I am not one for rituals. They seem so … final. The formality of a funeral. The lifetime of a marriage vow. The yearly gatherings at Christmas, the birthdays that remind you that another 12 months have passed and you’re not getting any younger. I am not a fan.
My former life has been slipping away for some months and became final at the end of April when my teaching contract ended. I am finally free to be the artist I desire to be. My emotions are mixed. I’ve been through relief and elation and much sadness.
I decided to mark this life changing decision with a couple of rituals.
The first being one of celebration with an impromptu photo shoot that involved a shower of cherry blossom. I was walking back home and passed a driveway strewn with freshly fallen blossom. I couldn’t resist gathering a few handfuls. I enlisted the help of my son and we got some wonderful shots.
A few days after that I was in a local park admiring the spring colours and found myself noticing a fallen flower. It lay on the earth, its once pink petals now a rusty brown but the bloom was still intact and recognisable as a Camelia bloom. I picked it up and put it in my bag. Later on the walk I entered a small copse of silver birch trees. Paper bark littered the grass and I picked up some pieces and popped them in my bag.
A few days later, on April 30th, to be exact, the thought of some kind of ceremony struck me again as a way of coping with my loss. I had the idea of burning the bark and blossom with a few whispered words and captured that in a series of photographs.
I’m still not a fan of rituals but in this instance, at this point in my life, they seemed somehow important to me.