Project 16/50.3

Project 16/50 is a creative project to help me consider the threshold of turning 50 years old.  15 friends joined with me, so there were a total of 16  considering the creative prompt: Old Growth Reaching, New Growth Rooting (See Feeling Fiftyfor a more complete explanation)

The third post for this project will highlight two participants, Julie and Olive.

Singer, songwriter, Julie Furtado writes about her response to the photos that accompanied the prompt: When I looked at that first picture of the tree [featured above], what struck me was how much “trunk” there was!  In between the developed root system and the new green growth that touches the sky is a whole lot of trunk!  So much growth is exhibited between those roots and leaves!  Yet so often that growth, while it’s happening, doesn’t feel like growth at all. In fact, in my life, it often feels more like monotony, stagnancy, setback, failure, sacrifice, hiddenness, grief, or frustration of some kind. How beautiful to see that nothing is wasted.  And that growth is happening even – especially, then.

She was drawn toward  Psalm 139:5 “You hem me in, behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.”  About this she writes:  I love that as we look back on our lives… whether we saw or felt Him at the time or not… Emmanuel, God, was there.  And I think I love it even more that He is already up ahead.  Preparing the way.  Waiting for us in whatever comes.   And then….as if that wasn’t quite enough… His living presence right here and now… smack dab in the middle of “trunk-time.” 

Click on the player below to hear Julie’s composition.

© 2017 – Julie Furtado (All rights reserved)


The second response comes from Visual Artist, Olive Chan. 

She writes about her response to the same prompt: The first thought that came to me when I read the prompt was “both/and.” I have been chewing on what Richard Rohr calls “The Third Way” recently. That things do not need to be dichotomies. That things don’t have to be either/or. That we live out the Trinity when we seek the third way. In thinking about growth, of reaching and rooting, I see it as a sapling with the potential for becoming that old growth tree, and that old tree never losing the sapling it came from.

In reflecting on my own life, I feel closer to the sapling than the old tree.  I still have many more experiences to live through. But I recognize in myself the tendency to strain so much toward becoming established that I forget to nurture curiosity and openness.  “Always we begin again,” said St. Benedict. In creating this piece, this has been the invitation for me.

8 X 8 Watercolor and watercolor pencil on paper
© 2017 – Olive Chan (all rights reserved)
As I’m placing the pieces together for presentation I’m thinking about how they fit together.  There is joy for me in this too.  Spending more time with each piece and with the creator’s process.  What stands out for me here are Julie’s words:  ‘I think I love it more that he is already up ahead…’  and  ‘His living presence right here now, right in the middle of trunk time,’  with Olive’s Both/And  I see it as a sapling with the potential for becoming that old growth tree, and that old tree never losing the sapling it came from.
I hope you enjoy the conversation between these two creations.
Reach, root, both/and

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