For the Love of Trees

Thousands of shades of green are staring back at me as I look through one of the windows in my childhood house. This window is next to the table near the kitchen and looks out on the backyard which also happens to be a forest. One of these trees I have nicknamed “The Hunger Games Tree” because it looks just like how I imagined the tree Suzanne Collins described in Catching Fire. I see it through the leaves and branches of the woods and the enormity of it baffles me.

A breeze rolls through making all the leaves shimmer with excitement. Then they relax and settle back into their sleeping state.

I am so lucky to live in the Pacific Northwest. The greens here are richer and deeper. It has been a constant belief of mine that the colors are so beautiful here because of all the rain we get. I feel that it allows the colors to achieve their full potential and after having the wettest winter on record, this summer is going to be amazing.

The small douglas fir in the backyard has new growth on the end of every branch creating a lime-green starburst effect. Next to it is an ancient stump, overgrown with huckleberry bushes that my brother and I used to eat off of.

Over the last few years, I have found great artistic inspiration from trees. It’s in the way the leaves twist and curl, or when the sun is just starting to rise against the stark silhouette of a towering maple that’s still leafless, waiting warmer weather. There have been movies and shows where I will say out load, “That’s a nice tree!” Or even when we’re driving down the road – I don’t know, it just happens.

Artistically, pen and ink has been my friend when it comes to trees and I find a lot more difficulty with painting or just sketching. I’m not sure if it’s the finality of pen and ink, but I can usually find that power of suggestion more easily and know when I need to stop before it becomes a forced object. (I hope that makes sense to someone out there!)

My other reason for loving trees so much is shade (and how they help us breathe and all that good stuff, but shade is my focus since it’s much to early in the day to talk about science). I am a hardcore shade person. Don’t get me wrong, I love being outside in the sun and running around like a kid or helping with farm work. However, my skin isn’t the biggest fan of being in the sun too long. I am quite pale and sunscreen is my constant friend. My mom loves telling me how when I was a kid, my brother and I would go down to the garden to help her with chores and in less than twenty minutes she’d be saying, “Where did she go? Oh, she’s under the apple tree playing with the cat/picking at the grass/just being philosophical and staring at the sky.” Maybe not so much that last example but I am still know for my out-of-body experiences and staring into nothing. I’m still fascinated staring through the leafy branch of a tree and watching the colors change as the shadows move with the wind.

That’s my love of trees in a nutshell. Some other tidbits include the smell after a rainstorm, art projects as a kid with leaves and branches during the fall, and homemade swags and wreathes for the holiday season. Now I think it’s time to go outside for a walk and snap some pictures of a tree or two…

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