The Celadon Pot
acrylic, digital imaging, ink, handmade paper, 2007
78 x 60 cm

Beautiful Gold-eyes,
While I was in the forest, the family cooked you in a soup. I couldn't stop them from destroying your lovely body, but, as you asked, I have put your bones in the pot and buried it.

—Ye Xian's story from Miscellaneous Morsels from Youyang by Duan Chengshi, 9th century, CE

Ma chere maman,

I look forward to each day I spend in the forest. I feel as if I am learning about its breath, its joy at its aliveness.

I believe ecology holds the key to understanding evolution. Everything in my work with the trees supports this. Do present evolutionary processes reflect those of the past? How do organisms participate in creating new environments, developing space to explore and provide safety for themselves and their symbionts? How does attention to a concept of history inform a theory of the ways diversity increases?

It may be that the attraction of particular habitat offers opportunities for evolutionary transitions. Furthermore, there is an interesting dynamic within an ecosystem toward increasing diversity and genetic material at the beginning of an evolutionary transition.

Today the little woman from the clinic’s laboratory showed me pictures of several young men at court. Some are clever she says, but others care more about reciting their exploits. One sings love songs to show how sensitive he is: he’s the one who tries to flirt with my stepsister, but she’s not interested. I don’t blame her. I’ve seen this guy torturing rose bushes when he thinks no one sees him in the Cloud’s Breath Garden. The son of the minister of bucket bottom inspection practices his protest cheers in the mirror to look good at demonstrations. His father had been in the ministry of horsebreeding but was demoted for corruption. It looks as if his son can be tempted by flattery.

I think this woman wants to help me; at the very least I appreciate her stories and her good sense.