Trees, Friends and Homesickness

Trees, Friends and Homesickness

My show that’s currently hanging at the Foster Gallery is really about how homesick I am. I miss the trees back home and use them as symbols to express what hurts the most – not having that feeling of belonging I felt in my hometown. The trees lean into one another, each shape introduces the next one. This is how I remember home. I felt a connection with everyone; I really felt cared about and significant – not overly important, but an accepted addition that was uniquely me while shaped by all the interesting people in my small town, Wise, Virginia.

“Neighbors” Pen & Ink by Julia Vanover

I’ve moved so much in recent years (being in the military, then two more moves after). I feel a bit invisible, unknown, a little disposable. I’m sure lots of people would say that I’m just seeing things more realistically; and that we make our own connections wherever we are.

Part of me wishes I wouldn’t have moved away from home. Even if I decide to move back (which is a real possibility), many of my friends and relatives have moved or passed. A lot has changed, that sense of belonging is likely gone no matter what.


“Removed and Distant”, Pen and Ink by Julia Vanover

And that is okay today because my friends take the edge off. Recently, a kind friend of mine, Jean, organized a lunch out with some of my Valparaiso Garden Club friends. They got to see my art and their comments reminded me of a show I did over twenty years ago (back home at the Harris Gallery). This endeared these friends to me even more by reminding me of an almost forgotten memory: how supportive people were of my shows then.

“Trees that Help You Remember”

If I allow it, I can convince myself that I should have lived my life different. But if I spend five minutes with a good friend or two or more, that kind of thinking just seems irrelevant. After all, we can’t change our past. It’s wonderful to have people who help us enjoy the here and now. I think maybe enjoying the here and now is really what I used to feel when I felt connected. Isn’t it strange that it’s with us all along and we don’t know it. We don’t see that much of what we are missing isn’t really gone. I can remember my happy memories while enjoying now, if I let it. It’s just me choosing to see it that way. I love to hear my friends stories and for them to generously listen to mine. It’s just simple happiness no matter where we are.

“Trees that Surround Me”

Hope you are allowing time for friends and connection in your day too. Hope you are being kind to yourself today.

Much love,


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