This was a trip of firsts for me. Although I had been to Alabama a few years prior, had done the drive, had a feeling for the place – this seemed different. It was the trip that gave me motherhood.
“We must be willing to let go of the life we had planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.” -Joseph Campbell
I think each woman experiences this transition in her own way, from maiden to mother; both are always within you but the change of capacity that allows one to spring to the forefront for me was a very sudden act. I was at the start of this trip – a woman carrying her first child and so very happy but nervous about the prospect of being a mother – but by the end, although I still harbored the typical feelings of nervous excitement and expectation – I was a mother. The difference is subtle but very real. The difference is in the knowing.
My journey to motherhood had thus far been entwined with the resurgence of photography in my life. After finding out I was pregnant I began to slowly incorporate photographs into my daily life and practice as a form of meditation and documentation on all the changes my body and mind were experiencing. I had trouble expressing my thoughts through writing during this period so mark-making coupled with photography was how I continued the practice of meditative journaling I had begun the year before. This trip was the final event that re-solidified photography for me as a medium of love and self expression.
For both of these things to happen: the dawning of motherhood and the recommitting to my love of creating I needed an experience – a heaving into a zone of strangeness – of warm lakes glazed over, twilights specked with unimaginable sound, conversations that urged the totality of being, and the undeniable stillness that comes with a long stretch on the road. And what came out of these experiences? Memories of a childhood explored in a paradisaical land filled with deep water, lush forests, flowers and bugs larger than life; a sensation of the temporal and connectedness of so many separate elements; and redoubled appreciation for the sanctity of the experience I was going thought. It was a collision of the past, present, and future – a pivotal moment.
Kirra Kimbrell is an artist and co-founder of Mother Muse Co. She is currently living and working in New Jersey. Her personal work is family based and explores the multi-generational dynamic between her and family more specifically that of her, her mother, and her daughter.