My “Medium” drafts folder has been nothing but me grumping and whining and complaining. I don’t like Dylan Mulvaney. I don’t like Jeffrey Marsh. I don’t like the “Midol” commercial. I don’t like that guy who threw a “Dunkin’ Donuts” plastic coffee cup on my hiking trail. Grump. Grump. Grump.
It’s a lot of complaining on my part and I do apologize for that. So now, dear reader, here is an essay about something that I like.
It’s the newest cover of the “New Yorker.” The illustration is called “Perennial” and it was created by R. Kikuo Johnson.
I love it.
The cover, as you can see in the pic, shows a humble tree in New York City. The tree quietly changes as the seasons change.
I love the botton right pic the best. We see the tree in winter mode. The leaves are gone. We see a shred of shopping bag, a bit of balloon and an old, abandoned bird’s nest.
It would have been very easy for Kikuo to portray the litter in the tree as a commentary about how awful humankind is to nature. Look at this poor tree, choked with our garbage as we wander zombie-like around it with our noses in our phones!
Kikuo doesn’t do that. In fact, Kikuo portrays the detritis in the tree branches rather affectionately. It’s almost a positive to see the cheery balloon caught in the tree branches. It has the same right to be in the tree as the old bird’s nest.
The people Kikuo illustrates passing the tree are illustrated with positivity. The little girls is carrying her yellow balloons and enjoying her day with her mom. The dog is walking cheerfully by its owner. The fall picture shows a woman with that characteristic brisk New York stride carrying her groceries home to cook. And the deflated balloon is still happy enough to catch a child’s eye in the winter scene.
Humans and birds and trees are all part of the same world. That’s not a bad thing.
It is difficult to illustrate a picture of such quiet happiness and not have it come off as saccharine. The fact that Kikuo was able to do so for the newest issue of the “New Yorker” is a testament to his incredible talent.
Honestly, it’s just nice to see a picture of humans and nature interacting where humans are not seen as destructive garbage monsters. Brightens my evening!