Project 16/50.5

Featured Photo: Bark of an Incense Cedar
Heritage Tree in Sendall Gardens, Langley, BC

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)

In this fifth post I will highlight two more participants, Laurel and Edith.

1. Poet, Laurel Pritchard

Here’s what Laurel wrote about the process of writing her poem In the Growth of Things:

In the past three years I have found myself a bit obsessed by plants and gardens.  I am the proud owner of an old growth red cedar I have affectionately named Ivan (named after, you guessed it, Ivan the Terrible). I am also in possession of a tiny raised bed fruit and vegetable garden and am constantly impressed by its ability to flourish despite my fumbling efforts.   The hours in my garden inevitably lend themselves to reflection on growth and life and miracle. 

When Laurel sent the photos for this project I couldn’t get away from the image of the rough bark that provides a container for a tree’s life to flourish.  Perhaps it is a bit like aging in ourselves.  There are good protective surfaces that set the stage for inner growth there as well.  I tend to see my own rough edges as something that needs to slough off for me to be free.  Here, in this piece, I felt like I was exploring a new way of interpreting the scars and wrinkles.  Perhaps, you too will see yourself with a bit more compassion.

In the Growth of Things

Gnarled, etched, rutted is the
Bark of knowing other times than these
Stretching, cracking, scarring, healing
Incrementally toward the light

When you begin
You have no way of knowing
You just push up tender
And try to survive your first winter

A necessary protective hardening
sustains new growth
Flowing sap when spring returns
And fragile green appears

In each new season the exterior
Stretches, cracks, scars, heals
making marks, growing knobs and knuckles
Rough ridges rise like ropes

In the growth of things

© 2017 – Laurel Pritchard (All rights reserved)

2. Artist, Edith Tazumi

Edith writes about her creative process and response to the prompt:  My collage is called ‘Peeling Unpeeling’.

As I think about my personal journey, as I come alongside a husband who is also turning 50 this year, and as I find ways to walk with those I serve in the community, I am continually reminded that life is about getting that much closer to knowing our true selves through a constant process of shedding and replacing.

We find ourselves wrestling, or maybe fighting – with questions only the Creator can answer and with the Light constantly exposing the dark corners of our egos, vulnerabilities and shame.  This is the peeling process.

The ‘unpeeling’ is the deep, anchoring grace God infuses into us to bring us closer to our core.  He is the only one who ‘adds’ to us (or should).

The pieces of fabric represent these layers of ourselves that need to come off.  The shine and glitter is what we want to get to and the leaves are His pure pieces of grace.

There is chaos and pain as well as beauty and life all in one.


Mixed Medium Collage
Peeling Unpeeling
© 2017 – Edith Tazumi (All rights reserved)

There’s a lovely juxtaposition here between these two creations — the necessary wear of life and risk that layers, marking us, holding memory imprinted on us and the necessary peeling off, getting to the heart of it.  There is deep truth in both of these ways of seeing ourselves.  It’s gift to have the perspectives side by side like this.

Grateful for the way you both see,

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