As an avid trail runner for the past decade I have spent an exorbitant amount of time outdoors on the trails. Health and fitness have always been central to my life. I was very unexpectedly diagnosed with breast cancer this past year; six months of chemotherapy; surgery and an endless cycle doctors visits...healing was on the forefront of my mind. Life in the middle years can be messy and my life was no exception. My cancer diagnosis was so quiet. Deafening. I could not even say it out loud. In the blur of the treatment I would quietly whisper to myself...If I can make it to the summer months, to my home in Truro, MA, I can begin to heal.
Truro is my childhood touchstone. The place where the light bends in unexpected ways as it bounces from the bay to the ocean. Where very little has changed since I grew up on the beaches in the early 1970s. We are fortunate to still gather as a family during the summer months in this special spot. Now my daughters and their cousins are the fourth generation to roam the beaches, swim in the kettle ponds and catch fireflies at dusk. The rural unstructured summers have allowed for freedom and spontaneity. There is an indescribable feeling of total contentment when I am in Truro.
I have spent the last decade capturing my daughters growing up in this spectacular spot. My images of them are informal and raw like their childhood. My favorite place to shoot is at our local kettle pond. The light and vivid colors of the pond have always been a draw for me. Watching my girls glide through the water feels like magic. Weightless, ethereal and also a bit eery.
This summer I wanted to focus on healing. I had no agenda other than to swim in the salt and fresh waters of Truro. I began to feel myself healing as I would glide above and below the surface. The water would hold me, mute sound, intensify my heartbeat. I needed to feel all of these things.
One afternoon I was swimming and began to think about the holy ghats in India. The place where ashes are laid with flowers for reincarnation; a rebirth. Moksha. In the Sanskrit language, "moksha" means freedom. It is as a state of eternal bliss and emptiness. According to Vedanta life is an endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth into a physical universe. It is believed the holier the place, the better the chances you achieve moksha. I remember seeing the vivid colors of flowers floating on the Ganges during this ritual. It was so otherworldly and riveting. I never really knew how to fully process it. The images burned in my memory.
The kettle ponds and the ocean are my holy place. I began to forage and gather flowers early in the morning. Deep in the woods, along the path to the beach, on a country lane, I would gather whatever was in bloom. This became a bit of an obsession. I began to notice the cycles of the wild roses, black-eyed susan, echinacea, marigolds...all coming and going at different times during the summer. Fleeting. I collected everyday. Brought my findings to the pond, swam out and released them. I would swim above and below. The vibrant colors against the deep greens of the kettle ponds took my breath away. My daughters would swim through the flowers- the petals getting tangled in their hair. This was my rebirth, my Moksha, if you will.
I was lucky to capture some of these afternoon offerings. I purposefully did not always bring my camera because some things are not meant to be captured. But I am happy that I was able to document some of my healing. The weightlessness of hope; the lightness and beauty; the simplicity and lushness...all of these things filled me. All of these things healed me.