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.
― Maya Angelou
Abstract, BBC Podcast, Beach, Beauty, Black and White, Blur, Environmentalism, Florida, Life, Nature, Ocean, Pensive, Photography, Podcast, Quotes, Rachel Carson, Rachel Carson's Birthday, Salt, Sand, Science, Sea, Surf, Water
― Rachel Carson
“In every out-thrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth.”
― Rachel Carson
“It is a curious situation that the sea, from which life first arose should now be threatened by the activities of one form of that life. But the sea, though changed in a sinister way, will continue to exist; the threat is rather to life itself.”
― Rachel Carson, The Sea Around Us
“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.”
― Rachel Carson
“Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings.”
(Saga captured whilst out kitten-walking amongst a sea of squirrels)
P.S. More of the model, Fyodor Kitten, in Sir’s lovely and charming blog post here: The Kitten That Rescued Himself)
Many jubilant cheers,
Entranced by the dawn, Briny Lass slithered into the seethe, black and glinting like a seal, with a flash of lemon flipper. The waves were building. Energy flowed through the brine. She pummeled through the mint-green swell, on the hunt for sharks as they began their early-morn feed. When she felt a rush of lissome bodies sliding all around her, and spotted an eager pelican sweeping above with glazed blue eye keen on a meal below- she knew she had found the perfect place to loom and wait for a breach.
Two hours rolled by, the waters frilling with life, each back-lit wave brimming with the dark silhouettes of fleeing fish, but still no breach. Lone Surfer paddled happily past her, encased in contented oblivion. Some wave sets passed, and then, as the Old Salty Lass clambered up the glassy visage of a vast wave, there came a great roar shattering the din of the sea, just beyond. Exuberantly, she clawed to the top and was greeted by a sight of majestic splendor. Before her a great geyser of what seemed to be thousands of fish rocketed into the air, desperately trying to flee the ocean and take wing, to escape the death of the great gleaming maw of the most immense and powerful Shark the Briny Lass had ever met. He twisted toward the sweeping heavens, dancing on the wind, pirouetting like a ballerina, amidst the fountain of fleeing prey. There was a great crash like the sound of an orca’s body colliding with the surface of the sea as the creature plummeted back into the depths.
At this point, lone Surfer’s smiling oblivion was destroyed, as he found himself right in the midst of this fantastic marine saga. He proceeded to rapidly paddle toward shore, turning to say to the Lass of Brine as he swept by, “Did you see that big shark?!”
“Oh yes,” she grinningly replied with squeals of joy, rapidly finning toward Shark, “Absolutely stunning! Just what I came out here for!”
And so the humans parted. It was not much longer before the barnacled old Briny Lass, too, was bound to recede back into the terrestrial life, as her three-hour session was coming to its end. Even as she made her way back, shuffled through the sands, and began beetling toward her old, wind-lashed, salt-encased, craggy, weathered abode by the sea, the vitative rush of euphoria still surged through her being, and she knew upon the dawn of the morrow, she and Shark would be compelled to meet again.
These moments eternal, abiding with you, to Memory now transformed; but never I, to mourn, knowing, onward shall they thrive, a part of this emerald sea that is the life in me.
“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
-George Bernard Shaw
May we have the Desire to cursitate about this splendorous Planet,
and the Courage to embrace the Passions instilled Within,
to Abide in Compassion and Mindfulness,
Dancing this Life of Beauty that is Conscious and Sustainable.
“We shall never understand the natural environment until we see it as a living organism.”