We write, my friend and I. We have been writing for a year or so, word a day, taking turns choosing the word. There are no rules. Use the word as inspiration, that’s all.
My friend, my writing partner, writes directly, the word is always present. I don’t; I use the word as jumping off point.
I want to share some recent writing. The word is willow. I don’t know why I have the impulse to put these out into the world right now, but I do, so here they are. My writing partner agreed. Both are about pain and endurance. Maybe that’s it.
Our writing word for a while now has been “willow.” I’m not sure why it has taken me so long to find time to write up a short post on a tree with long leaves and longer branches, especially since it was my word.
I offered “willow” as a word because of the concept of the “weeping willow.” The various political parties controlling and destroying much of the peaceful existence we once knew has thrown many of us into an emotional turmoil, much like a savage wind that wrecks havoc with the landscape. Now is a time of weeping and gnashing of teeth for many.
Our institutions are being ripped apart – healthcare, education, diversity support groups, the list goes on. Soon there will be nothing left of the rich forest that sheltered and protected us. We will live in a wasteland scrabbling to survive.
And then there is the willow tree…weeping, yes, but still standing. Her deep roots anchored to the ground, her dishevelled branches, bruised but not broken. She has survived because of her ability to be flexible, to roll with the punches, so to speak and to come back!
The willow is the image of survival in difficult times. Yes, we must resist these political onslaughts, but we must also survive. We must find a way to stay optimistic, in spite of the oppression. We must weather the storm until peace and tranquility are restored.
The pictures? Trees for all seasons. Must take a picture of a willow.
Whip fine, whip through the air. Gathered at the edge of streams, stripped of leaves and bark, willow dries to perfection. Baskets of willow of course but first to hit, whip hit, sting bare arms, breasts, backs, thighs, buttocks, pregnant bellies. He laughs – it doesn’t hurt he says.
Women, with welts, wove willow. Took the inflicting branches and wove them, into containers – strong, deep, intricate, enclosing the pain, messages for daughters, save yourself, use this for yourself, know that I have suffered, know that you can use the suffering, the material, the willow, the pain.
Weave safety, take the suppleness, the softness and make safety, make strength, make hard and impervious your exterior, Know that the supply of suppleness and strength is unending. Gather it and it is yours. As you gather, using a knife by the stream, stripping the bark, testing how it whips, testing – not for its strength but for its flexibility, remember my welts, my hands, their strength, stronger than the arms that whipped that willow through the air, a singing and stinging with each blow, slashing, some marks still here from the day you were born, from the day your sister was born. You were not boys, so slashing.
I am alone with my daughters. He is gone. Dead perhaps. I gather willow and weave a new basket for each daughter, a message for each, a container for each enclosing my messages, my strength for them.