birch bark, papers, cork graphite, thread, 18 x 15 inches.

During that first Covid spring, we moved to Massachusetts, so that we could have space and air and my mother could be rescued from DC.   I would wake up at 3AM to get the children up for 330 start. Breakfast would be at 5AM and lunch around 11 after school had ended.  By 1, I had cooked and cleaned 2x and had done multiple laundries. I allowed myself to escape for a couple of hours before supper was due at 4, so we could sleep by 7pm.   I would leave the house with such a feeling of freedom, I cannot express.  I discovered miles and miles of trails just behind my house that I never knew existed.  It was heaven.   During my rambles, I found loads of birch bark, strewn all over the forest floor. At first I worried that there was an influenza of Birch trees, but then I realized that it was the natural order of the forest. This forest is primarily birch and fir and the live trees live on the death of the others. For anyone who does not know, Birch bark is comprised of many layers, like skin, that peel off thin as paper.  I use it by peeling it as thin as possible and then gluing it on top of abaca paper, so that it is secure. 

During the first summer of Covid, we were all still very uptight.  However, I would let the children play tennis at the club, because they were pretty careful there.  In fact, they were so careful, they would not let anyone come and watch.  They made this even more impossible, by removing all the chairs.  This suited me fine. I would find a place in the bushes where not many could see me and I would draw flowers and plants. It was heaven to get back to the very basics of looking.  This unruly blackberry bush became one of my most inspired subjects. I watched the berries turn from green to red to deep purple (though you cannot tell).  When they were edible, we all indulged.   I felt hidden from the demands of life here.  Despite the fact that I was fully visible, no one noticed me.  Thank God. 

“Cycle of Delicious: BIRCH ROT BLACKBERRIES ME ROT ETC… “is inspired by getting back to the basics of life. The Birch tree is very sustaining. I drink the sap and the tea.  I eat blackberries.  The rot of the Birch and the Blackberries and Me all feed each other and bring new life.  Maybe I am not so delicious to people, but I am certainly delicious to a tree or bush.   Actually, whether we like to think of it or not,  of course, our human life is sustained by the death of others of our kind. 

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