Sketchbook, journey, what is home? It’s all a process.

I write this on a Wednesday morning, far from home. Or can any space be home if you make that psychic leap? While it’s a good deep summer hot in Mississippi, I write this while wearing my down backpacking jacket in Oregon. I’ve just uploaded a small watercolor of Trinity Episcopal Church in Ashland, Oregon, here on the website. Trinity has been a touchstone place for me on my many journeys out here. And tomorrow I’ll go into the woods south of here to spend three days on the Pacific Crest Trail. A dear friend is flying in to join me for that, which gives me more chutzpah than I might feel doing it alone. I’ll take my watercolors on the hike. They’ll add weight but not too much, and having them with me always is a balm these days. A voice to record moments along the way. Places and souls whom I encounter as we go along. I don’t understand this journey I’m on, spending so much of my life out here in this far-away land away from my studio and my community, in order to be as present as possible with my now-teenaged son. What day did his voice start to change? When did those muscles start popping out everywhere? Is he making good decisions? Is he as funny and kind with his friends as I know he can be? Are they with him? Time was when I could be there every step of the way for him. I cut his cord, fed him his first bottle, and then his first “solid” food. I was there for his first steps, and his first tumble from a run. I taught him to swim and, and, and…. Then he moved. At age 11 his other mom moved him across the country. Our lives had been interwoven deeply, as are most parents and young children. A great big messy and wonderful canvas of connection. Now I carry my sketchbook, and my journal, and try to make home for him wherever I stay out here. Sometimes we’re able to drive the many hours to the northern part of the state for time with his cousins - my oldest brother’s family - and my dear old friend Kara. Sometimes Ashleigh is able to join us out here, which makes everything happier. Sometimes, we have a few weeks in the summer for some reconnection with his home. His other home? That psychic leap again. Making every space home. Not in a colonizing, entitled way, but in the spirit of we all belong. We are all community. We are all each other’s family. This earth is our island home to care for and revel in. And so I carry my sketchbook, and make notes and try to put it all together.