We never realize the effect we have on another person, how lasting a memory can be or the impact we can have on one another simply by participating in each other's lives. Its one of the reasons that death is such a powerful tool in life, it forces us to reflect upon the imprint we place upon each other's souls while we are living.
For me my greatest influence was my Grandmother. I recently wrote about her in an article that is to be published this September in Somerset's Holidays and Celebrations magazine. She was my creative touchstone.
One of my first collages I did I did while thinking of her. In my early twenties I was rather nomadic. I worked and traveled and then worked again to pay for my next traveling adventure. I traveled across the United States by plane, by a crazy hippie bus and by car. I also spent a year and a half in the North Island of New Zealand. I would write home often and in between adventures I would make sure I stopped into see my "Grandmo" and fill her in on my experiences and what I had learned.
She was the one that I had promised to visit a museum in every major city and because of that promise I have seen exquisite art all over the world. After my grandfather passed she continued to live in her home for a few years and I would continue stop in and visit whenever I was in Oregon. I would more than likely find her sitting in her favorite rose colored plush chair in the living room, listening to an opera or classical music on public radio. I would then come and sit on the couch next to her and tell her the tales of my travels. As she put it, she was now "an armchair traveler" but travelled now through my adventures. When I was done she would then pull out her latest poetry or any saved articles she had cut out for me. It was our routine.
This photo was taken in her dining room on one such visit. She had just finished a collection of essays I had inspired her to write, including the title, Forget Me Nots for My Granddaughters. As she sat in dining room, the same one I had known my entire life and celebrated countless occasions in, I had that photographer's instinct to capture the moment I was in. Using only natural light that streamed in through the windows, I pulled out my Pentex K100 camera with a few shots left on the roll of film and took this photo. This would be the last time I would sit with her at her dining room table.