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  • Writer's pictureJessica Bartlett

An invitation to observe....

Invitation to observe:

Observe: verb. Notice or perceive something and register it as being significant.

Observation is the gateway to our creativity. I would like to set the intention to make seasonal observations which I will the invite you to share, to notice along with me. Maybe this will be a mundane observation. If this be the case and you find yourself thinking ‘I know that’, then my invitations is to see it with fresh eyes, to enjoy the looking and the seeing rather than the knowing.

This invitation to observe is: the traces of the trees against a darkening sky. A truly wintery scene and a celebration of these winter months before they break into Spring. So much of this time of year is set to the hardships, this post-Christmas come down, long nights and the cold. The bare trees I think this could serve as a reminder of the importance of periods of rest and recuperation, of being dormant. Tracing the bare limbs of the tree’s branches against the inky blue and deepening sky I am reminded of potential, of growth. The energy being stored, ready for the Spring. The faith or knowing that Spring will come and that the days will lengthen. I notice how my mind goes forward, eager to move through. I return to noticing the sharp silhouette, the bare bones of the tree reaching outwards. Open.

The beauty of the structure of these still giants is like looking though a veil. The branches criss-cross each other with volume that is hard for my eyes to see. Negative space and shadows play tricks with my mind, allowing childlike imaginations to create stories of creatures and fairy tale worlds, sparking feelings of delight laced with fear. The early nights draw in, fold us into a darkening sky at a time of day when minds are still awake. This means we can have opportunity to observe the blackish branches of perhaps an oak or plain tree against the deep inky blues. Vanishing into plain sight. I live in a city; I rarely experience true darkness. Instead I enjoy the urban shadows cast by an illuminated streetlamp, like an imposter moon. The branches become two dimensional ghosts on the pavement below the artificial glow.

The bare branches may seem cold after the warmth of autumnal colour. Now the decorative lights and baubles have been put away for another year are the trees not bereft of life, colour and interest. I implore you to look again. Look up at the architecture of the tree that comes to the fore and the beautiful truth is laid out. With the vulnerability and peace of a sleeping child. We can see through the trees; the gaps and spaces are open to us. Take this as a moment of pause, rest. Time to catch your breath. It is an in-between moment. February is a threshold month neither complete Winter nor Spring. Possibility exists in such spaces. The bare trees during dusk have a dangerous feeling to them. The creative energy of the here and there, of the liminal becomes almost tactile. It is inspiring.

Take this invitation to observe and see what you notice next time you walk past a tree at dusk.

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