Donna Ruskin

What Color Are My Rhododendrons?

In January of 2021, I moved to a new home. It was a house, unlike the co-op I previously lived in for over 35 years. I had a yard now with Rhododendron bushes, but it was winter so nothing was in bloom. I wondered with a feeling of excitement, “What color are my rhododendrons?” The question spoke to the anticipation of an unknown future. Of course it didn’t matter what color the rhododendrons were. I was just happy to have flowers much the way I imagine an expectant mother feels about having a baby regardless of its sex.

I was scared to move but more scared to stay. Would my life really change, or would it simply be a case of “Wherever you go, there you are?”

Prone to being easily overwhelmed, it is hard for me to see the big picture. What Color Are My Rhododendrons navigates through a time of dislocation, disorientation, and acclimation. My images are fragmented and make the familiar strange, like a common word said over and over until it’s no longer recognizable. This series is a non-linear examination of my feelings within a new space. It meanders, reveals at its own pace, and defies quick summation.

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