Once a month, 3 colleagues and I meet to practice leading one another in various forms of expressive process that we might want to use in our clinical work. Ultimately its an exploration of creativity, hence, vulnerability. Which is also what this blog is for me. A very public showing up with eclectic offerings, in a medium I don’t fully grasp, for a diverse audience I might not even know.
This month, Catherine lead us in ‘Tree Memoires”. She started by reading Mary Oliver’s “When I am Among The Trees” , and then guided us into a meditation. It was difficult for me to settle; I’m not very good with guided meditations. My anxiety increases rather than decreases as I try to follow along, compliantly attempting to settle into myself at someone else’s rhythm. Her voice is soothing. I stop listening to the words, no longer trying to follow. Plant my open hands palm down on the table to stop a dizzy sway.
As the meditation ended we were invited to do a ‘Tree Memoire” in whatever way came to us. Art supplies were available to draw, color, paint, or write. Again, not an easy process for me. My paper is a messy splotch of watercolor, colored pencil and scribbles as I wrestle through the introjects. It was the repetitive movement of the grey artist pencil up and back in fluid, undulating strokes that finally collapsed my resistance. Out flowed several little tree connections of varying depth. Bravely, I am not editing.
The sensual smoothness of your hard, grey trunk
Stroking up and down, palm to the coolness
Feeling your strength comfort me
This pencil movement is likewise sketching the sensation
The steady rhythm of connection
Dancing with something that doesn’t yield
Allows me to feel my own treeness.
chocolate mint ice cream
fell from the cone and melted
as I sat on the gnarled trunk
felled in the woods
ants will come
Out of the vast, barren landscape, she stands
A lone white column, about 4 feet tall
Distinct among the black, burnt remains
I’d think her a ghost
If not for the little clump of vivid new life green emerging at top
seemingly out of nothing
She is the resurrection image I carry back from South Africa
Whimsical Dr. Suess softness
magenta whiskers of sweet scented joy
Every door should have a Hinoki Cypress
To pet its clumped evergreenness, entering and exiting
First hint of new green, dappled with magenta
Redbuds in the spring along a country road.
When the air goes crisp, the sky so vivid blue
Without the humid haze
Cool nights bring the canopy of brilliant oranges, reds, yellows
Some falling makes spaces to contrast against the sky
Mottled bark, layered smooth colors of grey, brown, beige, taupe
He says we can make cloth to drape my own tree body
Bark is skin
Cloth is covering
It’s not the same
Light fell through the trees, caught in the burgundy leaves
morning sun limned each leaf and the inner veins,
translucent magenta dance suspends my motion,
still reverie at the corner of path and porch
Always, gratitude to Catherine Crandall, Marabai Beczkiewicz and Whitney Sullivan.
*Written previously, added to the collection.