Funny how life comes 'round sometimes. Twenty-one years ago I was a weird little four year-old wearing a wedding dress, my shoes on the wrong feet, and squirting mustard into my mouth in Jon Durham's first 3-6 class at Mountain Pathways Montessori School. Twenty-one years later I am a weird twenty-five year old thinking about how problematic it is to make child-size wedding dresses, I don't even really like mustard that much anymore, and I am talking to a group of smart, inquisitive young people about cameras and making pictures in Jon's 9-12 class at Samish Woods Montessori School. Funny how life comes 'round like it's supposed to on account of every thing that fell between that classroom on Howards Creek road where Jon taught me how to read and to fly-fish and this classroom in Bellingham where I am teaching Jon's students about how a polaroid works.
You can take me out of the mountains, but you can't take the mountains out of me... Yeah, so it turns out that is an inoperable thing. Turns out those ranges can't be carved out of me without removing my lungs, then my liver, then my heart in that order. Turns out knowing the direction of home so deeply I don't need a map is mostly a good thing, but some days the ache for those hills fills me up so steadily that it spills out of me and I almost cry when my dad tells me over the phone how many stars he can see from his porch. Turns out you can't die from homesickness, or even get that sick from it and despite all the mountains in me there is still space for moments that feel like home here. Home here fits like friends that are more like family, like breakfast with Jonah, like snapping green beans and singing loudly when nobody is home, like late night baked macaroni and cheese and beer and sitting on the kitchen table instead of at the table. Home here pulls like early mornings with Ashlon before anyone wakes up, like the history we carry, like all the words that won't pass between us, yes home here pulls like a trip to Powells in Portland where I plan my future library. Home here sounds like records in the morning with Anis, like community square dances, and like late night radio between Everett and Bellingham when the sky finally clears enough for me to the stars.
Snapshots of stillness in a week when the world seemed to agitate and ache on the edge. I made photographs that do not reflect my anxious heart, only the convenient comfort of quiet. But right now, when women cannot receive healthcare without fear for their lives, when right wing politics is normalizing bigoted and hateful speech that makes room for violent behavior, when people of color actually have to convince their fellow citizens that their lives matter, when no one in congress will do a goddamn thing about gun control even though there have been more mass shootings in the US than days in the year, when politicians continue to value short term capital gains over longterm livability on this planet... That is all the quiet is... convenient. My friend Sarah Kellogg who feels the ache of the world with her entire heart, she said it most eloquently and compassionately after last week's shooting at planned parenthood, "IT IS NOT ENOUGH FOR YOU PERSONALLY TO "NOT BE RACIST" OR "NOT BE SEXIST". That does not make you an ally. YOU NEED TO SPEAK UP. All the time, never stop."