This is a tree that I visit regularly, on my walks through Oaxaca City, where I live in Mexico.
Today I noticed wires attached to keep it upright in the strong winds that whip through here some afternoons. And a sign that says.
No me pises. Me estoy curando.
Don’t step on me. I am healing.
My heart just melted when I read: I am healing.
Spanish typo: when I first typed this post, instead of writing, “pises” I wrote, “pides”.
Which would translate as:
Do not ask me.
Which I think would be a humorous sign next to a tree. Easily amused, I am.
When I look through my sketchbooks over the years, I’m struck by how many images of trees show up.
I take photos of trees, but also draw, paint, sketch them.
And I’m constantly collecting quotes and poems about trees, forests, roots.
“Storms make trees take deeper roots.”
— Dolly Parton
For several years I did paintings of just tree roots.
Sas Colby, an artist in Berkeley, California who I have studied with, says that there is a power in claiming an image, and allowing ourselves to draw that image as much as we want. Over and over.
She gave us assignments to draw the same twig or rock or feather every day for a month, and see how it developed over time.
Much like I will sometimes use the same prompt every day for a month.
Working with one image or one idea over time, takes us below the surface.
Where we can drink deep from our experience.
Like tree roots.
Here is the shadow of that same tree, pictured above. The other thing I just love about this garden is the chevron pattern the bricks make, and how plants are growing in the cracks.
How about you?
What are your favorite quotes, poems, stories about trees?
Whether or do visual art or write, are you compelled to work with the same image over and over again?