“gingko tree” glass, brass wire, papier mache, circa 1890
this glass gingko tree is of matriarchal descent (until it reached me and then its story ends); from great-grandmother high to grandmother holmes and then to evelyn (my mother) and now me, it has been dusted and arranged and put into the sunlight so its base would turn purple (my mother and i would search out shards of purple glass–glass made with manganese–when we were exploring abandoned cemeteries, falling-down homesteads, and dry creek beds on our jaunts around western south dakota and eastern wyoming–any where we would wander, quite frankly, we always had an eye out for purple glass. but this tree, it has no maker’s marks, no history other than its family lineage, no shopping expedition, no story, other than it sat in a window in ____ and then another in _____ and so on and so forth, until today where it resides on a book case and glimmers and glints in the sunlight from a skylight serving as a souvenir of many lives.
when i was much younger i would, after receiving permission, take it down from its perch and use it as part of my make-believe world. the oak in the town square, the stately elm, the wind-tossed cypress–wherever my fantasy took me. i liked then to think that the dust that’s found its way between the coiled brass wire wrapping around its trunk and limbs as having escaped from 1890, 1916, 1938, 1959, and found a safe place to travel through time and space; its possibilities seemed endless.