Archives for posts with tag: blessings

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Paintings and photographs hang from the walls, that enclose what becomes home when full of the love our family shares. There is the one of the ship in a turmoil tossed sea. The endless photographs of family, many of our parents clear favorite, Brooke and me. The painting of our grandparents farm house. It is a work done by an uncle or distant cousin, which I am no longer sure but once could have said. In the kitchen a scene depicts chickens in a dusty yard. My favorite, a portrait, painted by an artist of some renown hangs in the family room against the wall farthest from the fireplace.

Brooke spends hours recreating the paintings with her own hands. Then she moves on to creations of her own, some from mind, others from items in sight. As we grow up, slowly first works of art, then photographs are replaced by pieces in frames father has built in the barn with his wood working tools. The tools with different edges of metal and handles worn shiny and smooth from first grandfathers and now his hands. Mother selects which works of my sisters art replace which others in our home. Until finally the house resembles a museum of dedication to the youngest child. Walls in every room finally full, paintings are swapped when Brooke believes the newest creation is of finer quality. A few of my parents favorites are never touched or moved, others find there way into hands of guests and are taken to new homes. Some are taken from the wall by their creator and placed back on easel and reworked or completely covered with something new. The kitchen has works of windmills in Dutch fields that none of our eyes have seen in person. Or is it now the market of some Mediterranean dream, they change in a pace that makes it difficult to be completely sure.

Where once my favorite portrait hung, a reproduction has taken its place. The reproduction is far superior, or perhaps I am biased in my viewing. The scent of linseed, gum and poppy oil rise from its fresh surface. On the sofa the artist, my sister sits, hands full of magic finding familiar place on a fret board create music only overshadowed by the paintings surrounding us. Inside me I shout, ‘put down that guitar and paint sister, always and forever you must paint!’ Out of respect for all that makes Brooke complete I stay silent.

For the first time in our lives the studying of that which covers our walls is done by the older sister. I memorize each pattern, color, the ridges left by brushes, smoothness created in other places. The magnificant tones that combine to make shadows.

In the attic neatly wrapped is photographs and paintings that once had places on our families walls but no longer have use or bearing. They are missed by no one, least of all myself, only barely remembered. I can’t say when the last one was removed to make space for something of Brooke’s. All I’m sure of is the current wealth of our walls is beyond any I will ever know.

-Brooke’s Sister

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Brooke’s eyes reflect sparkling water, while holding secrets of great things done or about to be done. It’s strange how regardless of what they are set on that Brookelyn’s eyes always seem to show the reflection of a stream. Maybe it’s an abundance of expression, compensation of her silence or her simple uniqueness. Regardless of why they shimmer like a mountain spring, the fact remains they do, giving her the ability to smile with them alone.

My father once told me that he was fascinated by my little sisters artwork, that ability to manipulate paper and ink or graphite. This was some time before she turned to pastels, watercolors, oils, chalk and charcoal. Now we all are captured by the creations of her hands. Possibly our amazement comes in part because she is the only one in the family with talent for such things. I don’t believe that’s entirely it, nor is it that she is talented. The admiration and astonishment of Brooke’s art is mostly do to her casualness about the work. She will give them away, paint over fine works and when praised, simply smile.

She truly believes her talent is just practice, comparing it to the likes of learning a song on guitar, casting a fly-line, ice skating, tying flies or riding a horse. Each of these too can be an art form. So of course I can see the resemblance. It’s not that she is not grateful for her talents. Brooke is completely aware of her gifts, humbly giving credit to almost anyone besides herself. The one exception is she will acknowledge the hours spent perfecting everything she does. Though again she sees it not as anything other than doing what comes natural.

Across the room Dad stands behind Brooke watching her apply oil to canvas. She is currently working on one of two paintings in progress on the twin easels in the corner of our family room, that sit next to the oak table where flies are tied. Two paintings are almost always in progress, allowing for work to be done on one if the linseed oils of the other require time to dry. Plus there are the sketches, pastel works and charcoal drawings that lay scattered across what once was our bedroom but now feels more like Brooke’s alone. I assure you this doesn’t bother me, it’s part of growing up and the art is so beautiful I wouldn’t care even if all my time was spent here.

Brooke looking over her shoulder at Dad smiles pausing for a moment before returning to her piece. During this moment it occurs to me that what I’ve thought was a reflection of running water in her eyes is in fact love. Love so strong and powerful that it can be seen. Love so amazing that it pours out into everything she attempts. Love beyond words spoken by poets or told by play writes from long ago. There is so much love within her that Brookelyn’s small frame and stature can not contain it, resulting in this love overflowing from every aspect of her. This love fills the room, the sights and hearts of everyone she encounters. Leaving me today with a thought. Somewhere out there, a boy who doesn’t yet know it, will someday look into the rivers of my sisters eyes and without saying or hearing a word become the luckiest man to have ever lived.

-Brooke’s Sister

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Individual blades of grass sway in the breeze, turning the pasture behind our home into a sea. Brookelyn leads us away from the house, her pink kite trailing behind her. Since I can remember she has had an attraction to flight, or to things with a line. Of course, I too enjoy the brightly colored flying machines that Dad helped us build and Mom assisted us in decorating but Brooke loves them. She thinks they are magical, whereas I tend to take them for granted.

At the time I had no idea how special the home of my youth was. The small two story house much the same as all of our neighbors, with two bedrooms, a kitchen with attached dining space, a family room and not much more in structure. Where the rarity lies is in the hearts of the people who raised us girls in a way that time has left long ago. The more people I in counter in life, the clearer it is that things were unusual to say the least. From the origami toys we made, marbles we pitched, balls bounced in effort to capture jacks, strings pulled to send tops that were hand carved by father spinning across hard wood floors, and of course the homemade kites, our childhood toys were from generations passed.

Our parents could have purchased the newest toys, video games and items we played with when visiting friends if they had wished. Maybe it was influence from our Amish neighbors, or perhaps they wanted us to know an innocence many of our generation has not been granted. Regardless why, there we were making our way through grass kites floating behind us, waiting to be hoisted high into the sky by moving currents of air.

Brooke is the first to get her kite to take full flight and carry up into the heights of sky. Watching the bright pink creation rustle in the breeze, she keeps the line taunt to ensure flight. I watch a while, mostly my sisters smile and eyes before I begin lofting my own. Of course we encounter failures, tangled strings and at times even sorrows as our hours of hard work crash and crumble in the high grass, not on this day however.

We fly our kites without incident until interest fades, leaving us side by side on our backs staring up at moving clouds. Brooke listens as I tell the story the clouds paint, today it’s the typical princess in palace tale. As the story concludes with nights brave rescue, turning to younger sister I ask if she wished we had a video game consoul like our cousins do. Brooke turns to me, nose wrinkled and shakes her head no. Now smiling she signs, “I like building and flying kites and stories of princesses living in the clouds more.”

Now, after a year in a dorm room. Experiences that I never imagined, like traveling with teammates across the country, I understand what our parents gave us in our unusual, by today’s standards, home. In a way it was each other, time dreaming, imagining and playing together. Finishing this post I ask Brooke if she has a kite, and if we are too old to still fly them. Words are quickly scribbled on yellow pad, that is tossed my direction as she bounces up stairs.

“Yes., I made one not that long ago and that’s silly, you can’t get too old to fly kites! We are the perfect age!”

-Brooke’s Sister