“Mr. Perrin, you are having a heart attack…”
It was the last week of October, and the last thing I thought I would hear as Nurses and Emergency room technicians scurried around an overweight 42 year old who had spent the better part of the past few years merely existing.
The previous days had seen the continuation of a mundane routine filled out with fried chicken for breakfast, double meat burger for lunch and dinner…and an unhealthy supply of sleepless nights followed by sporadically active moments (this is the understatement of the century) and epic slothfulness, all while plotting to take over the world of photography with general awesomeness from the comfort of a broken down recliner. What could possibly go wrong?
The morning of my cardio event (general term for a big medical word and classed up, less scary term for ‘Heart Attack’), I came home from my radio news job and decided to lay down because i wasn’t feeling up to par. About 5 minutes into my routine, I noticed a little pain in my chest. Not thinking much of it, but remembering countless commercials for warning signs, I decided to head to the doctor to let him check me out. About half way to his office, I realized that I was not in the best way. In fact, I was in serious trouble. I pulled into a hospital here in Lake Charles, which had gone through a recent name change and ownership. It was called Lake Area Medical Center…and that little hospital SAVED MY LIFE.
I spent 6 days in LAMC‘s ICU…where I received the care and attention normally reserved for heads of state and Arabian prince’s at world renown facilities. I cannot understate what an amazing staff they have from the Doctors and Nurses, to the Techs, specialists, custodial, and especially the administration. I’m just a guy who had a heart attack…and they treated me like humans should treat each other. Respect, Care, and Compassion.
The few months since have been a learning process. Not necessarily having to relearn life skills…but learning the true meaning of living a life.
I took a few weeks away from the camera. Away from PerrinStudios. Away from worry. Away from existence. I wanted to learn to live. I began to look around again…not only at the big picture, but at the small things.
“Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” –John Lennon.
I found myself, about a month or so ago, picking up my camera again and going down to a boat launch about 4 miles from my house. I stepped to the back side of the main building to find a few pelicans had decided to chill out after, what i can only assume was an epic pelican party. That’s where I met “Gus”.
“Strangers passing in the street, by chance two separate glances meet..” –Gilmour/Wright/Mason/Waters.
Out of the 15-20 pelicans who were in various states of “chill”…Gus had it right. Gus had the answer. This pelican gets me.
What is it about the right moment in time, the right place, right atmosphere, right vibe, that can alter the course of existence and steer one onto the road of living? Because that’s what Gus and all of his buddies have done for me. Every weekend since, i’ve found myself…camera in hand…visiting Gus and his posse. Every weekend, there’s a different angle, different light, different poses, etc… It’s what has brought life back to me. As simple as it sounds, a small thing like a pelican chilling out on a dock, has made a difference to me and to my attitude towards life, photography, art, and everything in between. So, here’s to Gus!!! I raise a glass of Diet Dr. Pepper to you (since I don’t drink, and since regular Dr. Pepper might end me.).
On one of my early trips to visit the ole boy, I found there were a few more Pelican’s hanging about than normal. Under normal circumstances…and pre late October…I would have decided to head back home because “how many photos can I take of pelican’s chilling out?” Well, my new desire and love of all things life, kept me around just watching them. After a short time, a boat pulled up to the dock…the Pelican’s began to stir. My spidey senses began to tingle. Something was electric. Something was about to happen.
A frenzy is the most appropriate description of the Pelican’s reaction to the fisherman who emerged from the boat and began to filet his catch. I ran to the edge of the dock where 20-30 Pelicans began to frantically fly about, fighting for fish scraps tossed away by the man. There I was, in the middle of Pelican chaos…and I was smiling and clicking the shutter as fast as my Canon 6D would shoot.
The result was some of my favorite photographs i’ve taken. But the BIG pay off was being a part of something I never thought I would even care about while i was busy just existing.
I’ve been sober for close to four and a half years, and i’m grateful for every second…but it took that late October Myocardial infarction (there’s your $20 word) for me to realize life is more than existence. It’s to be lived. And to me, living means taking time to wait for the frenzy.
Next up…The Art of…Sol.
PS…Pelicans can be a bit testy. So, keep safety in mind…ALWAYS.
PS again…Almonds and Yogurt. Yes please!
**All images copyright PerrinStudios. Reproduction without permission is forbidden.**