Old Family Photos

From the time that I was very young I remember the collection of photo albums that I mom insisted on bringing with her through all of our many moves, across countries and continents. I’m surprised she managed to hang on to them despite my dad’s persistent (and largely successful) efforts to get rid of as much as possible no matter how precious it was to us. These albums were her treasures, records of our childhood, a way to hang on to us, reminders that it hadn’t all been bad that we had been happy too. From time to time, on the rare occasion of a family dinner we will pull these albums out and reminisce, laugh at hair cuts and clothes, tell stories about pets long dead, but it is the pictures of my parents before children that were always my favorites. There are a collection of maybe six pictures that sum up my perception of who my parents were when they met, my bohemian mother with the black hair parted down the middle, falling long and straight or braided, lost against her dark sweater; my handsome father full of youthful arrogance and rustic appeal, leaning against his army jeep in a battered felt hat, his mustache curling over his upper lip or up at the sides.

A few weeks ago I fished this album–the First Album–out of it’s place on my mom’s shelf.  It’s battered but still in tact a predominantly blue, generic landscape makes up the cover, front and back. At the top of the cover in faded gold lettering the word “Photos”. No matter how many times I look at it the pictures are always new to me, full of the unknown, the unknowable but this time I am struck by how young my parents look, younger than I am now, their whole lives ahead of them, no choices made yet, no pain inflicted on each other. Hopeful. 

From Vancouver, BC to Boise, Idaho in pictures

My husband’s family tradition every Christmas is to go to Boise, where my mother-in-law‘s family live. We didn’t do this last year due to the fact that I was hugely prego and past my due date of Dec, 17th (he was ten days late), but this year we agreed to make the trek despite our misgivings about an 11 hour drive with a 1 year-old. Henry did surprisingly well and I annoyed everyone in the car snapping pictures of the breathtakingly desolate landscape as we drove through WashingtonOregon and Idaho. We were concerned about the weather as we had to drive through the mountains, but aside from some fog the weather was amazing.

I’ll be posting more pics from this trip. This first batch is the mountains in mist.

unfortunately, i had to take these through the dirty window so they have lots of marks on them:(

Above all, Clouds.

If I were religious I might have broken out the verse, “The heavens declare the glory of god and the firmament showeth her handiwork. Day unto day utereth speech and night unto night showeth knowledge”(that one’s for you Mom). The King James version of the bible was the one I grew up with and was my first exposure to poetry (one of the things I am most passionate about). From the bible I moved on to Shakespeare (obviously), them fell in love with Leaves of Grass by Whitman and on from there. But there are still many verses from the bible that I was forced to memorize as a child standing in the corner for some offence or another ( usually foolishness and daydreaming. I still indulge in both.) that come to me in the same way that a commercial jingle or children’s song do. The difference, of course, is the context. Along with the scripture comes that sense of security (false as it turns out) and the value we were taught to attach to these words by our teachers and parents making them more weighty. Isn’t it amazing how seductive and comfortable the familiar is? I guess that’s why they say ignorance is bliss.

Flying Ants

I took these a couple weeks ago on our way down to the beach. There is this garden that is always teeming with flowers that are allowed to grow exactly as they please. I don’t know who owns the garden but I have been tempted to knock on the door and offer them some of the pictures  I’ve taken of their wild garden as a sort of tribute and thank you for the pleasure of walking by it and having such beautiful subject matter.

On this particular occasion the garden was crawling with these flying ants. Fascinating and just a little creepy as they very quickly covered our legs if we stood too close. I guess the colony is on the move.

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