Anthony wanted a vista, my tattoo bread and butter.

He seemed a little high as he described it, which enriched his description.

“Huge, vast, green rolling hills” he mused “with no standalone life, nothing on its own anywhere, the hills rolling for what seems like ever before meeting a setting sun, cascading outwards in purples and pinks and blues and whites.”

This is a big ask – a landscape tattoo like this can look a little pale, washed out, lame, especially after what happens to it with time. I tried to tell Anthony this and he insisted that he didn’t care.

“This is for today, not forever.”

While I did the tattoo, he told me about his mother’s cabin in central Minnesota, with the lake, the dogs, the pot roast in the oven, and this – the vista. A vista so beautiful that his mother had once won a smalltown photography contest by submitting a photo she’d taken on her iphone 4.

It was truly beautiful, he kept reminding me.

“I spent most of my life hating going there, it was so far away from the city, it was boring, it was too reclusive. As a kid, I’d throw a tantrum on the car ride there, and then lock myself in my room to pout about being there. When my mother passed away and I sat there, on that deck, watching the sun set, wishing her pot roast was in the oven, I knew I needed to carry her vista with me, on my body, unable to hide, unable to pout, unable to throw a tantrum.”