$10,000 Scholarship and Hearst Medallion
I remember a time, when I was young, digging a foxhole, my brother eating the dirt that I threw aside, and my sister reading in her room. My mothers voice rang from the backdoor, calling us to the table. We sat down with dirt under our nails and feet caked with earth. Sometimes we blessed our food and sometimes we did not. The true blessing was being together. Amidst the pandemic, we find ourselves together again in our childhood home that my parents planned to sell, because it is too big for just the two of them. My mother still calls us to the table every night, half humored and half amazed that were all here.
Beth Swensen, my mother, takes a moment to herself while repairing the fence in the backyard on Sunday, May 31, 2020.
A black ant gathers nectar from a peony bud in our front yard on Monday, June 1, 2020. Ants and peonies have a symbiotic relationship, a form of mutualism. The ants are fed by the peony’s nectar and, in turn, the ants protect the bud from damaging insects.
Margaret Heltzel, my girlfriend, puts the dishes away before making a pot of coffee on Tuesday morning, June 2, 2020. Margaret moved to Pittsburgh in April as a step towards Kentucky, where we plan to move.
Ben Swensen, my brother, feeds our dog, Myrtle a table scrap, while my mother looks on in disapproval. Meanwhile, Sammy Jo Barnes, Ben’s girlfriend, helps Margaret make pasta on Monday, June 1, 2020.
Ben and Margaret leave for work on Wednesday morning, June 3, 2020. My mother has been working from home while the rest of us landscape a few times a week. It is not our normal occupation, but we take what we can get.
Jeff Swensen, my father, leans against a hoe in our garden on Sunday, May 31, 2020. My father is a freelance photojournalist, but has since lost most of his work due to the coronavirus.
My sister, Sadie Swensen, sits on the front porch while Margaret braids her hair and Myrtle steals a kiss on Tuesday, June 2, 2020.
My father paints the garden fence as Margaret rests on the roof after work on Wednesday, June 3, 2020.