In the spring, before wisteria had bloomed in Halifax, I went to the south of France, where wisteria had finished and star jasmine was everywhere.
I studied in France when I was twenty one, before I had a real camera, before I noticed flowers, before I saw life as a series of pictures.
I visited a dear friend, my roommate from that year in France. She is a mother now, a wife, a judge, a home owner. She plays the piano beautifully and serves meals in her garden, under linden trees and dappled light.
Then I travelled slightly north, where I spent five days with The Hill Workshops – Nadia, Beth and Sanda. A dream team.
I could go on and on about the food or the house where we stayed. Or the way in which we ate, or interacted, or the friends we made and the stories we shared. Or the stunning skills of those around me.
One day we went to the market in Gordes. The dream team styled a picnic; we took pictures. Then we tucked in.
Afterwards, Nadia suggested we follow her to a special place: the foyer of a church a short walk away. She tucked us inside the heavy wooden door and positioned us in the cool darkness. Then, one by one, she photographed us. Our faces – not a cake, not a cheese board, not a lively table seen from above. Us.
When you come from eastern Canada, where seasons are extreme, you grow to appreciate life in a unique way. The cold winter draws you closer to the fire. Rain makes you crave the sun. Too much sun makes a rainy day worthwhile. Snow – lots of it – makes us crave spring, and when it arrives, it’s a celebration.
We found these extremes in the church that day. A crack of light was suddenly special; the darkness made the light sparkle. They need each other.
While my roommate, Jessica Beisler, was being photographed by Nadia from the inside, we photographed her from the outside. I love this memory; our view and this light, and the question – what was Nadia seeing?
A month later I was travelling with my family when my son Charlie and I discovered a sweet little church where the light, just like in Gordes, penetrated the cool darkness of the church. I asked Charlie if I could take his picture. This is how he posed.
Motherhood is also built on extremes. Extreme love, extreme fatigue, extreme frustration, extreme gratitude. This one fills my heart with the extreme sweetness of this boy.