Under the tree I saw the face of one I had known for many years, that I had disliked for many years, that I had avoided and that constantly popped out at me from crowds and corners wherever I went. I held my breath, said “Hello,” and waited for the judgement and negativity that I was sure would follow. The tree dropped a leaf onto my eyes and before I could brush it away, I saw inside its tiny veins and watched the edge of moss glow in the soft blue light and swam inside the water that zoomed through both and all of our bodies… the leaf, the tree, myself and the person I always avoided. The moment sank into a green-hued glowing sense of freedom for me.
“Don’t you have anything better to do than stare at a leaf. It probably has bugs on it too.”
I started to argue, then put a plug in my mouth, turned and walked away, thinking that, no, I really don’t have anything better to do. There is nothing better to do.
The sun drifted behind a cloud I saw myself reflected in the eyes of the one I avoided and saw both of us reflected in a pool of water and when the river flowed, our images became one. I looked back and the tree was a forest, the forest a universe, the universe included me and it was all equally important.
“Tree Moss” is 24 in. × 36 in. acrylic on Tyvek paper by John Fish 2011. Painted from a photo I took while visiting Seattle, Washington. One of a series of moss paintings.