I became aware that there was an old world existing parallel to the present when I was about eight. We’d just moved into a brand new house built on land that not ten years earlier had belonged to a larger estate. The massive old house still stood—out of view—on the other side of the thick trees in our backyard. It was hard to see even from the road, but I understood that it was different from the modern houses popping up on our street. There were others like it, too, as well as little cabins and cottages—all from a different era. This fascinated me; these structures seemed to be from another time and place, like settings from my favorite books that had come to life. I loved how a walk down the road could reveal a kind of flickering glimpse of the past superimposed with the present.

The enchantment has never left these places for me. What has changed are the structures themselves—many are completely gone. Others are still there, but the fields and woods that surrounded them are now lawns. Despite all of this (or maybe because of it?), I find a lot of creative energy here and always have. These places instigated my first creative endeavors and are the foundation for the work I have been creating ever since. The questions they pose to me never get old or completely answered and I am always excited to revisit these places when I come home, no matter how hard it is to see what is becoming of the area.

During our visit in December, we explored the property of the Noerenberg estate, which has been preserved only because the last surviving relative donated it to the city so that it could be used as a public park. She asked that the house be destroyed, but the barn and the boat house still remain.