This doodle from May had architectural elements in its origins. When I found it again, I was put in mind of lichens, colonising bare surfaces, the fungal element of the symbiosis providing anchorage and liberating nutrients, the algal or cyanobacterial component extracting energy from sunlight. I thought I might say something clever about lichens, but found that understanding something of this ancient and tenacious lifeform would indeed be a lifetime’s work. My attention had been attracted because, after more than a century of description and scientific enquiry, including by illustrator Beatrix Potter, this week comes the surprise news that lichens comprise not two but three partners: the presence of a second fungal partner may, for example, condition the production of toxins in otherwise identical species.
When the procession of cars had left, I took a few moments alone by the graveside. As a way to focus on the moment, I drew these lines in a pocket book and later added crayon. I should have drawn fewer lines: it would have worked better, meant more.
My mother lies in that earth, in a coffin of woven banana leaves, covered by flowers taken from our gardens, lowered there by us who then scattered soil and petals and rosemary. She will have a plaque flush with the ground and within a season her resting place will be overgrown by tall grasses and wild meadow flowers. She chose to be buried at the top of a slope, so she might have a view.
In all the years, I have only drawn her twice. The sketch below was sometime this year and, inevitably, at a pub meal.
Preparing for the funeral, we unearthed dozens of old photographs. Over the coming months I hope to re-imagine family from old images, not as copies but as new art, as remembrance. I would welcome links to your pages if you have done this too.