What is it about sticks? (aka “You Like What You Like”)

There’s a big tree outside my apartment building.  I don’t know what kind of tree it is, but when a mighty wind blows – it drops lots of naked sticks and twigs on the ground.  I always stop to take a look at the sticks.  Some of them are too big, so I skip right over them.  Some of them are too small – but they’re still interesting, so I take some time appreciating them.  Now, the sticks that are just right have to be picked up and examined individually.  What makes them just right?

I have no idea.


There’s an element of size, of course.  About 4 feet long seems to be the best length.  There can’t be any leaves on it at all.  There must be at several branchlets (?) off the main branch, but just a few (and widely spaced).  The bark has to be really smooth (they’re all like that, because it’s that kind of tree).  I like them to be slender, even at the base where they broke off.

The only reason I can even come up with some of the criteria for just right is because I’m looking at two of the sticks right now.  They’re over by the fake fireplace, leaning against the wall where I put the Christmas tree in December.  Right next to my favorite reading chair.  (It’s one of those big ones that you can curl up in.)  They’re making shadows against the wall.  I don’t know what I’m going to do with them.  Maybe nothing.  I just know that I like them there, making shadows.  When I’m curled up in my chair, sometimes I put down my book and just look at the sticks.  I think about getting out my sketch book and drawing them, but I don’t.  I wonder why I brought them in; why I selected them.  I think of things to do with them, when I get enough.  (Another question I haven’t pondered much yet.  What’s enough? I don’t know the answer to that, either.)  I might get an interesting pot and put rocks in it and stand them up in it.  Since I don’t have enough right now, though, they just lean against the wall, making shadows.  And the shadows change as the light changes, which is probably the best part of all.

You like what you like.  I don’t know why I like the color green, but I do.  You like what you like.

Sometimes it’s unexplainable.  I think that’s okay.


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