THEME THURSDAY: SURFACE
I’ve always had this very strange fascination with old gnarled tree roots, the kind of roots that have burst forth to the surface of the soil like Merlin’s languid fingers. They tickle the earth and in time become covered with a coat of deep green lichen. They embark outward on a journey of discovery, for something more- something once feared to be buried and lost. They seem forgotten in years of dormancy but waiting for the opportunity to spring forth once more to reveal that life is still contained there.
When I was a very young art student, I had this enigmatic professor who took my studio class out on drawing days to forgotten cemeteries in search of the most interesting trees with these wayward surface roots, so large that one could carve a bench from them and certainly called to mind roots from Tolkien’s Fangorn forest. I sat, mesmerized, before stately oaks and maples, ancient, weathered, hypnotic and seductive. I longed to know their history, to be close to them, and to glimpse into a mirror of the past to see all that transpired before them. I still do.
Why do roots that normally stay underground, cloaked in darkness, emerge from the soil? Science explains that roots often grow more shallowly beneath the soil than many of us ever imagined; it depends largely on the type of tree. The surface soil might erode and make way for the roots to expand and erupt, in very much the same way that a tree trunk expands with age. The older more mature roots of trees will increase and grow larger, waiting until the time is right to rise to the surface, spread, and extend outward. To me this is a strange sort of freedom from the depths of the earth. Is this a final chance for these great wonders to reveal that there is more there than meets the eye? I believe that they could be making a plea to the natural world and to all that stumble upon them, that they might truly be seen.