A plant guardian must travel with her love.
She lost everything except you.
I have taken the earth colours into my skin. The signs and symbols of seeds are on me and inside me. I am the grain, I am the bright flowers feeding the bees. I am the seed who waits in the soil.
I am the seed collector. I take a part of what I find, never all. Vital to leave the makings of new life where I find it. The living plants do not need me to guard them, only to treat them with honour. I am the guardian of the plants who do not yet live, the ones who will flourish in times to come. I carry the seeds to new places, I plant hope.
There was a life before this life. I try not to think about it. I prefer not to remember who I was, or what I saw. There is a hideous monotony to war, to death, to destruction. It may shock and horrify you day by day, but it is only ever reduction, you only have less. There is just fear and grief, and more grief and trying to stay alive. In my mind it is a blur, a haze of pain. I do not want to remember.
I don’t want to hear war stories. I don’t want us to compete over who saw the worst thing, who hurt the most yet somehow lived. We are all marked, inside and out. I have tattoos to cover my scars, so that you will see the art on me first and not the damage. I have put my new story of seeds and life onto my skin to blot out what went before. When I look at my body, I see my chosen symbols, and not the damage done to me.
I am the person I chose to be when I had almost nothing left. My body tells that story well enough. I am not what happened to me, I am everything I decided on for myself.
(Art and first text by Dr Abbey.)