Yes! “All together now” like The Beatles song. Sometimes, like in this case, I know the title of a painting as I am close to finishing it, other times, I realize I put the title on an initial sketch. So, if The Beatles song from the Yellow Submarine album sticks with you throughout the day, then good for you! All together now, all together now!…
The image of the human figure moving their arms as birds pose on their head, arms and hands had been in my mind for many weeks. I knew the hues and colors, the hills and low mountains, the trees in the distance along the red winding road. I knew that two large trees would be a portal into the world of Nature. The figure would be a living organism with no defined gender, just a Being. In a forever cycle, the roots of the trees would become one with the mycelium of the fungi and the lines of the hills. A rich cobalt blue sky would unite all creatures under a shared embrace.
This winter has been utterly cold in the Virginian Piedmont of the United States. More birds than usual have migrated south this year due to lack of food further up north. Fortunately we had left the summer crops in their place so the soil would be covered and to better rest. This has added additional food to native birds and other visitors, which many neighbors have supplemented with fruits, seeds and nuts.
In this painting, my delightful new friend, the Carolina Wren is on the left arm, followed by the curious Tufted Titmouse, the confident Blue Jay, and Great Horned Owl. A Mourning Dove is ready to sit on the traveler’s hat, at least I hope it is not ready to poop on it! Watching the dove is an attentive Red-bellied Woodpecker, ready to peck the dove if it does not behave. The majestic Great Blue Heron stands comfortably, while a Northern Cardinal cuddles in the warm hand. A White-breasted Nuthatch explores the road ahead racing up and down our traveler’s right arm. The companion dog, a well behaved puppy stays close, and does not run after the little voles exploring the mushrooms under the trees.
I also rely on this painting as a way to shinrin-yoku the Japanese term for taking a forest bath, “taking in the forest atmosphere” or “nature Rx” as some call it. Imagining that I am in Nature, replenishes me with feelings of awe and appreciation, regardless of the reality of being on a plane or office with no windows; it never fails me. The sounds of the forest, the scent of the trees, the sunlight playing through the leaves, the fresh, clean air — being attentive to them gives us a sense of comfort. They transport us, and ease our stress and worry, help us relax and think more openly. Intentionally being in nature can improve our mood, give us back our vitality, refresh and rejuvenate us.
I invite you to delight in this “All together” painting and in your next of first session of Nature Therapy. As you go about your day, may you enjoy our fellow life forms and replenish in an open sky with room for us all.