Growing Together


A few weeks ago, I received a message from a friend I knew in Germany in the late 70s. He said he was thrilled to be reading my book and was having fun identifying characters in the book—characters he knew as well while living in Germany. I was delighted to be in touch with him again.

A few days later, he posted a photo of a batik painting that hangs in his living room. His message read: Susan, do you remember? What was the painting called?

It sure looked like one of mine, but I wasn’t absolutely sure because during my artist days I produced paintings and sculptures on a variety of subjects. I looked at the photo for some time, sorting through memories of my days into years as a working artist in Europe. I let my mind roam until it focused on my nature period where I was fascinated with the cyclical changes that occur with seasons.

Looking at the painting of the two oak trees—one with leaves changing colors and the other bare of leaves—I remembered exactly when I sketched the idea for the painting.

It was a brilliant sunset evening. I was sipping a glass of Chardonnay, listening to Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons,” and watching the evening light change in the garden below my living room window. Two tall oak trees stood side by side, growing close together. One had lost its leaves while the other had lustrous colored leaves of green, copper, red, and deep purple. As the moon ascended above the silhouette of buildings located on the main boulevard, I reflected on my personal cyclical changes  and made a quick note on the sketch.

From green, the leaves turn gold, then gone.
Stripped bare, the bones stand all alone.

New buds in spring,
new life will bring. …

I answered my friend. It’s called, Growing Together.

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