The photograph of HWY 18, a South Dakota two-lane hasn’t let me go yet. My apologies if you’ve had enough. Actually, not really. I write and create art for me and my hope is that something I write maybe resonates for you too. If not, well, that’s OK.
I created this series while thinking that the imagery of the road is both going AWAY from somewhere and TOWARD someplace else. For the early part of my life the road represented away from someplace and now it’s shifting. This image is my childhood home in Burke, South Dakota.
When I started working on these images I was trying to tell a lot of different stories. Why kids leave small towns. Why they should go back (I’ll still write about that). Why I left South Dakota. Why, at fifty-years-old, I would now consider going back to South Dakota. How small towns or wherever our upbringing was shaped us as adults. I’ve created so many images all telling different stories. I had to narrow my message. So, I decided to get more personal and less about rural development.
I’ve lived in Vermont since New Year’s Day 1990. I moved to Burlington with a friend, Melissa from my Sioux Falls College days. Three weeks later I met my husband, Jeff. Now, almost twenty-seven years later I’m deeply rooted here in New England. I never expected to be here this long. If had put a limit on my time in Vermont, well, it wouldn’t have worked. I was in love and adaptable. Isn’t life wonderfully unpredictable?
I understand the rhythms of the sea, and yet…South Dakota just won’t let me go. The ocean and its vastness gently reminds me of the expanse of the prairie.
I’m longing for spaciousness, freedom and simplicity. I crave all of this more now in middle age. As the poet e. e. cummings wrote, “it takes courage to grow up and become who you really are”. I had to allow myself to get quiet enough to listen to my inner voice. As a younger partner, mother and artist, I wasn’t such a good listener. I’m grateful the prairie won’t let me go now, she clearly has a lot to say lately and I’m listening.
This image is the backyard of my home in Burlington, Vermont. We’ve lived in this house since August 1991. It holds many memories and has been through numerous renovations. I love the house, but I’m restless. I desire some change.
This piece is layered with one of my paintings. My need for change isn’t always easy on my family. I’m trying to be more understanding about how they feel. They are trying to do the same. Inevitably though, things will change and we will all adapt just fine. I know that my work is to keep listening and trying to understand what messages I’m receiving.