Photos courtesy of Galen Rowell (1940-2002)
Mountain Light Photograph, Bishop, CA
I am from tumbleweeds and wild rose bushes
The sun setting behind Mt. Tom
Burnt Sienna and caramel leaking into my upstairs bedroom window
along with beetle chirps and the flutter of bats' wings.
I am from my dad's tropical enchiladas, heavy with cilantro
And the knotty redwood paneling of our house-his version of wallpaper.
From his gruff voice saying, "Don't go barefoot" and "Turn out the lights!" and worse- "Don't make me come up there!"
His tone disguising his love.
I am from my mom's chicken and dumplings- food of comfort like her words-
"Do unto others" and "Love Never Fails"
Best of all, the softness of her fuzzy blue robe
The smell of her Vaseline lotion as she wipes away tears
"Let's start a new day."
I am from Maple and Brown Sugar oatmeal on freezing mornings-
And a radio deejay blessing us with announcements of cancelled school.
Later, the whooooosh of a snowball past frozen ears.
And stinging feet next to the fire.
I am from Dorothy Hamill haircuts, bad perms, and crooked bangs in school pictures.
From cowgirl boots, horse corrals, braided manes, and the smell of leather saddles.
From 4-H hats, Brownies, youth group.
I am from strong grandmothers with quirky personalities.
Grandma Ottilee, who hates her name, is always cold,
and says, "Bingle Bangle Boom!" whenever you fall.
Grandma Irene, whose feisty temper is thick red like her spaghetti sauce,
pulling the car off the road to yell at a pig, "Sueeeyyy!" and cackling with laughter.
I am from journals of poetry, pressed flowers, and boys' names scribbled with hearts over the "i's",
From L.M. Montgomery novels stained with age, bought at used bookstores.From milk instead of kool-aid and cheerios instead of Cocoa Pebbles
From Love Boat and Happy Days
Tin lunch pails with Charlies Angels
I am from all of these memories
Packed into an antique trunk
And trinkets stowed away in a heart-shaped perfume boxWaiting to be unleashed.
Dawn Smith, 2008