Saturday, May 9, 2009

Another gorgeous day...

Today was another gorgeous day, just like last Saturday. The little man came with me to school sport this morning and he was so good he broke my heart. For over two hours he smiled at everyone and didn't once cry. I enjoyed every second of being with him today. The lovely husband and I are lucky enough to have a baby free night tonight so that we can go out to dinner with my cousin and her husband (my dad and step-mum are kindly looking after the little man).  We are going to a wonderful French restaurant (snails here we come!), and I can't wait to catch up with family members who I love dearly.

As tomorrow is Mothers Day here (yes, my first one!), I was searching the Internet for some relevant images for tomorrow's post. My first port of call was to the website of photojournalist Alison Wright. I have been following her work ever since I came across her book "Faces of Hope" in a bookstore. Alison has dedicated herself to portraying the lives of children in the developing world.  Her ability to capture the spirit of her subjects is truly amazing, as is her ability to capture the simple joy that children find in play, their family and the world around them. Alison's photos are a celebration of children, their heritage and the promise they hold for all our futures. 

Child in Tibet
Alison has written a book about her astonishing survival and recuperation following a devastating bus accident in Laos. I haven't read it yet but am going to go out ASAP to buy it as it sounds so inspiring. Here is the blurb from her website that will make you want to run out and buy the book right now as well:

"I strived to find a way to balance my not-so-subtle yearning for a sense of inner peace while bearing witness to life’s atrocities and injustices. Apparently the universe  felt I needed more than a gentle nudge. In fact, it took the impact of a one-ton logging truck to find it."

-- Alison Wright

The air was heavy and smelled thickly of burned rubber, of brakes and tires stretched beyond their limits ..In the distance, I could hear muffled voices calling, "My God, someone do something! This woman is bleeding to death!"

I silently prayed that someone would help whomever that woman was… I saw the deep arm-length gashes. The open flesh looked like it had been attacked by a shark, a dark wine color rapidly spreading across the front of the light blue sleeveless denim shirt… That’s when I realized that the woman they were talking about was me." -- Taken from the opening of LEARNING TO BREATHE.

In LEARNING TO BREATHE: One Woman’s Journey of Spirit and Survival (Hudson Street Press; August 2008; $24.95; 978-1-5946) Alison Wright, a renowned photojournalist with a lifetime of world travels behind her, tells of riding a packed bus on a winding mountain road of Laos in the first few days of the new century. In an instant of crushed metal and shattered glass, her life utterly changed: taking a dangerous blind curve, the bus collided head-on with a logging truck, nearly killing her. In unbearable pain, severely injured and barely able to breathe, Alison lay by the side of the road and drew upon her years of meditation practice, concentrating on every breath as if it were her last.

It would be fourteen excruciating hours before Alison finally received any medical attention, although in a life-saving gesture her glass-mangled arm was first sewn up by a young man with a needle and thread. Eventually reaching Thailand, she began a series of excruciating surgeries which continued back in the States. She had survived injuries no one thought she could, and now determined to get her life back, she struggled to remain positive when her doctors discouraged her from thinking about returning to her previous career and athletic lifestyle. Never one to accept defeat, Alison set herself the goal of achieving a new dream: to one day climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.

LEARNING TO BREATHE is Alison Wright’s searing account of the accident, its aftermath, her recovery, and her triumph: from Kilimanjaro on her fortieth birthday, through an extraordinary pilgrimage of gratitude to Mount Kailash, to an eventual return to Laos and a reunion with the people who helped her in those crucial first hours. 

Filled with stunning accounts of a lifetime of adventure and photojournalism, and informed by a spiritual quest to find a universal human connection among cultures around the world, LEARNING TO BREATHE is an unforgettable tale of one woman’s urge to not only survive but to live a life filled with meaning and compassion. 

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