Diana Lynn
     Thompson





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incunabula
Pinus contorta




It has patience with my presence.



The needles come in bundles of two.
Every needle has a spiral twist.


The species description
contorta
comes from the twisted growth
of the shore pine,
the torque of its needles.



The etymology of pine.



From Middle English pinen,
from old English pnian,
to cause to suffer,
from pne, pain,
from Vulgar Latin pna, penalty.


So how do I translate
the word for pine
into the language of pine?



Pine.
Pine needles.
When I say those words,
I hear the long notes,
a high i, a drawn ee,

a sound like a small cry. 



I think of pining, to pine away.
Loss.



I sometimes think
my entire life
has been a fight against loss,
trying to hold on to what is gone,
knowing it was there,
could still be there,
but remains forever

just out of reach.



And then there are those moments
when nothing is lost at all,
when Iím not holding on
but am surrounded, buoyed,
the words and sounds
and taste and touch
are all there,
and even to be alive at all

is a miracle.
Incunabula was shown at "To Remain at a Distance 4" at Open Space  in Victoria BC.in 2001. The installation featured thousands of pine needles pinned to the wall, a large white bowl full of black ink, a table, and a sketchbook filled with drawings and thoughts, some of which are shown here.