ALS, Black and White, Cancer, Commentary, Death, Disease, Event, Florida, Hope, Ice Bucket Challenge, Inspirational, Life, Loss, Lou Gehrig's Disease, Motivational, Nature, Ocean, Pete Frates, Photography, Sea, Stephen Hawking, Steve Gleason, Story, Sunrise, Video
In general, I live a life fairly indifferent to social media. Indeed it has many lovely advantages, but I just end up spending a lot more time in Nature…being bullied by mobs of roguish manatees attempting to overturn my craggy old kayak as it wheezes through the silky water; or swamping about through black plumes of swooping bats and amorous mosquitoes, with logs of alligators leering up at me through the glorious green murk with smiling eyes the colour of tea; or being pinched by wee crabbies in the ocean and dragged along in the frothy white wake of a rambunctious torrent of sharks and tarpon.
Sometimes, too, I just snail along a pale, sandy trail that snivels through the verdant sylvan shadows, looking for the perfect place to nest and paw through an old dog-eared book for a little while.
Through all this, me dear ol’ camera abides with me as my constant companion. Matters of social media rarely invade this photo-snatching wilderness-lifestyle (with occasional bouts of city-noir-grit).
I am not completely, immune, however. The Ice-Bucket Challenge somehow managed to creep into my hushed little tent of a life. And somehow, I found myself capitulating, as my friend, Kayla, of the northern end of the county, splashed me with details.
She had messaged me, and then suddenly a video was shimmering before me, and there was my chum, blathering away at the camera. She challenged two people, her sister and someone other victim, and then, after a pause, she suddenly blurted out, “and BABS!”
“Who on earth is Babs?” muttered the filmmaker, her mum, just before the roar of a gelid waterfall cascaded onto Kayla’s head, rendering her a corpse; and a snickering man quickly bolted from the scene of the crime.
“Er…I am that ‘Babs’ I fear,” I said to the video bleeping on the screen.
“You have 24 hours!” Kayla then bassooned at me, unfurling like a resurrection fern, as she began to recover from the glacial onslaught.
Usually, the fads that scurry across the net are resisted by me. I shun them. If I happen to hear about them. I was going to happily shun this one, too. But then I probed, like a long-billed ibis probing the soft earth for grubs on a soggy morn, and I discovered what was behind it all.
“I have lived over two-thirds of my life with the threat of death hanging over me. Because every new day could be my last, I have developed a desire to make the most of each and every minute.”
– Dr. Stephen Hawking (from the documentary “Hawking”)
This was different. To me, this was an event revealing the best in human beings- their sense of love, compassion and community, and their endless capacity for Hope and Triumph.
“Concentrate on things your disability doesn’t prevent you doing well, and don’t regret the things it interferes with. Don’t be disabled in spirit, as well as physically.”
-Dr. Stephen Hawking
How could I not participate? I decided to accept the challenge.
Naturally, this act of frigid, muscle-paralyzing sluicing had to take place at the Sea. An old brine-faced block of barnacled driftwood like me could have it no other way.
So, this past Sunday, only having known about this challenge for less than a day, I dragged some camera equipment, a bucket with some ice, Sir and another poor victim, Thome, to the beach at dawn.
Time to be sluiced in some icy brine.
Sprinkled with quotes from some amazing individuals having been diagnosed with ALS, here is the video I shot at the beach, documenting the cold and salty event.
Other related links:
– To learn more about ALS or to donate- http://www.alsa.org/
– More about Peter Frates, creator of the “Ice Bucket Challenge”- http://petefrates.com/
– More about Steve Gleason, of Team Gleason- http://teamgleason.org/
– Short ALS “Health Matters” educational video- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1X4Af…
– Beautiful documentary “Hawking” 2013 (also on PBS in HD)- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shbs13XM3k0
– Doleful short film, “Broken: ALS and How it Hits Home”- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8inVFUAqe1c
Thanks for sluicing by.