Those Trees

Apr 28, 2020

Sometimes when I stand at my window and look out at all the trees that surround me, I wish that there were fewer so I could better see the sky. I used to work in a rather nondescript office building who's single redeeming feature were the glorious sunsets we were treated to. They were so amazing that I was sorry to I miss them when the long days of summer took me home before it was dark. Yeah, they were that spectacular.

But recently I see things a bit differently.

I didn’t even think this would be a drawing. I had been struck by the patterns of the still naked branches against the sky at dawn and dusk. Mandelbrot patterns, I think they’re called. Random but regular. A living oxymoron. I didn’t think I'd be able to fully capture their grace, but to try to understand them better I picked up my paper and pencil.

Those trees, through the eons they remain indelible. Right now they are coming out of their winter rest, budding, leafing, dipping and swirling with late April winds. Now I can’t seem to get enough of those trees.

I heard somewhere that studies are beginning to show how trees can communicate to each other and to help other trees when disease or other adverse events threaten. Similarly, in some ways trees and animals give and receive information that helps keep their entire ecosystems healthy. Amazing.

At the end of a meditation the other day, I opened my eyes to these trees and the first thing that came to mind was that perhaps nature was having the last laugh right now. We, the tamers of nature, bending the laws of physics by defying gravity and flying to the moon, plundering earth’s treasures and rewarding its generosity with islands of plastic in the oceans, unbreathable air and searing heat have been brought to our knees by something less than a microbe. Are those trees whispering about us now? Was that a muffled guffaw coming out of the soil?

 I hope that when we’re long gone the trees will have found a way live on. That’s why I titled this drawing “We Are But Mortal” because I’ve got a funny feeling that the immortals are right outside my window.