Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Children's Lit and the Loveliness of Trees

Have you ever found yourself in the midst of the semester, an avalanche of assignments hurtling at you, but you only have the desire to work on one of them? I think this might be the first time I've had that experience, since I usually don't want to work on any of them.

The assignment in question is the one from my Children's Lit class. I'm writing and illustrating a story for my boys and I am thoroughly enjoying working the story out in my head. I don't want to tell the story yet, but it has (of course) given me a million ideas that I could incorporate. I'm going to have trouble keeping the story as small as it should be, I think.

I've done some preliminary drawings for the story as well, and it has revealed some of the deficiencies in my art. In particular, I have trouble with trees. I've always found people more interesting and more fun to draw than anything else: trees, animals, buildings, cars, what have you. This has lead me to attend to the actual trees around campus, and I've found that . . . well . . . they're quite beautiful. I mean, I've always loved springtime its flowers, summer's warm greenness, and the spectacular splashes of color that come with autumn.

But it's winter now. The trees are brown and bare, but they're still quite beautiful.

In the yard by the playground stand two white birch towers, with their branches forked like lightning . . .

Out my living room/office window a shaggy barked tree is lined with narrow branches, jutting out like bony fingers . . .

Near Founders hall are two trees standing like old friends, their tops bent back and branches to the sky in praise of God . . .

I guess I had lived under the illusion that trees are basically the same, but the variety is amazing, even among trees of the same species. What makes the trunk divide in two when it does? Why do the branches bend and twist where they do?

So while anyone can appreciate a tree covered with foliage, I encourage you: don't stop there. Love a leafless tree.

Bare is beautiful.

1 comment:

Mimi Duncan said...

"Bare is beautiful"...
That is what I said the first time I saw you!