Friday, April 9, 2010

it's all in how you look at it

I haven't blogged in a couple of weeks now, but it's not because I haven't been thinking about it. I was gone for a little while and that particular trip involved doing a lot of driving in a short amount of time; when I finally got home I was more tired than I realized and am only now starting to catch up. I went to Virginia (via New York) to witness my brother Frank's Change of Command. You see, my brother was the Commander of the USS Bainbridge, the ship that rescued Captain Richard Phillips from Somali pirates last year right around this time, so going to this particular Change of Command was kind of a big deal. I snapped pictures like a crazed tourist, posed in chairs I had no business sitting in, cheered at inappropriate moments, high-fived Naval officers wearing white gloves and dress blues, and generally had a lot of fun. I even got to meet a real-life hero, Captain Phillips himself (or "Rich", as he prefers to be called), his lovely wife Andrea (an ER nurse), and her sister Lea (a talented photographer and ferry captain). Combine all of this with some quality time with family members I don't get to see often and you have the makings of a very memorable couple of days.

I have never thought of the Navy as anything but an organized, disciplined group of men and women who sacrifice their lives for the benefit of our country. I found out two new things about the Navy during my trip: one, they put on a really nice spread when you're a big shot; and two, if you look at it in the right way, you can find beauty on a destroyer. Yes, I know that seems strange. The words look odd even as I read (and re-read) them. Beauty? On a destroyer? It's true. I took a lot of pictures of the ship while I was on it and next to it, and I have to say, they look pretty cool. The angles, the lines, from a purely compositional standpoint, are really striking, like a sculpture or a fine automobile. I'm willing to bet that Rich found beauty in the Bainbridge on that Easter Sunday last year. Will I try my hand at a painting or a collage based on my impressions that day? That might be a fun challenge. I don't know if the feelings I experienced will be able to adequately translate, but I suppose there's only one way to find out.

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