In Appreciation of Bob Ross

Yvette Flaten

He is painting that same mountain again.
You know it.  It looks like the Matterhorn
but is probably really in the Canadian Rockies.
Bogus, Bob, I think, considering I place his accent
some’eres outta West Virginia most like; and besides,
in our writers’ group, we are wont to say you
best stick to writin’ what you best know.

Then he moves from that white tri-face, loading his
fan brush with so much color and—spoosh, spoosh, spoosh,
right before my eyes, he erects the loveliest pine tree. 

It’s not how he paints that keeps me rapt, however, but what he says.
“No tree stands alone.  Every tree needs a friend.” 
And spoosh, spoosh, spoosh there are two, three, four trees
suddenly swaying alongside his mountain lake, soughing
and sighing in the sweet wind sweeping down that majestic range.
“I think some happy little bushes live there.”  Spoosh, spoosh, spoosh.
“Maybe another happy little tree lives here.”

By the end of the thirty minutes, I am a gone dog.  I vow to buy some oils, sign up
for a class, maybe even send in for his series. 

All because his real art lies in his benediction. So easy, so pure, going down warm like
Grandma’s liniment on ricked muscles.  He bids me treat myself well, treat others
well, and come back and see him real soon. 

Yvette Viets Flaten, of Eau Claire, won the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets’ Muse Prize for Excellence in Poetry in 2008 and 2013 and the Wisconsin Writers’ Association’s Jade Ring for poetry in 2010 and 2015. She loves languages, cooking, and travel. For more by and about Yvette here!

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