Delicate Life

A. E. Woodford, 2013. Silk threads and a branch from the tree in my old backyard.

You hang precariously by a thread, 
as if waiting for the wind to blow.

My world is tipped upside down,
what I thought to be solid quickly moves beyond my hold.

We spent many a happy day under this tree, 
watching its leaves change,
go green, golden, crunchy, then change.

This tree is soon to be gone,
just like you.

Some days…
some days I forget you.
Not completely but life goes on. 
Then I stop,
I remember,
I shed a tear.

My memories are held in a precious place in my heart.
Then you are gone. 
Rest in peace my dear friend, 
I thank you for the sweetest companionship. 

The pain, the loss, the grief, 
a reminder of life’s delicate threads. 
Something we all share.

Artist statement

With Delicate Life, I received the MIECAT Institute (Melbourne) Stella Mountjouris Award for 2013. It was a great privilege and honour to receive, and also very emotional. Stella Mountjouris was my first MIECAT teacher (2006). She was a beautiful human being, full of generosity and spirit, her death was a deep loss felt in our community. Since 2011, I entered the award not with a focus on winning, but instead as an opportunity to look back on a year. My intention was to create a piece to share with Stella, even though she was no longer here amongst us.

In 2013, I hesitated with my entry. My piece was highly personal and overfilled with grief and loss. It held the pain and sadness of losing my loyal canine companion Señor Vivo, to cancer that Easter. In the months following Vivo’s death, I also received another shock – the need to leave my rented house, which had been my home and sanctuary for many years, due to structural damage. My home and the tree from which the work’s branch originated were to be demolished. For such a little piece it holds a big piece of my heart.

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