Monday, June 1, 2009

From There to Here

As a busy mom, there is so little time to be contemplative, reflective without direction. Yet, when I do manage to find myself in such a mental space, it is always productive and refreshing. Look at your past to find your future. Well, this is one of those rare moments.

I found myself looking back to my formulative years, seeking how these times may now impact my sense of design. Which place most strongly formed who I now am as a designer, and instilled within me my design foundation? Without a doubt, I would say that this special place for me is our family’s ranch. I spent my entire childhood on the ranch, and, for me, it was magical.

It was a childhood spent in a small town. And in that small town there was a long, winding dirt road. At the end of this road there was a main entry court, encircled by our guest house, barn, shops, and corrals. Beyond this, my grandparents’ house was to the right, and my house was to the left. Further yet, were acres of alfalfa fields.

This environment made such an impression on me because I was so involved in it. I often awoke early in the morning to feed the cows and cut the fields with my grandpa. Throughout the day, my brother and I would explore the river or hike out in the fields. Our play was imaginative, always exploratory, always adventurous. In the summer, when the haystacks mounted, we would make forts within the stacks, and run, and jump, and hide in crevices. My grandpa always had a large garden. When my brother and I were young, my grandpa would carry us out into the garden. As he watered the plants, he would lift us up to pick cherries or a pear. He would then pull out his pocket knife, and carve right into the pear, and hand us little bite-size pieces. We would also eat fresh raw corn—sweeter than any candy.

Clearly, the strongest element of this childhood home was my grandpa. For me, the ranch was my grandpa. It cradled me in its arms as did he. It provided me shelter and warmth, as my grandpa did. It taught me and inspired me. It was the place where I felt distinctly at home, like no place since. Because of this connection between my grandpa and the ranch, the places which made the strongest impressions upon me were those where I spent the most time with him—the garden, his home, the fields surrounding his lake, the swimming hole.

Surely this place lingers within me, and finds its way into all of my designs, and in most that I do. Because this place has so strongly influenced me, I do now realize that as magical as this place was and still is to me, it might not be to others. Yet, I can still use its influence to help others; because in this place, I have known a place of magic. And knowing this feeling of magic, empowers me to create that for others.

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