She had remembered. She had returned.
Did Anna grow crimson geraniums on her windowsills in winter?
Did Karen brighten the long days of darkness with colorful embroidery and careful drawnwork?
Did Dortea ever long to fly solo and return to the land of her birth to live a quiet life
Far from the tug of her husband and nine children?
And when they were young girls in Norway as I once was,
Did they play in the woods and make crowns of wildflowers?
Did they draw maps of magical lands on the tissue-thin bark of birch trees?
Did they dream of lavender moons or of windows that gave glimpses into the distant past?
Did they wish upon falling stars reflected in the still waters of fjords or bathe by the light of the midnight sun?
I feel them around me, my great-grandmothers and my grandmother
Who never held me in life but hold me now,
Answering my questions without words.
I like to think that their memories mingle with mine and live through me
That our common blood allows a transference of thought and experience across the vastness of time and space.
They help me remember.
They help me return.
They inspire me to continue to make memories
Knowing that these are the poems of our souls
That allow each day to linger
In the twilight of our lives.
The work in this exhibition had its genesis in the three years I lived in Norway as a child, and in my recent return after a 53 year absence. Visiting as an adult prompted questions about the women on my father’s side of the family who had emigrated to the United States in the mid-to-late 1800s, questions which I reflected on while creating this work. I owe much to their legacy and dedicate this work to their memory, and memories, with gratitude and love.