POTD: The Geography of Survival #2

The Geography of Survival #2 Bozeman, Montana 2012

I lead a pretty normally rambunctious childhood I think, but never got a cut worthy of stitches until I was in graduate school in my 20’s and even then I didn’t bother to have the cut stitched up–opting instead for the cost-cutting treatment of applying some really tight band-aids for several days that prevented all but the occasional blood drippage. But still that cut yielded my first notable scar (probably a bigger one than if I had just had the stitches).

Since that time I’ve been gradually accumulating additional scars from unintentional and intentional (medical) applications of sharp objects to my various body parts. The most notable of those being the big surgery scar from the major abdominal surgery I had in 1990 which I fondly refer to as my shark bite. Anyway, now I have some new scars to add to my collection. My heart surgery involved what they call a hemi-sternotomy where they only cut half the sternum open instead of the whole thing. So that will add about a four inch accent mark above my shark bite. The more interesting new features on my chest right now though are the four puncture wounds where I had chest tubes coming from the areas around the heart and lungs. With their pinched nature and the sutures that hang from them like limp bolo ties, it keeps bringing to mind not-so-pleasant images of a drunken night of failed, poorly targeted nipple piercings. They’ll look a lot better once they’re healed but will still make for further embellishment of the shark-bite story.

The point, to the extent that there is indeed a point, of all this rambling in relation to today’s POTD is that shortly before I knew I was going to be having open heart surgery I was working on a series of mostly aspen tree images, showing how over time each tree accumulates a series of bends, twists, scars and patterns that leave a unique map of the events that made their lives, well, unique. Like the trees, myself and other of my species generate our own survivor topographies. I suppose one could do a photography project relating to these unique human geographies, but certainly in regard to my own topography, the art world is better served by the tree photographs.

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5 thoughts on “POTD: The Geography of Survival #2”

  1. I had a stroke 4 years ago and you can’t see my scars show on the outside. Just a little bit more and I would have chosen to turn off the juice. I have changed in so many ways. It now takes me 10 minutes and 3 hours worth of energy to put on a sock. who even cares about a shower. I don’t have the energy for that. And the thing I regret the most is that I cannot take pictures any more. There is nothing wrong with my eyes but my brain thinks so. I can’t focus in my right eye. In fact, I don’t even believe that my right side exists. I bash into things all the time.
    oh. and i used to be smart. that too is gone.
    such is life. find beauty anyway.

    1. Wow Cindy, I had no idea that had happened to you. It sounds though (and I’m glad for it) that you are to a large degree still able to make the most of your situation, stay engaged, and find the beauty in life anyway. And I should add, you still sound smart to me!

  2. If you start taking self-portrait photos of your scars, I may have to pass on your POTDs. It sounds like you are kind of like a Dodge truck, you’ve gotta “hemi”. I’m glad your surgery went well, and hope the recovery continues to be smooth.

    1. Maybe I should photograph my scars to really show my photographic prowess–can make something beautiful in it’s own way out of anything. Or, just as a means of the POTD faithful…

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