Friday, October 2, 2009

In My Prayers: Samoa and Indonesia

Photo: Off the coast of Banda Aceh, Indonesia--March 2009.
Currently in Guarajua, Brazil.

I awoke this morning to the sun peeking through my hotel window. Looking out, I saw the haze setting in, streaks of light glistened and danced through openings in the cloud. The morning traffic had already started without me. Engines roared through the streets of Sao Paulo while I laid still, motionless--looking out at a world that never stops.

I felt empty this morning. Lost. Devoid of hope, jaded by fate. I felt like the world had flipped inside-out, twisted and turned like a kaleidoscope--melting away the very elements that binds us together. I felt sadness and sorrow, pain and displeasure.

I had heard the news--felt a knife rip through my heart. Oceans away, families are torn, people live and people die. It scares me to get up. Afraid of what I'll hear, see and feel. For the first time in my life, I'm afraid to face the world--to accept the truth--because when you live life through a lens, it quickly becomes your mask--a shield to protect you from reality.

My alarm clock went off--but at that very moment, I didn't care--because I knew that a thousand miles away, a different kind of alarm was going off, telling the inhabitants of an entire island to seek higher ground. Indonesia and Samoa hold a special place in my heart. I saw flashbacks of images I had captured, the people I've met and the memories I cherish. It's different when you're a photographer--you see things differently, you learn to cherish moments captured in time like there's no tomorrow. And no matter what type of mask is flung before you, reality some how seeps through the pores of your soul--through the toughest of any skin. And just like that, you're human again, you feel for the people suffering, you pray for their well-being.

I used to capture the world in all its beauty, pain and reward, triumph and tragedy--all without a care for whom was staring at my lens. The shot was all that mattered. The people and their suffering was the cost of doing "business." I was young, ambitious, and naive. Maybe that's why I've changed--somehow, I've turned full circle--and like a vulture turned prey, I've taught myself to love the people I see through my lens.

Sitting on my bed, I began to pray. I hope my friends are safe. I am scared. I am worried and I am desperate to hear from them. I've tried calling, but my calls are answered by a machine--speaking a language I cannot understand.

I've been in Brazil for almost two weeks now. My body aches, my mind is numb and my soul searches for balance. My schedule takes me from one city to another, one village to the next--but no matter how busy I am or no matter how hectic my life may be, Samoa and Indonesia will always be in my heart, in my dreams, and most importantly, in my prayers.


Wander to the Wayside said...

It's just a horribly sad situation, the ugly side of mother nature. No doubt the devastation is extreme, but the news tonight showed many rescues. Recovery will be a long process, including getting the lines of communication open. Hang in there, aren't alone in your sadness and sorrow for these people and that country, though you're certainly closer to it than I am, sitting here dry and warm at my computer in Ringgold, Georgia.

Lovely, though sad, post.

Dan Denardo said...

We'll be praying for your friends in harms way, Ron. I can only imagine their grief. Beautiful post.

Ava said...

Two weeks in Brazil + all the travels earlier, time to take a little break, Ron. Take Care!

Deboshree said...

Hey Ron..I know that the condition is real bad and all of us sincerely hope that your friends survive this. Not only your friends, but also other people.

Hang in there.


Desert Rat said...

Beautiful post! and beautiful photo. One day I am going to work for something that will allow me to build homes or help people who go through these types of tragedy's. When I you write of these things it makes me want to build right now!

PS. I had no idea I was not following you. I was reading you through my sister so I thought you had not wrote in a long time. I'm following you now so I'll know directly when you post ;-)

Best wishes,


Sebastian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sebastian said...

Beautiful and eloquent as ever, Ron.

Now I know what I have to look forward to... :)

(Subscribing to comments)

Bon Don said...

I have been praying for all the familes but now I will def. call in any specail favors I have with the big guy for our family and friends (((BIG HUGS)))

<3 Bon Don

Spectacular said...

This is real deep and beautiful

Fitri said...

I haven't read your blog for quite some times. I just read it again today, and your writings are still very deep and touching as before.
Thank you for the sympathy towards my country which keep getting the catastrophes. Thanks for the praying...

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