Vincent Van Gogh painted this when he heard the news that his beloved brother, Theo, and his wife had had a baby, named for Vincent.  We saw this at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in an exhibit

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called “Van Gogh Up Close,” and it was particularly moving coming at the end of a show that included so many of Van Gogh’s sad and desperate paintings, including a series of different views from his window in the asylum, some with gouges in the paint reflecting the rain and bars across the window.

Somehow trees comfort us with their stability, their grace under pressure, their sculptural forms, their impressive and showy output of flowers, leaves, and seeds.  Trees get a lot done, with quiet elegance.  A tree can mean a lot to a person.

Click below to read a beautiful account of a man’s grief and what the trees outside his window meant to him in the year after he had lost his love.  The quoted passages below give the merest hint of the beauty and truth of this article.  Thank you, Mr. Hayes.

A Year in Trees 

I didn’t cover the windows with shades or curtains. I would wake with the sun and lie in bed and watch the tree limbs for a minute. Some mornings, the branches looked as if they were floating on wind drafts, as light as leaves. With a stormy sky, they turned black and spindly, like shot nerve endings.  .  .

By the end of May, buds had sprouted and turned to leaves. I lost my view completely but gained a lush green canopy. Along with the leaves came another development: rustling, in countless variations, soft, sharp, gentle, syncopated — like a quintet doing vocal exercises in anticipation of a command performance. Privy to melodies out of earshot to those on the street below, I tried transcribing the rustling but to no avail, the letters of the alphabet proving insufficient somehow.