POV ("point of view") is a series that addresses many of the same themes covered in my Equals Record column: growing up, saying yes to adventure, learning to embrace a quarter-life crisis. Each POV entry will include a photograph and a short reflection based on what’s pictured. While my previous column focused largely on ideas, POV focuses on moments - glimpses, glances, tiny stories.
When I was growing up, there was a tree in my front yard that I loved to climb. It had sprawling branches, bark mottled with mold and moss, and leaves so green and alive they glowed. On one end of the tree, three separate limbs converged to form a seat, and I would sit there after school, sometimes with friends, sometimes alone with a book.
In third grade, I hung a plastic globe from a branch on the opposite side, and from my “seat,” I'd pretend I was in lost in space, drifting in a sea of stars. If I tried hard enough, I could convince myself I was airborne and on a mission, that I was far, far away from the world I knew.--
These were my first inklings of travel, of living in exotic places, of experiencing cultures beyond my own. And though I had the happiest childhood imaginable - the happiest teen-hood, even - there was never a question that I would leave home for college, or continue moving afterward.
For the past few days, I've been in LA helping my parents pack up their house in preparation for a move. I've been given the job of sorting through boxes of family photographs, and have spent most afternoons this week with my feet submerged in a pool of prints.
There are literally thousands: decades of Christmases, birthdays, and school singalongs, our faraway cousins in snow suits, and our grandparents at the Grand Canyon. There's one of my mom with Rod Stewart, and another of my dad smoking a cigarette, looking like he could be sitting in any Williamsburg coffee shop in the present day. There are shots of my brother and me, dyeing Easter eggs, laughing in a photo booth, painting our faces on Halloween. There are cards and letters mixed in, too. In one, my dad writes to my mom (in reference to us): "Thanks for the miracles."
Revisiting it all has felt like its own journey through space: visiting forgotten planets, relearning old faces, reading long-lost words. It's reminded me that while it's important to realize the world is vast and varied, it's wonderful to remember how small it is, too. How much our parents loved us, and still do. How at one time, leaving home meant spending an afternoon in the cosmos and returning home in time to set the table and get ready for bed.