the family salve

In literature, writers use the image of water to evoke life, purification, and ritual. Water transforms us; in myths, immortals are born of the sea. The literary symbolism is dual: water has the power to consume, but also the capacity to heal.

In the spring of 2012, before learning to walk, my youngest son was diagnosed with a malignant brain stem tumor. In the aftermath of his diagnosis, and under the anxiety of a watch-and-wait protocol, my husband and I brought our family to the Pacific Coast. We wanted both of our children to see something of the world, to understand and be stirred by open sky and water.

Six years have passed, and still our son thrives, so each summer, we return to the ocean. The photographs I make during these pilgrimages are a meditation on our fragility in this world, the comfort of ritual, and the passage of time. They are a poem of gratitude and grief.