"The Few Loves" - 7 x 5 inches, acrylic on canvas panel. (burnt umber, ultramarine blue & titanium white)
My mother's house is surrounded by white pines my grandfather planted when he was 12 years old. Hundreds of them. The seedlings were supplied by the University of Maryland's Agriculture Department as an experiment. For years students came out to collect data on the growing grove of pines. This was my childhood view of the sky.
Now they are over-tall, brittle, and shallow rooted in a way that makes my mother fearful in wind storms. I've written about them and painted them before. And whenever my mind turns to them, I am reminded of this poem:
by Louis Jenkins
In the front yard there are three big white pines, older
than anything in the neighborhood except the stones.
Magnificent trees that toss their heads in the wind
like the spirited black horses of a troika. It's hard to
know what to do, tall dark trees on the south side of
the house, an unfortunate location, blocking the
winter sun. Dark and damp. Moss grows on the roof,
the porch timbers rot and surely the roots have
reached the old bluestone foundation. At night, in
the wind, a tree could stumble and fall killing us in
our beds. The needles fall year after year making an
acid soil where no grass grows. We rake the fallen
debris, nothing to be done, we stand around with
sticks in our hands. Wonderful trees.
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