the dance of my paintbrush

The Rain Tree is my first ever art collection. It marks a definitive moment in my life, that began my obsession with birds and the natural world.

Read on below for the story.

this is my ode.

In 2021, my husband and I moved into our first apartment together. As it turned out, our home wasn’t just ours. Our bedroom had a balcony. The balcony overlooked a majestic Rain Tree. Overlooked is a bit of an understatement. We could practically just climb into the tree if we wanted to. It leaned in and it was a beauty.

The story starts with just a few annoying pigeons that took the pleasure of calling our balcony their own. We were not pleased. After we put a net in place, “Oh, these annoying pigeons” became part of our morning conversations with coffee on the balcony. 

And while I cannot say that I grew to like pigeons, it’s true that something magical happened. It was always there, but I guess I never took the time to look? Life’s funny like that, no?

While we cribbed about the pigeons, we actually started to observe their behaviour. Their funny walk, the way they communicated with each other, their glistening necks adorned with jewel tones of green and purple that they did not hesitate to show off to the she-pigeons, hoping to pass on their lineage. And when we started noticing them, it was hard to not notice the others.

contd. below.

this is my ode. contd.

A cuckoo swoops in, elegant, graceful, adorned in black velvety feathers, a blue sheen to them. And those sharp red eyes. And then a female. She’s dressed differently. Easy to think she’s a different bird. She’s grey-brown with streaks of deep brown through her body. But then, there are those sharp red eyes. He sings for her. She’s unimpressed and moves on. He won’t stop trying all season. Their elegance is juxtaposed against the clumsiness of the pigeons. A group of parakeets chatter in the distance. 

Birds are building homes and starting their families. There are squirrels scuttering about, there are insects and bugs nibbling into the bark of the tree, a butterfly lands on a pink fluffy rain tree flower and then comes a bee. “Please, bee, don’t enter the balcony”, I think.

There is everything. There are meals being shared, eggs being hatched, fights and arguments, seduction and mating, song and dance, just life going on in this ecosystem of The Rain Tree. Do I ever need to watch a movie again?

Like I said, they were always there. Maybe I was too caught up in my phone screen, my own thoughts. Maybe I never opened my eyes. But now, I did. 

So, this is my ode. This is the dance of my paintbrush in celebration of that tree and all the life, in its truest form, that I am honoured to have experienced. I am a new person. I owe it, in large part, to her - The Rain Tree.