I photograph a lot of trees , and many of my mandalas are derived from images of trees. But I’ve never photographed my favorite tree, until now.  My favorite tree stands in our front yard, a towering pin oak that was planted by the man who, in 1973, built our house, after the first tree he planted, a spruce, died.  When we moved into the house in 1984, it was still a relatively young tree.  I come across pictures from that time and barely recognize the slender trunk.  The oak now towers over our house and is at least 3 feet in diameter.

Why do I love that oak tree?   

It’s beautiful, yes, It is a grand oak, towering  4o feet above our roof with broad branches that reach out to shade our home.  But more than that, this oak has been a witness to our family. Even as a young tree, it provided a shady spot for the kiddie pool in the summer when our kids were small.  It was a nice place to put the porch swing we brought from our previous home and sit the 5 little kids from play group while we took their picture.  It provided a roof for the “house” where the neighborhood girls played dress-up.  Under the tree was a mechanic’s workshop for 5 days when a friend brought our 6 year old son an engine to take apart.  Our 10 year old daughter practiced her math skills with her Dad while they designed and built a tree bench that encircled the oak’s trunk for many years until the tree finally grew to lift the bench off the ground.  As it grew, the low hanging branches provided a cozy, private place to put a cedar swing that encouraged many long conversations during the teen years.  That oak tree has been a constant in the life of our family.  When we had the branches trimmed last year, we saved the wood from one of the larger branches to have made into something (not sure what yet) .

So, it was appropriate that on Mother’s Day, as we were sitting on our back deck, I was watching the evening light playing off the branches, and the cardinals and chickadees, and goldfinches dancing around and among the branches and thinking again how much I love that tree.  I ran into the house and grabbed my camera to capture those branches, knowing that they would become mandalas of my favorite tree.

Thoughtful question: Is there something in your life, like our oak, that has been a constant?

Silly question: Can you find the goldfinch in one of the mandalas?