I saw a feather caught in the hedge. It was tiny and light, white as a snowflake – a pure and immaculate white. I gently picked it up, careful not to let the needles tear it apart. When my fingers met its soft texture, I was struck by a mutual fragility. I was touching my own vulnerability. I put it away and thought, if I could shelter it from harm, then I would keep myself safe as well. We would be each other’s guardians.

I guess that’s why I collect stuff in nature – nuts, leaves, seeds, pieces of bark, bits of branches… They are an extension of my body. It’s true that I’ve always wanted to be a plant. It’s the most harmless and selfless thing on earth. And yet sometimes people cut down trees, saying trees cause accidents. But it’s not the trees that are dangerous. And I want to be a tree because I don’t identify myself with humans. In another life, I might have been born as one. Now I’m merely finding the pieces that once made up me. One day when my collection is complete, I will be able to reassemble them all and recreate my own existence, one that doesn’t feel alienating, one that is truly mine.

He never gave me flowers, but he gave me seeds. I carried them to the other side of the globe so that I would always have him with me. And I never gave him flowers, but I gave him pressed leaves. I gave him other stuff in my nature collection as well, so that parts of me would always be with him, and they would never wither. He’s the love that is forever kept unborn. I’m the love that, even dead, refuses to leave.


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