March 04, 2006

Photo of my mother

My parents, who are in their mid-seventies, do some kind of outside activity every single day. In the winter, they cross-country ski or snowshoe, sometimes in the woods behind their house but often in any of the beautiful parks in this area. In the fall, they have a bicycle-built-for-two that they ride along the flat path that runs along the Famous Canal here in Snowstorm region. People who are at the canal walking their dogs or jogging will often stop to talk to them and ask them about the tandem bike. Up at camp in the summer, they canoe and sail and swim in the river. In any season, they like to hike, often walking trails they have walked many times. Since my father has lived here his whole life, he knows the natural areas by heart.

Now that he has a digital camera, my father has started taking the camera with him on their hikes. He will email me a photo and ask, "Can you tell where this shot was taken?" And of course, I do always know. I've lived here for almost 45 years, and I've hiked these same places many times, sometimes with my parents.

When I look at the photo below, I recognize the landscape immediately. I know just where my Dad was standing as he took the shot. The walk they took goes up high above the canal, up the hill of dirt created by the digging of the canal years ago, up to a spot where you can look across the landscape at the woods and meadows and big sections of houses that have mostly been built in my lifetime. And of course, even if the photo hadn't come from my father, I would know immediately that the person walking down the hill back to the car, enjoying the cold winter air and thinking about the cup of hot tea she will be having when she gets home, is my mother.

hillwalk

11 comments:

negativecapability said...

You've reminded me that one of my biggest dreams in life is to have my parents be as healthy and happy as yours are when I'm your age. I would also like to live near them, but I don't know if I'll be that lucky.

listmaker said...

A beautiful post, as usual, jo(e). In my previous location FamousCanal was at the end of my street. I could hop on my bike and ride along it to work, sit by it to read and my kids practiced their bike riding skills on the towpath. I miss having it, literally, in my back yard.

kathy a said...

jo(e), how lovely! i grew up in such a distant place -- a suburb in los angeles, which had many orchards in the 1930's-'40's, and some enduring later, but many tract houses over ensuing years. i go back, and am always stunned by the changes since i left home 30 years ago. your family is so lucky to have some big good places that stay the same. and that your parents are in such good health, doing well.

my dad was born in 1930, in another state, but he grew up in L.A. he knew the freeways, byways, and odd places like your parents and you know your area. i miss him a lot.

peripateticpolarbear said...

(o)

Sue said...

Lovely.

Heidi the Hick said...

you could put up more Dad-taken photos anytime! thanks dad.

Scrivener said...

It's hard to even imagine that situation. I've never lived anywhere longer than the house we're in right now--we bought it almost four years ago.

zelda1 said...

While you and I live in completely different climates, it looks like we have some of the same kinds of geographical structures. Hills, mountains, lakes, rivers, and paths that go forever. You are so lucky to have healthy parents, and they are lucky to have you. I enjoy your post simply because it contains tidbits about your family. That, to me, is what is interesting about people and what gives me a guage to decide if I would like this person in real life, how they love and present their family, and you do your family well.

ArticulateDad said...

What a beautiful post. It's nice to peek into someone else's life. I'm with Scrivener though. It's all so foreign to me. My distinct memories of place are always sketches, outlines, smells, tastes. They are vaguely distinct.

I recall, I remember. My eyes drift off above my left shoulder as I try to place them. Where, oh where was that? God, I can feel the air, and hear the buzzing light, but where was that? Was it Denver, Prague, Paris? Oh, oh, maybe that was New York!

Different paths. It's nice to know sometimes they cross.

Yankee T said...

I love that you've lived there forever, that you still have your parents, and that your dad takes photos of your mom...
Of course, I love the blog, always.

Michal said...

Hi,

I love the small 'movies' that you create with your words-but I am so so envious of the family you have surrounding you it must be so comforting. I sometimes find you posts to painful too read because my family is so dislocated.

My mother is an only child, she was bought up by her mother who died when I was 6yrs. My father left us and went back to the UK when I was two he never came back and I have never known his family.

I now live in a different country to all of my brothers and sisters there are 6 of us.

I have no Cousins or Aunts or Uncles or Grandparents living.

Sometimes the grief is too much.

I do I must add have a very loving partner and two wonderful children so Iam very blessed in that respect.

I feel so envious of your world though the security and memories of an enduring family. I dont think I will stop reading your post though it is too beautiful...

Michal