While traveling in solitude through Japan, I allowed myself to take the time in watching the world around me. When observing a particular tree in Suzaka, a small village in the North of Japan, I follow the rhythm of her body. I scrutinize her skin, substantially thick and wrinkled. The grooves and creases of her outer texture create patterns and illustrations, emphasizing her old age.

I follow her elongated lines from the peak all the way to the bottom and witness how her ancient roots grow into the earth like bones, providing support for her grandiose and bountiful arms unapologetically swaying sideways, hugging the wind. These bones have been growing great depths in order for her to stand up straight, her skeleton buried underneath the surface, preventing the human eye from seeing the true dimensions of her branches. Like wings that spread underneath the soil, the roots of the tree dance continuously deep, a choreography long and lustrous.

Her forceful limbs have grown in the same way that a caterpillar morphs into a butterfly; gradually and concealed from outer eyes. A metamorphosis innocent of validation, approval or praise.

Any tree turns into a treasure when one looks at them as creatures, displaying what it can mean to stand and live. “Nezuyoi” is the Japanese word for “rooted”, as the roots carry its true resilience. They embody veins that tense together, all to establish the fierceness of one fist, resolutely holding its grip, without asking for permission or demanding to be seen. Ever.