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Entries in home (8)


Ten on Ten: Restart, Home

Looking back at it now, I can see I am a child of deep woods.  I was too little to notice then.  I saw the red clay earth under my fingernails, of course.  Heard the hot percussion of rain falling on the tin roof of the cabin my dad built, the urgent burbling of the creek that ran behind his house after the rain, and the crunching of leaves under my feet in autumn as I beat a path - back and forth through the woods, a million times a week - to my best friend's house.  I saw trees, trees, trees, a dense verticality between me and the world.

I wanted out.  I wanted city, and things to do, and sidewalks, and drywall, and next-door neighbors.

Now when I go back I see the forest.  It takes my breath away.

We were there over the holidays.  When I go home now, I ache for the woods.  I want to walk in them and notice everything.  They feel exactly the same, and also nothing like I remember.  I notice how brutal and delicate they are, how rich.  Life grows over life here, fallen trees slowly eaten by water and moss and vines.  The carpet of leaves shed by innumerable deciduous trees are a wet mulch on winter ground.  I am always surprised at the feelings that rise in me, a tender loving familiarity. 

Ezra loves it there.  Being with his grandparents is a big draw, of course, but he resonates with quiet, and space, and sticks and rocks and running water.

(Twice this week he has told me he wants to live back there, and I have to laugh at the inevitability of running from a place only to have your child long to return.  It is the migrant's tale, no?)

I might be tempted to relegate this all to the closet of sentimentality, but when I was home I ran into a childhood friend named Sampson Starkweather.  He's a poet based in Brooklyn now, but his sharp memory of what seems like every detail of coming-of-age and the deep sense of place in many of his poems confirms for me the power of these woods.  In his brilliant new book he writes:

I know you need the city but we all have our forests.

A place for things to grow or fail... to go unnoticed.

A place for things to fall.  I am speaking of the heart.

Like Ezra, I apparently resonate with sticks and rocks and running water.  But I also resonate with the idea that perspectives change.  That we can restart our relationship with a world, a person, life. 

I love my adopted home of Colorado, the wide horizon, the enormous sky, the dry air, the family I've built.  And I know that no matter where I go, these woods are imprinted on my bones.  I'm not running from that anymore.

My little photography blog circle is examining the idea of "restart" this month in our 10 on 10.  I can't wait to see how the lovely and talented Tara Romasanta is restarting in this new year.  Hop on over here to see what beauty she has in store.


Things I Learned (Or Remembered) In Vancouver

1. My husband is my friend.  Obviously I know this to be theoretically true in my daily life.  But daily life is full of it's-your-turn-to-do-the-dishes and can-we-switch-school-dropoff-and-pickup and I-have-no-idea-where-your-car-registration-form-is.  Will and I had not been away from home and Ezra together in nearly two years and the minute we hit the airport an easy camaraderie fell over us that fit like a glove.  We celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary on this trip.  I think I'll keep him.
2. New friends are so fun.  I met Cherish at Camp Shutter Sisters last fall.  Tamar and I have been following each other online for a year.  They arranged babysitters so we could have a triple date that involved copious amounts of BC wine and the best mussels I've ever eaten and also photowalks so that I could see the east and west sides of their fair city.  Seeing a new place through the eyes of insiders, especially insiders who would also wander aimlessly with their cameras, is one of my favorite things to do.  (Followed, immediately, by seeing a new place through the eyes of a stranger.)
3. The Pacific Northwest is to die for.  Or is it the southwest if you're Canadian?  Either way, the combination of soaring mountains, ocean, towering forests, rain, boats, bikes... Really, I could live there.  I could get adorable rain gear and eat fish every day and never need to buy another bottle of moisturizer.  Also, coffee, Asian food of all varieties, Stanley Park, yes yes yes.
4. Colorado's pretty great too.  I remembered this when I got home and Ezra didn't give me the cold shoulder and the sun dried me out in the mountains, and old friends gathered 'round.  
5. Life is sweet.

Welcome Home

287.365 55mm f5.6 1/50 ISO 500Coming back to real life after vacation is always fraught.  The garden gods gave us a little welcome home present though, in the form of our first vine-ripened tomato of the summer.  If we could have a national holiday just for our house, the start of tomato season would probably be it.  Behold the sweet and tangy goodness of the Black Krim, an heirloom variety that originated in Ukraine and now resides in our back yard.

A warm welcome indeed.


Light and Dark

248.365 50mm f2 1//40 ISO 200The challenge is to keep finding ways to see city life as majestic and perfectly manifested.  There are no wild animals in my living room, no flowers blooming, no grand views.  There are, occasionally, interesting areas of light and shadow.


Welcome Home

223.365 50mm (+ 12mm mac tube. Yes, I was that close.) f4.5 1/80 ISO 200I don't know why coming home always feels like some kind of Faulknerian adventure, but being in North Carolina summons a strange mix of bone-deep familiarity and the wonder of a tourist.  At this time of year the place is so alive, full of flowers and fragrances and green leaves of myriad textures and glosses and winged creatures hovering in the muggy air.  It makes Denver seem so tame.

This year "the Great Southern Brood" of red-eyed cicadas have emerged from their 13-year underground sleep.  The deafening whir of their mating call out here in the woods drowns out nearly every other sound.  They're harmless but it still seems like a swarm of Old Testament proportions.  I knew I wanted a picture of one of these things, though I assumed I'd have to settle for one of their discarded exoskeletons.  Then this one flew right into the frame and waited patiently for me to focus.

Five years ago this week, Will and I and all our friends and family turned up here like a swarm of our own.  We got married in my mom's front yard and moved to the backyard for the reception.  It was a beautiful day, full of life.  But being here now makes me happy the cicadas were dormant that week.  You wouldn't have been able to hear the bluegrass band.


P.S.  If you're dying to see more of the cicadas, check out this amazing time lapse of one discarding its shell.  Someone nearby composed this of 1500 stills taken over more than seven hours.  It's amazing:

Brood XIX Periodical Cicada 2011 from Mark Dolejs on Vimeo.