These Madrona (aka Pacific Madrone, aka Arbutus) trees like our 5-acre, ridge-top property and we are quite happy to have them, even though they shed piles and piles of leaves every year - woody leaves that can take many years to decompose.
We are especially fascinated with their bark and the way it changes throughout the year. We love the way its colors are highlighted by the warm light of afternoon sunshine or glisten and become saturated after a rain shower.
Here is how the bark looks in the spring... red-orange, really quite a deep color. Then in the late summer, the bark fractures and peels, revealing a new, yellow-green bark color.
Above is how it looks after the peeling is complete and before it begins to turn red again.
Even the more dense bark on the north (or shaded) side of the trunk fractures a little in the heat of summer.
Last evening Robert and I were headed to town to hear a lecture at the community theatre. On the trail to our garage, we simultaneously stopped in our tracks to investigate and admire three small fractures that were highlighted in the glow of sunset. I didn't have my camera with me then, but this is how the spot looks today at noon.
The PowerPoint presentation we attended after our Madrona moment was by James Hubbell, a visionary artist and architect. We had also attended a "conversation" (Q & A) session with him the previous day. I was struck by his wisdom, especially regarding the work of the artist.
In several different ways, he explored his belief that
the space between the edges of two different things is where beauty, understanding and energy resides. The work of the artist is to create a bridge between these edges - between dissimilar and/or opposing elements... sad and happy, love and hate, east and west, Russia and USA, poor and wealthy, red and green, Venus and Mars, soft and harsh - and to examine the space between them.*Like the Madrona bark!
His words make me think about my beading and how/if/where I might have created a bridge or studied the space between. The best example is probably my BJP piece from last spring showing the part of my husband's personality that is deeply affected by his parents' alcoholism and the part of him that is clean, sober and public. You can read/see more about it here.
I guess in this case, the space between is a narrow, wiggly wall with small holes in it where light enters dark and dark enters light. I recall feeling really good about this piece... it was compelling and important from start to finish.
Maybe Mr. Hubbell is onto something significant about art, worthy of consideration. In the future, as I contemplate a new piece and a tickle of an idea comes forward, I will think about the edges of the idea, where it meets something else. Will I find more energy there? I think so!
Is the photo above (the one that most clearly explores the edges and space between old and new bark) the most interesting of the Madrona pictures on this post? What do you think? What space between have you explored recently?
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* The statement above is my interpretation of Mr. Hubbell's words, not a direct quote.
PS ~ Sept 6th ~ The comments on this post add several intriguing threads to the topic... Please take the time to read them!