What do these forests make you feel? Their weight and density, their crowded orderliness. There is scarcely room for another tree and yet there is space around each. They are profoundly solemn yet upliftingly joyous. You can find strength in them that you look for, showing how absolutely full of truth, how full of reality. The juice and essence of life are in them. They teem with life, growth and expansion. They are a refuge for myriads of living things. As the breezes blow among them, they quiver, yet how still they stand developing with the universe. God is among them. Breathed with them the breath of life, might and patience. They stand developing, springing from tiny seeds, pushing close to Mother Earth. Fluffy baby things first, sheltering beneath their parents, mounting higher, spreading brave branches, pushing with mighty strength not to be denied skywards. Tossing in the breezes, glowing in the sunshine, bathing in the showers, bending below the snow piled on their branches, drinking the dew, rejoicing in creation, bracing each other, sheltering the birds and beasts, the myriad insects.
Opposite Contraries: The Unknown Journals of Emily Carr and Other Writings, 2006
Artist, writer, pioneer, champion of otherness and all round inspirational woman, Canadian Emily Carr’s (1871 – 1945) first exhibition in the UK is currently running at the Dulwich Picture Gallery until 15 March. For anyone that finds meaning in the natural world, believes in the transcendency of trees, has been lucky enough to experience the forest interior of British Columbia first-hand, or just wants to support solo exhibitions by females at major galleries, then this event is highly recommended.
Tree (spiralling upward), 1932 – 1933, oil on paper
© Photo: Trevor Mills, Vancouver Art Gallery