Robert Caspary – The Willow and the Pine

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There are two trees in particular that inhabit my pre-memory memories. The first tree was a large majestic pine, presiding over the neighbourhood I was born to.

The second tree was a weeping willow, the centrepiece of a large backyard attached to our small house. Here, suspended in a secure baby swing made by father and grandfather, I would sway in summer breezes, feel the sun and the sun-dappled leaves, and drift drowsily between that waking and dreaming that is all one. There was a feeling of embrace and protection from the willow.

Late winter this year, some 55 years onward, a circle is completed as a dried pussywillow stalk, displayed in a feeble hope of spring, began to sprout, and flourish, and suggest to me that willow and I reconnect. I planted the sprig on the 15th of April, by chance the first day of the Celtic Willow month.


I began to study the willow, it’s history and genealogy, it’s healing powers, it’s wonders, and our mutual relationship with hawks, and still water. I visited the willows that surround the pond near where I now live to re-introduce myself. I photographed the willow as long-lost friend, as old family, as neighbourhood elder, salt-brining my films as connection to the willow’s weeping, and mine at finding something I forgot I had lost.

On the 24th of May, well into the energy of the Hawthorn month, I completed the images, unearthed a buried film from the willow’s soil, and set off in a new yet old direction forward, into summer, again.

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