Growing Older: Reader Essay by Mary Youngquist

From Minnesota Alumni Magazine Winter 2017

W2017_GrowingOlderMaryYoungquist_Inline300 “Draw the space between the branches,” instructed the woman dressed in what looked like a tablecloth splashed with wild colors and divided by a belt around her ample waist. About 40 years ago, I’d signed up for the beginners drawing class on a whim, figuring to try something new.  

What spaces? I thought. It’s a tree, for goodness’ sake, with a trunk, branches, twigs, and leaves for at least part of the year. Space? “See you next week,” the instructor smiled briskly.

I pedaled slowly back to our apartment. I was looking for space and sure enough, there it was, right between the branches in front of my very eyes. I’d never even noticed it before.  

I began to see that space defines the “branches” all around us: in all that math used by construction workers and architects to build windows and doors that simply frame space—and beauty. In daily parenting life, “stay out of her space” could stop a sibling battle.

Today, I’m 70 years old. I can’t see quite as youthfully as I once did, but I can see more. There’s a lot of space hiding out there just waiting to be discovered. 

- Mary Youngquist (M.A. ’83), Coon Rapids

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