This year’s foliage is epic. Some say the sunny clear days and the cold evenings make the colors brighter. For me it is almost overwhelming. To see the brilliant orange leaves against the pure blue October sky takes my breath away. Trying to photograph it is useless. Lately I’ve just been trying to witness it. Take it in. Color therapy.

Last week I took some students out to draw trees. It was a breezy sunny day in Worcester. There were some beautiful old oaks and maples around the campus green so we stopped there. As my students started to choose their view and take out their supplies, I realized we had to stop. Drop the agenda and pay reverence to these ancient beauties. 

I asked everyone to lie down looking up with their heads at the base of these trees. Do nothing. Observe. Silence. I felt the earth receive the weight of my body. When was the last time I lay on the ground? Forever ago I think. And then the wind came. First the leaves shimmered as a gentle breeze started to move them. Then the wind built and the tree was suddenly caught up in a dance. The outer limbs swayed rhythmically as the gusts blew through them. The exterior leaves racked with a tumultuous invisible force. Gazing up the dark trunk it felt like it was growing up out of my head and diminishing into veins dispersing into gold and green. I realized the interior leaves where barely moving. I felt suddenly sheltered. 

We all lay there. Witnessing this dance. Beyond words, just seeing. After some time it was time to draw. You could feel it. The drawings were imbued with tree knowledge. Next time you set out to draw, stop and look from a different perspective. Look until you see. You will know when it is time to… CREATE.

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