here in Burlington, Vermont. My twin girls will be seniors next year so I’m heading into my last year of parenting kids in high school. I’m finding myself feeling uniquely nostalgic. I’m not sad about the inevitable transition, but I am mindful.
I have friends whose oldest or only children are graduating on Friday. It’s big. When my son graduated from high school in 2014, I was sort of a mess. I believe there’s just something about transitions that requires us to take stock of our emotions.
The summer between my junior year and senior year of high school was rough for me. I had a lot of friends in the class above me and they were all leaving for college and other adventures. Every time during their senior year when we played a ball game, sang in a concert or went to the drive-in movie theater it felt like we were saying goodbye to our childhoods.
Last weekend in South Dakota I got to spend time with some of those friends who graduated a year ahead of me. It was great! I simply cannot believe how much time has passed…1983 and 1984 just don’t seem all that long ago in some ways. I’m very aware of how my daughters are feeling this last summer before they graduate from high school…perhaps even a little too aware.
I guess to honor life’s transitions, we need to slow down a little and try to understand what it is we’re feeling…the good, the bad and the slightly confusing.
“Complexity is your enemy. Anybody can make things complicated. It’s hard to keep things simple”.
From a LIFEHACK.org article: “The understanding that complex thinking is not required at all times can significantly help conserve valuable energy. Though major projects and problems may require abstract thinking, day to day life approached in a simple way can help ease stress levels and potentiate energy for the things that matter to you most. Practicing discernment in this area therefore, may prove very beneficial in your progress through burnout.”
Making something new out of the discarded or neglected is what gives me the most creative energy. Gutting and remodeling this outdated studio apartment in 2011 was one of my favorite projects of my lifetime. I learned a lot. I really like being dirty and tired from physical work. I slept remarkably well. I knew my mission. There were deadlines.
The downside of all-consuming projects for me is that they become an escape and I neglect other responsibilities in my life. I’m learning something about that now too. When is a project a craving? What am I escaping when I’m willing to get so singularly focused? Who in my life is this affecting? How?
I’m not entirely sure what’s next. I’m learning to be OK with the unknown.
to my collection. I haven’t seen this scarf printed yet. I’ve placed an order though. It’s one of my favorite photographs that I’ve ever taken. I shot this one week after my 50th birthday. I didn’t intend for the title—fading beauty to sound like a lament of any kind. I truly find beauty when things are “fading” and changing. Although I miss a few things about being younger, I was fine saying goodbye to my forties. I like my fifties…so far anyway.
I wanted to share the image. Here’s the link to my site.
I discovered this image of my husband Jeff’s legs this morning. The photo had cool shadows and movement to work with. After a bit of goofing off and layering—this series is what emerged.
Jeff is off exploring his world right now in a very BIG way. The first image on the road reminds me of the South Dakota Monster stories my Dad told all seven of his grandchildren. I don’t see my husband as a monster though—much more like a gentle giant.
We’ve always told our children that they are part prairie & part sea. When I started choosing photos to layer with Jeff’s legs I was naturally drawn to images of the prairie and the sea.
Here’s to your big adventures this weekend, wherever your feet take you.
Last week I had the pleasure of watching the American Masters documentary on PBS about one of my heroes, Great Depression photographer Dorthea Lange. Her work has greatly influenced my abandoned farmhouse hunting and photography whenever I visit my family in South Dakota. Dorthea’s compassion and unyielding desire to tell the tragic and heroic stories of our nation’s poor, interned and displaced through photography woke our nation up. Dorthea’s images prompted more action than print alone could possibly ever have conveyed.
I’ve always found great beauty among the ruins in all forms. Things that are new just don’t give me much creative juice. I like to see everything worn out, faded, distressed and destroyed. To me there’s always a lot more stories among the ruins.
“It is not enough to photograph the obviously picturesque.”
“Pick a theme and work it to exhaustion… the subject must be something you truly love or truly hate.”
You can watch the American Masters documentary online or look on demand from your local listings.
These images I shot with my niece south of Burke, South Dakota in January. I’m guessing someone will recognize the house, my sincere apologies for trespassing. The pull to see what was inside was just too much for us to resist.
There are links to Dorthea’s biography and images if you scroll down.