It’s a good thing that Wallace has Solomon to show him around the backyard sand pit.
I’m at the window, watching these two come up the driveway. Ten years apart and so much love between them. Wallace has blessed us all with his baby goodness, but he has given his sisters an especially wonderful gift. It’s hard to put this gift into words — the tremendous well of joy and confidence that they have discovered over the past year. It’s not that they were unhappy children before he was born, and it’s not that we haven’t had our ups and downs (those newborn months were hard!!!), but now we have another layer of love in our family — an abundance of life that daily fills me full to bursting.
Wallace and Selah are two are just six weeks apart. My friend Yarrow and I have been taking photos of them together every month or two for the past year. Although they’ve definitely been aware of one another for a while, yesterday was the first time that these new little one-year-olds consistently followed each other around and really appeared to be having mini conversations. It was absolutely adorable.
Grandmommy brought over some of Uncle Wally’s paintings to show the girls. My uncle was a prolific watercolor artist and he left my Mom with most of his work. He learned how to paint during his years in the navy, and so there are scenes from all over the world in this collection. It is fascinating to see the world through his eyes — and also to see how his style and palette changed over time. The girls were captivated.
When Jeffrey and I were married, Uncle Wally gave us a beautiful watercolor painting of a farmstead as a wedding gift. It hangs over our fireplace. I’ve always loved it because it symbolizes so much: his gift as a artist, our love for farming, and his kindness towards us. But since I’ve taken a greater interest in photography, I notice even more in the painting. It has layers of color and composition that I just didn’t have the eye, nor the language, to see and express when he first gave it to us. Good paintings and good photographs, and good friends, are like this — they only get better and reveal more to us over time.
What a gift it is that my Mom can pull out Uncle Wally’s paintings and share them with her granddaughters, years and years after he painted them.
I love this family so much,
with their contagious energy and joy.
We share a love for wild places,
and good literature.
Our discussions are lively,
and our houses fill with laughter
as our children play together
like a little tribe.
How grateful we are to have such dear friends
in our little part of the world.
“Poems are taught as though the poet has put a secret key in his words and it is the reader’s job to find it. Poems are not mystery novels. Instead we should go closer and closer to the work. Learn to recall images and lines precisely as the writer said them. Don’t step away from their warmth and fire to talk ‘about’ them. Stay close to them. That’s how you’ll learn to write. Stay with the original work. Stay with your original mind and write from it.” — Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones
That’s how I feel about the landscape too: stay close to it. Stay with the original. Taking photos from my bedroom window may be easier when I have a sleeping baby and can’t go out at the moment . . . but what I really need to do is step into the warmth and fire that is just beyond the glass.