The most beautiful tree in the world is standing in front of me, as it always has. It sits alone, atop a hill on which Emile shares a house with his brother Elie. Both are unmarried farmers who rise at 4:30am to work on their field and that of neighbors, and whose tractor engine can be heard humming late at night in the northern Provence village.
Half a dozen trees flank each side of the farm. Together their silhouette forms an oblong shape that prolongs that of the barn's aluminum roof, climbing up the second story of the farm, and easing down on the other side. The whole ensemble looks like one entity, half mineral, half vegetal.
I look at the seamless shape of Emile's Farm, and I think about these trees. They did not get together one morning and decide to harmonize their shape so as to form a work of art. Or if they did, I missed it. Instead, each tree reaches a height permitted by the strength of the wind blowing along the Rhone Valley.
The first tree is not very tall, but the second, protected partially by the first, is taller, and wider. No designer at work here, there is no need for one. The dozen or so trees do communicate with each other, by sheltering their neighbor from the wind. Each does what it was born to do, and together they attain a beauty that none of them would be able to reach on its own.
I think a lot about Emile's farm when I look through my window, trying to find what will breathe new life into what I do. And I ask myself, which tree I am.