It looks like Christmas here in Michigan’s UP, after a winter storm dumped about two feet of snow on us in 24 hours.
After all the digging (and swearing), it’s nice to sit back and appreciate the beauty of this time of year. There’s something dreamlike about it that, if you’re not careful, can get you thinking in stream-of-consciousness sorts of ways.
So…the snow made me think of the holidays, which brought to mind this painting I did quite a few years back, when we lived in Vernon County, WI.
Yes, that is Amish country, and these are Amish horses. Big, placid, gentle Belgians, taking a break outside their barn one summer day as my husband and I were visiting their owners. (I changed it to a winter scene later. Who says there’s no magic in the world?)
Anyway, this painting in turn reminded me of another story from that era, which is the real reason I’m writing this post.
We were visiting another couple and admiring their beautiful new barn. Upon close inspection, the barn appeared to be made from top-quality, cabinet-grade old growth oak.
“It’s gorgeous, but why did you use such beautiful wood for a barn?” my husband asked the man.
“Well,” he replied, “the wood was growing on our own property. It was cheaper to hire the Amish to mill it for us than to go to the lumber yard and buy wood from somewhere else.”
Makes sense. But I wonder, how many people these days might have simply driven to Home Depot and purchased wood rather than look around to see what was available for the taking?
The thing is, it takes a little bit of imagination to look at a tree and see a barn. And you have to be willing to seek out those with the know-how to help you transform the one into the other.
Ask yourself: What treasures might be growing in your own backyard? Would you recognize their worth if you saw them? And who are the human treasures you know who might help you find them?