The Tree of Life was the theme today

in one of the senior residencies where I provide weekly sessions of creative artwork. The aim of our exercise was to create a tree where the leaves would signify friends and family in their lives. Pets, animals, wild birds, or any being that they felt close to could also be included. In preparation for the exercise I had cut out a basic tree shape of an oak glued onto a piece of paper. I had also cut out leaves in various shapes and colors. The participants would chose what leaves they wanted to attach to the tree and then write down the name of the people they were thinking of.

Ebba is one of the participants who always join our circle. Ebba sits in a wheelchair because both her legs are amputated. She is blind and her fingers are sensitive. She can therefore not hold a scissor or tear a piece of paper. Despite her physical challenges, Ebba has a sunny disposition and a beautiful smile. She is cognitively alert, and used her creativity in painting when she was younger.

Ebba asked me what kind of tree was on the paper, I explained the oak tree to her and she said she rather would have a pine tree. I made a new cutout for her of a tall pine tree. She mentioned that she loved to listen to the wind in the pines. Remembering how she used to lay in a hammock at her grandparents and listen to that sound and it was the best sound ever. When I asked what color leaves she wanted. She said they could not be leaves because a pine tree has needles. But she wanted pine cones for her tree, golden pine cones. I cut out six golden pine cones for her and she asked me to put names of her family on each cone and also of her favorite cat that the family had when she was young.

Ebba was very proud of her beautiful tree and asked me to put it up in her bedroom for guests to see. Even though Ebba is physically handicapped and not able to create with her own hands or feet, the creativity that shines through her mind and heart is equally, if not more so, beautiful to behold.

Physical challenges does not stop heartfelt creativity

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