The Wood’s Edge Loses Itself
(Memory of Absence)
by Lexi Arrietta
Kent County, Maryland
Many of us have come to realize that the globally shared experience of the Covid-19 pandemic has been a small preview of the kind of mass chaos, despair, and grief that humanity will face as the effects of climate change further escalate. Where 2020 has rewired our collective human experience, it also feels as though it has altered the modality of our memory. Our nostalgia, our fear, our awareness of that which has become, or remains, unrecognizable now shifts breathlessly among us. As we continue to look to one another to gauge what is happening — what has happened — changing impressions of past and present experience demarcate new thresholds of recollection, and of self. It is not only the physical landscapes of our planet that are changing, that are becoming lost to us.
This piece speaks to that strange inner vista. Where does loss begin? At what point does the absence of something transform us into something new? And what do we experience when the perimeter of that newness carries within it the memory of the thing no longer?
It is my belief that the gradual, continuous loss of our planet will be experienced largely as a loss of self — of individual self, and of collective self. While the majority of my work deals with personal grief and loss, I have found that those themes are, for me, irrevocably tied to nature, to the idea of wilderness, and to the ability to be alone in the outdoors. Nature holds a deep rooted role in my sense of autonomy as an emotional being, as a person who suffers and who grows.