Natural Beauty: What kind of tree are you inspired to be?

on the rocks

on the rocks

Even though Seinfeld episodes are supposedly about nothing, so much happens in each show – likewise, do you ever have a supposedly lazy day that is filled with inspirations? Looking back, some of my favorite paintings were inspired from events that happened unexpectedly on a single day. A rainy day in London and a foggy day in Huangshan China come to mind.

Magical days are conjured  when we step off our regular path. Last week, I made some changes in longitude which brought me to San Francisco. Within 24 hours, I watched the waves break on the Pacific, hiked Mount Tamalpais, strolled through the ancient Muir Woods, had lunch on the dock in Marin, and drove through wine country in a convertible with one of my oldest friends. I only had my toy camera but it was sufficient to make photos that will bring back my memories.

“Fresh beauty opens one’s eyes wherever it is really seen, but the very abundance and completeness of the common beauty that besets our steps prevents its being absorbed and appreciated. It is a good thing, therefore, to make short excursions now and then to the bottom of the sea among dulse and coral, or up among the clouds on mountain-tops, or in balloons, or even to creep like worms into dark holes and caverns underground, not only to learn something of what is going on in those out-of-the-way places, but to see better what the sun sees on our return to common every-day beauty.”  Described the naturalist John Muir In the Sierra Foot-Hills (1894)

Experiencing natural beauty inspired me to finally have an answer if Barbara Walters asks “If you were a tree, what kind would you be?” Of course the answer is a giant redwood. These are the tallest trees and frequently live 600 to 2,000 years  even though they don’t look a day over 200. What kind of tree would you be? Can you recall a single day that  filled  you with inspiration?

Coincidentally, within a bowl of smooth metal shaped stones on the counter of a Sonoma antique shop, I noticed one with Chinese characters so I picked it up turned it over to read the word “creativity.” John Muir said “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe. “ Do you think this could be true?



  1. Sounds like you were overcome by synchronicity with that ‘creativity’ stone. 🙂

    I can’t recall one particular day that filled me with inspiration, though that’s not to say that there wasn’t one or even many. Mostly when I see things that are different my conscious mind just turns off and the unconscious mind takes over and I go into a sort of dream-state without dreaming. Later on (if my memory’s working at all) I get flashes of things I saw but didn’t register at the time.

    What tree would I be or what tree do I feel I am? I’m a tree that comprises memories that often don’t get aired. So maybe one that overwinters for longer than others.
    Val recently posted..Have you met my sunflower and its friend?My Profile

  2. The creativity stone is becoming my new symbol for how creative ideas can come from anywhere at anytime.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Val – it’s interesting how often we are unaware of our perceptions but somehow our defining impressions seem to flash back to us later – this happens with me too!

    Another good point you have Val and I feel the same way: as often as we both express our thoughs through our creations – they amount to a small fraction of our ideas where most go unsaid.
    David Goldstein recently posted..Natural Beauty: What kind of tree are you inspired to be?My Profile

  3. I can’t recall a specific day that was particularly inspiring for creativity. I get ideas every day from places I visit or things I read or stuff the kids say. Problem is most fall in the five minute memory category. I have really got to start writing ideas down. I never learn that lesson. Most of the time I’m a Weeping Willow due to dragging in a constant state of tired. I find being in a delirious state I’m more creative and it is possible that is because I’m really dreaming. 🙂
    Melinda recently posted..Tiny Chairs and Bad KneesMy Profile

  4. Good choice Melinda – Weeping Willows are often by the water. I try to writing ideas down and find it helps to clarify them but I have post-it notes everywhere and can’t remember what they all mean. The good ideas eventually come back.
    David Goldstein recently posted..Natural Beauty: What kind of tree are you inspired to be?My Profile

  5. I am a bit surprised to read this post about creativity at this period of my life. I have been thinking about my own creativity a lot lately, and I realized that most of the times I feel that I have no creativity at all, I feel totally empty compared to other people that come up with great ideas all the time. On the other hand, the strangest thing is that sometimes (very rarely) I get ideas that inspire me a lot and then I feel creative enough to come up with very good ideas or create things.
    I like to stick out, but sometimes hide behind others when I have one of those days, so I guess I would be an oak in a big forest among other oaks :).
    Anna recently posted..Is your unborn baby “sucking” all the strenght out of your teeth?My Profile

  6. Perfect, just perfect!

  7. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Anna! and you bring up many good points!

    It only takes one acorn to grow into a towering oak. While some people generate ideas all the time, others have them less frequently but both types of people are creative. Ideas take time and effort to develop and one key is to recognize good ideas when we see them and take steps to implement them.

    Please don’t compare yourself to others who seem to be more prolific – an oak can drop thousands of acorns but the forest floor can accommodate few saplings.

    Also, it’s not easy to share new ideas – sometimes people laugh and there are plenty of forces in our society that maintain the status quo. People who generate lots of ideas have more practice airing them in public and don’t expect them all to be adopted. Those with fewer ideas get less practice at this and for them it’s especially important to realize that if they present a new idea in public, the worst thing that could happen is usually not too bad.
    David Goldstein recently posted..Natural Beauty: What kind of tree are you inspired to be?My Profile

  8. OMG. I love that quote by John Muir. I am fortunate to live by Muir Woods. The majestic trees are everywhere. One of our special outings each year is hiking Muir Woods all day, ending with a picnic at Stinson Beach. Although I love hiking in the forest, I am more creative being near the ocean.
    Rachel Lavern recently posted..How to Do Things BetterMy Profile

    • Muir had great foresight to protect and preserve these trees. You are so fortunate to live near so many beautiful places! I’m most inspired by the ocean too! Thanks Rachel!

      Also great post about “reaching the subconscious through positive affirmations”

      I’ve been getting many comments about his post offline – notably someone wished to be bamboo since it grows quickly, is flexible yet strong and can be used for everything from food to furniture.
      David Goldstein recently posted..Natural Beauty: What kind of tree are you inspired to be?My Profile

  9. The beauty of nature is BREATHLESS!!!… GODs natural creation is indeed the most beautiful creation on earth. GOD gives us the paradise and people are trying to destroy it. Taking the home of millions of creatures.

  10. Beautiful pictures!
    I live close to the forest, so i see it and feel it every day, but i must admit i have no idea what trees those are 🙂
    In this day and age even if you have contact with nature, you’re still disconnected.
    Richard recently posted..Wagner 0525002 Power Painter Max ReviewMy Profile

  11. New Guinea rosewood for me. Many valued its wood as high quality. This kind of wood is usually used in making home furniture. Finish product is a bit expensive but for sure, it will last long. Just like me, I always go for the quality than the considering the price.
    Greg recently posted..Greenworks 26032 20-Inch Electric Snow Thrower ReviewMy Profile

  12. Wow what a unique idea. I really love your post! Can’t wait for some more of them 🙂