Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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©Katherine Dunn.

Friday, September 08, 2017

You can write our Rag Tree

If you'd like to send Rag Tree a prayer or message, or a letter, please visit this page.

I had one of those thoughts that would not go away-the image of a small hut somewhere, with a single, humble bench and nothing else, barely big enough for one person. And a red box. The red box was clearly in my mind after watching "Victoria" and I was reminded that the Queen, to this day, gets her morning red box full of letters that she responds too.

I thought people could send Apifera letters and I would put them in the red box, and leave them in the hut and when someone happens upon it, they read the letters and it's intent or wish or prayer is released.

I told Martyn about it and as is usually the case with my brainstorms from the heart, he liked it, but helped me tweak it.

As we talked, we realized the trees had to be part of the experience, and I remembered my Prayer Rag Tree at the old farm. I would tie a white rag on a branch with a word or name on it to send a prayer for people or animals. Sometimes, total strangers asked to have a prayer flag on the tree and I always tried to oblige.

So we decided the best place for this will be in a special spot of The Wood, right near the Quaker cemetery from yesteryear, which borders one part of our land. There are beautiful old trees there and dry slopes. It can't be seen from the road and anyone going there would need to seek it out. I want anyone going there to feel they came upon a gem in the woods, like a troll left a light on for them in their shack.

It all jogged my memory to an illustration project I did years ago about a Wishing Tree, something that is done in India-people leave wishes and symbols of hope, coins, trinkets at a designated tree. I also was reminded that in the Celtic tradition, Wishing Trees - also called May Bushes, Fairy Trees or Rag Trees - are all over, and people tie rags of color to ask for blessings from the saints...or wee folk.In Britain a woman saw a pacifier on a tree - a prayer for the new born, or unborn? So the Wishing Trees have been around for centuries. I hear they are a new wedding craze. Yoko Ono has been doing work like this for ages. But I thought it would be nice way for people to partake in what I get to partake in every day-the peace of Apifera, the land and animals roaming that provide beautiful images, and the wisdom and generosity of The Wood.

So this weekend Martyn and I are going to venture out to The Wood and pick a Rag Tree. People will send a rag of their own with their hope, prayer or wish. It might be simple word on a cloth rag, or a note on paper, or wood. Some people might send trinkets.  Some send photos of loved ones or pets. I will leave it up to the sender. I will figure a way to attach them so as not to harm the tree. Perhaps hay twine strung from the branches with notes attached. In time, the rags will fade, but not the energy or intent of the message.This is an evolving, fluid endeavor.

And people can send letters-Letters to lost pets, parents long gone, old friends never seen, politicians, or a higher self. The letters will be put in a special box with the tree...I hope it to be a red box, like the Queen's.

I mentioned the beginnings of this idea on social media and already some want to come to the tree. In time this will happen, although I am not sure of the logistics...a journey to The Rag Tree might be incorporated into Workshops, or people that are supporters of Apifera's non profit might have their own special day. But right now, I want this to be about the tree and its energy, and the hope it will emit into the air, or the comfort it might give someone knowing a small rag blows in the woods at Apifera spreading hope or a desire, or that a letter was written with love and in time will reach the intended recipient now gone.

In time, Martyn will also build a little hut for me with a humble bench...a place to sit and reflect, not speak, read the letters of other souls who needed to write...for whatever reason.

If you'd like to send Rag Tree a prayer or message, or a letter, please visit this page.