Playing with sticks is something that I never quite packed away with the rest of my childhood activities. On my wanderings through the wilds, I’m always foraging along the forest floor looking for sticks that have fallen from the bough of a nearby Eucalypt or Blackwood. Weathered, gnarled, smooth, or bleached by rays of the sun to resemble the texture of bone, sticks for me, are something to be admired, touched, played with, and collected.
At home, I arrange them in jars and big glass vases, and display them on shelves around my house, like some people would display flower arrangements. I make sculptures with them, dangle things off them, poke feathers in them, peg dried leaves on them, drill holes in them and thread jute through them…..the list goes on. Parts of my house are actually beginning to resemble a stand of trees in a forest, somewhat reduced in size though.
But today, for a change, I made ephemeral art with them. In a stand of Drooping Sheoak, I foraged on the soft, spongy forest floor, covered in a cross-hatching of layers and layers of decomposing Sheoak needles, and sought out sticks that would make my piece of art. Silence, stillness, my only companions, for as anyone who has ever stood in a pine forest on a still day would know, they are notoriously bereft of sound and movement.
Time stood still. Cocooned in my own little niche inside the forest, I was caught up in the magic of a world that was other-than-human. A place that held me, nurtured me, and made me feel whole and alive; pulsing with the same energy that flowed throughout the whole forest ecosystem.
When I had finished my little piece of art, I offered it back to the forest, giving thanks for its infinite bounty and capacity to sustain all life. And in that moment, I thought of the simplicity of it all: Nature nurtures; body, mind and spirit. It’s as simple as that.