During the month of October, Polly Wood came to St. Petersburg, Florida to reflect, make art, and build a nest. More specifically, after ushering her daughter off to college, she realized there was an opportunity to commemorate this significant rite of passage. She came to MOM to build an empty nest.
On top of Polly’s many accomplishments, she is in the process of expanding her career as a musician and artist. She is also in the midst of searching for the threads of the next part of her journey. I didn’t realize the relevancy of the timing of her visit until she arrived on site. We were both engaged in creating big life changes. While I anticipated that I was doing her a kindness by offering her a residency, the opposite was actually true. Polly came with gifts.
The first time I met Polly she performed original music on drums and vocals at the academic ARM Conference in Canada in the early two thousands. I bonded with her instantly. Then, she participated in more performances at the MOM Conference in Manhattan, and I subsequently visited her at her childhood home in Ithaca, New York.
Polly’s first exhibition at MOM, over a dozen years ago, was an online presentation about the Sacred Feminine which launched our first Museum website. In it, she wrote about maternal labor, Goddesses, reproductive rights, and trees. Our relationship roots run deep.
In this online exhibit with the museum, Polly articulated the significance of trees within her own vision of the sacred feminine. She wrote: “Trees are symbolic, metaphoric and metaformic providing relationship, meaning and inspiration. Cross-culturally, trees are associated with the feminine principle, as well as with knowledge, life, cycles, time, and the connecting matrix between earth, water and sky.”
She elaborated on the relationship between trees and the ways in which “trees are deeply embedded in human consciousness and, physiologically, embodied within the womb of pregnant mothers.”
Her descriptions of the manner in which the placenta is “the only organ in a human that grows when needed – in order to support, nourish and sustain a human life.” Images of the “umbilical cord representing the trunk, and the exposed blood vessels acting as branches,” were included in these early presentations.
When she made the commitment to visit recently, the synchronicity of her willingness to devote time and attention at the MOM Art Annex brought a beautiful focus to our own growing momentum, which includes a search for a new Executive Fundraising Board, as well as an ongoing fundraiser for purchasing Helen Hiebert’s Mother Tree for our permanent collection.
Over the course of the two weeks, we shared conversations, sourced materials, and made art. The affiliation I felt over what we have shared through the years, as well as the ways in which both of us have continued to grow, does indeed remind me of the unfolding branches of the intertwined sacred feminine, which I am fortuitous to witness within the walls of the museum, now flanked by one magical empty nest, crafted by this soul sister, Polly Wood (Pictured above and below this text).
There are stretches where time appears to inch forward incrementally. Movement can be difficult to perceive. This can be true for people, landscapes, and even plants. Tree and forest seedlings take anywhere between twenty and one hundred and fifty years to fully develop. Growth appears almost imperceptible. In the case of Polly and myself, so much has happened since our last encounter, but the last two weeks felt comfortably familiar. We picked up right where we left off.
The photos shared here, of the nest she built, the Mother Tree, and our own entwinement represent a personal celebration of life unfolding, our individual development, and maturation, as well as the manner in which we are inextricably linked through our art, womanhood, and our m/otherness. In each of these experiences, we are born anew. First in conception, then inception, then again and again in the counterpoint of connection. EnJOY! And, please consider joining MOM in some capacity or other, either by donating to the Mother Tree (Link below) or joining us in our ongoing efforts to expand.
Together we are strong. Together we are marvelous. Life is a circle. We are the trees. ~ Martha Joy Rose