Nature

Language of the Tree

I really enjoy looking at tree bark - the whorls and swirls of bark as it moves up the trunk of the tree. It overlaps like house shingles. And it eddies around limbs and around the stumps of fallen limbs. You see the tree holes, and the flow of the bark around them.

The patterns are mesmerizing, like watching water that is stopped.

It really seems like something is written on the tree, by the tree, over and over again.

And when a vine climbs the tree, it is even more beautiful, especially in the autumn when the vine turns red.

Playful Beets

I love working with beets – whole, leafy, bushy beets.

Everything about them leaves this deep, ruby tint. As you rinse the giant green leaves, the red stalks look like rhubarb and tint the water red. As they drip on the steel sink, the droplets look luminescent over the cool, silver blue.

If you hold a leaf up to the light, so the sun shines thru, the leaf is a gorgeous, vibrant yellow green, contrasted with the crimson stem system running thru the leaf.

The leaves taste great raw.

A Great Hush

The woods were filled with many sounds that day: birds singing, leaves rustling, squirrels moving around.

I was painting a picture beside a stream in the late morning. The stream flowed around many large boulders. This view of rocks and water is what attracted me to this place.

Suddenly, everything was quiet. I mean absolutely quiet. Even the water became quiet.

Everything became unexpectedly still. A great hush came over this place. You could hear a pin drop. And so it continued for about 2 minutes. It reminded me of how it is right before a storm.

Fire

Why does fire seem so alive?

That flame on a candle seems so peaceful, so meditative -- like it, itself, is putting out a presence.

A candlelit dinner. How charming.

One of the houses I pass on my walk has a gaslight lamp, that always has a flame burning.

I really like that.

I remember sparklers that we would light on the fourth of July. They’d leave a trail of light in the night air.

Perhaps these things remind us of our own sparkling light.

Tangled

I love to see things that are so tangled they defy all logic to untangle or even understand their pattern.

Near our house is a Byzantine church. That in itself is so beautiful when they play the church bells with something like a piano keyboard. Anyhow, there is a huge nettle, a giant, wild hedge with small birds darting in and out.

Hundreds of birds seem to live in there. It is so amazing that they can so quickly and accurately navigate this dense and obtuse tangle of hedge at such a high speed. They must be geniuses.

Rain Drops

I like to see the rain drops after the rain.

Find just the right tree, and they hang there like glistening jewels.

Sometimes it’s the way they decorate a bush like tiny ornaments.

Or on a window pane how they line up all in a row.

And of course, it’s a real find to see a single drop poised on the turning edge of a leaf.

I like to see how they gather together on broad cabbage leaves that are dusty, blue green.

Or how they bead up on the hood of a car.

Sunflowers

I love sunflowers. I mean, here is a flower that grows bigger than me. It is gigantic. And the seeds are so visible, so wildly bountiful, and so orderly arranged.

I see them growing in the community garden, and I admire their towering, poetic, lilting stance.

There are two local farms that plant thousands of sunflowers – acres and acres - and let you walk among them. It is breath-taking. So many circles of purple-black with a rim of yellow against a backdrop of greens and a light blue sky – like nature is looking with 10,000 eyes upon the world.

The Scroll and the Tree

I read in a book how in Japan, at cherry blossom time, people write little poems, roll them up, and hang them with long ribbons from cherry blossom branches, to honor the trees.

I can imagine all these pink and white blossomed trees everywhere, with sensitive people writing thoughtfully and emotionally, rolling up a little scroll, and tying it with a ribbon, probably red, to a tree branch.

What a kind gesture to the earth.

And then the poem energy fills the air, like prayer flags do in Tibet, and is taken far and wide, as it sways in the wind on the blossom branch.

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