The changing of the seasons is a dance of transformation, a magical procession that weaves through the cycle of life and death. Magic does not override biology, but rather coexists with the unique joy that comes from being alive.
Possums embody this enchantment for me. The patter of their small feet scurrying across the forest floor, their patchwork quilt of coarse hair and sinewy tail make this creature appear otherworldly. Their giant black eyes seem to gleam with an imagined mischief. I’m captivated by their larger-than-life presence, which has followed me from Texas to California and now to the mountain forests of Vermont.
Possums are North America’s only marsupial. Their personality is preceded by folklore – possums carry their babies on their back like a cartoon caravan, they “scream”, they play dead. In culture they are maligned, rumored to carry rabies, often viewed as pests.
Recently, the enigma of possums is captured in memes passed around on the internet. Possums occupy a special place in our world, both as something humans can relate to on an emotional level, but also for their uncanny primal energy, a reminder of the untamed and mysterious forces that surround us
I’m inspired by the natural world in Vermont and the digital illustrations of Sophie McTear, a queer artist based in Tucson. McTear’s work utilizes LGBTQ+ imagery to evoke themes of self-worship in nature, often featuring intergalactic motifs alongside woodland fauna such as frogs and bats. McTear’s illustrations celebrate resilience during a time of systematic dehumanization of the LGBTQ+ community. From McTear’s work, I’ve adopted the phrase “There is magic in simply existing”. For marginalized people and maligned natural creatures, they possess a beauty all their own, reminders of endless variety and wonder in this world.