The Tree With Lights In It


Hello dear friends who I have NOT forgotten even though it may seem so.  I thought you might enjoy watching the process of a painting.  It began in late April when I brought my lightly sketched banner to a gathering of gungho volunteers at Orcas Island Community Church, including children and adults of all ages.  (photos of this fun workshop on facebook!)  They helped me stencil, stain, cut out and paint flames for the burning bush.  I brought the work-in-progress home and painted it in time to deliver for Pentecost, my favorite feast of the year, probably since I’m a bit of a pyro.  Such a joy to see the painting realized–there were many, many moments where I really thought I had ruined it for good.  The painting died many times and me with it before it finally said, here I am, complete.



Sometimes looking at the picture upside down helps me see it.  Everything got better once I removed the hideous purple plastic behind it…



The Tree With Lights in It

Finished Painting!

“When her doctor took her bandages off and led her into the garden, the girl who was no longer blind saw “the tree with the lights in it.” It was for this tree I searched through the peach orchards of summer, in the forests of fall and down winter and spring for years. Then one day I was walking along Tinker creek and thinking of nothing at all and I saw the tree with the lights in it. I saw the backyard cedar where the mourning doves roost charged and transfigured, each cell buzzing with flame. I stood on the grass with the lights in it, grass that was wholly fire, utterly focused and utterly dreamed. It was less like seeing that like being for the first time see, knocked breathless by a powerful glance. The flood of fire abated, but I’m still spending the power. Gradually the lights went out in the cedar, the colors died, the cells un-flamed and disappeared. I was still ringing. I had been my whole life a bell and never knew it until at that moment I was lifted and struck. I have since only very rarely seen the tree with the lights in it. The vision comes and goes, mostly goes, but I live for it, for the moment the mountains open and a new light roars in spate through the crack, and the mountains slam.” – from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard


In its new home at Orcas Island Community Church


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