Sunday, March 8, 2009


When I was a little girl, all I painted were trees. Specifically, I favored the branches ~ the multiple, winding, crossing, thick, thin, long, short branches of the trees. I followed their movement ~ thousands of branches steming from the same solitary source of a single trunk.

Traveling, discovering new parts of the world, I always notice trees first, thus permitting me to get to know each distinct environment.  I observe their overall shape, size, colors ~ the nature of their branches.  I then proceed to sketch at least one tree, or the part of the tree that speaks to me the most.

Gazing up at trees, searching to see where each branch leads to, when and how many times it crosses another branch, and whether it has lived and still lives a long life.  I was, have always been, and remain today fascinated with trees and their growing branches.  Their beauty, strength and infinite 'options' leave me in awe!

It is not difficult to perceive trees and their growing branches as mirrors of the lives that we live.  We have many 'branches to follow', 'paths to travel'.  Some branches grow strong, offering the presence of many other branches, while others are mere glimpses of beauty, quickly cut off at their base, offering but a quick end at the first sign of their existence.

I sometimes wonder whether a tree consciously chooses which branch to feed and make grow stronger.  Or does a tree simply experience the 'good fortune' of having received branches that grow healthily with little effort?  Similarly in our lives, do we choose the paths of life to travel, or do they present themselves to us, change, grow, become more important, as caused by multiple forces that as individual beings, we have little control over?

This at-first-glance fatalistic inquiry is rather, in my mind, a metaphor of choice, for harmony within the world that we are a part of ~ for health, happiness, and well-being.  Indeed, trying to control our world and its multiple paths, only leads to the draining of one's energy, even to distress and illness.  What we have are choices ~ key choices similar to that of the tree's: 'now that this branch has grown, do I feed it; devote myself to another; create another; or balance my energy between a few of them?'

According to feng shui, trees are greatly important, so much so that they represent one of its five elements of consideration that is wood.  In our physical space the presence of wood comes from actual wood, tall & narrow shapes, and all shades of green.  Not surprisingly, this second most yang element of wood is a metaphor for growth.  Wood is the ultimate, ongoing, earthly, physical symbol of growth.  It is dynamic, vibrant, energizing.  It implies movement forward and change.  When people tell me that they have the color green in their home because it feels soothing to them, I point out that this soothing impression comes from the association that they make of the color green with nature.  Being outdoors soothes the soul, but the color green, a metaphor of the wood element, is in fact energizing, as is the tree, or wood from which it grows.

In practice, when I choose where in an environment to hang a painting that offers strong wood presence, I identify an area where wood energy is needed!  Remember that wood presence does not require its figurative representation.  An abstract piece can present obvious wood energy qualities.  To find the ideal location, I ask myself who will view the painting.  Do I want to offer people a lingering point of view for ongoing reinforcement, or simply an occasional glimpse as a brief intermittent supporter?  I also survey the reason-for-being of the space.  Could the activity planned for the room be supported and enhanced by the energizing presence of a 'wood-filled' painting?

Whether or not one needs wood presence in a space is a function of whether or not one would benefit from its dynamic support, at a given time in their life.  Ask yourself: 'where am I going in life?  Am I moving fast or slowly?  For the right or wrong reasons?  Do I know why?  Do I have a vision of where I am going?  Do I need to continue traveling this path or change paths altogether?'

Coming back to the tree, one can ask his or her self: 'do I need to stay on this branch, because it is healthy, pointing upward to the sky and therefore offering the potential for many more new healthy branches
or is it cut off at its stem, thus offering me stoppage on my path?' 

Answering these questions, you can adjust and enhance a space with artwork offering varying levels of wood presence, to either support your balance on a given branch; help you move forward on the same branch; change to an unidentified branch; explore new unknown branches; or go back to the root of the tree ~ to the essence of your true reason-for-being!

Consciousness of space for consciousness of Self ~

Support from life choices via a conscious vision of one's reason-for-being ~

For growth and well-being on multiple present branches ~ the many paths offered by our earthly experience ~

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading that and now I know. I love trees, always have; always will. They know all my secrets; trees.