When I photograph the children at Children’s Hospital, I am always impressed with the strong spirit of the children and their parents. Most of the children I meet are fighting a life threatening illness, and it’s a stressful time.
I was particularly impressed with this mother and son. I could easily read the love in the mother’s heart through her eyes and hands.
There are many reasons to love the Pileated Woodpecker. First, you notice its brilliant red crown feathers and the red, black and white plumage, which would be a striking way to dress yourself today. Second, you can observe its impressive ability to steady itself vertically way up high in an old tree or utility pole. Then, you may marvel at its ability to hunt for food or carve out a nest by tapping its beak into the wood like a hammer 10 to 20 times per second. How can its head withstand all that impact?
Lastly, you may like the woodpecker for these traits you would admire in a human: it is non-migratory, inhabiting the same territory for its lifetime. It chooses and is loyal to a single mate. It benefits many other bird and mammal species in its environment, as song birds, owls and even raccoons later inhabit the old tree holes that the woodpecker has carved out for its nests.
And here is a mixed blessing. That pileated woodpecker in your backyard may be giving you some free advice: that dead tree needs to come down.
As I continue to process the portraits I made at Childrens Hospital last week, I find myself gazing into the eyes of the brave hearted children and their beautiful mothers. These mothers are exceptional because they have risen to the challenge to inspire calm in their children as they hold fast to enduring hope for better days ahead.
They hold firmly onto their dreams for a bright future for their children, even as they balance private worries they dare not speak. In their eyes, you can read the strength they embody.
The mother, the father, the grandmother, the visiting uncle, the little sister — the intensity of their love is a big part of the cure.
Dad, your enthusiasm and curiosity about new places on Earth were inspirational to me. Your generosity to your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will remain as a challenge for all of us to emulate. You wanted me to see the world and keep learning about the diversity in the world. I will always cherish your memory wherever I go. I say a prayer for you here on the coast of Hawaii. I miss you very much. Love, Cathy
Father’s Day this year is extra special for my son-in-law who became a Daddy last week. This portrait shows him gently cradling his daughter a few hours after her birth. From our family to yours: Love your Dad. Thank him for a lifetime of love and support.