My body, my earth, my activism, 2020-2

It is June 25, 2022, the day after the Supreme Court of the United States began to take away our human rights with the reversal of Roe V. Wade, and the Republican party could blatantly roll out its conspiracy to uproot our freedoms.

Two and a half years ago, I was on the cusp of deciding to leave my thirteen-room home in the country; my life, as I knew it rested on the threshold of changing drastically and forever pointed in a new direction. It was a scary time. I could not afford to live in the house where I had raised my son and taken care of my family of three, including me, for twenty-five of forty-two years.

I had been collecting tree cuttings in the room in the back of my kitchen. Most of them were from the dwarf apple trees that grew on either side of the terrace; one tree was the male, the other, the female.

When I worked in my studio during that period of anxiety, I thought about what I was going to do with all the cuttings.

Finally, I brought them to the studio and painted them all gold. It was my intention to reconstruct another whole: to make a sculpture that was not a tree but preserved parts of a pair of them. The glue I used was water-soluble. I thought nothing of it.

The sculpture eventually found its way outside to the graveled area where grasses were planted and I could rest in my collapsable lounge chair at any time and be in the midst of trees, stars, nocturnal animals, flying bugs, and birds and their songs. The chair was dark blue.

I never moved the sculpture when it rained.

As a result, the water-soluble glue relaxed and the points at which I had glued the branches together detached. The pieces fell apart. They simply dropped in place.

I decided not to leave these carefully painted branches outdoors any longer and I took them to my studio and just let them go onto the floor. They set there for months.

One evening towards the end of summer before the sunlight was completely gone, impulsively, I went into the studio, set up a stepping stool to sit on, put my camera on a stack of boxes at the right height for my photographs, plugged in the remote shudder, took off my shirt and tank top, grabbed some branches in my right hand, and started taking pictures. I checked only once to see if I, with branches, was in the frame. I spent an hour, clicking the remote and moving ever so slightly to stay within the limits of the tiny frame.

Photographs that came out of that session I had no idea what to do with. I saved them.

Not too much later, I asked someone I had connected with online if he would like to collaborate. His work took him to the desert where he photographed himself in the nude in relation to the environment. I sent him all the photographs I had taken. He did not feel as though we were on the same wavelength in terms of our concerns. I was indoors and he was outdoors.

Today, though, today, I finally had a reason to publish them. My body with fruits of the earth. Perhaps I would have arrived at this art amalgamation sometime.

But now is best. When the health of women has been taken over by the government.

And the truth must be told.

No matter how old.

2 responses to “My body, my earth, my activism, 2020-2”

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