The Short Man’s Tree

It’s autumn here in the Northern Hemisphere. The trees are beginning to turn into flaming pyres, whose ruddy leaves flutter all over the ground. One such tree who litters our nice clean lawns with great crunchy leaves and little funny balls is the Sycamore tree.

If you’re familiar with the Bible, you may have heard the story of Zacchaeus, a short little man, trapped behind a large crowd, impatient to see Christ. So he scurried up a such a tree to get another view of the Nazarene celebrity. His boldness and outside-the-box thinking won him the honor of Christ inviting himself over to dinner!

Keep reading to see the layout of the whole page and other scenes of the sycamore tree, including a galloping mastiff!

So here’s what the whole spread looks like.

It’s the result of trying to simplify while painting every day, and “listening for a theme.”

I started feeling more alive hiking everyday before or after work, so I started to incorporate that into my art time, because that’s where a lot of the jolts of creativity are born.

One thing I realized I was losing touch with and wanted to keep alive was my knowledge of nature, which had grown while teaching nature study and helping with an outdoor program. How to do that? And capture all the beautiful scenes I saw hiking, or walking???! And all my thoughts too?! You see here, so many choices can be paralyzing! Where to even begin?!

So, I thought, well, what if I just focused on one gem captured from an outing, no matter how small it is?

The AHAH! Moment.

And I also weaved a story around it: Once upon a (whatever the activity is).

So the entry you see within this post captures the story of that day’s walk.

Once upon a time, Bridget and Mishka went out for a walk. While Mishka tore up the turf, galloping in sheer puppy joy of freedom, Bridget stood and looked up at the sycamore trees. She found huge beautiful leaves littering the ground, and noticed how they tended to fold up on themselves, some shriveled, some neatly crossed over, like corpses laid to rest. Yet there were the seed balls that fell from the great white bleached branches as well. These, as cheerful as the bright blue sky, promised hope for a new life in the future.

The End.

This was all drawn after the walk and painted a few days later while looking at the specimens (my room is constantly full of these treasures!) I wanted to write some neat facts about the sycamore tree, like why its branches become bleached, and how they are connected with early colonial American history, but alas…one has to be okay with moving on.

After dwelling on the sycamore from this walk, painting it, and writing this post, whenever I see a sycamore, I see more than just a beautiful tree. I see a disgruntled Zaccheus in ancient Roman peasant garb scurrying up the great girthed sycamore, and rustling through its ruffled leaves to catch a glimpse of the Christ.

What was that like to have Christ look up at you?

Thanks very much for reading! See you next week!

Would you like to be able to see and appreciate God’s hand in Creation when you are out for your daily walks, hikes, or just sitting on your patio? Check out the book below…it’s helped me immensely over the years! When you click the pictures-links below, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for helping me!

Currently, I’m reading the author’s sequel , the book below. It’s continues the same theme.

Finally, if you’d like to learn more about trees on a natural level, this book by Eric Sloane is most-wateringly good, blending great stories and incredible illustrations. (And wood by the way is sacred to a true Christian: wood is part of man’s fall and his redemption!)


2 thoughts on “The Short Man’s Tree

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