This is an apt portrait of my daughter Zola. She is particularly dogged about doing what she sets out to do (note the tongue sticking out to express true determination). She is also a cheeky little monkey.
Abandoned houses are a childhood fascination I never outgrew. As a little girl riding in the backseat, I craned to get a closer look of the empty farmhouses. They were my landmarks on the drive to my grandparents’ house in rural Minnesota.
I loved to imagine the stories of the families. It was deliciously sad, mysterious and unfathomable that people would leave their homes to be slowly reclaimed by the wild. I always wanted to peer through the window or step inside to see what they’d left behind.
I couldn’t resist this sentimental pic of our old Radio Flyer tricycle. Sitting in the tall grass, it has the appearance of being ‘put out to pasture’. Even though everyone is way too big for it now, no one is quite ready to let it go…
The peonies are woven into my earliest memories. Before words, embedded in the cells of my childhood there is abundant beauty and intoxicating perfume and, of course, it’s all crawling with ants. The peonies in my mind’s eye sprawl luxuriously under trees in the backyard and around the houses of my grandmothers and great-grandmothers. They wrap me up in bittersweetness and leave too soon, their scent lingering on the summer breeze.
Zola learned to ride her bike Saturday! She went from, “don’t let go” to “woohooo” in under an hour! Plus, she was just in time to give Brad an extra Father’s Day gift on Sunday: our family’s maiden bike ride around the lake – with each of us on our own bikes. I felt very much like a mother duck as I followed close behind my little brood. And proud as a peacock.