All that glitters is not gold. Those who love have all the riches.

Walking under the willow trees today, I imagined how amazing it would be to capture their beauty in stained glass. Willows set in jewel tones, art-deco style, cascading from the ceiling. Perhaps a ruby hummingbird or an emerald dragonfly also reveals itself within the scene upon closer inspection. What a glorious room that would be, under the canopy of stained glass willow trees, tender ochres and pale greens lit by the sun in the daytime and glowing candle-lit at night, golden from within.

Greedy. That’s how I feel when I see something beautiful, I want to capture it in a painting, a photo, put it under glass, freeze it, try to hold on to it before it inevitably fades. My eagerness matching a child’s, frantically picking armfuls of wildflowers, only to discover they are rapidly wilting. Some things are better left untouched.

There is so much beauty in the fleeting presence and being mindful in the present.

Yet, the present often draws up the past. Furtive tendrils, eager for light, spreading, encroaching faster than weeds, never satisfied until they alter the picture. Though the willow leaves were the bright green of early spring, they reminded me of fireworks. Sprays of light, trailing their sparks as they jetted up and showered down.

I also remembered staring at ocean waves. When the light is just right, the tiny light reflections on the water begin to glimmer, sometimes they take on the shape of an especially bright sparkle—a four-or-more-pronged star of many iterations, multiplied by millions. Light bursting forth and plummeting into darkness.

I have often been told that the willow is the symbol of sorrow. That is clear to see in its elegant form, slender limbs bowed down under the weight of grief. A maiden’s head hanging low, her thick, flowing hair cascading down with her tears, heavy tears which gather in a pool at her feet.

But within that willow, amidst the grief, if you look up for just a moment, you may see those shimmering, golden rays spreading out and raining down in showers of sparks. Relentless and persistent.


Text and images by M.P. Baecker