This Christmas I made a tree out of an old tree branch from the rubbish in our yard. There is a new fence now and to make a connection with the old discarded trees I chose a branch with long spindly branches. I pruned it and trimmed it and made it so it would fit in the house and in a pot of white stones. Then I chose an old bible that was falling apart as the covering, as the pages that would “contextualise” the tree. The bible was ripped and torn and I wrapped and glued page after page of Genesis and Luke and Micah around the branches. I would never rip the bible that I used to use as a one time preacher or the one my father had that is full of underscores and where I found a small page of drawn cartoons he did for me while we sat in church when I was about 9 months old. But somehow I could tear this other one that someone else had put together as their contribution to the “spreading of the word.” And this “contextualised tree” and the torn book became a metaphor for my imagination. When we keep the words that are precious to us or that are truth for us in a stuck state, in a covered library of museum pieces that are used to bludgeon or defend idealogoies then we miss the life that is in and around and always emerging from them.
Spreading the word