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How Did Your Childhood Influence/Inspire You?

I was born in a hospital in Waynesboro, Virginia, and my folks lived in Hermitage, about four miles from there. My dad grew up in Crimora and my mother in Waynesboro. This is important because it means I was nurtured by two individuals who had blood relations to the land and to the people of that region. Connecting to the environment was as natural for me as breathing. Every day, I awoke to the sounds of a mockingbird in the fire bush; I ate bacon, eggs and grits for breakfast; I worked outside helping my dad bail hay, chop wood, or de-worm cattle (a not-so-fun experience). So many people I know look at their life as just a big chunk of time working until the weekend, just biding time, waiting for the moments in-between the working. For me, I loved all the moments, working and non-working. I loved riding in the back of the pickup truck at my Paw-Paw's house, tearing apart hay bales for the cattle and kicking them off the truck as we drove through the meadow in the dark. I loved shucking corn with my Grandma in the tight, sticky summer air, when I wore cut off Lee jeans and she kept shooing away the spotted barn cats with her sandaled feet. When my dad took a job with the forest service, I was two years old and it changed my life drastically. By the time I was 8, I was a naturalist with a desire to continue on that path. However, my mother's art career took off and I was introduced to life as a traveling art fair artist. I found this wildly appealing because I got to travel with my mother on weekends and see new regions of the state previously unexposed to me. I guess what I'm saying is from the day I was born until I moved away from Virginia, my head was filled to overflowing on a daily basis with new images and experiences. Inspiration was never lacking.