Thursday, March 26, 2009

Never Forget Us

Video Still Capture: A little boy stares into the open sea/ Banda Aceh, Indonesia
Current Location: Midland, Michigan, USA / 43°37′25.0″N 84°13′45.7″W

I'm inspired to write this post after reading an entry on Dan's blog at D2 Photography. In it, he reminded me of how lucky I am, and how safe and secure my life really is. His post today touched me because--in all honesty, my biggest fear in life is not of death or tragedy--but of forgetting-- forgetting how fortunate I am--forgetting how blessed I am with what I have. It scares me to forget.

When I'm on assignment in remote locations, the difference between success and failure lies on my ability to adapt--adapting to my new surroundings, the people, and the culture. That ability alone can determine whether I live or die. And in some cases, death can be a slow and painful fate--starvation, malaria, and diarrhea. It's a sad reality, but it's true. And for the billions of people who do not have access to clean drinking water, proper sanitation, food or basic medical needs, adapting is not an option--it's everyday life at its darkest hour--when every minute is a fight for survival. Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope.

When I talk to them--through hand motions and broken English to match their level, the words that I can always understand--no matter how mis-pronounced are: "Never forget us."

Never forget us. Those three words resonate in my heart and fills my soul with chills that permeates to the whiskers of my arms. It haunts me in my sleep and echoes in my mind. I will never forget them. I promise.

For those who know me, know that I live a very simple life--with very few belongings. My apartment is bare and dull with no furniture, no electronics and not even a microwave. I have one spoon, one fork, and one knife. It's all I need. And I like it that way. It's easier for me to look at myself in the mirror when I return from far away places. It helps me to remember them.

13 comments:

jlc said...

Steal away darling!! :)

Yes you have that creative flair about you as well so I can see why you'd do such a thing. ;)

Dan Denardo said...

This is one of your best, Ron. "Never forget us" is a terribly haunting refrain. I can see why it weighs heavy on you. I'm honored that you mentioned my post...although I'm not surprised it got your attention, as I know what is TRULY important in your life. I'm delighted we share a common thread...or perhaps it's a common soul.

TheChicGeek said...

That was a beautiful post. "Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope." How true. Hope keeps us going, doesn't it. I love that you never want to forget...you are a very special person. I'm so glad that there are people like you in the world!

The Demigoddess said...

I said before that you're weirdly awesome and I still mean it. Your posts are heartfelt and always humbling. I like how you use simple words to convey the complexities of human life as you see them through the lens and with your own eyes. You're a very talented artist and I'm happy to have known someone like you.

P.S. I have some extra spoons and forks. Just in case. You'll pay for shipping, right?

Random Hiccups said...

What a beautiful post! *sigh*

I'm glad that I am back in the blog world. This touched me... and not in that creepy way either...

Ron said...

jlc: Thanks! I've got a friend that's getting married next month and I'v been going crazy trying to find gift ideas. And as soon as I saw your post, I was sold!

Dan: We need to do lunch soon, buddy. Let me know your schedule next week. Looking forward to catching up.

ChicGeek: Thank you for the kind words and for your daily comments. It means a lot to me.

Angel: Send me all your spoons when you recieve the package I sent you. And NO, I'm not paying for shipping! That would be more than the cost to buy the spoons here in America! LOL

Hiccups: You know I would never ever ever touch you in any creepy way :p

Diana Saw said...

I love that you live life simply. Many of us consume too much stuff we do not need. That was what struck me on my fateful first trip to Cambodia: sitting with a woman in a leaf hut who had only 2 pails, 2 plates, a couple of piece of cutlery and a pair of scruffy white high heels. Human beings can get by with very little. Why do we need dozens of outfits and shoes? As you have demonstrated, we don't. Keep blogging Ron!

Carol said...

What a beautiful photo Ron.

Young Traveler said...

Ron, what a deep and meaningful post. May all of us be able to affect others the way you have been able to.

Kudos to you for internalizing what you see and letting it make you into a truly remarkable man.

(And for letting all of us read it).

PS. Did you see the photos from Locarno? I'm anxious for your approval!! :)

Fitria said...

Very touching... The more I read your posts, the more I admire your thoughts...

Cheryl said...

Hello. never forget me.

... I'd kill you

Rahma said...

love ur post as always...that boy is part of the story in my country, just a little part.

Bon Don said...

Oh Ron you always bring me back to earth! Thank you.

p.s. No TV?