The Cycle of Things

Cycles, encaustic mixed media by Bridgette Guerzon Mills
Bridgette Guerzon Mills, encaustic mixed media including acorn hats, cloth and thread, 8×16 inches, *rusted cloth was created by Jennifer Coyne Qudeen which she generously gave me permission to use for this piece

When I was invited to show my work in the gallery at Adkins Arboretum, I knew I wanted to do a few pieces that involved creating paintings that included foraged natural materials similar to the pages I made for The Understory book art piece I made for their trail earlier this year. I just wanted to continue the thread.

I am just so fascinated when I read about the significance of oak trees across cultures throughout time. Sacred places. Symbols of knowledge and renewal and the interconnectedness of so many living beings. Sustenance and shelter and steadfastness. There’s got to be something to the oak tree that humans just respond to.

Fletcher Oak

by Mary Oliver

There is a tree here so beautiful it even has a name. Every morning, when it is still dark, I stand under its branches. They flow from the thick and silent trunk. One can’t begin to imagine their weight. Year after year they reach, they send out smaller and smaller branches, and bunches of flat green leaves, to touch the light.

Of course this has consequences. Every year the oak tree fills with fruit. Just now, since it is September, the acorns are starting to fall.

I don’t know if I will ever write another poem. I don’t know if I am going to live for a long time yet, or even for a while.

But I am going to spend my life wisely. I’m going to be happy, and frivolous, and useful. Every morning, in the dark, I gather a few acorns and imagine, inside of them, the pale oak trees. In the spring, when I go away, I’ll take them with me, to my own country, which is a land of sun and restless ocean and moist woods. And I’ll dig down, I’ll hide each acorn in a cool place in the black earth.

To rise like a slow and beautiful poem. To live a long time.

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