The Sweet Survivor

As the saying goes, "Nobody gets out of here alive!" No truer statement can be made. We are all born and we all die. Some people go through it quickly. Others wonder why they get all the extra time. I think nobody really knows why. We've found pockets of places as far flung as South America or Russia where people, supposedly, live extremely long lives as a group, comparably longer than the general population of the earth. We don't really hear about the people "who go too soon" from those places though. Is it all random or predestined? Like a lottery? There is no question it is a wonder of life itself.

I spent much of the month of April working to make my fundraiser for Ukraine known. I thought a lot about the survivors of the terrorist invasion of Ukraine. I was able to get the sunflower photo into a local gallery show that is also fundraising for Ukraine.  A very kind soul made the only bid for the same photo in my fundraiser that I concluded on Easter Sunday. Not only did he make the only bid. He threw extra cash into his bid when I picked up his check and dropped off the art! So I feel quite accomplished and invigorated to press forward. Speaking of which ALL of my photography profits are being donated to Ukraine relief through July 4th. So, get a photo for Mothers Day or Fathers Day, birthdays, anniversaries or... just because you want to contribute as well as place new art on your wall! 



All of a sudden I found myself near the end of the month without choosing any new photos for my online gallery or writing anything here. So, first I perused all the existing galleries here and found that my Nature gallery is in need of a new image compared to all the rest. I also would have liked to have thought about all this a week earlier so this could have been some sort of Earth Day proclamation. This then, led me to look through several years of photos... think dozens of folders and thousands of images. I stopped at two images I had named "Belle of the Ball" as this brave little daisy-like flower was defying all the odds with a show in late Autumn in the Scottish Cairngorms, no less!

As I have done before when stumped by two photos, I posed them to my friends on Facebook. That ended in a tie! Of course. It also elicited some comments. So, I found the original photos, one taken directly after the next, at 3:17 and 3:19 PM respectively on October 29, 2015. I was all by myself after shooting some Highland Coo with a small group. Everybody else went back to the lodge but I lingered. The light was that special Autumn golden hour. I remember, I almost missed this sweet survivor sticking out of the fallen leaves just off the path. But the stark white must have caught my attention. The f-stop is a f5 which is why I think this photo is special. Not too much crispness in the depth of field. This being the winning photo in my little poll, it was shot with my Tamron 24-70 at 70mm on my Canon 5D3. The photo that didnt make it was shot at 34mm with everything else the same. 



Lost in the Cairngorms is my micro-documentary that includes the place  ( at about 20 seconds in) where I found my Sweet Survivor by chance. I went to and through this area that led down to the river from the lodge we stayed at every moment there was free time from the organized shoot. Wonderful olde farmland in the heart of the Cairngorms. I can close my eyes and smell it! The soundtrack on this video is ATB, The First Tones, from Moving Melodies which was released in 1999. He went on to become a superstar of EDM, voted #1 DJ in 2011! I'm a fan. The mood and tempo of this tune just fit the scene so well!

Everybody is a survivor or has a close relationship with someone who is. The definition is quite broad. We seem to all share it in one way or another. It can be a legal term. Is it a medical term? But I think, justifiably so, it can easily define someone who deals with all the hardships of life. The Cambridge dictionary first notation reads, "a person who continues to live, despite almost dying." This is immediately followed by "a person who is able to continue living his or her life successfully despite experiencing difficulties." The Brittanica Dictionary sums it up in four positions; "a person who continues to live after an accident, illness, war, etc." - "a member of a group who continues to live after other members have died" - "a family member who remains alive after another person's death" - "someone or something that continues to exist, function, compete, etc." and finally, for all the rest of us, "someone who is able to keep living or succeeding despite a lot of problems."

On a different plane of thought, I feel we are all given the opportunity to live our life as a victim or a survivor. I'm always complimented on my smile. Every time I find it interesting they are surprised to see it and I usually reply that, "I got up this morning and am living another day!"

When I ran my informal poll, I had decided that one of the two delicate photos was going to get a spot in the highly coveted positions found here. This is only the 4th photo to join the Nature gallery! One of the commenters exclaimed, "It is such a sweet survivor!" Bam! The die was cast. The belle morphed into Sweet Survivor. It got a fresh edit and has now joined the others who are all eager to provide entertainment, and provoke thoughts; be it personal introspection as your own story of survivor unfolds or collective disgust in the slaughter of the innocent people, once again, for a sort of middle ages imperialism scheme.



Don't worry. I have no intention of closing out this missive with "Eye of the Tiger" by, yep, Survivor. It came across the radar while researching the "true" meaning of the word LOL There is nothing wrong with the band or that song. Just not now. Not here! Instead, I offer up one of my most favorite singer-songwriters; Martin Sexton. He is a true survivor. Spent a decade on the streets of Boston as a busker. Kicked alcohol and drugs. Writes poignant songs about life that are very relatable. Tours like the driven soul he is. Ive seen him many times and enjoyed turning others on to his unique flavor. From street musician to TedTalk!

What is your relationship with the word, "survivor?" Is it one of grief or of glory? Frankly, I find myself a survivor on many fronts. Maybe its part of our DNA in one way or another.