all things past come to be again
rummaging through my mother’s house after she died, i realized that packing up a house is not about finding what’s valuable so much as remembering what you used to value, seeing where you used to live in all that used to be yours—your first book of poetry with your name written in purple ink on the inside cover, a handwritten recipe for empanadas, a picture of a gingerbread house you looked at so many times you taste the magic of imagining it being built by your own hands, and a beautiful, colorful book full of hummingbirds and plums pictured from seed to flower to fruit, a book full of wings and words and living things that you suddenly realize must have given birth to the art you now make. page after page it seems you are not looking at a memory but a document of what your subconscious has been bringing to life in your present life. and here it is, unbelievably in your hands.
this is the book:
it was one of the first books i ever owned:
inside, the pages show me this (such vivid memories of these pages!):
these pages seem to have planted the seeds for all of what my aesthetic is—birds and nature and words placed among them, around them, as if words too are part of the picture and not just letters to be read. incredible, isn’t it? i wonder if this is some kind of plagiarism or just a great gift of childhood imagination seeping through the pages of my adult life.
maybe it’s life reminding me all things past come to be again. maybe there’s some comfort i need in this.
and, it seems no small coincidence this book was inspired by an arboretum in san francisco.
with special thanks to my mom. thank you for putting pictures on the walls by my crib, for slowly adding identifying names next to them, for teaching me, at three years old, to read like this. thank you for showing me words and images are just the same. i’m making a life of this, mom, and it probably all started with your finger pointing to those words and pictures you lovingly hung on my wall. what a gift. i wish i would have found this book and shown you this while you were still here. i miss you. rest in peace.