Monday, October 4, 2010

A Walk in the Woods...In progress

Joyce Kilmer. 1886–1918

119. Trees

I THINK that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain,
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
I have been working on this painting for a year or two now. I can't even remember exactly when I began. I am using a rather poorly developed photograph I took while on vacation in Cook's Forest, PA where my extended family "retreats" every June. Every year we hike the same trails, stop for "scramble breaks" in the same spots, sing the same songs around the campfire, and head to the ice cream store every night.
I suddenly realized the other night, however, that this painting has an entire new level of personal meaning. The two figures walking along "Toms Run Road" are my Dad and my grandfather. Grandpa passed away a little over a month ago. Finishing this painting will be so bittersweet.
I know Grandpa will be there every year from now on, in spirit, as he always has been in person. He may be reciting the poem above and will definitely be carrying his trusty walking stick, just as he is in this painting!

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