Photo stories

Great art, best friends, and Mister Rogers

“When we can talk about our feelings, 
they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. 
The people we trust with that important talk 
can help us know that we are not alone.” 
~Fred Rogers

“The Nut Gatherers” by William Adolphe Bouguereau at the Detroit Insitute of Arts 


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The Detroit Institute of Arts is a wonderful escape on gloomy late-winter days when spring seems ages away. Beautiful art always lifts my mood and transports me to better places. I needed that, more than ever, this week.

I never tire of revisiting my favorite paintings, including the one shown above by the French artist William Adolphe Bouguereau. Depicting a tender childhood moment, “The Nut Gatherers” touches on the themes of innocence, friendship, and the gentle art of listening. The two sweet-faced girls appear to be sharing a confidence while taking a break from their task. Are they sisters or best friends? What secrets are they confiding?

A great painting invites us to read our own stories, our own meaning, into the work. Each time I visit “The Nut Gatherers,” I’m reminded of my own close friends, past and present, and how much I appreciate being able to share what’s on my mind with trusted companions. Having kindred spirits in our lives — friends who listen deeply and validate our feelings — is a precious gift. ~Cindy La Ferle

Throughout my career, I've worked as a book production editor, travel magazine editor, features writer, and weekly newspaper columnist. My award-winning lifestyles features and essays have appeared in many national magazines and anthologies, including Newsweek, Reader's Digest, The Christian Science Monitor, Writer's Digest, Victoria, Better Homes & Gardens, Bella Grace, and more. My weekly Sunday "Life Lines" column ran for 14 years in The Daily Tribune (Royal Oak, MI) and won a First Place (Local Columns) award from the Michigan Press Association. My essay collection, Writing Home, includes 93 previously published columns and essays focusing on parenthood and family life.

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