I guess the prairie is on my mind today…

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Shawn Colvin’s “Steady On”

…Cause he seemed like a miracle
I ate it up like cereal
But it was something like shrapnel

Steady on!

It’s like ten miles of a two-lane
On a South Dakota wheat plain
In the middle of a hard rain
A slow boat or a fast train
I am gonna keep my head on straight
I’m gonna keep my head on straight

Steady on!

LOVE & picking up sharp things on the road

Last Thursday morning I embarked on a trip to South Dakota to spend some time with my family because of some health challenges.  I hired a driver to get me the to the airport in plenty of time.  I hate to be late and I was afraid the bus ride and long TSA lines might’ve put unnecessary stress on my travels.

My driver, Phil and I had such a compassionate conversation about our struggles that after crying in the car together we needed a hug for closure at Boston Logan Airport.  I was so boosted by the support of this complete stranger.  It was the tonic I needed to step into my childhood home with open arms and very light baggage (in both the literal & figurative senses) and ready to be of service to my clan.

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By the time I landed in Chicago, where I was waiting to meet my 20-year-old son for the last leg of our journey, I had a very simple realization.

If I could connect with my driver so easily and we could be of some comfort to each other—why don’t I just try to LOVE the whole world?

Our culture sees so many US & THEM distinctions, these come from fear, hardwired messages we aren’t even conscious of—or believing in a perceived superiority over others. I’m often guilty myself.  I’m no saint.  I’m just trying this BIG LOVE concept on for size.

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So far, I have to say I think it’s a pretty cool way to view the world.  It’s exhausting to constantly be assessing our appropriate reactions and responses in every situation.  LOVE actually gives you more free time.  I’m a big fan of FREE TIME.  Aren’t you?

I walked through the airport feeling like I had cracked the code on an ancient secret that had been waiting for me.  What if I moved through the world not just being “polite” but offering LOVE to everyone on some level?  Now, this doesn’t mean LOVING THE WHOLE WORLD the way I love my family and friends, but it does mean broadening how I define LOVE.

This morning as I walked to the post office I found all of these sharp, potentially tire destroying objects on the road.  I thought about what a simple act it is to pick up sharp objects.  It wasn’t hard for me at all.  I’m always drawn to shiny objects on the road.

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I like thinking this really simple action might’ve spared some real heartache—a popped car or bike tire…an appointment missed, someone’s pay docked or an unplanned expense for the repair.  By removing the possibility of some  heartache, I guess that’s LOVE on some level, right?

 

bridging my adult life & my roots

I’m heading back out to South Dakota next week.  My longing for the prairie now is unprecedented in my adult life.  Artist Elizabeth Bunsen and I have been talking a lot about the nature of how much the landscape of our childhoods affects our adult lives.  This pull is now greatly affecting my need for spaciousness, quiet, connection, being available to aging parents and looking at a few years down the road with children in college and an empty nest.

I’ve layered my photos of South Dakota with some of my paintings. These images serve as a bridge between my 26 year creative life in Vermont and my South Dakota roots.  You can take the girl out of West River, but you can’t take the West River out of the girl.

I would love to hear how the landscape of your childhood has had an affect on your life.  I’m really curious about this concept and hope to be doing some interviews and writing on the topic.

P.S. For you Burke area residents.  I would love to shoot some abandoned farmhouses while I’m home the 20th-22nd.  If you have some locations please email me or let my family know locations.  Thank you.  Maybe I’ll see you around town or in Stella’s.