“The world spins. We stumble on. It is enough.”
― Colum McCann
With the sort of winds which we sometimes get around this part of the world… they could uproot a tree and blow that projectile onto you, like a hammer hitting a nail on the head, missing the thumb.
That’s not exactly what happened to inspire the title of this post.
Truth be told… I crashed into the tree, but… it felt the other way around at the time.
The biggest motion in daily life is e-motion.
And when you do something intensely stupid… your emotions go all over the place, bubbling up and spilling over, and you’re going to blame everything but yourself for it.
That tree crashed into me!
Even though I was the one who got dizzy, lost complete control of my body and hurtled into a surprisingly bendy tree hitting its trunk with my incredibly hard head.
I now have a cartoon bump on my noggin, proof that this actually occurred, which I am endeavouring to push back in in cartoon character style.
This sort of thing happens all the time if you’re me. My brains get scrambled on a regular basis. To the point where I’m rather optimistic about such an event. I keep hoping it’ll knock some loose screws back into place or be advantageous in some other way. You never know when what seems like a curse turns out to be a blessing in disguise.
The reason for my stupendous prat fall was for the sake of photographic brilliance… I saw stars, so there was indeed some brilliance involved even though it seemed more like a dark descent into folly.
The shot I took during fall was deleted by the motion of a fit of pique.
The shot herein is one I took later when I wasn’t behaving like a drunk, and had significantly sobered up in my photo experimentation enough not to end up introducing my head to a tree trunk for a second date.
I decided spinning around while taking a panoramic photo was a terrible idea and instead I chose to walk the line…
… while capturing my movement from A to Z…
stretching the truth and leaving a shadowy skid mark (perhaps that’s what happens when a tree hits you in the head).
All in a day’s mess!
“What we want most is to be held…and told..that everything (everything is a funny thing, is baby milk and papa’s eyes, is roaring logs on a cold morning, is hoot owls and the boy who makes you cry after school, is mama’s long hair, is being afraid and twisted faces on the bedroom wall)…is going to be alright.”
― Truman Capote
I love this photo! 🙂 The sense of complete incompletion. Wow! 🙂 Sorry to hear that you whacked your head, but now at least you can truly say that you’re a suffering artist. 🙂
Thank you 🙂
Hahaha! XD Made me laugh so much! Yep, suffering artist!!! Totally that!!!
I’m always hitting my head, I keep forgetting it is there… it’s okay now, still a bit sore but it’s past the point of milking the injury and due to the injury I forgot to milk it when I could! I was too busy being all ’tis but a scratch’ about it.
Fantastic looooooong photo. I hope you are feeling better after the nasty bump into the tree. Perhaps the tree was trying to get your attention as trees have energy. 🙂
Thank you 🙂
That’s an intriguing way of looking at it. The tree I hit is the kind that can grow no matter what, no matter where, in whatever conditions. It will push manmade structures out of its way to reach the sky, grow as a part of them if it has to. Chop one of its limbs off and it will grow back stronger, it bends and thrives, and it is very difficult to uproot. So there’s something in that. This particular one is symbiotically entwined with an old honeysuckle and grows beside a ramshackle shed. It sort of broke my fall, stopped my head from hitting concrete.
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Sounds like my kind of tree-a survivor! Enjoyed your reply. 🙂
Thank you 😀
So you head-butt a tree and still get the great shot!
Thank you 🙂
Haha! Yep! That’s the way I roll, even when I hit things in mid-roll 😉
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[…] Tree […]
I have been doing a fair bit of stumbling about myself of late, enough for my son Jack to comment on my poor relationship with terra firma. Actually he just laughs, its me that joins the laughter together and goes, yeah, this is an issue.
The last time i tripped and plummeted headlong, yesterday, I had been thinking about my Dad, arch narcissist of the suave and sophisticated variety that never has a tantrum because its demeaning but may go and live in a war zone, you know , because its cool. He sold my stamp collection one day, because he needed the money, he told me by way of passing information on, no apology. I was horrified. Even at that young age i knew what it signified, that i didn’t really exist in my own right. I was his…repository.
It was he that taught me how narcissistic wounds can be passed down the generations, perfectly preserved, as though in aspic. His father was killed in WW11. The government gave him a bursary, aged 7, to a public school by way of compensation, where he was eternally mocked for his accent and clumpy country shoes. He swore he would never make me endure what he had been through which is why I was promptly packed off to boarding school complete with, yes, you guessed it, clumpy shoes that were the butt of dormitory humour for as long as they lasted and earned me the nickname, ‘Happy’, because I wasn’t.
At this young narcicssist academy we juniors always swore we would not treat the next intake of kids as we had been treated, but we did. The need to pass on the hot potato of humiliation and inferiority was overwhelming in its need and accuracy.
Thirty years later, I was on holiday in Greece, having a meal in a restaurant. At the next table was a couple with their two boys. The man was constantly on at the kids, whining at his wife, complaining about this and that, but it was mostly his mannerisms rather than what he actually said that caught my attention, the hand gestures alternating between limp and aggressive, the depersonalisation of the waiter, the …air of misbegotten, specialness that was somehow also…abandonment. Eventually I turned to him and said,’ excuse me, sorry to bother you, but did you go to Plumtree school in colonial Rhodesia, and were you in Milner house?’. He nearly feel off his chair. ‘How do you know that?’ he gasped. ‘Just a lucky guess…’ I replied. There was no more chit chat, that’s how it was at school. We both fell into shocked silence trying to suck up the reality of how it was possible to tell where he had been baptised into his narsissistic, dog eat dog world, to within a few square feet because of the patterns of interaction he’d had stamped into him 3 decades earlier.
