June 2009


This past weekend, I had the opportunity to photograph the Virginia Special Olympics Summer Games. It is the second year I have done so, and probably about the 6th or 7th Special Olympics event I have shot. I am in awe of those that I see at these events, and draw inspiration for a good life from my experiences there. Not only are there the athletes, young and old alike, who refuse to be deterred in their lives, and who relish in the camaraderie and joy that permeates the event; but, there are the numerous volunteers and organizers, and family and friends who unabashedly share in the enthusiasm and provide support and love at every turn. It is truly the way the world should work.
Much effort, time, and money are spent to coordinate these events, which bring light to many folks’ lives. From the donors and sponsors, coordinators, facilities, families, the volunteers handing out water and popcorn, to the fans that simply cheer on the athletes in their big moments, all are truly inspiring and remind me that humanity, despite what we often hear, can still be humane. Give it a try!
http://www.specialolympicsva.org/volunteer.htm
http://www.volunteer2cheer.com/

©Jeff S. Saxman

©Jeff S. Saxman

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Good grief, it has been awhile.  Much to keep me busy lately.  Finally catching my breath, and even taking time to clean out a few closets.  For those who may be wanting to hear some dirt, I am sorry to disappoint- no skeletons.  However, I did find a batch of well-traveled, well-worn cassette tapes.  Since my focus of this blog is on inspiration, it seems relevant to talk about these tapes, as many of them accompanied me in my ’81 Mustang across the NY State Thruway, kept me sane in the woods of Maine, and ultimately made the trip with me down 95 to Richmond.  Some were actually made in Richmond, as recent as 2000, I think.  Among the artists are Beth Orton, Molly Mason & Jay Ungar, and H.E. Double Toothpicks, a band which contained my friend Lisa Cherkasky, whose blog, Lunch Encounter, makes me hungry.  But these are fairly recent additions to my music collection, and it made me wonder just when the cassette tape died, and whether it is OK to render them to the landfill.

If I were to have guessed, I would say the cassette tape died about 53 years ago, as I have been shuffling out of iTunes and carrying around my iPod forever, now.  But my closet discovery made me realize it is much more recent than that.  I think that at the speed at which technology advances these days, we seem to live a lifetime about every ten years or so.  And that is shrinking, I fear.  (Fear?  Or embrace?  Or perhaps, simply, ride?)

Other artists in the batch include James Brown and Aretha Franklin, Van Morrison, Pink Floyd, Blind Faith, and the Grateful Dead.  There is even “The 8 Nelson Mix of Tunes,” undoubtedly capturing the spirit of life at 8 Nelson Street in Rochester, NY around 1990 (Frank, you know what I’m talking about).  And it is these tapes that have embedded themselves into my very core, having accompanied me since my tender teens.  They embody a period of my life to which I will never return.  How can I throw these tapes away?  That would be turning my back on my youth, life forming experiences, the soundtrack of which is preserved in magnetic magic.  I will most likely never play any of these again- that is not the point.  The point is that each time my eyes fall on the song lists and  cover art, this past rushes back to me, and I smile.

And so, I will make a small amount of room on the top shelf of that closet, and again sequester these tunes, until their rediscovery on another special day in the future.

 

My youth.  Photo ©Jeff S. Saxman

My youth. Photo ©Jeff S. Saxman