For years I’ve made an assortment of little temporary sculptures. I call the process of making them Twigging. My self-imposed rules are simple: they must be created using only trees and twigs – no cordage or other binding materials, they are meant to be far less “permanent” than rock stacking and a lot less disruptive to habitats of small creatures. I would not recommend Twigging in a wilderness setting where “No Trace” is a better practice.
Twigging has always been a playful activity reminiscent of my childhood desire to turn my local weed lots, woodlots, and creek banks into habitats for the imagination. Mud pies, faerie houses, and forts often sprang up in my favorite youthful haunts.
Lately though, during the stresses and uncertainty of this time, I’ve realized that there is something else at play, something in the quiet reflective doing that allows worries to dissolve.
For a time, the world is twig and tree, and spaces shaped and framed. For a while the world, or a small patch of it, is malleable. If one twig doesn’t fit here, it might fit there. The tension of these trees holding the nests of branches takes away the stress I’ve been holding – the worry for the world that I can do so little to comfort. I seem to enter into a meditative, perhaps prayerful, space – one that is timeless and totally focused. Some psychologists call such engagement in an activity Flow. Indeed I get lost, perhaps found during such a period. Afterwards, the world, this new one that we are all navigating, comes back. But the calm that settled over me while Twigging remains for some time.
Certainly I have other activities that allow for such an immersive reprieve; and I suspect many of you do as well. Drawing, painting, gardening, baking, weaving, making music, or making masks, all can provide a creative outlet that allows for the restorative power of Flow. Perhaps you will find that Twigging is just one more. If so please take a photo of one of your favorite Twigging creations and email it to us at Bernheim or share it on social media using #BernheimAtHome. When it comes down to it, we are all branches of the same tree. We are in this together.