by : Vanya Erickson
In order to survive her childhood, Vanya Erickson was forced to become fluent in two languages: her Christian Scientist mother’s honeyed versions of the truth; and her rancher father’s hard-as-the-scrape-of-his-bootheels words, which stung like the back of his hand. Long version: From the outside, Vanya’s childhood of riding horses with her father in the solitude of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and attending flamboyant operas with her mother in the city looked idyllic. But life for Vanya was more about learning to gauge and survive her parents’ unpredictable actions - from being left to lie in her own blood-soaked diaper while her Christian Scientist mother prayed, refusing to get medical help, to watching her father writhe on his bed in the detox ward, his hands and feet tethered with leather straps. Vanya the only way she knew how: by immersing herself in the beauty and solitude of the wilderness around her.