“Trees” by the poet Joyce Kilmer has always been a favorite of mine over the years. At one time I could recite the poem by heart. It ranked near the top of my favorite poem list, only to be topped by Psalm 23, the Bible’s Good Shepherd Psalm.
I always thought that Joyce Kilmer was a woman – wrong – he is a man. Now that was sort of a surprise. Anyway, being a country boy from rural Indiana, trees were part of our lives, and much of our hunting experiences. Squirrels lived in trees. We hunted squirrels. Trees were all sizes and all kinds. Lots of trees. My Grandpa, could name any and all trees that were part of the Southern Indiana forests. Trees were so much of his life as a child and young man. We learned how to tell the kind of a tree just by looking at it’s bark. Yes, beautiful trees.
Now, during this pandemic I knew I could not sit self-quarantined at home 24/7 (not until middle of March did I begin to realize this might go on for a spell. I was right). I decided to write a book. I did write a book and it has kept me busy all these months. I hardly go anywhere, maybe for some groceries or walk around a neighboring park. I have been visiting with friends on one of our 12 Step ZOOM and SKYPE meetings. I kept in contact that way. So, now I am about ready to finish up the book and get it ready for publication. So I didn’t waste my time. I have something to show for it.
But my latest effort has been to take up the pencil and learn how to draw trees. Thank you Joyce Kilmer. Not just stick type trees. Trees that are beautiful and have leafy branches and the limbs are well shaded and all so perfect. My wife bought me some great Walmart $1.98 special colored pencils. I was excited. That is, until I tested out my innate, so I thought, ability to draw. Well, it hasn’t turned out so good. My trees just don’t come alive like the ones shown on the Computer screen.
I’ve learnt a lesson here. Try new things, and if you feel you are not successful – give it up! But seriously, I intend to get back to the trees some other time. I think I will use my camera and take pictures of trees. At least what I end up with are pictures that look like trees. Not stick trees.
One final thought. I at least proved one thing to myself. I don’t have to always be perfect and succeed at everything. Life is like that. We at least know that God has given me another day – another 24 hours – to give thanks for. I don’t have to be a great poet, writer, or artist. But I can be a man of gratitude for all of God’s blessings. In my book, trees point my thoughts heavenward to God who made all creation and is an expression of his love for you and me.
My favorite tree is an Autumn Blaze Maple. What is your favorite tree?
Hugh Smith © 2020