Nicholas Pumper Art

Under the Great Maple Tree

Acrylic on Canvas

18" x 14"

March 2021

I grew up on the family farm that has been in my family for 102 years. Tucked behind the farmhouse is an ancient maple tree, which by diameter, is estimated to around 200 years old. This painting is of that tree.

For me, it isn’t just “neat”. Rather, it is a mystery, and creation of wonder. As the centuries passed, through many storms, dry summers, and freezing winters, it remained. The scars of many dead branches reveal its long watch. Through trials, its trunk has become hollow, large enough to let children and animals find shelter within it. One of these dead stumps have even formed a little ledge to help them climb into its trunk. 

One tree can reveal all this wonder, but only if you let it. Once you look close enough, it holds fairy tale-like wonder. Many of us are in a chase to find “fairy tale” wonder and endings in our lives, but in that chase we will never find it. It does not arrive when we meet “a friend who is more ___”, “a date who is more ____”, or “I live in a place that is more ______”. That chase is a dark path where nothing is ever enough, no matter how much we are given.

Rather, that fairy tale-like wonder and joy has been waiting in front of you for a very long time. It hides in the loved ones that are there. It hides in their imperfections. It hides in the scenery around you. It even hides in the trees that have stood watch as long as you can remember.