As the 2012 London Olympics wrap up today several things have struck me.

Swimming Eye to Eye
acrylic, pastel on paper
42″ x 60″
First, how about those bodies? Incredible. These athletes are ripped. Muscle after muscle. Beautiful to look at, to watch in motion, to aspire to (a long shot perhaps.)
Secondly, their discipline and commitment to their personal goal. It seems that you can have anything you want if you want it badly enough, are willing to put in the time, sweat, blood, and give up everything else.  Of course, not everyone is on the podium with the gold around their neck. We all know about “curve balls”, life’s lessons, and just plain- “it may not be your turn- or your path.”
But it also occured to me, and reiterated something I believe, that we all have the ability to touch someone else in ways we may never even know.

Mr. Santiago & Pigeon Coop, 1991
Ranch Camp Series
 During lunch this week a friend shared with me that her 8 year old son was in summer camp. Petrified of swimming, he clung to the shallow end with dear life.  Watching Michael Phelps swim with ease, grace, power and superhuman strength, little Cary swam across the pool and back shortly after, because “he wants to be like Michael Phelps.” Now there is only one Michael Phelps with more medals than anyone in Olympic history (22), but maybe you’re a teacher, a neighbor, a friend (I bet you are at least one of those) and you just never know how something you do or say can touch someone or inspire someone in a wonderful way.
Last month when I was back visiting Hawaii, I went to see Mr. Santiago, my neighbor- and muse for my Ranch Camp Series while a graduate student at UH.  As a neighbor, he was warm, kind and generous.  I loved his stories, his smile, his animals and his junk (most of the time.)  All became part of this series in paintings, drawings, prints and mixed media wall sculptures.  Days short of his 80th birthday, when I stopped by recently for a short visit, he “kind of” remembered me,  
Mr. Santiago with Kaala, 2012
but I will never forget him. Michael Phelps? amazing, yes, but Mr. Santiago inspired me in ways he will never know. A champion in my heart.
Who has touched your life in a memorable way, knowingly or not?

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