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“The Dreaming Tree” of Linn County

Saturday, October 31, 2009

On a dark and rainy evening in October, 2009 I got to see the “Painting Missouri” Exhibit and to hear the authors describe their seven-year odyssey of exploring Missouri’s beauty. After a slide presentation in the library, we got to see the art exhibit at William Woods University campus in the Mildred Cox Art Gallery.

My story centers around Billyo’s painting in Linn County of “The Dreaming Tree” at the boyhood home of Walt Disney near Marceline, Missouri. Billyo had camped out at the tree in May, 2003, while the old tree was still in its prime.

Seeing “The Dreaming Tree” reminded me of my visit to the Walt Disney Hometown Museum just off the town square in the late summer of 2009. There I saw a photo board of Walt’s memorable cottonwood tree. I also heard in the museum the bad news that it had been seriously degraded.

In summary, I had decided to visit Marceline to photograph its town square and Main Street USA (Kansas Avenue in Walt’s day) for the website sponsored by National Public Radio. I did not visit the “Dreaming Tree” that day — after hearing the bad news. Now when I think of the tree, I call up the image recorded for posterity on the canvas of Billyo.

How cool is that!

Bill Stine, Jefferson City, Missouri
October 31, 2009

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