“It’s the Common Ground Dove”

March 9, 2017

A short story about one of the most wonderful women I have ever known…. and how she inspired “Common Dove” 

My Grandmother lived in my home for the last 13 years of her life and passed away at the ripe old age of 95. The year before she died, as her mind slipped away before her body did, a woman who could always find something to do sat in a rose colored chair in our living room day after day, mostly in silence. Outside the window hung a bird feeder and she would tell me about the different birds who visited her every morning. She would tell me about the Common Ground Dove. More often then not I would rush those moments, busy with my to-do list and eager to begin it. I told myself that I would take the time to sit down and draw her, to capture her longing to go outdoors and watch the birds instead of being stuck inside. Days passed and my lofty plans of filling a sketch book with her face and hands dwindled down to just a handful of sketches and paintings. After she died I promised myself I would always make time to record the quiet times and learn the charm of calm moments. I walk in the living room where her chair used to be and imagine her calling my name, “Hey, come here kid…look at this bird…”

Her life, as simple and as selflessly as she lived it, taught me more than she could have ever imagined.  The woman I called Grandma was also a daughter, a sister, a mother, a cook, a farmer, and a wife. 

She taught me how to make my own spaghetti noodles and bake my own bread. She showed me how to sew quilts and how to pick the right berries and then turn them into pie. She loved with such a passion and told stories of that love that could ignite the soul of even the most cynical person. Her face, even as old an wrinkly as it became, was captivating because of what was behind it.

People like her are worth remembering and the photographs of her life will help me tell her stories for decades to come.

To me, the Common Dove represents the simple, small, quiet moments in life that grow bigger as time goes

on. They eventually grow into what makes you who you are. They are the moments we all too often only

realize the importance of in hindsight.

I want to capture and create the mood that hangs in the air in an attempt to visualize what is felt but not seen. I try to bring to

life the emotions that we all feel at some point. To love. To explore. To hope. To cherish. To laugh. To adventure and to share

with others treasured history that will weave into generations unseen and that can become part of the legacy of your life.

Every day I think of my Grandmother and every day I can think of at least one thing I could tell her or talk to her about.

On International Women’s day, and every day, find the women who inspire you. Hug them. Love them. Tell them how their

courage and passions lift your heart….don’t wait until it is too late.

XO-Jess