There is a stunning piece of sculpture at the University of Montevallo created by Ted Metz, an art professor, and forty of his students. The piece, entitled “Becoming” is explained in a UM brochure in these terms:
“The younger hand, that of the student, reaches skyward. It’s pose and size suggest the potential for continuous growth and development.
The more mature hand, that of the teacher, appears to have been guiding the student’s hand but has now fallen back, representing a new role of support for the student.
The space separating the hands represents the student’s graduation, the event when the student takes what he as learned into the next phase of life.”
The sculpture was dedicated on February 15, 2003 on the UM campus opposite Bowers Colonnade on the corner of the King House quad.
UM Campus Tour Brochure
Shelby County Reporter: ‘Becoming’ sculpture dedicated at UM
“Night, the beloved. Night, when words fade and things come alive. When the destructive analysis of day is done, and all that is truly important becomes whole and sound again. When man reassembles his fragmentary self and grows with the calm of a tree.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Trees stand as symbols of growth and strength. In order to grow to a great height they must weather storms, winds, and drought. They must stand firm in the ground where they are planted and although they sway with the wind, they are not moved. The strongest trees have survived the toughest storms, they are the ones forced to grow in poor soil and in the harshest environments. Some trees, like the aspen, grow in great colonies, sharing the same root system. Working together aspens form a stronger organism than one tree standing alone.. They literally lend their strength one to another to brave the winds and not fall.
It is no surprise that we use trees to represent the family. From the union of two individuals come children and then grandchildren in an ever spreading canopy reaching to the sky. These families must stand firm against the world to grow strong and support one another during times of trial.
The whimsy tree pictured above is inspired by similar creations on Pinterest. (For an excellent tutorial go here.) Each stone represents a grandchild of my mother, including my three children.
Happy Mother’s day Mom, thank you for standing firm and planting me and my brother where we can grow tall. Our roots will forever be connected no matter where we go.