Dovedale, Peak District, May 2019
Christmas divination 2016
Roxby, North Yorkshire, April 2012
A profane ritual marking the end of infancy in a Copenhagen park. A rite of passage: not spiritual, closer instead maybe to modern self-help practices or post-disciplinary parenting. What are the equivalents to the meditative incantatory practices of life logging, diets, Facebook declarations of positive thinking? On the face of it a therapeutic, motivational, behavioural act as much as an initiation. But the public, performative character of the tree brings it toward the initiatory and away from the pseudo-negotiations and sticker-reward systems of contemporary parenting.
It resonates with the recent emergence of collective discarding / display of perishables, particularly flowers marking the site of a violent death. These dummies in plastic bags echo the odd collective reluctance to remove flowers from their cellophane wrapping, most spectacularly evident in London after Diana’s death. Closely connected too to the accretion of tokens or coins hammered into tree stumps – descendant of wishing trees, wells and fountains, across the world and across time (Japanese paper-hung wish trees, or the leaving of strands of wool on sacred tree in South America noted by Charles Darwin).