Archive for June 2009
This is Sage’s Dad, chiming in at the suggestion of Cindy, Sage’s Mom. I’ve never blogged before, and I probably never will again, although I often teach about words like “blog” in my Linguistics Intro course at Wake Forest: such words are called “clippings” but the funny and perplexing thing about “blog” is that it got clipped at the wrong place, at a spot where no other word I know of has gotten clipped. There’s just no logic in cutting off the first two ingredients of the morpheme “web” and leaving the “b” to attach itself to “log.”
Anyway, when I was called upon to behold Sage’s accomplishments of last weekend, two thoughts came to mind. The first is not maudlin, the second is.
My first thought was that at the age of 13, Sage came home from school and said something like this: “Dad, it’s not fair: in PE class, if you can jump 12 feet you get an A, if it’s 10 feet, it’s a B, if it’s 8, you get a C.” I said “Life isn’t fair. You weren’t meant to jump 12.”
Obviously I was wrong. She just jumped the equivalent of 15 feet.
I was taught by my father never to say “I’m proud” because “Pride goeth before a fall”, said my Dad. So I have never said that to Sage, nor about Sage. However, I am the following: amazed, choked up, incredulous, baffled, stirred, even shaken, with apologies to James Bond.
The second thought comes from a rather obscure Country Song. Here are some of its words:
If life is like a candle bright, Death must be the wind; You can close your window tight, But it still comes rolling in.
So I will climb the highest hill, And watch the setting sun, And pray that I won’t feel the chill, Till I’m too old to die young!!
Chorus: Let me watch my children grow, To see what they become; Lord, don’t let that cold wind blow, Till I’m Too Old to Die Young.
As I sign off from this, my one and only blog, I want to express gratitude to fate that I got to see what my children became. It is all wonderful.
Billy Hamilton, father of Sage.
After days of anticipation (and months of preparation for the athletes) yesterday’s dawn brought the start of Ironman 2009 in Idaho. Our only daughter was a couch potato in her teens, and it’s mind-boggling to see the transformation of the kid we we’ve always known to an analytical athlete, conditioned and nutritionally savvy. Still, as a mom, I was worried as I watched the sea of swimmers (2,000 plus!) crowd each other into the water, especially as the main PA announcer started talking about the 2 hour 20 minute cut off for the 2.4 mile swim in 65 degree water. I teared up several times. Fortunately, I was busy with my camera and enjoying Rick and Terri, who had traveled a long distance to experience the Ironman, too, after watching the bicycle part from Terri’s mom’s cabin for the past 4 years or so.
As the swimmers were off, the sea was alive, the way it might be with a swarm of string rays or roiling fish. There was no discerning who was passing by, because of the sea of red caps-the men, and white caps-the women, but it was interesting when each athlete came out of the water, and either turned right (they had completed two laps) or left (there was another lap to go!). I was worrying as a mother will about Sage, when I heard the magical words through the PA announce Sage’s name as having finished, and I frantically tried to fire off some shots of her going up the right hand path. By now my hands were shaking, and the tears came anew.
Next was a ten minute transition of changing clothes and peeling off wet suits, before the 112 miles on the bike. The transition teams (wonderful volunteers) slathered sunscreen on everyone, and off each athlete went again. Wes, our son-in-law, began checking splits on the computer, which was tracking Sage’s ankle chip. The wonders of technology! He knew when it was time to pack up the girls and watch for mommy, so off we went to Sis’s cabin right by the side of the road, just before the equivalent of Boston’s Heartbreak Hill, longest and hardest spot for the bike event! About 20 minutes after we arrived at Hayden Lake, Sage whizzed by, smiling and waving! This was her second lap of the bike experience, in her opinion, her worse event. By now things were looking encouraging even for the skeptics among us.
We came home for a while, managed to choke down dinner, and it was time to go watch the finish in the misting rain (and 50 ish degree temperatures). Again, the computer split time told us great information, and Wes, intelligent mathematician that he is, did a great job of calculating where to be and when. It was magical to see her come down the final shute, like watching for a loved one coming off the airplane at the airport after a long absence.
Afterward, Sage said that she felt just like she did when she finished the Boston Marathon. Amazing what great training and discipline can do for a person!
Looking at my 400 plus shots, there was a huge amount of joy yesterday, and yet, some of the faces reflected such disappointment and agony and exhaustion that those are a big part of the images that will remain with me. Teamwork, an Ironman is NOT (except for the families involved) but self-discipline is certainly tantamount to a successful experience. Today I’m more tired than Sage! I’m relieved and she’s matter-of-fact. Our couch potato is no longer a couch potato, but a real Ironman(woman). Amazing!
Yesterday was mine, and anymore I don’t count the years if I can help it. Just looking in the mirror confirms what I already know. Since school just got out, and I have no exciting photographic projects going until later this upcoming week, I was thrilled to take some very informal shots of my most favorite model, EB, whose pictures I have been taking since she was about 4 weeks. She has been well chronicled on my website. When her parents, teacher friends had her, I offered them one year of photography as a baby present. I couldn’t give up after just one year, since she’s such a part of my life now. Her dad proudly told me in the spring that she referred to me as her “best friend.” So…what a birthday present to me, to be able to take some shots of her, and then spend much of the day playing on my computer. While we were photographing, the next door neighbor kids came over, and it just felt natural to want to take some shots of them, too. Sister and brother, they have the reddest hair I’ve ever seen, and juxtaposed with the NC green grass (fed by a whole lot of rain lately) they were camera magnets.
How I love photography…of all kinds!
Wednesday last week came and went just as quickly, and after some furtive hugs at the door with my fourth graders, the 2008-2009 school year ended. Since then, I have prepared to move my entire classroom just 50 feet down the hall, where I will happily have an end room once again. The level of fatigue is amazing at the end of each year, and even the kids were really tired. A new administration, and four new buildings have added to the mystery of this year, and I’m incredibly fortunate to have some time to renew and recover before it all begins again.
My summer goal is to shoot, shoot, shoot and think about submitting some shots to stock. My first act is to go get the latest Photographer’s Market. Next will be to peddle some notecards to places where they might sell. Then, of course it will be wonderful to organize my digital files once again. But before anything else happens, I have to clean my sensor in my camera, an activity that causes terror in my heart every time. Actually, I have two cameras that need clean sensors, and since there’s nobody in my town to do the deed, it all comes down to doing it at home. Ugh!
It’s off to Idaho and the Ironman in Coeur d’Alene next week, then rainy castles in England. Let the fun times come. Packing up the gear and the overweight suitcase is about to happen, a summer rite of passage. Whoopee!
Here are two shots of my happy fourth graders at the two end of the school year picnics. They seem even happier than me! No, that’s not possible.