About two weeks ago, our photo club went to Siesta Beach in Sarasota. Florida for an evening photo shoot of the drum circle. A wide circle had been carved into the sand and a sort of centerpiece was erected. Not having been there before, I was interested in the drummers who set the mood for the evening (from 6:00pm to 10:00pm) with their drumming. People of all ages participated within that circle by interpreting what they felt or heard from the beat and rhythms of the drums — or by just prancing. So I was taking pictures of two of the drummers and their drums as they readied for a rather long “gig” of drumming for those four hours. Imagine my surprise when I looked at what I had captured. A light blanket had been thrown over their heads and shoulders. It is still a puzzle to me — Stage fright? — Camera shy? — Sun too bright? — Too cold? — Sharing a secret between the “Two of Us”??? Okay, it’s your turn to guess.
A couple weeks ago, when the Loomis Brothers Circus was in Palmetto, we went to see the show. First act finished, intermission allowed for children to ride the huge elephants while the circus workers set the stage for the second act. Props were in place, house lights were dimmed and the spotlights flashed on. Meanwhile, workers went into action with sawdust and wood chips cleaning what an elephant’s ‘nature call’ left behind. They swept and scooped in the spotlit ring readying it for Act II. The show must go on! (And you thought your puppy was bad!)
We attended the Loomis Bros. Circus this last weekend and thoroughly enjoyed the trained animals, agile and strong humans, the inevitable circus clown and the excited crowd of children. Each circus puts its own slant on the acts presented but the balancing elephant was one we had not seen before. One of these large beasts began by standing on a circular platform and, with a young woman on his back, stepped from the platform — one step at a time — until he was balancing on this (fortified and buttressed) ball. Whew!! I realized I was holding my breath. However, this big elephant managed to get all four of his feet on the sphere — and then nimbly stepped off. All the while, the woman on his back was able to maintain her relaxed pose and her circus poise.
At a recent Circle S Rodeo in the Myakka City area, I was able to photograph the pro bull riding event where participants are assigned a bull to ride and are rewarded points for the number of seconds they are able to stay on the back of that bull. This cowboy was able to ride his bull for almost the entire allotted time and had one of the highest scores for the night. However, that bull should have been given points for being one of the most effective “bouncers”!
On Veterans’ Day, we visited the Traveling Wall which was brought to the small park next to the Senior Friendship Center in Sarasota. It is a representation of The Wall in Washington D.C., a part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Originally, it had 58,195 names indicating those involved in the Vietnam War and were either KIA (Killed In Action) or MIA (Missing In Action). The names are listed chronologically from 1959 to 1968 and, as of May 2011, there are 58,272 names. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs uses May 7, 1975 as the official end date for the Vietnam era. On May 15, 1975, eighteen U.S. servicemen were killed on the final day of a rescue operation. These appear as the last names listed on the timeline.
It is really quite an experience to see. Many who knew or had lost loved ones named on “The Wall” have left “An Expression of Love” in memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Major Michael Davis O’Donnell (who was KIA 2/7/1978) wrote this:
“If you are able, save for them a place inside of you and save one backward glance when you are leaving for the places they can no longer go.
Be not ashamed to say you loved them, though you may or may not have always. Take what they have taught you with their dying and keep it with your own.
And in that time when men decide and feel safe to call the war insane, take one moment to embrace those gentle heroes you left behind.”