The power of a photograph.
I called for a gathering in the woods and told my friends to bring photos of themselves as children. We pegged up our snaps on a line between the trees and cooed and aaahed at all the sweet little faces.
Then we sat by the campfire and I handed out paper strips and pens. I told them to write down all the awful things they say to themselves. I started. I scrawled ‘forgetful’, ‘lazy’, ‘stupid’… Despite the initial reluctance, everyone soon had a fistful of insults. I took them back to stand in front of their picture and told them to shout those words at that innocent tot. Unsurprisingly everyone hesitated.
I reminded them that we are still those lovely little souls and asked why we think it’s fine to say such horrible things to ourselves now. One of my friends cried.
We threw all the nasty paper scraps into the fire. I put my picture into a jam jar with some leaves and flowers from the woods to remind me to stay at one with my nature.
When I was little I loved collecting acorns or sycamore propellers and keeping things in jam jars. I still have a thing for jars. Now there’s a Little Me who lives in a jar with some leaves and grasses. The picture’s gone a bit curly and the flowers have faded, you can’t keep summer in a jar, but it does make a very fitting picture frame.
I made several frames from sticks as I sat by the fire that day. Some were taken home for their pictures and the rest I hung in the trees, framing a detail of bark or moss. I took a couple of photos. Maybe I’ll go back in thirty years time and show the trees how they looked when they were younger.