March 13, 2013

When Anyone Talks About Trees

I haven't posted for quite a few days. ChloĆ© had her March break last week. Emma has hers this week. The normal routine of my days has been interrupted not rudely but sweetly by the presence of my daughters in the house.  But it means I haven't painted as much or visited blogs as much or looked after my Etsy shop as much or any number of things as much. It's an adjustment but it's not a bad thing. Maybe it's a reminder to pay attention to the important things.

  • I haven't been idle though.
  • I've painted a little.
  • I worked on a big print of my Lilacs image that a customer is potentially interested in.
  • I've walked daily with Meeko (of course).
  • I've watched the snow melt the past two days and heard the birds sing and know that spring is on its way.
  • I spent a lot of time in the backyard today poo-gathering (one of the "joys" of the spring thaw for dog owners) and got to visit all corners of my garden. There are signs of life despite the fact that everything was covered by snow and ice two days ago. I am always amazed.
  • I shopped downtown with ChloĆ© last week, walked daily with her and Meeko, and enjoyed several days of one-on-one time.
  • Emma went away for five days to visit friends (the longest she's ever been away) and I was happy for her yet also happy to see her again.
  • I did some housecleaning (grumpily) to prepare for the visit of my sister Nancy and her family (not grumpy about that!). They won't be here long but we always love their company.
  • I treated myself and bought some gouache paints for a painting I would like to do of a lovely tree with a heart shape on it. It's not the one in the photo above. That is another heart-marked tree I discovered on the same path I take with Meeko every day in the winter. I thought of posting the other photo but it's too special to me so I want to keep it hidden for now and let my painting be the reveal. Now the pressure is on for me to do it. 
  • I am reading "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" by Muriel Barberry. I have 50 books (not an exaggeration) beside my night table waiting to be read. I was an English major in university and love books so much. With my slow reading pace these days, that 50-book stack might be a little unreasonable, more like impossible (but I remain optimistic). It took me a long time to get into "The Elegance of the Hedgehog"--maybe even one-third of the book. I am a stubborn reader and am glad for that as I am now loving the book. This passage jumped out at me the other evening and I reread it more than once for the sheer pleasure of it. I love when that happens. And now you know why I chose the photo at the top.

After I'd had a chance to think about it for a while I began to understand why I felt this sudden joy when Kakuro was talking about the birch trees. I get the same feeling when anyone talks about trees, any trees: the linden tree in the farmyard, the oak behind the old barn, the stately elms that have all disappeared now, the pine trees along wind-swept coasts, etc. There's so much humanity in a love of trees, so much nostalgia for our first sense of wonder, so much power in just feeling our own insignificance when we are surrounded by nature...yes, that's it: just thinking about trees and their indifferent majesty and our love for them teaches us how ridiculous we are--vile parasites squirming on the surface of the earth--and at the same time how deserving of life we can be, when we can honor this beauty that owes us nothing.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog
Muriel Barberry


  1. I know too well the fact that we have to adjust to new rhythm each time our children are on school break. It's a good and a tricky thing. But mostly good, I agree, and refreshing too, I think.
    You've been busy, which is a wonderful thing, isn't it ?!

    1. The trick is not regretting the things you aren't doing and giving your attention to what you are doing. Not always easy for sure. But mostly good as you say. :)

  2. can't wait to see your tree painting

    1. I hope to work on it this week. Have to get back in the studio. :)

  3. Oh trees, how beautiful they are. I sadly watched a large Poplar being taken down in someones garden, it was 65 foot high and must have seen many sights, it felt quite heartbreaking to see, I always feel like that. We live on a tree lined avenue, it makes such a difference to your surroundings, I just love trees! Hope you had a lovely break from things, back into it now :)

    1. I know exactly what you mean Julie about old trees. It is sad when one dies or is removed for some reason. When we moved into our house 13 years ago, it was a new suburb and there were no trees in people's yards or along the streets. It felt bare and lifeless. Now the trees have grown and it makes such a difference. I am thankful for the little forest where I walk with Meeko that has much taller, older trees.

  4. I have just found you from another page I was curious but somehow knew I was going to like what I read.As I too love my garden even at this time of the year when it's only just beginning to wake up after being put to sleep for the winter. I also dabble in aquarelle painting. I love your paintings I can learn a lot from looking at yours. What a lovely post you wrote about the trees and sharing the time you spent with your daughter. I have put the recipe for the orange cake in to my recipe file, ready to make for Easter when the family visit. I'll be back soon reading some of your older posts. maybe you might like to have a peep at my blog.

    1. Thank you so much for visiting and for all of your kind words, Barbara. I will try and visit your blog in the days ahead. :)


Thanks so much for taking the time to visit my blog and to leave me a comment. I love reading them. -- Kathleen

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