Flower House and Family Vacation
Where do they all come from? They don’t seem like real places, or maybe they are real, just remembered and better because of it? These are questions and comments that have come up about the collages since I started sharing them. The truth of it is, they just come. There is no intention or emotion set before I begin, but come they do. And then they tell their own stories. That’s stories, plural, because the story I hear is almost always different from the ones you have all shared about the pieces when you see them. That’s what I love about art, the stories are different for each of us, but the beauty is all the same.
Growing up, our family would always go on vacation to Surfside Beach. Those childhood expedition to the beach were something I would look forward to all year. It was about six hours from our rural home to the sand of Surfside Beach, give or take a quick lunch, bathroom break or family photoshoot at a roadside rest stop. We would pile into my Dad's big truck before the sun came up, pillows and blankets under our arms, and fall asleep almost right away, as the anticipation of sandcastle-making and evening crab hunts had kept us awake the night before. My favorite part of the road trip would when I’d wake up after a short cat nap, and everyone was asleep except me and my dad. He would let me help pick the soundtrack for our drive. The two of us would jam out together to Dire Straights and Fleetwood Mac--dad on the steering wheel drum, me playing air guitar. Then I’d ask him to switch it to Nora Jones and pretend like I was a songbird. When the sun came up and the family awoke, we'd play road trip games and tell stories. These trips to the edge of Texas brought us all closer together, and I learned that being home really meant being anywhere together with the people you love, the people who know the you-est you, to the very core, and could remind you what that means whenever you forget.
I always knew the mini road trip to the beach was coming when the nests in the tree tops were abandoned and my Daddy's wildflower garden bloomed. Reds and yellows and purples in the fields signaled that summer was coming and so was our treasured family retreat. For one week I would move from seeking the prettiest flowers for kitchen bouquets to seashell hunts, trading in my grass stained knees for sandy toes.
The time at the beach was short, but it was full. Full of sandcastles and adventures and new friends that were also there for the week from all over Texas. Full of giggles, from late nights with my sister being silly. Full of naps in the cool AC before heading back to the water, the restful kind that we could recall even in the fall and be refreshing. Full of board games and cooking and exploring. And when it was all over, we always came home. Home, with new memories to last till the next time we would go out together as a family again.