I didn't deal well with my son's diagnosis of Duchenne, at first -- I took a selfish, cowardly, escapist approach, numbing my mind with sex, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and other self-destructive addictions. I let my son's disease feed my disease; it didn't do a lot of good for me or him. Cory needs and deserves a father who is brave, strong, clear-minded and helpful, someone to show him that retreating is not the best approach to adversity. (See Reoccurring Storms.)
But some respite is necessary to rejuvenate the brain and prevent despair from killing hope. I have come to find that respite studying the wilds through the lens of my camera. It's a more healthy form of addiction.
It started with Cory slowing down. As his legs began giving out our backpack trips (no longer possible) grew shorter but longer as he boldly, stubbornly and persistently trudged on. Every rock and tree in the trails became obstacles he embraced as challenges. Even with scraped-up, bloody shins from frequent falls he would often say, "Come on Dad, we can make it!"
We took a lot of breaks. I would often sit down ahead of him and wait. I started paying more attention to the little things around me. The details. The infinite shapes and colors of rocks; the unique and diverse forms of leaves; the constantly-changing structure of water; the ever-dancing shadows of clouds, and how all these things and more interact and compliment each other on micro and macro scales of dynamic canvas. The art of nature!
So I have tried to capture what I see in rectangular grids of pixels.
Last week I was lying on thin ice on a river close to home, focused in on various shapes and colors of frozen wild water. I have no idea how much time passed before I was snapped out my stupor by a concerned older gentleman yelling at me from shore.
"Are you okay?"
"Yes!" I sat up and waved.
"What the hell are you doing?"
"Well . . . get the hell off that damn ice before you fall through and drown."
I assured him I was fine, and watched him walk away shaking his head. I imagined him mumbling, "Damn fool." I smiled. He reminded me of my Dad.
Reality slowly settled back in. It was getting dark. I was cold. It was time to go home. I felt great. I felt happy. I felt hopeful. Cory notices the differences in my behavior and attitude. It's good for us both.
Every day I head for mountains, woods, marshes, fields, rivers or lakes and walk, and think, and see art, and try to capture it. And every day I come home feeling a bit better prepared to be a better dad to a wonderful son who has Duchenne.
In no small way, these images derive from the disease of Duchenne.
And so this year I put together a calendar, a Calendar for a Cure, my favorite photos from each month of the year -- images that derive from Cory as much as they do from me.
Purchasing these calendars will further boost the hope these images help nurture. For every $25. donated you will receive an autographed copy of the 2015 Calendar for a Cure. All proceeds go to Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, a national nonprofit leading the fight to end Duchenne.
For more information and donate, please click here:
Purchase a Calendar for a Cure:
Thank you for helping to keep hope alive!