The past couple of weeks have been full of all kinds of ups and downs. My husband and I received our masters degrees from Indiana University and headed back to Iowa to reunite with friends and family. I am so relieved to be graduated it is hard for me to find words to describe it. It is like a long, beautiful chapter of my life is over and now the next wonderful stage can begin.
The trip home was mostly bliss for me, especially getting to be with my family (especially that sweet niece of mine who is pictured below). This will be the first summer ever that I don't spend in the middle of the cornfields, immersed in the routine of walking with my Mother in the mornings, working at the house or on the farm for the rest of the day, and digging my hands into that lovely stretch of 8x8 raised beds and gardening whenever possible. It will be the first summer without the communal dinners where we put our heads together and have nightly feasts. It will be the first summer I don't walk around barefoot on the grass and walk out my front door and smell that deep, heady scent of twilight. It will be the first time I'm not home for Father's day.
It is hard to describe that deep yearning for a place to someone who doesn't have a similar spot in their heart for someplace like this. I always wondered why I wasn't like many "normal" children who feel the innate desire to be different; I never wanted to forge my own new path into some unknown world and leave all that I had known to reach beyond it. That doesn't mean I don't have hopes and dreams, but for me there is no greater satisfaction, no greater peace, and no greater beauty in any place besides that stretch of 200 odd acres in northwest Iowa. My family is there. My history is there. My heart is there.
But I cannot figure out a way for it to make sense for my physical self to be there. I have this awesome opportunity to be a photographer here. I think I can do it there, too, but here I will have more opportunities to get experience. And Ayron needs to be here to continue to pursue his dream of becoming a professional singer, and I want to support him one-hundred-and-ten-percent.
I just feel like there are a lot of growing pains. And there will be so many more. Starting a business and actually growing it and moving it forward are so exhausting. Yes, it is rewarding, but it is hard some days not to be stifled by the fear of it all. There is this deep fear of not being good enough that accompanies almost any artistic endeavor. Who am I kidding? It accompanies almost any big step in life.
I just have to remember that to truly grow you have to take risks. Truly great things always take a lot of effort to attain. On the hard days, I just have to remember why I started taking photographs in the first place. One of the reasons is right here:
I just have to pray. And dream. I need to always keep dreaming.