I saw these images in my head long before I took them. It took me a while to find the right spot because a city like Philadelphia doesn’t really offer any unobstructed, building-free views with rolling green paths leading on to nowhere. But find it I did – on my way back from collecting work from an exhibit in Phoenixville, I drove through Valley Forge and nearly went off the side of the road when I saw this view.

Did I mention the husband and kids were along for the ride?

Marty: “What are you doing?”
Me: “Pulling over! I have my camera with me! Look, actual TREES!!”
Marty: “Wow, and grass without parking garages on it too…who knew?”
Me: “I have just one favor – please, please keep the boys occupied for a bit until I get the shots I want, then you can let the run free.”
Marty: “Sure hon, no problem!”

I started walking down the path, camera raised to my eye, when I saw a set of fingers reach for the lens.

Me: “Hello, Daniel.”
Dan: “Hi Mom! You can take a picture of me now!”
Lucas: “Me too! Me too!” *as he runs into the back of my legs, not wanting to miss anything*

Marty: “Boys, come over here – Mommy has work to do!”
Me: “Thanks ever so much, darling…”

Again, I scan the horizon for interesting shapes and am about to set off once more, when I hear Danny scream.

Me: “What’s going on?”
Dan: “I stepped in a PUDDLE and my shoe is WET!”

Marty, realizing I might be a little annoyed, gestures that he’s got the situation under control.

Marty: “I’ve got it, sweetie! Just go do your thing, don’t worry about us!
Lucas: “Ow, Danny PUSHED me!”
Dan: “Nu-uh, I did NOT push you. I SHOVED you. There’s a difference.”

At this point, I gave up. The boys came galloping down the hill behind me, thrilled to be let loose in a sea of rolling amber and green. After about thirty minutes, they all voluntarily headed back up to the car, their shoes covered in mud and their hair full of downy seedlings from the cotton plants they discovered along the path. It occurred to me then that exhausting the children first was probably a better plan than holding them captive.

I grabbed a few moments of solitude and captured these three images as their voices faded and floated away by the fall breeze. By the time I reached the car, they were all buckled in to their seats, waiting patiently for me, tired smiles on their rosy faces.