Our skin let’s us take in the world with all of its dangers and its beauty. The world touches us- sound waves touch our ears, light waves touch our eyes, chemicals touch our nose… the air, the water, the earth and its life forms touch our skin. We are essentially open to the world. We are sensitive and vulnerable. And we are one with all that touches us. One with all of the earth. One with danger and one with love. One with ugliness and also with beauty. And in the ugliness is a divine order full of beauty. There is even love and peace in the danger and the fear.

(Photograph of moss growing in the crevices of a Maple’s bark to come)

Maples are home; I grew up with four Norway Maples guarding the corners of the backyard.  One was also the swing tree; I found both wild freedom and peace swinging under that Maple. When it went down, my childhood sense of harmony and security shook.

Yesterday I walked around looking at tree buds and flowers, surrounded by all of the other corona virus social separation refugees. There were more than a few riding running talking yelling children with no school day on a school day.

I saw spectacular tree flowers. Many tree flowers are easy to miss: small and inconspicuous, pollinated by wind with no need for large showy petals, bright insect attracting colors and sweet fragrances.  Some, like the Magnolia, break that generalization down completely, and some, like the Red Maple fall somewhere in-between. Small but full of colorful splendor. And powerful in their symmetry.

I hope others are finding comfort, peace and inspiration in the beauty of Spring Equinox.

Happy Spring!

Moss capsules of hope

In cold dark times the seeds and spores are hiding in wait… the deep darkness is fertile. Moisture, warmth and light arrive as the sun nears. The trees’ seeds begin to germinate and the mosses capsules get ready to release the spores of spring. Happy St Patrick’s Day!

The story unfolds revealing all kinds of surprises. But if you don’t look around for a week or two in May, you miss it. This May I was obsessed with tree blossoms. One day I ran excitedly from Beech flower to flower; for the first time in my life I saw their bloom. At first I didn’t understand what I was seeing… many flowers hanging down and one pom pom like flower coming up in the other directions. Then I got it: The male flowers drooped down and the females flowers bloomed upward, pistils to the sky.

May blooming Beech:female and male flowers

early leaves about one month ago: sunlight and chlorophyll

Every day I sketch the oak-squirrel sight. Last week I painted the scene.

tree flowers are blooming and tiny leaves are unfurling. In my backyard the squirrels are busy performing crazy acrobatic feats to enjoy the bountiful pollen the male blossoms provide. The tiny red female flowers may be getting dusted with pollen not only by the wind but also by their furry friends. So perhaps the squirrels not only disperse oak tree’s seeds but also help pollinate the flowers? Helping and harvesting oaks every spring and fall? Meanwhile I enjoy the sight of flowers, new leaves, and amazing mammals, all in a small urban oasis.