The Forest Floor

My sister and I fell asleep in the sun. Our bodies stretched out in the shelter of the grassy field. Voices made constant circles in my mind. I lay on them like the forest floor, wondering which I was following. Today, I was not making any decisions. I let everything exist, and did not grasp at transformation. The anxiety of the worst and the best, the low and the high, all fought their daily battle in the bizarre world of information exchange.

Catherine had died. I realised I am still in the world walking along the forest floor and I must welcome everything I meet there. I know Catherine welcomed everything she met and the forest is a difficult place to negotiate. Heaven has a strange way of organising itself, and today I felt Catherine was there. I did not argue with my feeling. This is the bounty of life, and maybe one day you won’t be able to meet yourself at three in the morning, in front of the bathroom mirror.

I met Catherine in 2009. She was even in my art portfolio. This is what I wrote. In the piece ‘All the colours of Catherine’, I photographed my sister in our garden.

Catherine is based on a real person who I met at the bus stop a couple of times. She had a really eccentric way of dressing. I was always excited to meet her, just to see what she was wearing. The first time I met her, she was wearing a purple hat, black shades, a long black coat and she had a pink glossy bag. I tried to capture in the photos with my sister aspects of meeting her, even though I have re-imagined a different character in another removed setting.

I am happy to have made contact with her. What kind of observable distance is there to make contact? It can only be one where you never lose faith, and like Catherine, I’m not bound to this earth nor are you. Everything is utterly unfamiliar and wonderful on the forest floor. Why shouldn’t it be?


In memory of Catherine O’ Shea

Lena O’ Connell

Lena O’ Connell graduated from the Limerick School of Art and Design in 2009. She
specialised in fine art, sculpture. Lena currently lives and works in Tipperary, Ireland.
She teaches art to children and is aspiring to undertake a higher diploma in
art teaching.

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