So if I’m so smart, how come I’m still tripping over my father’s clumpy shoes?
Thank you for sharing 🙂
You have such a wonderful gift for weaving the tapestry of life, for seeing the history of a thread and how it connects with other threads to create the stories and myths by which we live.
When we explore the threads of our wounds, they often lead us to our parents’ wounds, through the history of our parents, back to their childhood, their parents, and further back. The family tree is a tree of wounds passed down, sometimes things get added to the wound which changes it a bit.
One of my favourite expressions of that is ‘This Be The Verse’ by Philip Larkin.
Man hands on misery to man.
What do we do with the misery, the wound, once it is ours?
My mother, similar to your father, tried to not do to me what was done to her, and yet she repeated the process anyway. She tried to ‘fix’ the wound and thus passed it on in a scrambled form. She was trying to heal her wound using me, and it just made the wound worse for her.
My father didn’t bother trying to not do to me what was done to him. He passed on the wound in its more original, diluted through him, picking up his own bits and pieces, form.
I’ve passed it on too along my journey through life. Not to my child because I chose not to have children (in some ways not having children was living out my father’s wound – he didn’t want children, he had one anyway).
Being conscious of the wound doesn’t stop the process, or heal it, it just mutates it. Perhaps the wound isn’t the problem, maybe it’s part of natural evolution – we really don’t know what this human existence is about in the grand scene of things. Perhaps what is the problem (or maybe also part of the grand scheme of nature, the planet, etc) is how we perceive our wound.
Perhaps your father’s clumpy shoes are not his shoes, not anymore, however you perceive them as his shoes and the tripping over them is the shoes’ way of trying to get you to see that they’re on your feet, the shoes belong to you now. Can you give them back to your father? Can you take them off your feet, go barefoot? Or are these shoes a part of you and maybe they’re not as bad as they seem – they’ve inspired you to be who you are and explore the territory which you’ve explored, and that has been a very creative adventure. What has your wearing of clumpy shoes passed on?
My father was an artist, a painter as you are. He could never see his paintings the way that others saw them. He grew to resent his work and the people who loved it. People still love it and for some of those people his work made a lot of difference to their lives. One of his regular subjects to paint were little boys – not in a creepy way, they were self portraits of his wound. His lonely child. One collector found great solace in these because his son had died. He used the paintings to connect with someone who had been lost, and to let go while holding on.
We don’t only pass on wounds, we pass on the healing we find by owning them.
Perhaps it’s still a mess, we’re still a mess, others are still a mess, but mess can be as beautiful as it is ugly. An artist can make a mess look like a bouquet of deep poetry.
So maybe, tripping over those clumpy shoes is your deep poetry.
Pain connects us all. If we were painless, we’d be an exception to what seems to be a natural rule. Maybe the wound is an ally, not the enemy.
Just a thought from a messy mind, and a head that is constantly getting bashed 😉
Beautifully put.. what i realised soon after was that, much as I loathe my father, I quite admire the man in some ways. He had a great capacity for self motivated work. The clumpy shoes are work shoes. I use mine in the studio when I’m working on the mosaics. I need them for that. Perhaps the problem is that I leave them on too long when I’m doing other stuff and the tripping is a reminder of that, change gear/dimension/role. You are so right to mention the need to look at our relationship with our wound. Its not there to simply be passively endured any more than it is to be ignored. I mentor a young lad diagnosed autistic, very down on himself and his ‘problem’. I showed him the studio saying , ‘that’s what I do with my autistic side, what will you do with yours?’ He brightened up pretty quick. Perhaps the choice we have is to either pass on the wound or, through facing it, find it turn into something totally other, something beautiful.
m/s to follow.
Thank you 🙂
You’re the one who taught me about the blessing within the curse.
As you help people like that young lad, let him help you too. Relationships work both ways. What you do for him, you do for yourself too. It’s in moments like that, that your father’s clumpy shoes become something else, they’re no longer the wound but they’re the means of healing. They’re how you understand what makes others trip, that others have their own clumpy shoes, and that’s how the trip can become inspiration. A wound shared can be healing, can let us know we’re okay being the walking wounded because we’re not alone, we’re not an aberration, we’re actually normal humans, thoroughly weird and rather wonderful that way if only we could see it, and sometimes that’s all we need to know. We’re all a mess, that mess can be beautiful.
The helper helped. So true. When I started out with my protege i thought, this can only work if its a two way street.and so told him, truly, how our work together helped me too, helped me to feel that I belonged. What work? We chop wood, mostly in silence, but that lovely, delicious silence of shared sweat and strain, the un-analyzable joy of co-operation and making a couple of quid that most lads get off their dads if only they had one. Carl Jung said, ‘therapy is only ever any good if both parties are changed by the experience.’ Art is the same. Its not enough to ‘express’. you have to need to do it in order to be whole. The trick, i suppose, is to be friends with whatever drives you. But you know that.
Very true 🙂
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