I love the peachy coral color that this old paper produces, but nothing I've tried has given me much botanical detail using it. I finally accepted that the best it was going to give me was a silhouette, and last night it hit me that the arbor vitae might be the perfect specimen for that treatment. I had tried it with other paper and had gotten muddy, uninteresting results. I decided to put the two misfits together and I'm happy with the soft, dreamy quality of the result. I wish I could step into that dream and relate some fond memory, but I have none to offer. I know that the arbor vitae was commonly used as a windbreak or screen. I can see in my mind's eye old home places with the house set off from the pastures and fields, and perhaps the road, with a row of tightly spaced tall green cones, but these are impersonal sketches. There were none in the yards that formed my playscape. At least, none that made a lasting impression on me.
Like the old home places, the common use of the arbor vitae seems to have faded into the past. I had to search a bit to find a specimen to use in this project. As I think about that, it occurs to me that perhaps the arbor vitae can be given a more prominent role in my story after all. Most of the houses and yards of my youth are gone, even many of the roads are gone, fallen into disuse with the loss of an old wooden bridge that was too expensive to replace and fenced off. The family farms that sustained almost everyone then have all but disappeared. The physical landscape is greatly altered and the landscape of society utterly so. But I can always return in my day dreams to the world of those wonderful old places and their sentries of tall green cones.