Lollipop Trees

“I had painted ‘lollipop trees.’ At least that’s what my elementary school teacher said.

“Our assignment was to paint watercolor landscapes. I painted trees with round tops, modeled after the pruned trees I saw as I walked to school each morning. I liked my painting; my teacher did not. She said my trees looked like lollipop trees; that they didn’t look like real trees, although they looked like the trees I knew.

“Mrs. E picked up a paintbrush and painted over my trees to make them look the way she thought trees should look.

“For the rest of my school years, I never voluntarily took an art class.” 

Those words are taken from a piece I wrote that was published in the Christian Science Monitor back in 2004. 

I thought of that essay the other day while on a walk. I am supposed to keep moving and not let my pain stop me from walking each day. So I try. I park the car near my son’s high school with plenty of time before the dismissal bell rings, so I can take a leisurely walk in the surrounding neighborhood. 

The other day I noticed the tree in the photograph above. And that’s when I thought back to my “lollipop trees” and this essay.

You can read my essay, “Too often, teachers extinguish a student’s spark,” by clicking here.