Shrine 4 – A Time to Shed
During my morning walks I see the trees shedding their bark. Tall eucalypts, strings of twisting, curling bark, tumbling into dry piles at the tree base. I’m moved by the sense of falling. The dangling bark. The slumping broken piles. The way they curl and crack whilst drying, no longer channeling nutrients to nourish leaves. Purpose finished, fall and slump.
It’s Autumn. The thistles have turned and are full of seed. Corellas precariously perched on their spiky stems, pick away to full satisfaction. These once glorious thistles with their purple crowns and regal spikes are now hollow, lost and receding into yellow fields.
While painting this shrine, I really enjoyed the curling shapes and chaotic piles, the low light and shadow drama. I loved the glow of the bark and at times, it’s papery thinness. The seed head has lost its controlled composure and ordered protection. In falling apart it has something to offer.
I sometimes forget this part of my human process. In falling apart I have something to offer. As a society we have so much against this. Yet life, death and nature shows us otherwise. I love the word ‘otherwise’ or the wisdom of others, or perhaps from another viewpoint. Remembering this process when in the midst of it is often very painful. When we fall apart and our identity is shed we believe we have nothing to offer. Yet falling apart and shedding offers opportunities for myself and others. Others may bring me gifts or nourishment when I can’t do that for myself. My inability offers others an opportunity to explore and show parts of themselves in relationship. It also offers me the practice of receiving when I feel undeserving or unable to provide anything for another. I need to be empty to be aware of the gift and receive it. I have to shed my sense of obligation and appreciate another, sometimes not knowing how that gift may help me. Falling apart and shedding is an opportunity to observe ourselves and find our response. It may sometimes mean that I can’t help this person and I need to leave. Something else is needed.
Nature has a different sense of timing. Shedding is part of nature. Remembering this and valuing it is a practice. This shrine painting is an expression of my embodied shedding.
Thanks for reading, warmly Lynn.
The featured painting is called Shrine 4 – A Time to Shed. It’s an oil painting on Belgian linen. 30cm X 40cm. It is available under under the Available works menu on my website, or under New Works.
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