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Saturday February 18, 2012

GASPARILLA ISLAND FLORIDA – The beach club at the Gasparilla Inn provided a demonstration today by a professional sand castle builder. That’s right. A guy who makes a living on the beach making castles (or whatever) out of sand. Makes the rest of us feel like we’re kind of doing it the hard way. Given that it’s Presidents Day weekend (for those of you outside the US we used to celebrate Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays separately, which happen around now, whenever they fell; more recently Presidents Day is celebrated for both of them on a Monday in February, making a three day weekend), a Presidential theme is appropriate.

Our sand castle architect chose an image of a Purple Heart because it incorporates a silhouette of Washington. The Purple Heart is a democratic decoration: it’s given to all who are wounded or killed in action. I received one during my Marine Corps service in Vietnam. It is the only decoration received by most Marines, soldiers and sailors who are killed in action. At the start of the Gulf War I started wearing a Purple Heart lapel pin (which I continue to wear today). I can’t articulate why. It’s with some difficulty that I write these sentences. Anyway, here is the Purple Heart rendered in sand, captured with my Sony Nex-7 and a 24mm Leica Summilux lens.

Purple Heart
Purple Heart

On this day two years ago: Vietnam Memorial. I’ve looked back two years here (rather than my usual one) because on February 18, 2010 I photographed my shadow on the Vietnam Memorial (shooting infrared) in DC. The juxtaposition is a coincidence and I understand that it borders on the maudlin.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial