Left as They Are

At the summer camp that I work at, one of the first things that we teach our campers is that a flower is lovely to look at, but not to trample. Grass is lovely to touch, but not to yank out of the ground by the handful. We talk about why we make the loving choice not to disrupt nature.

During program time, together we make crafts. We use decades-old National Geographic magazines to cut up and collage next to fallen flora from outside.

As I sweep out the craft cupboard at the end of the season, there is always the inevitable detritus of left-behind artworks made by campers of weeks past. Some of these works are too lovely to recycle, so I often find myself back in the city with a small stack of works made by anonymous campers.

Last summer I preserved three such pieces of paper to take home with me, sandwiching them between the pages of a thick hardcover book. By the next time that I opened the book, the papers had compressed themselves into a vignette of their own volition. Like nature, beautiful things know what they’re doing, and it’s best to let them be.

This piece is the result of finding fallen and beautiful things; of leaving things as they are.

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