Words to Stand on: Oceans, Horses & Hunger
In December 2012 I started collecting what I call, “Words to Stand on.” Three to five words stating a concern, sharing something that is important to the person or couple with the letters, who is willing to let me snap some images. This concept or issue, I add when I invite people to take part, could be something we don’t talk about enough.
I am releasing them intermittently.
As we wandered away from Alaska this winter and into Baja, (and back again) social issues slipped into passions. What triggered this change? It might have been my tone, chance or the simple reality of traveling towards places with a bit more sun and light.
This is Jason, who loves the ocean and surfing. He’s a an amazing woodworker, a boatbuilder and cabinetmaker. Now he is combining his passions and designing and building hand crafted wooden surfboards.
We walked out to the beach near his house, in Port Orford, Oregon.
Jason live there with his wife, Nicole and his son Rowan. I wish I’d asked them to take part too, but it was a quick visit and I waited to the last moment. Nicole had been up all night at work in a medical lab. In the morning before she went to bed, we walked Rowan down the road to school.
I think Rowan would have done something with rocks or minerals or an image with his one of his Dad’s handmade swords. I’m not sure about Nicole, who makes beautiful art postcards and envelopes and has a uniquely joyful laugh that sticks with me even when I haven’t heard it for years.
Siamak is fascinated with animal behavior. He’s studied it all the way to a PhD in Anthropology with a focus on Evolution, Behavior, Ecology and Cognition. Here at home in Monterey, CA, there is evidence that he lives this passion too, with his collection of living and stuffed creatures.
As well, Siamak eagerly shared his ideas, pulling out books and beckoning us to the laptop show us short videos with for example what crows and ravens will do to crack a nut. Watch here. In this version, his partner Alexis, helps wrangle the four-legged models.
In Mulege, an oasis town in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur, we discovered another take on four legged critters. After crossing a tough stretch of post-hurricane road, we found a restaurant in the sand. As we had a late breakfast by the beach, we learned a lot about the dreams and disappointments of the Yolanda, the sister of the woman managing the restaurant. When I asked her for some words, this is what came out:
We did notice a lot of dogs wandering the beach.
Returning to the realm of social issues, in Big Sur we met Doc Mishler, a grizzled 70 year old cowboy crusader and cancer survivor. He is combining a deep concern over world hunger with a love of horses. He’s turned into a long journey. Doc told us his ride, on and off for the last decade, across the U.S. of A with three horses. He sees himself as an ambassador of God, with a commandment. “Every day fifty thousand children die of hunger and hunger-related illnesses. This is unacceptable. I ride for them.”
Doc writes in his handout, “the money we and the churches spend frivolously belongs to the hungry child; the money we spend on WMD and war belong to the hungry children of the world.”
A final note for Mini Cooper fans. These images were taken while traveling in and living out of our 2006 British Racing Green Cooper for six weeks.