Posts Tagged ‘Trees’

For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfill themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves…

Hermann Hesse, Trees: Reflections and Poems


The painting at the top is titled The Spirit Tree and is part of my show, Sensing the Unseen, that opens tomorrow at the Kada Gallery. It is 11″ by 15″ on paper.

Trees have always held a firm spot in my heart as symbols of strength, wisdom and calm perseverance. My early memories of childhood often revolved around the black walnut trees in our yard and the hardwoods on the hill behind it. When I was among those trees I felt at home, safely in a realm that moved at pace that was beyond our own idea of time. Ageless.

Even now while the world teeters on the edges of chaos, walking among the trees is a source of great comfort, letting me know that as dire as it may seem this period of time is but a hiccup in the great continuum of the time of trees.

And that is how I look at this piece and the central tree. It stands strong and with an air of ageless wisdom, creating a band of light between the darkness of the earthly dwellings and that of the foreboding sky. As Hesse wrote above, like the most penetrating preacher.

That piece of writing at the top is from Hermann Hesse is from an essay in his book, Trees: Reflections and Poems. It’s a piece of writing that I adore and have posted here before. To read the longer version of this essay  click here.

Sensing the Unseen is now hanging at the Kada Gallery in Erie. The show opens with a reception tomorrow, Friday, December 1, running from 6-9 PM. I will be there to answer your questions or just shoot the breeze. I look forward to seeing and meeting you there.

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Fallen TreeLast night Cheri and I were out in the yard of my studio when we heard what sounded like firecrackers going off from what we first thought might be our neighbors.  The rapid fire popping was suddenly followed by a roar and the crashing sound of what must have been a large tree falling, smashing through the limbs and trunks of its neighbors.

I trotted over towards where the sound seemed to originate, first making sure it hadn’t fallen on our home or outbuildings since the sound came from that direction.  I headed into the woods but saw no new downed trees so kept moving until at last there it was at the edge of our property, a large oak tree.

It was on its side with the trunk left in huge chunks and splinters, showing the evidence of a large hollow that had weakened its support.  Its huge limbs lifted it several feet off the ground and the trees around it were pushed over from the massive weight being exerted. The smell of broken wood and damp earth where the broken trunk had gouged the ground when it flipped over filled the air and I wondered at its age.

Over the years I have had the honor of hearing and sometimes seeing many trees fall in our woods.  I say honor because it seems a rare thing to be able to see something that has lived for many decades or even centuries, as in the case of the oak, come to an end.  There’s a certain feeling of being attached to the earth that comes with being there at the very moment when something that seems somehow eternal ceases to be.   There’s a bit of sadness that accompanies the witnessing of such a thing and I can only think of how the outer world has changed in the life of these trees.  As I am a witness to the end of their lives, they have witnessed the vast changes that have taken place in our lives, many of us falling as well.  They have seen the land around them evolve from thick forests to cleared farmland and back to thick forests.  They have witnessed the explosion of sound that has accompanied our technological advances.  They have seen us come and go.

So today the sound of that tree crashing back to the earth rings in my ears.  And the world keeps turning…

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