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Summer Squall

"Unlike the prints I had designed previously, I had this one named almost from the very start."

Since I expatriated to the Netherlands in 2007, summers have been a particularly special time for me, when three generations of my family are in the same place … when my past, present and future convene on a New England shoreline.

There’s a particular moment I was thinking of as I started work on ‘Summer Squall’. It was an evening in late July. I was sitting with my parents around a fire pit along the Westport River, each of us at distant points on an invisible circle, so far apart that talking was out of the question. The evening light was fading and we formed a ring around my younger daughter, Juliette, who was dancing in the sand, circling the smoldering embers. She was jabbing at the air with a marshmallow stick and licking her tacky fingers. We had just eaten the quintessential summer dessert of s’mores … We felt content, complete.

It occurred to me that, as an adult, moments like these come to you coupled with the realization that you will have to let them pass, the way they must, on their inexorable journey from present to past.

And the next moment waiting for us, when we’ll all have to say goodbye and go back to our ‘real’ lives – is imminent. This moment will fade to memory like the flames in the fire pit, smoldering to ashes that take to the wind. For me, that moment by the fire pit was the point of light that I took with me into the darkening days. It was the perfect white peony suspended above dark foliage. Behind that flower in full bloom, and behind that moment, the leaves were beginning to rustle with its passing …

Following that summer was a fall season, a year, a life in chiaroscuro, the darks more prolific, accounting for most of the time and space. And yet it was as if their only purpose was to direct us to the light. We looked forward to the next summer, knowing it would come. After a period of darkness, the light would reach new heights.