{a letter to whispering trees}


A few days ago on Twitter, Kerri and I were chatting about talking trees. How they sway in the wind, fluttering leaves rustling together to create nature's wind chime. My mother, in fact, used to set me under trees as a baby, the leaves a perfect mobile. Our conversation got me thinking about how, in a few weeks, I'll be leaving Chicago to move across the country to Phoenix, and how the trees I love so dearly will be left behind. Kerri's suggestion was to take pictures of my favorite trees to take with on the move.

I thought about that, about all the things I'm leaving behind, not only physically, but mentally and spiritually as well right now in my life. My art is going through a change, a passage that seems so important yet scary at the same time, I often don't know what to do but keep moving forward. When reading last night, this passage from one of my favorite books, 'Dance of the Dissident Daughter' really resonated with me. Sue Monk Kidd writes:

The only way I have ever understood, broken free, emerged, healed, forgiven, flourished, and grown powerful is by asking the hardest questions and then living the answers through opening up to my own terror and transmuting it into creativity. I have gotten nowhere by retreating into hand-me-down sureties or resisting the tensions that truth ignited.

I thought, Isn't this what I'm going through? Passing through my own truths -- about life, family, art, love, attachment -- and coming out the other side with more heartfelt, expressive art? The pieces I've been doing lately, on loose pieces of canvas, have become some of the most earnest pieces I've ever done; in fact, the one I constructed last night brought tears to my eyes as I finished stitching on it.

Wanting to be near the trees and grass and earth beneath my feet, I grabbed my journal, camera, and book and ventured outside. I wrote those passages that really mean something to me in my journal, bringing in this bit of twig -- it was there, right where I decided to sit, as though it was always supposed to be with me.

But after taking photos for awhile, I realized no picture could do these trees true justice. So I switched settings over and began to film, the lyrics, "Don't let this fading summer pass you by," hitting me so hard as I wrote my little letter, I cry every time I watch this. This is art-as-film, not a tutorial or vlog, but me expressing myself as best I possibly can as the sun sets behind me and another day begins to end.