Birch & Pine began in a living room in northern Kentucky, two lovers scribbling words in a composition book. We always knew this name of ours needed to stretch beyond the confines of traveling, that the words needed to transcend and shift just as we would. It only seemed fitting, then, that we chose these two trees: distinct, strong, feminine. Trees that bend gracefully to the wind. It's been a long time coming, this thing I am embarking on, a journey that certainly didn't begin with traveling, but was certainly an answer to a question I was asking travel and the events that unfolded post to show me. As my friend Lauren so beautifully wrote in regards to this venture of mine:
"It's so amazing how often we feel lost in our work and suddenly we realize the path has been staring us in the face (though one must not disregard the unveiling it takes to see such clarity. I understand wholeheartedly the fear in taking such gambles on yourself, but one day the benefits seem to outweigh the odds of scrapping it all and hiding."
In the past seven years, I have worked as a freelance photographer and writer, and while I wouldn't call them monumental failures by any measure, there was a part of me that knew my work as a photographer wasn't quite right. It never settled into my heart the way it does for others and I was always aching for something else, something different. Yet I firmly believe the work itself was not in vain. I continued and will continue to strive for betterment in my art, for personal and creative reasons both. When I look back on painstaking effort and many nights of too much wine, wondering what I was doing wrong, why I wasn't succeeding, I see now it wasn't at all that I was failing.
In the moments where I felt I was at a stalemate in my art, though often heartbreaking to wade through, I can only wonder if something, somehow, was guiding me away from that work, that the failures weren't failures at all, but simply small reminders that those things weren't on the path I was meant to take. The Right Things were there all along, getting me through those moments...ushering me (often not so gently) away from the paths I was not meant to take, but allowing me to gather the experiences and tools I needed to pursue the right path. The moments of frustration, the many doors that were shut, as painful as they were, I can now clearly see the merit and necessity of them all. When I stand and survey the ebb and flow of these last seven years, I no longer see a string of failures, instead, I see all of these things valuable, one after the other teaching and growing and stretching me. For despite the pain of so much rejection, I never stopped pursuing my art, this palpable and pulsating thing so intrinsic to my very being, that without it, I cease to exist as myself.
I was simply walking a path in preparation for this very thing I am doing now. I began to trace lines and patterns emerged through the work itself, the photographs of the interiors I designed were resonating with so many. The words I wrote about home and the weight of it, the necessity of aesthetics and simplicity for our creative souls, our marriages, our friendships, were sparking conversation and connection, even across oceans. Suddenly, the picture was ever clear and bright, and the Right Things tapped me on the shoulder and whispered, it's time, this is it.