Happy Anniversary to the women who host the Lens-Artist Challenge – celebrating one year by…suggesting that you respond to today’s challenge with any subject that’s near and dear to YOUR hearts, as we’ve done with our images today. If you’d prefer some guidance, choose any of the four subjects we’ve selected this week (Friendship, Imagination, Connected or A Country that’s special to you).
What subject is near and dear to my heart?
My family below…and scenes like this one from post Christmas 2017 festivities.
Enjoying a family sing-along.
Complete with my husband, son-in-law, son & daughter on guitar and my 18 month old grandson on his new kid-size djembe drum.
I am carefully balanced on a step stool trying my best to capture the moment. While singing.
When I was a young girl – a very young girl – I dreamed I could fly.
All by myself.
It was glorious while it lasted.
This photograph reminds me of that dream.
Lying in bed trying to fall asleep was not always easy when I was a child. Feelings are hard to sort out, identify and soothe when you’ve barely learned to read and write. I was also expected to solve my own problems.
Maybe it was watching the Mighty Mouse cartoons. I couldn’t take my eyes off his soaring figure and trademark cape…flying high to Save The Day. Or maybe, later, it was the view from the branches of the tree I loved to climb. Peeking out from behind the leaves.
For whatever reason, I transformed to a girl in flight during nighttime dreams. The dream began as I started running…
…running across my backyard. Faster and faster. Through the neighbor’s lawn. Until the grass was a blur. The trees were a blur. Only the sky still in focus. Always a blue sky. When my legs could run no faster, I’d jump. Without fail, Up I Went. My arms straight out to my sides, waving up and down birdlike. Flying away. Just like that…
Post inspired by Lens-Artists Challenge #51 The prompt: Unique
My friend AR came into my life when we were 15 or 16. I met her when I joined “PF” (aka “Pilgrim Fellowship”) – a Congregational Church youth group. Basically a group of high school kids who met on Sunday nights. We formed committees. We planned activities, trips, coffee houses and spaghetti dinners. It was a friendly and welcoming group.
AR and I attended the same high school – a regional school drawing students from 4 towns – so we may not have ever crossed paths if not for the church connection. She was quiet, shy and…I was to find out…brilliant. And talented. Some may have added…eccentric.
We were both the oldest in a large family. She was the oldest of 6. I was the oldest of 5. We both had difficult childhoods; although at the time we didn’t openly discuss the darker places we later found out were eerily similar.
The summer we were 18, she embroidered a swatch of denim (~14″x18″) with words from one of our favorite songs by The Rolling Stones. I don’t remember what the occasion was – or if there was even a specific occasion that sparked her creativity – but I still treasure this unique piece of art. It is framed and hangs on the wall over my desk.
You can’t always get what you want…
Now isn’t that the truth.
AR and I went our separate ways to college. We kept in touch with frequent letter writing. Letters I still have – with her tiny perfect script – detailing her struggles with making ends meet, making friends, experimenting…and…charting an uncertain future. Always signed: Your loving and sincere well-wisher.…
Shortly after we graduated from college, I lost track of her for a few years. Until her letter arrived telling me she was now Sister M.
My Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan loving friend had converted to Catholicism and joined a cloistered community of nuns. Beginning her new life in a monastery.
I have visited her off and on over the past few decades. We chat as if we were still those two goofy teenagers at PF meetings. Her eyes are bright as they look back at me from beneath the white habit she now wears. Denim a long forgotten thing of the past.
Once I showed her a photo of the beautiful detailed embroidery she made for me.
She was incredulous.
With a focus on things – rather than people or places – my favorites narrowed down to the irreplaceable.
The sentimental things…that connect with my favorite people.
The massive downsizing I endured 3 years ago crystallized what, in theory, I had known all along. The things I let go of…it was just stuff. Not so important after all.
The things I kept…
Photo albums dating back 40 years…filled with favorite people and places.
Two scrapbook journals. Documenting my children’s school years. From all perspectives. Spaces for tiny handwritten Montessori “books.” School photos. Sample schoolwork. Report cards. Awards won. Games played. Birthdays. Sports. School portraits. Trips. Thoughts. Reflections – as only a young child can voice.
…End of school year answers on the “Favorites” page: Friends…Books…Music…Sports…Teams…Television Shows…Movies and Videos…Clothes…Foods…Places to Go…Things to Do.
And my favorite? Starting in grade 5…Aspirations and Goals
Bindings stretched to the breaking point with details and documents.
Then carefully repaired.
Preserving snapshots of time from preschool to grade 12.
Tucked in the back…college graduations. Marathon stats. Wedding clipping. Post grad honors. Stretched a bit more.