Photographs and Memories
Christmas cards you sent to me
All I have are these to remember you...
Lyrics by Jim Croce (1943-1973)
It seemed like a normal enough request when my BFF Jennifer on her “retirement” birthday asked me to share some images of my sister and brother whom she has known for 60 years but had not seen for a very long time.
It’s long time friends and family who put our stories into context.
As I looked through my iPhone, I noticed there were very few pictures of my family. There were quite a few of my brother Rob in Fort Lauderdale but not so many of my sister Lillian who lives further away. It makes sense in a way because most holidays and occasions when families get together, I would be spending my time photographing family reunions at Thanksgiving, and for which would eventually become Christmas cards for my Ocean Reef family.
Life is made up of moments, interactions with others and not so many selfies.
With this realization, I invited Lillian to chaperone me on a trip to Vegas. Even made the flight reservation while she was on the phone so she couldn’t possibly refuse. For weeks we planned our time there, a great show, a special dinner, down to the fruited champagne flute we’d order with our steak dinner. The first evening though, all plans changed. We spent our time in Vegas at the Spring Valley Hospital ICU due to my concussion and a hematoma. It was only by the grace of God and my sister insisting on the CT scan that things did not turn out much worse.
What happened? As you can imagine, as a photographer, I rarely have my photo taken and that’s a good thing. But on this occasion, professional photos taken before the show “O” by Cirque du Soliel literally and physically lifted me off my feet. Eager to share the souvenir portfolio, I gestured to my sister to sit with me, as I scooted myself off the small bench into thin air, which later was followed by a loud thud, as my head hit a cabinet and the wall. The next thing you know I was getting the super back stage tour of the Bellagio, as they me loaded into an ambulance.
Lillian and I made some memories in Vegas, however they were not exactly how I pictured them. So fast forward another month and I’m back in Key Largo, making weekly trips to the neurosurgeon as they monitor my recovery. I was planning a few photo jobs, and back to normal activities. A few days after my doctor visit, things were slowly returning to normal. Nothing crazy, some walking, meeting with clients, making art. A routine CT scan at 3 o’clock and then at 3:45 a call from the neurosurgeon’s office to go immediately to the ER was how the day ended.
That was a scary call on a Thursday afternoon, I could hardly believe it. Mentally I was ready to move forward and resume my normal life. Hard to believe, but by five I was in a room in the ER, and Mara and Keith of the Ocean Reef Medical Center were making sure I was seen by the doctor and getting into an ICU room, in preparation for a craniotomy the next day. I knew I was in the right place. As my family was on the way, the surgeon was explaining my options, however there is nothing to align with, no reference to anything I have ever done, which can prepare one for the thought of major surgery. There are no guarantees out there but then there was Dr. Joy, the neurosurgeon on call. I had to trust in the Lord that all would be worked out. It did, and we are happy to say we survived brain surgery. How is it possible a human being can have the power and the skill to fix our “command central”? Truly miraculous.
But what’s more than truly miraculous is the love and prayers from not just my biological family, but everyone in this very small town community. It blows me away. The calls, hugs, texts, orchids, homemade meals from those who work with me and for whom I work, from friends and from family.
This journal image “At Play ~ A New Day” was inspired by Barbara and Bill, two of my long time clients ~ simply fun, positive folks that make up the fabric of this community, and created just the day prior to my trip to the ER at Baptist.
Sometimes it’s the decisions we don’t make that make the greatest effect on our lives.
Yesterday is past, and the future is uncertain.
Why not just enjoy the sun, when it is shining? Get wet when it is raining?
Why not laugh when we are happy, and cry when we suffer? Suffering also is life.
When we hurt, it also signals that we have feelings. If we feel, there is hope.
Don't wait until you are dead to start living.
Life is just that, here and now.
Do not let it escape.
It all starts with a piece of Art
And a collaboration.
I know I have started in the middle of a conversation... so let’s take it from the top.
My note to Marcia Larson, ASID
Island Interiors at Ocean Reef, Inc.
Key Largo and Vero Beach, FL
Wow wow wow.
Had a tour of Mary’s Sanctuary apartment yesterday, and you did a mighty fine job. Every detail, so thought out. You did such of fine job with the marbles, the tiles in the bathroom, the colors, the textures, the fabrics, the rugs. So many little surprises each and every way one looks."
Continuing on with my note: “What interests me most is Mary’s comment that the whole design plan inspiration started from a painting which now hangs on the wall in her master bedroom. The field of colorful flowers. Why I find this interesting is that a piece of art led to the renovation; so often in the “DIY Restoration Hardware Pottery Barn” era, a home is equipped with all the furnishings, however by the end of the job, there is no budget for art. There is no artful theme of textures, colors, and pattern. Am I making myself clear?”
Marcia responds: “Yes, perfectly. My thanks should be to you for the kind words and artistic and logical understanding of the process.”
And the process for me is rather an interpretation based on an open book. Marcia’s challenge: tie in a photograph, a botanical, with colors from a swatch of fabric and a painting, that directed the creation of the Bromiliad diptych.
Love how the colors of the artwork just pops amid the neutrals.
It starts with an “A”, “R” collaboration in the middle, and ends perfectly... to a “T” ... ART.
Until there were trees, the newly risen land was a place of rocks and sand, scarred by wind and rain, seared by the unrelieved scorch of the sun. Then there were forests. Trees clothed the hills, cleansed the air, checked erosion, shaped the continents, and made the land hospitable. And when man’s earliest ancestors achieved reason and dreams they found the makings of tomorrow on the forest floor, saw the future’s shape in the long shadows if the woodland... Hal Borland, from Our Natural World.
This passage reminds us of the humble origin of The Refuge... the one outside the back door... all begun a half century ago when Helen planted that first tree. It was during a time of scarred land, and the dredge and fill of native mangrove forests, all in the pursuit of man’s dream. All properties were ocean view. Man and machine had conquered, and left in their wake of destruction were neatly segmented 120 ‘ x 150’ parcels of scarified land.
Simply put, in the spirit of Helen’s legacy, we continue to plant, water, and help it to grow.
Nature heals the earth as well as the soul.
This photographic website provides me the opportunity for self-expression, for sharing