in winter when its bare bones reach to the sky scratching at the clouds. I am looking at trees now, across the ponds on the golf course. Big old craggy cottonwoods, heavy limbs bearing gold brown leaves left over from last year. Trees endure.
I started my tree fixation about the time that Ken got sick. Between my care taker duties and the times when he was present and lucid, I painted trees. Watercolor is my favorite medium. I did a large painting of my favorite tree, the one I pass each day when I walk my chihuahua. I added some golden clumps of chamisa that pop up out of the desert late in August, for color against the muted green and brown. It is a fall painting, done when Ken was better and I was full of hope that he would come back to me. When it was done he said it was my best painting yet.
Ken passed away that spring. Before he was sick we had hoped to go with our church family in October to ride the Durango/Silverton steam engine train through the southern Colorado mountains. I did not want to take the trip without him, but my friends convinced me to go.
Mountains and trees. When I went through a painful divorce years ago I asked my father to give me his painting of mountains. I looked at it often in my small single lady apartment. Strong brush strokes from a firm hand.
The church van climbed steadily through northern New Mexico and into Colorado. I saw them for the first time as we approached Durango, aspens on the mountain slopes glimmering gold patches between the evergreens in the late afternoon sun. I captured their images as best I could on my I phone. I would paint these in watercolor when I got back…something I could look forward to doing.
Shortly after I returned from the trip, Ken’s granddaughter called to tell me she and her husband had started the process of adopting their first baby. This is a costly venture, so they were doing some fundraising. One of their projects was selling T shirts. It was a plain gray T with a tree printed in white on the front…a tree like the one near my house… at it’s roots, the scripture “Rooted and Grounded in Love.”(Ephesians 3:17). Tree of life, permanent in an ever changing world. Ken would love this.