Oil on gallery-wrapped 1.5 inch canvas, 30 x 24 inches.
This piece was partially inspired by the story of Moses seeing/hearing a message from God. And God’s voice coming from inside of the burning bush. The fire in the bush stopped him, and he had to zoom in and come closer and listen to find out how it could possibly be continuing to burn without being consumed. This fiery burning Tree of Life is my version. (The Bible verses from Exodus are written and showing through from my underlayer.) This tree that I looked at for my reference photograph (by the late CA landscape photographer Galen Rowell (instagram @galenrowell) just captivated me. Its a Bristlecone pine, some of which lived 5000 years ago and still alive. And it made me wonder what it would be like to encounter this tree, and what message it might hold for myself and its other viewers. And the answer I heard was: its about all of us being given a purpose, a positive message to deliver, and that sometimes it is delivered in a startling or fiery way.
Here is a poem I wrote to go with this piece:
Message at Dawn
Out on a walk this morning, after a starry night.
You stop before its underpass, bending an ear.
Here. An old bristlecone pine!
Its ancient feral bark, contrasting with the snow,
branches bursting forth aglow,
Rusty-colored and waxing…
It has something of substance to convey.
A passed torch from a forgotten mother tongue,
Its limbs outstretched,
Its rinds peeling -
Like pictograms moving past,
Whispered messages are signing so fast
they can barely convey their inscriptions.
It has you listening.
It births a tear to see this bark,
that should be rasping, instead whistling sweetly,
that should be brittle, instead undulating so spritely.
Like a torched scroll that never blackens,
Opening to reveal a mystery script, begging translation,
Its ancient refrain that you somehow know
And find yourself mouthing.
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