"The one thing about 'Life' is that it is resilient in the face of death and it desires, and even demands, to be lived."
At first glance, this painting may seem out of place for the holiday season, but as you unwrap its symbols you will find that it is very timely, and maybe even relevant to where you are right now.
So, if you are familiar with Fruitless, you see the bleakness of the scene: the gray sky, the broken and decimated trees, and the dark and barren earth. It seems as if what was once productive is now producing nothing. In the foreground the largest tree has been cut down the lowest.
Christmas tree producers have started cutting down only the top of large tree types used for the season, instead of cutting down whole trees and ravaging an area. The top then grows back quickly, without damaging the tree.
This tree, however, has been cut down so low that it is a mere stump, and a shadow of its former glory, and even with all of this apparent destruction, there are signs of rebirth. The one thing about Life is that it is resilient in the face of death and it desires, and even demands, to be lived. The clouds hovering above hint at a downpour, and the trees—though broken and battered—stand rooted, ready to grow at the scent of new rain, but what about the main tree? It's only a stump, but the thing is that it still has its roots, and with those roots it has reached out to a source of water and it is being nourished. This speaks to us in a very real way; no matter what we look like on the outside temporarily, we can always come back to life if our roots are being watered. You will notice that the stump, the least likely to produce anything, is already sprouting—it is coming back to life, which brings us to the cardinal.
Amidst all this gray comes a spark of life, which is the cardinal. The cardinal bares witness to the new life that is springing forth and is the ultimate symbol for that life. It is the harbinger saying: everything here is coming back to life, everything here is being reborn.◊ Tell me how you feel about this particular painting, I look forward to hearing your comments.