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Golden Birches

Aphorisms – those pithy sayings that are not truly descriptions but succinct, word-compacted, meaning-packed one-liners certainly cajole me to think. Jumping out of bed (once again!) in the wee hours last weekend to catch the sun as it rose over the hill in all its majesty reminded me that the early bird catches the worm. Literally, the picture is simplistic if I allow the mental image to take shape; but figuratively, myriad opportunities are missed when I find myself sleeping through observing, listening, responding and reciprocating. All four, active verbs. Words, if internalized, push me beyond myself into the realm of giving – in expression, thought or action.


As I continue to live with the pandemic that hangs like a Damocles’ sword, I make a conscious decision to accept responsibility for contributing positivity - solemnly and with integrity. With work-from-home norms stifling social interaction and motivation, people around me are devising innovative ways to come together and make life meaningful. The media highlights the plight of families gone awry with anxiety and disquiet. Mental chaos creates infirmity and impacts the entire social fabric in which people conduct day to day operations. The edges fray. The return to natural surroundings grounds me and others and makes me appreciate the realities that exist in the natural universe.


To experience this reality, I wake up each morning and see each day with fresh eyes. As I greet friends and neighbors, the conversation evolves to include the sights and sounds of the day. Ordinary people like me are making observations of surroundings that have always been there but perhaps taken for granted.


Experiencing the warmth of the rising sun, both in color and feel, is like a loving embrace. Like others, I actively stop to observe, listen, and respond to this uplifting sensation. When clouds disrupt the horizon line, I recognize that they are not overshadowing the warmth or stealing the glorious colors but simply heightening the drama. What else could the deep heliotrope in all its royalty tell me? The intensifying rays take the cool blue of the sky and stir the ultramarine with the warm reds and golds to form shades which are attributed to royalty and kinship. The early to bed and early to rise maxim plays well to make us healthy and wealthy as we gather the glittering gold bouncing off the tree tops and the waterways.


Wordsworth’s description is applicable to every new morning:

“Never did sun more beautifully steep

In his first splendor, valley, rock or hill;”


Golden Birches in oil is an attempt to capture the virgin rays of the sun as they prance on the autumn shrubbery. The addition of color, drama, and words is my act of reciprocation for the inspiration provided by creation and life.

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