Notes from a Tree/06

Here’s a drawing I made in my sketchbook during the last days of the exhibition. I’m looking down at the base of the tree, where it forks just above ground level.  It was difficult to convey the perspective.

Looking down at the base of the tree

Looking down at the base of the tree

As the end of the show drew closer, I felt sad at the thought of not being able to climb the magnolia tree any more (I did so, for those two weeks, by special permission).  It had been such a rich and unusual experience.  These are some of the things I gained from my performance:-

It brought me closer to nature.  Literally.  I had to hug the tree and wrap my limbs around it in order not to fall out.  I climbed barefoot, loving the feel of tree bark on the soles of my feet and against the palms of my hands and the tips of my fingers; loving the sensation of climbing, moving all four limbs in harmony, like an animal.

It showed me another perspective: that of an animal, a hunter in repose, watching the movements of others as they passed beneath me, or sat down to rest themselves, not knowing I was there.

It slowed down the pace of my life and my thoughts.  It gave me t-i-m-e to think, have ideas, make notes, draw, write poetree, etc.

It tickled me, it genuinely did.  It made me smile: here I was, putting myself on show in a public place, in such an absurd way – and unless I called out, most people passed by without noticing.  Bizarre!

I had some wonderful conversations with some of the people who did notice me.

A lady called Marguerite in conversation with a Leopard in Didsbury

A lady called Marguerite in conversation with a leopard (in Didsbury)

I enjoyed the opportunity to reflect on my life, on the meaning of my performance, on the purposes of art… and on what I might have for dinner.

It brought me into the present moment, with its sunshine/cloud, birdsong, voices, next door’s lawnmower, aeroplanes overhead, summer breezes and so on.

It gave me a welcome break from phone calls, emails, text messages and facebook.  (I don’t do twitter. Whoever heard of a leopard tweeting?)

It was a bit like staging a personal, peaceful, one-woman protest against a world full of noise, technology, and bad news.

It gave me an excuse to do something socially unacceptable without being branded mentally ill.

Last in this list, but not least: it introduced me to some wonderful artists (my fellow exhibitors) and their work.

No wonder I didn’t want it to end.


6 thoughts on “Notes from a Tree/06

  1. Dearest Lorna, Pauline and I greatly enjoyed our experience of meeting a leopard in a magnolia tree in Didsbury. It was an experience we had never had before, life is just a series of experiences and memories all fleeting past into the mists of time. Our little get together is a good one because it was very pleasant and will stay with us for a very long time perhaps all of our lives. You and your leopard onesie are now part of our memories and some of our brain cells have been permanently changed in a most pleasant way. We now have a permanent memory of a lovely experience in Fletcher Moss Gardens and every time we go to Fletcher Moss or see a magnolia tree or an incense cedar or Chinese dogwood we will think of the delightful girl of unknown age we met in October 2013. Thank you for making the effort to enhance our lives in this way and good luck with all you ventures, may you have a happy life in return for the happiness you give to others. Should you give another performance please e mail me so that I may enhance my life yet again.
    Best wishes John Lawrenson pre-Raphaelite fan.

  2. Dear John
    Your message blew me away, it was so lovely to receive and read. I’m glad my performance and our conversation enhanced your visit to the Gardens. It’s funny because when I had the idea to do this, I had no idea I would make such an impact on people who saw it, nor receive such wonderful feedback from some of them. So thank you, sincerely. Thanks for taking the time to write.
    It was lovely to meet you and Pauline. I enjoyed learning a little more about the pre-Raphaelites than I had known before, and was impressed with your knowledge. I’ll look out for you on Mastermind!
    I’m hoping – assuming – that you will receive an email notification alerting you to this reply; I’d hate for you to think I hadn’t bothered. Mind you, I had an uncle who used to tell me that ‘assume’ makes an ass of u and me – can a leopard also be an ass??? I’ll find out, no doubt…
    I am very behind in updating this blog; but when I catch up with myself, the photo I took of you and Pauline will appear on here somewhere – so watch this space!
    Best wishes to you both, and I hope to meet you again.

    • Dearest Lorna, Thank you for your prompt reply to my e mail. It was a real pleasure to meet you in Fletcher Moss parsonage gardens.. I have read all your blog entries and like them very much. In the same way you said that it gives you a chance to do something unusual without appearing to be mentally ill, it gave me a chance to speak to an unusual interesting person without appearing to be after something or mad. When you are old like me if ever you go around alone, say into a park, people sometimes look at you as if you are an undetected Jimmy Savile. I was once studying a bewildering array of hair products in a supermarket full of people and got into a small conversation with 3 teenage girls who were about 15 years old. A woman aged about 40 with two little kids accosted me in the shop full of people and accused me of grooming them. I have 5 children and 9 grandchildren and was a teacher for 30 years. Funny I haven’t been detected up to now.
      Anyway thank you once again.
      Best wishes

      • There are some very paranoid, reactive people in our society these days, John – although that’s not to dismiss the incredible, seeming ubiquitousness (??? ubiquity???) of child abuse, which I abhor. But even I, as a woman, have brought myself up sharply for innocently trying to engage a child I didn’t know in conversation, in case anyone thought I was up to no good.
        Ah well, onto more cheerful topics: Leopardry! Very happy to have you following my tracks, and thank you for being interested enough to read my whole blog.

  3. Dear Lorna: believe or not, leopards can tweet. It’s a ruse they use to approach closer to prey, by making prey believe that something innocent is in that bush, and not to worry. I have seen this myself.

    Cats can do the same, to approach closer to birds. Snow leopards, in the same spirit, cause little stones to roll, to make blue sheep believe noise from up there is a natural phenomenon.

    • Patrice – I was looking on youtube to see if I could find examples of a leopard tweeting, but was thrown off course by a clip of a leopard who kills a baboon, only to find a day-old baby clinging to the baboon’s belly.. Remarkable.

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