Not to mention there was way too much happening in the world. I couldn’t focus. I talked about it a bit in June, but the feeling persisted through the sweltering July heat, and continued into the suffocating depths of August. A creative fog rolled in, paralyzing me.
It’s a struggle I’ve faced before: my brain churning with a million ideas, unaware and uncaring that the physical body to which it’s attached can only do so much. Then the whole machine shuts down.
But, by September, as the thick curtain of the summer pulled back to reveal the first starry Autumn skies, I finally felt some clarity.
Sometimes, that fog feels like a fairytale curse, and the clarity is the kiss of a handsome prince. Or, in this case, it was a handsome tree. A cypress tree to be exact. Stay with me here. My whirling, swirling brain saw the steady form of a cypress tree and felt ... soothed.
I’m certainly not the first to have been reassured in the presence of an old cypress: After witnessing the tree’s boughs determinedly reaching skyward, Ancient Romans and Greeks told tales of the cypress acting as a guard between our world and the next; a sort of green-limbed sentry standing at the line between life and death.
In many cultures, the cypress is a symbol of the celebration of life and the mourning that comes with loss. Its resilient roots dig deep into the earth while its leaves point heavenward. It remains unshakeable. It remains strong.
I sensed in myself a silent response to the tree’s presence, and I began to stand straighter, feeling my own invisible roots connecting me to the earth, to my family, to strangers, to my art.
I felt anchored.
The cypress grows and thrives in many lands, including the place my family once called home and the place I hope to one day call home.
I felt inspired.
The motif emerged once more as I worked on an embroidery project, a skill I learned from my grandmother. The thread’s design resembled the shape of the cypress -- a quasi triangle with a curving softness and a stern spine. Roots again, this time winding from my grandmother to me, from her art to mine. I pictured the design in gold, crowned with a trio of glittering diamonds like little stars grazing the top branches of the cypress tree.
I felt ready.I am so excited to share my new collection, Cipresso, with you all later this month.