The following texts are journal extracts written through a practice of dancing with trees in Australia, that began during the pandemic lockdown in the Yarra Valley Rainforest, in March 2020.
I am standing with you
I ask you…
What do you know?
…I am here
I ask you…what should I do?
I rest for a while on a broken branch
An old tree trunk rotting in with the earth
Eaten out by ants and other insects that have found to make their home here
It is a slow kind of contact. Each touch offers possibilities to lean and root in, and find ways to
anchor. From where I discover ways to stretch and extend out at different, unexpected
angles... I enjoy to see the world from upside down
*Tree Stump Stream
turning up and down, different sounds come in and out, my right ear receives the stream
Tight uprooting from underneath
The entire basin
I feel a great tug
A deep tightening in and up
My Muscles contract in
wrapping up, holding my heart
What is this sensation, I wonder?
I am heart
you tell me
And I feel impulsive heat
Though too certainty and stillness are around... as I move in this way
Waiting for the tug
*She has fallen and is lying across the path,
Broken at the trunk
Her roots must be somewhere still underground
She climbs up the hillside
With branches still hanging dead leaves
Once food and fruit for monkeys
Because she is dead I am allowed?
To stand and
And climb on her…
I reach up, grab hold, and look up out through her canopy
Shaking the leaves for what once and now is no longer there
I role, crawl, clamber
And also smell her too
I receive her wrinkles
Spread into me
Through me like waves ripples of ageing
Something in me aches to resist
I cannot deny
I blow back into her
Through the opening holes of her torn trunk
My hollow breath
Because you are dead I am allowed?…
To fuck you
To eat you
To take from you my pleasure?
Really I am not
If this is ok?
Where…? Something is numb
I cannot feel
Maybe all over
It’s almost frightening
I Allow myself
And there I wonder if this dance could be a gift to this tree?
To these trees
Maybe il invite the family.
*I start again way down, towards the bottom, near the big tree that is still alive.
I journey up the far side, and climb under and on top
I have her cock between my legs and roll over the right side and upwards
I clamber also on all four, until I she, he, the tree is between my legs, this is the trajectory
I take in the view and dance with my her heart
in this part of the dance there is silence
still pauses, slow movement mostly
and contact, figuring out always where it is possible to bare weight.
I am working out a choreography with this tree,
I wonder where the audience can sit, up the top or the bottom. I point to their places.
* Closing Reflection on Dancing with Trees in the Yarra Valley
Over the past 7 weeks I have found myself in lockdown in the rainforest of the Yarra Valley, north east of Melbourne where I have been living outside. I have everyday slept and woken beside the Yarra River. I have walked through the forest and swam in the river or sometimes just floated downstream, the current too strong to resist. I have danced here everyday with the trees, many far bigger than I have ever seen in Europe. Moved by their roots my legs and feet have rooted and with their branches my arms have swayed and I have got tangled, entwined between trunks. I have felt many times a central current rising upwards through me. The wind has blown through my hair and sometimes the cold nights and mountain water has touched my bones and then the heat of the sun returned to warm them. While I have been here, while I have weeded, planted, harvested, eaten and lay down on the grass, I have heard all the bird sounds and weather that surrounds, no longer outside but inside, filtering, blowing and flowing through me. This thing people call landscape, I realise in fact to be continuous, penetrating through my every being, light and heavy, and thick with emotion, im grateful for its exuberance and that it's always changing.