Liquid connection: Sap-blood flow
This piece is in process of exploration. A work in progress will be presented at the Milk Bar, Richmond, California on October 6, 2023.
Sap and blood flow, tree and human liquid, Lenca lineage and my identity
I recently read that the sap flows when the temperature rises, that is usually during the Spring, and that it moves from the roots to the branches and leaves, and that the flow of it goes in both directions: from down to up and up to down.
I was interested in what is the pathway, rhythm, and characteristic of this tree fluid. My somatic training in Body Mind Centering influences this inquiry. In BMC we explore and embody the quality of the fluids of the body such as the blood, synovial, cerebrospinal, lymphatic, cellular and extracellular fluid. Each fluid has its own expression in movement, sound, and emotions.
For my surprise, I found that when the trees are in their peak production of sap, “the sap drip is similar to the rate of a resting heartbeat” that is 60-80 beats per minute. This idea fascinated me, because I have been wanting to get close, heart-to- heart with my tierra and Lenca indigenous ancestors, and the possibility of embodying the sap of the tree in my own body could open the door to this direct connection.
My country Honduras has been devastated years after years, by colonization and then coloniality structures from Spain and the United States that have created and perpetuated poverty, militarization, multiple types of violence, insecurity, destruction of natural resources, and forced migration. I left my country when I was an adolescent, and I have always longed the connection with my tierra y ancestors. But I have been afraid to do it because the instability and violence of the country push me away. I am also trying to connect as an individual with my lineage, not through my biological family who lives there, to break circles of generational violence.
This connection could help me to revolt against racist patterns embedded in family, educational and socio-economic systems. The prolonged influence of the US mass media and culture, and the physical presence and glorification of the national and the US military in Honduras, have supplanted authentic and original cultures. Both factors create a hierarchical racist system in which white US culture has more value than the rest of indigenous and afro-descendant groups. When I was a child and adolescent, myself as well as many Hondurans, nullified and hide our Lenca roots and amplify and validate Spanish and US ancestry to conform and legitimate social standards of beauty, economic power, and social status.
The possibility of this liquid connection human-to-tree might be a way to elude violence from family and country structures. It can open a door to connect with my indigenous ancestry and reaffirm my identity. It can create a pathway to invite others to reclaim all their ancestry, all their roots, without hierarchies.
Choreography: Diana Lara
Video of preliminary explorations