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Our childhood home was an 1880’s farmhouse with a leaky, rubble foundation a stones-throw away from protected wetlands. It was where my brother and I dug deep for dinosaur bones, and nailed boards to a boxelder for our rickety treehouse. With no neighborhood kids for miles, we ruled and reigned the lands together. Home was a feeling then.

We were close for years, until we weren’t. Our paths diverged when addiction entered his life. And, as heroin took hold, he neither ruled nor reigned his reality. Home became a place—an obligation, really—only memories enlivened that childhood feeling. Ignorance was easy, distance was easiest, and neither were bliss. I would tell myself, “This is my last winter here. Spring will come. Then it’s time to go.” This cyclical narrative carried me through many winters.

In 2014, William was incarcerated for eleven months. During our timed phone calls and supervised visits, I met my sober, adult brother— a person I had never known. This project documents the time following his release to include our celebration of his sobriety, his relapses, recoveries, overdose and continued cycles. As of today, William is 18 months sober.

Long Winter, Late Spring is my search for the feeling of home again.

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