Still Life: Lemon Tree

Come February, and at the far end of the TV room near the south-facing sliding glass door lives a lemon tree with two lemons on it. The fruit are enormous, as big as grapefruit or some sports ball, rugby maybe. One could paint them as they hang from the tree in this room, like angels dropping through winter. Lucien Freud, in his compulsion would make leaves, philodendron say, travel up the wall in his studio. It grew the same way he couldn’t stop painting. Oil paint and turpentine would outline the edges, then he’d fill in the growth rapidly. Paper and pen was always easier so I’ll write the lemon tree instead while that awful beatnick song from the 60’s does NOT play in the background. And reaching and grasping for light must be described and the slight shift in the silence of the room when a dead leaf falls. The fruit hangs morning and night. What color are lemons in the dark? The leaves are alert at 7:30am, transforming light to energy to roots to leaves, leaving oxygen. Could I reach and grasp for yellow? For metaphor? For canvas? I’ve done a deed, managed part of its perimeter. I’ve wanted to finish or somehow do justice to photosynthesis, the chemical phenomenon in the shape of the leaves and length of the branches. Both search for links, carbon to carbon to water, H2O to O2, and the photons that travel in waves. The chemistry determines the limit, is the determining factor. Not God. Not aesthetics. Not mind. Not paint. No wish, human or divine, only chemistry and the chemistry in air, implacable, indifferent, magical.
This goes also for the jasmine here beside me.

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