Friday, 26 October 2007

Trees Revisited.

I came across some additional drawings of trees -- both mine and other peoples -- so I decided to revisit the topic. This first drawing is one of mine that you have seen previously and is called "Southern Dreaming".

I was also, for some reason, reminded of those wonderful creations of Tolkien -- the Ents. For those of you who might not know, the Ents -- to put it very simply -- are trees that talk and walk! Actually, they are incredible and I have wanted to be one ever since I discovered them in Lord of the Rings all those many years ago when I first read "The Two Towers".

I got out a copy of the 2nd volume and re-read the description of the wonderful meeting between the Hobbits, Merry and Pippin and the great Ent, Treebeard:

"They found that they were looking at a most extraordinary face. It belonged to a large Man-like, almost Troll-like, figure, at least 14 foot high, very sturdy, with a tall head, and hardly any neck. Whether it was clad in stuff like green and grey bark, or whether that was its hide, was difficult to say. At any rate, the arms, at a short distance from the trunk, were not wrinkled, but covered with a brown, smooth, skin. The large feet had seven toes each. The lower part of the long face was covered with a sweeping, grey beard, bushy, almost twiggy at the roots, thin and mossy at the ends. But at the moment, the hobbits noted little but the eyes. These deep eyes were now surveying them, slow and solemn, but very penetrating. They were brown, shot with a green light. Often afterwards Pippin tried to describe his first impression of them.

One felt as if there was an enormous well behind them, filled up with ages of memory and long, slow, steady thinking; but their surface was sparkling with the present: like sun shimmering on the outer leaves of a vast tree or on the ripples of a very deep lake. I don't know, but it felt as if something that grew in the ground -- asleep, you might say, or just feeling itself as something between root-tip and leaf-tip, between deep earth and sky had suddenly waked up and was considering you with the same slow care that it had given to its own inside affairs for endless years."

I recall immediately falling in love after reading that passage. Treebeard was the man for me! I never saw the films simply because I knew that they could not do justice to the images I had in my own imagination, but I am pasting in a screen saver picture that the web site makes available just in case you are interested.

This next item is an article from today's (Saturday) Toronto Star about trees and how much good they do the City of Toronto -- or any city for that matter. I tried to get a decent scan of it, but could not make it legible so I will paste in the article for you. "Toronto's trees: Acer, Aesculus Hippocastanum, Fagus, Catalpa, Betula, Pinus, Prunus, Quercus, Robinia pseudoacacia and others.
There are over 3.5 million of them. They work hard on our behalf. And they have a tough life.
Toronto's trees are our environmental guardian angels, pumping water into the air (anywhere from 400 to 2,000 litres a day) at the same time as removing harmful carbon dioxide spewed out by cars (to the tune of 36,000 tons every year).
In short, life here would be a lot less agreeable without trees.
Yet most of us take them entirely for granted. We see a newly-planted sapling sagging by the sidewalk on a hot day and presume it's someone else's job to water it.
The Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation would like to change that. To raise awareness about the value of trees (and drum up more cash to take care of ours properly) they've just published, for the second year in a row, a neat little desk calendar.
Toronto Tree Portraits 2008 contains gorgeous photos of everything from crab apples blooming in High Park to soaring black locusts beside the Don River. The pictures are by Vincenzo Pietropaolo, with thoughtful words by Lorraine Johnson and Mark Cullen.
The calendars would make great Christmas gifts. Order them directly from the foundation (they cost $15 and every penny goes towards the trees) at 416-397-5178 or
You can also purchase copies at Book City, City Hall, Mountain Equipment Co-op and Toronto Botanical Garden."

These next two items are not works of mine (although I wish they were since I like them both very much). The first one I found at a booth outside St. Lawrence Market back during the summer. The artist's name is Julita Wolanska. She is of Polish heritage. Her web site is www. Visit her web site. Hopefully, she will be back outside the market next summer and you can take a look at all her beautiful art work for yourself.

The following one was actually done on a leaf pasted onto a piece of construction paper. I received it as part of a handmade card from a dear friend of mine who is also a nun in a contemplative community. It is really a beautiful little painting. The scanner does not do it justice even with my clumsy efforts to improve the scanner's results. The name of the artist, I think, is on the leaf, but I have never been able to figure out, for sure, what it says as my magnifying glass just isn't good enough. Anyway, enjoy...

Finally, I want to show you an early drawing of a tree done when I was just learning how to do this kind of work on the computer. I called this one "Trees in the Meadow" (back to my clever titles as you can see!).

I had actually forgotten that I had done this drawing. I have never tried using it for the background for any other drawing. Perhaps I will consider doing that in the future.

And finally there is another drawing of mine from the early days. I called this one "My Happy Place".
My idea of a happy place has always been a big, shady tree in a meadow with a comfortable place for me to sit. I would have a book (for me what Catholics call The Divine Office would be preferable) and water to drink. Close by there would be a small stream running merrily along making those wonderful water noises as it passes over and under the rocks. Many different kinds of birds would be passing to and fro. The scent of sun-warmed grass and wildflowers would be in the air. I would be alone with no one waiting for me or expecting me -- just sitting quietly, wrapped in the ever-abiding presence of God.

May the Peace that passes understanding be with you always.

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