Friday, October 29, 2021

A Study of a Maple Tree : Part 1

There is a maple tree in our backyard which has enchanted and excited us this autumn season. It stood majestic and proud with its green leaves and, as the colours started to change, became glorious by emitting an orange glow. When the leaves dropped, it was magical, and we couldn't stop staring and talking about it. We'd venture outside, collected them by the handfuls, brought them indoors and placed them into books for safe keeping. The majority of them have left the books, having been moved to specific places around the house in attempt to make it cosy, but there are still a few that I've kept hidden. I am hoping they'll surprise me next year when I open up the hardbacks. 

The leaves have all fallen off now, the tree stands bare and naked in the corner. This project started off as only an attempt to grab 'evidence' and 'hold onto' that glorious colour that I knew wouldn't stay. I am already mourning the loss of all that orange. I've recently stumbled upon a quote by Nigel Slater, however, which has me longing to continue this study. 

"I'm not sure you really know a tree until you have seen it without its leaves. Naked, so to speak. They are often at their most peaceful and romantic in winter, like watching a loved one asleep. Without the diversion of leaves, deciduous trees take on a sculptural quality; we get the opportunity to see their bark more clearly, the dance and flow of their branches, their character and form."

He wrote about it in his book "The Christmas Chronicles," a book devoted to his love of the winter season and this thought has made me stop, curious. Winter is my least favourite season - it was the reason I picked up Slater's book in the first place, an courageous hope to help me see its beauty - and I never stopped to wonder if the naked, skeleton-like shape of the tree could also be considered beautiful during the harsh winter months. Is it possible to fall in love with trees without their leafy garments or a magical, snowy blanket? Will I be able to understand it's romantic qualities? I am so intrigued. 

Knowing that this post is already so photo heavy, I have decided to close the first part of this project and title it 'part one.' The leaves have inspired me and filled our home with so much excitement, it only seems fair to stop for now, allowing these photos to take centre stage for a while. The concept of moving forward, of going in depth and watching the winter trees closer has me grinning though. I'm already imagining the maple's winter shadows and itching to pull out my sketch book to capture its 'character and form.' I will continue looking, documenting, and daring to push myself further to see its beauty at every stage. 

The first photo (down below) was taken on September 30th when I first noticed the leaves change. The photo at the end of the post was taken on October 28th, almost a month into this project. On a breezy day, a leaf landed on my face while I tried to capture them falling, and there are many photos of little girls, seeking out the largest leaf. 

Maple trees may have to be a part of my life forever now. :) 

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