I've always had a soft spot for the strong, silent type. Small wonder that I am so drawn to trees. I adore the way the soft leaves catch the sunlight and dapple the grass below.
A sunlit tree is a happy little tree. That's what Bob Ross used to call them, isn't it? I feel a little deprived not having watched Bob 'let happy little trees out of his paintbrush' as a child. So I am making up for it now and painting some of my own.
Each one is unique. They are shaped by their past, just like us. There is a tree we drive by every day. It is next to a historic old school building. This tree has coexisted harmoniously with the lovely old building for so many years. As a patient companion it has offered the contrast of gentle foliage and protective shade. Being nestled close to the building it has grown stronger on its other side. So now it has strong low boughs that seem to stretch out towards us. To me it is as though it has one arm around the little schoolhouse and holds one out to the rest of us.
One of my lovely Instagram friends described trees as matriarchs. So apt, given their magnificent feminine qualities. Calm, patient and beautiful.
They offer their protective arms in rain or shine. They will keep your confidences.
And every so often they like to adorn themselves with jewels.
Trees embrace the changing of the seasons. I think my favourite trees are autumnal ones. Those rich reds and golds They accept the changing colours and wear them with elegance.
Like all natural things they are constantly growing. Even the mature tree makes fresh green leaves. This is the part of its youth it has retained. For the best part of youth is its way of being, not its appearance. To keep learning, to laugh often and to retain a child-like sense of wonder - this is youth, the best it has to offer and the part that we never need to lose. Aging only adds to these qualities. The wisdom of experience that brings a sense of calm. Strength and courage born of past trials.
The tender young sapling is all very well. It is fresh and supple. It has the charms of hope and possibility but it is fragile. With patience and endurance it grows to a mature tree with a beauty of its own. It embraces each phase of its life with grace, not yearning to be as it was yesterday. It is resigned to who it is. No, resignation seems to imply reluctance. It surrenders willingly - this is acceptance.
Every storm that it weathers encourages it to grow deeper roots. Each ring of bark is another layer of strength. The grooves in the bark grow deeper and more beautiful. We seldom compare it to the smooth flesh of its younger self for we see them as different things. Comparison serves no purpose.
Why do we feel so differently about our own complexions?
Are you on your own painting journey?
One of these just might be for you…