“Knowledge feeds fictions, and fictions set the powers free”
The life of Elves, Muriel Barbery
I arrived in Brussels in 2019. I was surrounded by high buildings, busy streets and a roundabout full of cars. But from the window of my bedroom, there was a resilient tree – later I discovered it is a chestnut tree – surrounded by walls and garages of different buildings. It was the first time I was living in a place with a remarkable change of seasons. I observed this tree for a whole year photographing its changes every month. Two years later, I moved to another apartment and while I write this text, I look through the window in front of my desk and I see several different trees that now, in May, fulfil almost all the view with a green colour. I can still see small pieces of the blue sky. I was walking through the park a few minutes ago and noticed the majesty and the presence of two chestnut trees being together, next to each other. I could almost resonate the shape with the moment of being just in front of two mountains… Aaah! imagination…
I grew up in the countryside. Surrounded by farms. It is important to say that my connection with forests became closer and more intimate when I came to live in Belgium. I used to say that in Brazil I did not have a connection with nature. I was afraid of nature there. In fact, I was afraid of (wild) animals. When I became a bit more aware of the impact of humans in nature, I would ask permission to the non-humans to enter their place. Later, I realised that I had a great connection with water, with the rivers, the ocean and the rain. I was free in the water, my body was just going with the flow, and I could do so many shapes that it seemed I could do gymnastiques. I could not fall. I say all this because for a long time I saw myself as something apart from nature, and only recently that I acknowledged these connections and recognised myself as being nature too. Especially when I did forest bathing and started the Re-Rooting circles with Wendy Wuyts. During the whole year of circles my perception of rooting changed in several ways and the wisdom of the circle added different lenses to look at it. It was shared in the circle: “From where we come, to where we go”. “Home is also beginning a family.” Home. Ancestrality. Family. Roots. Belonging.
Having the experience to live abroad made me affirm my Brazilian roots even stronger, while I look(ed) for re-rooting in Belgium.
The circles inspired me to look at the forest and its elements in an imaginary way. I like to observe the shape of the trees and the roots. It takes me back to a specific and magical place in Demétria, a biodynamic neighbourhood in Botucatu, Brazil. There is a small forest that I like to call it as the “house of gnomes”. The place is silent and peaceful and it has, for me, a sacred energy. The trees are positioned in a circle – did someone planted like this on purpose? Perhaps. But besides the circle, the roots of the trees, in this place, come out through the earth and it looks like several gnomes gathering in the middle of this circle of trees. It was a blessing to witness such magic.
At this side of the world, close to Namur in Belgium, I passed by an abandoned fort, where nature revived in the surroundings. Immediately I observed a landscape full of mystery. A bucolic scenario. The branches and trunks of the trees looked special and wild. They formed elements. I saw the shape of a snake. Other more wrinkled trunks being hugged by aerial plants. I saw a truck – a cut tree – and right in the middle a little piece of life sprouting. And there was also a lady tree with an elegant dress of dry leaves and open arms as she was dancing… and other roots like holding hands. I am always touched by what nature has to tell me. She tells me what my eyes see with imagination. We co-create our stories. And this fills my being with joy, movement, intuition and art.
Once you start seeing these elements, the patterns and the movements in nature, it is difficult to not see it anymore… at least, for me. And then, I belong.
Bruna Farine Milani