Day 1: Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Elder drawing 25 August

Weather: blustery! It’s an exciting day to be a tree in Kent!

I started with a drawing-meditation to prepare myself, drawing aspects of the elder tree to settle my focus, calm my mind and develop a connection to my tree. I decided to use the elderberry ink I made this year, testing it out in a fountain pen, on watercolour paper. I drew berries on the stem, then an abstract drawing created by laying the berry clusters (still on the tree) on the paper and drawing around them, layering up the drawings. Tricky because the wind kept moving the branches, but it helped me think about how the berries are attached, the angles of the stems.

I made some notes about the tree-meditation itself when I did it after the drawing:

Standing with feet apart feels very human. The base of my tree is small but sturdy and the tree is mostly branches. Standing feet together is a little less stable but I was able to feel the wind more and respond quite naturally to it.

Thinking of my arms as branches felt a bit awkward in the first meditation today. In the second one, I started to understand that while raising them together in reflective positions of one another makes them feel like a unit, they don’t need to respond or move the same way once they’re there.

Looseness in the arms feels important – my tree’s branches are quite pliant and drooping. I wondered whether having arms upright would feel right, but it works fine so long as there is a looseness across shoulders/elbows/wrists/fingers. The movement in response to the wind is only in the finger-leaves for gentle breezes, moving up to whole arm-branches as the wind increases.

I found it hard to know where to look. Mostly because if I look straight ahead I see my neighbours’ houses and this makes me feel more human than tree.

I need to think more about my head position in relation to the wind/movement. Haven’t quite worked this out yet.

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