Breast cancer, Life after discharge

Faraway tree




I painted this picture as a memory came to me concerning trees and cancer.

I was lying in a wood on a cold, damp, late autumn night. My son was digging for spruce roots to finish a birchbark pot he was making. He had climbed up the mountainside to a spruce plantation and all I could see was a small pool of light from his head-torch as he knelt down.

I lay on my back and listened to the many birds coming into roost, squabbling and restless in the fading light. Droplets of rain fell on my face as I watched the trees turn to silhouettes against the slate sky.

The black web of twigs clung to their droplets of rain, they glistened as chinks of light caught them; I lay captivated and dazzled by transient diamonds set against the black velvet of the night.

As I looked up at the tangle of dark branches, ever fading in the darkening sky, I was so enraptured by the beauty of where I was that it made me rejoice at simply being alive. Cancer had made me think of death, but the damp moss, the earthy smells, the twisted shapes and the luminous beads of rainwater had made me think of life.

When I die these trees will still be here in all their magnificence and my son will still come here and scrape the rich earth with his strong hands in search of precious roots.

Life will continue in the wood.

My picture shows the tree in colour against black because the feeling of trees that night was of warmth. They were in silhouette, but the nature of them was bright.


Lucy, breast cancer survivor



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