Two seagulls fly low, weaving underneath and above each other. Their interactions caught in a glimpse, mid-form. Black footprints upon the white glistening snow match these black tipped birds as they fly against white cloud. They weave underneath and above, through their mirrored existence. Our environment runs parallel to our creation; our image is chosen/created, our feathers with which we cloak ourselves.
Their flight draws my eyes down as they land on the branch above you. The wind dances through each branch of the tree, an invisible force that shakes the soul from complacency. That same wind blows your coat open from across the park. Stealing the air right out from my lungs, it continues to power through your feathers.
Above you, the leaves rustle against this force, and your subconscious proclamation of self exposes itself through vibrancy, a testament of individuality.
I only see what you have conscripted to be yours. The cultivation of your portrayal is just an accumulation of elements favoured and adopted from others. (I would know.)
The tree above me is my own product. A manifestation of a lifetime of observation and careful selection, with cherished values, amplified desires, and distorted experiences.
My tree, your tree; up through the rough, textured trunk which grows stronger and taller with every opinion adopted. Each tree is an existential playground for us to swing, explore, and grow in our own identity: a branch for every joy, a root for every sadness. The forest of humanity lives and breathes, grows and dies. The leaves shed as seasons of growth embody the human condition of evolution.
Who I am and how my tree grows is an elaborate reflection of all that I chose to define me.
Unfamiliar feathers tickle my chin. One leg wrapped around another hold us close. Velvety flesh sliding and sticking; we are but two trees in a winter forest. You’ve dominated my perception as shards of you sear into my skin. Hot breath heavy and damp pass between us… through us… The wind is still. There is but you and I. Aside from our biologies/biology, we are indistinguishable.
My tree will never stand as tall as it does in this immortal moment, next to you. Perhaps, before, it did, when we met in crisp white and black footprints.
Our fingers then fumbled with the buttons of our cloaks and we cautiously shed our defensive feathers, leaving them for the birds. The same feathers where we chose to hide ourselves left us in blank white nakedness. Nude from perception and projection, abandoning ego driven expectation.
But they will return, just as we must re-dress. And my walk, your eyes, my charm, your laugh, will carry on painting an image from borrowed colours. Each personalized tree a displayed collection of borrowed attributes. We can do nothing but motion forward in this jungle world, searching for those moments where our feathers shed and our trees stand taller than they have before.
these words by Alexandra Sheffield were inspired by the colour of Raphael Varona
From the author: “This art inspired an exploration on the self engineered image we wear for others recognition. Ones image as a lifetime of accumulative elements becoming hypostatized as an emblematic tree. How far are we willing to go to maintain this image? When and for who do we drop the façade and allow ourselves to be exposed?”
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