Cartographic Stories: Mansfield, Ohio

The places where we grow and learn in our early years of life often have the most fanciful existence as they live on in our memories. I explored the lore behind my own early childhood home in my Northampton post. These are the places that form large parts of our identity as we rapidly absorb all that we discover, and we discover so much when we are our curious, young selves.

This commission is of a small home (which you can't even see) perched on a hill covered in trees in Ohio. A highway flows by adjected to the local reservoir and farms embrace the little mound. It is where my friend, Christina, was born (yes, a home birth) and lived for the first 11 years of her life. From her memories, the hill is covered in dense carpets of vinca (periwinkle), trees, and rock piles.

Christina read a lot of fantasy back then (as I did too at that age!) and so her entire yard felt magical to her. The previous owners had planted patches of bulbs across the property that would sprout and bloom at various times in the spring. There were tiger lilies, daffodils, and snowdrops.

The hill was also covered in treehouses. Makeshift structures that Christina believes are probably crumbled by now but acted as incubation nests for her imagination. In one big white pine tree, she nailed a board to act as a shelf to hold her little Casio keyboard while she wrote songs swaying in the branches.

The dense and ever-growing forest taught Christina to create her own worlds and write her own stories. She plans to hang the painting over her writing desk to remind her to make something good out of life. Create and dream.

My challenge to you:
Remember what place most nurtured you when you were at your most imaginative and creative. Hold that place close in your mind for a little while. Feel free to comment about it too.

More Reading:
Christina's Blog and her recently published poem "Organ Donor" published in Bearings online and an essay in Belt Magazine.

And if you are interested in your own cartographic story painting, see my commission listings