My mother was a tomboy from the get-go. This is her in her makeshift tent as a child. Don't you just love her beautiful, thick braids? My mother is and always was the purest kind of individual. She has never faltered from her chosen path. She is utterly unequivocal. Doesn't matter in the least to her what others think of her, she is who she is who she is...like Popeye. I love that about her, and it makes me so very proud. I, her biological daughter, am not such an unequivocal being - which is perhaps why I am able to admire her so deeply for what she is. I am much more mercurial - a shape-shifter in some ways. My personality is split almost equally between the girlie and the tomboy. I love to wear a ballgown and a paper crown only slightly less than I love to sleep under the stars in the desert. My collection of impractical clothing rivals my collection of camping gear. So it is with delight that I watch my adoptive daughter, at 21 months, emulate (without knowing it) my own mother. The Q is utterly unequivocal. She is 100% tomboy. She is totally fearless, and, like Popeye, she is who she is who she is. That makes me happy. And it feels right. Like our family has come full circle. This is my mother today...almost literally. This photo was taken a few days ago, in southern Utah. She is currently on one of her biannual solo road trips in the desert southwest, painting plein air, and collecting material for her next season of work in the studio.
One of the many things that my mother has taught me over the years, and perhaps topping the list of the things for which I am grateful to her, is that life gets better as it goes on. In our society, for some time now, we have been taught to worship youth and dread aging. What is there, in that case, to look forward to? I don't know about the rest of you, but for my part youth did not treat me so awfully well. I had good and studious teenage years, but my twenties were fraught with untethered angst, misguided behavior, and self-inflicted misery. Sure, my skin was lovely and my body lithe, but was I able to enjoy it? Not at all. Fortunately, from one era of my life to the next, my mother has reassured me time and again that life continues to improve. The body may fail in certain ways, but the mind grows more agile, more grounded, and more joyous. Maybe it's a self-fulfilling prophecy, but I have found this to be absolutely (and blessedly) true. Thank you, mum. This is a coyote that my mother photographed last week while camping in the legendary Canyonlands south of Moab, Utah. For the record, I love coyotes, and I do not consider them a threat to society. Just had to say that, since I have lived near and among them for much of my life. Give the coyote a break, people. They are a beautiful, graceful and gentle animal. If you have never heard them sing at night while you're half asleep, you have missed out on one of the greatest joys in this world.