PORTFOLIOS > Lost and Found

Hole in the Heart
Hole in the Heart
2024

Her name was Rowan. Her name IS Rowan. I have no picture of my daughter to show you. I never even saw her, except on an ultrasound screen. There is no baby book to celebrate her milestones. No footprint, no lock of hair. Only this hole in my heart where she should be.

Emerson, too was born with a hole in her heart. Known medically as a patent ductus arteriosus, her heart did not develop properly due to the trauma of the amniocentesis event and death of her twin, so the tiny hole that should have closed at birth never did. This makes her much more susceptible to pneumonia from even the common cold. Imagine our fears about her getting Covid... She is under the care of a pediatric cardiologist since birth, but has thus far avoided surgery. Layer upon layer of worries all these years. We have all been punctured by that fateful needle.

Why Rowan? The rowan tree is often associated with protection, especially against witches, spirits, and enchantment. It is often found near stone circles or ancient burial sites, as it was believed by the Druids to protect the spirits of the dead. In Norse mythology, Thor was saved from a fast-flowing river in the Underworld when he clung onto the branches of a rowan. The myth says that this was the tree from which the first woman was made.

The rowan is considered to be a portal tree, an opening between this world and another world, both an entry point and an exit. In Celtic mythology, it's known as the Tree of Life and symbolizes protection, courage, and wisdom. The tree's bright red berries are associated with magic because red was thought to be the best color for fighting evil. People would plant rowan trees near their homes, or carry pieces of the tree with them. Modern Wiccan practitioners seek the wood from Rowans for use as wands and other magical implements. I was gifted a branch of it in Ireland that I keep in my studio. Though I am by ancestry both Celtic and Norse, I am not overly superstitious by nature. Still, as an artist- like the rowan- I am a portal between this world and another world and well, you never know. My daughters and I come from a long line of magical women.