I think that I have showed you a few of these photos last summer. But here they are, plus a few never seen before. One afternoon last summer, as the sun was beginning to set, my sisters and I drove out to the prettiest meadow near our family's home to take some sister portraits. My sister Alexandra (the blond) is a really great photographer and has been taking gorgeous shots of Bella (the wavy red head, at least in these photos) for quite a few years now. I'm always jealous of the gorgeous photos that these girls have together that are splattered all over facebook. I love the happiness, silliness, and warmth that I see in photos of them, especially of them together.
I haven't lived at home since 2004 when I left for college. Well, I did spend a few summers at home. But I haven't been home for a full summer in 3 years. I'm deep into living a big kids life now which means no summer breaks full of lying around in the heat not knowing what to do. I spend summer like every other month, working working working. My middle sister Alexandra is now away at college too. And I know that is hard for Alexandra to be away from family for the first time and for Bella to not have either big sister at home anymore. It is hard for me to be 2 states away from them as well. But I am so thankful that I have sweet photos of them to remind me of the energy, love and life of these ladies.
When we were young, for various circumstances, I was like a mom to them. And they felt like my daughters. Even now, I still believe my love for them is just as powerful as a mother's love. They are the only 2 people in the world that I absolutely know I would die for so that they could live. I hope that I could do that for just about anyone. But it is only through life experiences that I have come to see that I would absolutely do anything in my power to prevent them from any harm.
On cold winters days in Seattle when the weather is a mixture of rain, sleet, hail, grey skies, sun, then grey skies again, I spend a good amount of time wondering what the weather is like where my sisters are. I daydream about how they are doing, if they feel as fulfilled as they can be for their age, whether they really recognize how sweet, kind, gifted, wise, loving, beautiful, strong, and capable they are. I daydream about playing in fields of dry grass with my sisters, giggly and making ridiculous faces at each other, talking in goofy voices, and dancing to our favorite songs.
In the winter, I dream of California and the sweet loves, family and friends, that live in my home state. You know, I only just now realized that, of all of my cousins and uncles and aunts and grandparents and parents and sisters, I am the only one who doesn't live in California. It's funny because I come from a family of adventurers. My grandparents have been to almost every continent, my parents have traveled to tons of countries, even I and my close family lived in England for 6 years when I was little. But still, we always come back to California.
My dad's family has lived in southern California for 4 generations, and my mom's family has been there for 6 generations! That means they were some of the original settlers in Southern California. My immediate family lives in Northern California now, we need the rivers and dirt roads and pine trees at our fingertips. That's the reason why I chose Seattle as my college and 20 something city. I need the city at this stage in my life, but I need to still feel close to the wild.
Today, I'm in my cold rainy city of Seattle, dreaming of California, my California, my home. Seattle is home for now. But I have a feeling in my heart of hearts that, one day, my golden state will draw me back.
I feel like Joni Mitchell sometimes, singing California in my mind. Actually, I know this song and have a mountain dulcimer that I can play the song on too! (A mountain dulcimer is the instrument she is playing in the video above.) It's just hard keeping that crazy instrument on your lap while you strum. And it's tricky singing along while you play. I can manage to sing and play guitar just fine, but most of the time while playing the mountain dulcimer, I'm just concerned with keeping it on my lap. Oh, but to sing and play this song freely. I feel it deeply when I sing, but my hands and knees don't quite have a grasp of it yet. Maybe it's time I learned.