I haven't kept up with my 30 Faces challenge very well. I have to admit that by the end of last week, I was already getting a bit bored and uninspired with it, and I wasn't sure if I really wanted to continue with it. I decided to switch from painting in my journal to drawing with charcoal, and I enjoyed doing that.
|Prompts: Monochrome, Muted Palette, Silence, Music|
But then came Tuesday, and it brought a bad surprise. This is what I used to see outside my bedroom window. A beautiful old apple tree full of character, a home and playground for many birds, which I enjoyed watching flying and hopping around in the garden. There even was a big gorgeous jay that used to turn up for a few days twice a year for the past two year.
When I opened the shutters on Tuesday morning, seeing the soft green leaves and pale pink buds emerging on the tree in the half dark made me smile, and I was looking forward to seeing it in full bloom soon. Then, when I got home in the evening and went into the bedroom, something felt odd. I couldn't quite put my finger on what was different. I went to the window to open it and it took a few seconds for the realisation to settle. The tree was gone. So thoroughly, there wasn't even a stump left. It was a shock. I've had no idea that my landlady was planning to have it cut down. It had probably been there long before she moved into the house, and that has been a few decades.
I loved this tree. It's old gnarled mossy branches with big mushrooms growing out of them, the shade and cool it gave my bedroom and flat in the summer, it's beautiful pink blossoms in spring that attracted the bees, all the birds that lived in it. I banged my head several times on that bird house, and smiled in bed before falling asleep in the autumn, when I heard the odd overripe apple plop down on the ground.
And that's not all of it. A few minutes later I realised that the other tree was gone too. A big huge beautiful tree at the end of the garden opposite my living room. A thick straight trunk with long thin evergreen branches hanging down (I have no idea what tree it was). I loved to see its branches dance around on windy evenings, and I could often see bats flying around there in the dusk. Gone too. Not a trace left.
I love trees, and every tree that is cut down hurts me in my heart, and seeing these beautiful friends gone is heartbreaking. And I really didn't understand why my landlady didn't tell and warn me about her plan. It's only me on the upper ground floor and my landlady on the first floor in this house. You should think it should be possible to communicate with each other? Of course it is her property, and she can do with it what she wants. But I would have wanted to know. After all, that tree was right outside my window and it's presence or absence affects my living space. It would just have been the decent thing. I would still have been heartbroken, but at least I would have been prepared.
I couldn't go upstairs to ask her about it on Tuesday, I was too upset about it. And I didn't feel much like thinking about drawing a face for the day's prompt either. But I did end up drawing in my sketchbook, putting down my feelings in words and ink lines.
I did ask her the next day, though. The big old tree had been sick and wasn't stable anymore, in danger of falling over. Fair enough. You wouldn't want a tree like that falling on your house, or anybody else's. But the old apple tree's only offence, apparently, was to be "old, ugly, and not producing many apples anymore anyway". Well, I found it beautiful and full of character, it brought me joy in so many ways. She didn't quite seem to understand first why I was rather upset about her not telling me in advance, but I think eventually she realised that I really cared about that tree. We're different people. She's social. I care about trees. I appreciate nature and its beautiful character, she only saw the work it made for her, and not the richness and life it provided.
I've been having the blinds drawn down all week, so that I don't have to see that dead, scared garden, that before was so full of life. Another thought entered my mind too. Maybe it is time to start looking for a new place? When I moved in, almost 9 years ago, I never thought I would stay here for that long. I'm not good with change, with letting go, and with trusting that something equal or even better might follow. And the thought of trying to a new, affordable flat that is still big enough to have a separate art room, is something bordering to a minor life crisis. But as one of my work colleagues said, the thought has been released out to the universe. And at the weekend, I plan to sit down and make a list of all the things my ideal new home should have. It might well take me another couple of years to finally find it and make the move. But there's no harm in starting to look around. And in the mean time, I'll work on seeing possibilities instead of obstacles...