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P O R T R A I T S

the north shore

graduation of college

in the wood

sudio

inner city

in the rain

black sand beach

autumn evening

grand marias

stillwater hillside

two harbors

band / live music 

the pianist

notes inspired by erin

People told me that I’d find life friends in college but I doubted them. I doubted a lot those days. I’d raise my hand and speak my mind but it took me about a year of slipping in and out of classrooms quietly to leave feeling seen. Erin was the very first friend at university who I felt saw me. On the first day of one of our classes together, she sat across from me in a room with four tables pressed into a square and said “I had a dream mar would be here.” I remember walking across campus that day with her by my side understanding a little more about authentic connection. It was soon after that we’d start our timeless talks about the purpose of writing, and the immense weight of gratefulness we shared in attending Northwestern.
The thing about connecting over words is that it becomes a conversation about the heart of self, which requires vulnerability. Vulnerability requires grace, and conversations about grace always extend into life itself—the ache that comes from clinging too tightly, the elation of releasing. Soon we were sharing so much of life, and there it was—life friends. Language just needs a little reevaluating and redefining sometimes for the doubts to inch away.
Last May, we both graduated with the rest of our English major buddies with wide and sappy smiles, and reminisced often about how precious our learning has been at university. I asked to take photos of her around campus for a final goodbye on this chapter. We both were very teary and hopeful and a bit terrified. But there we were, tip-toeing barefoot in the mushy sod and watching the sparrows fly over the island lake while the sun faded peach. A last little poem for us lovers of language, for us both together. It was a little less terrifying after that.

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