Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Running With Scissors

By nature, parents are protective of their children. We don't want them to be hurt by a person or circumstance, or to get hurt by sharp things, things that fall or doors that slam.

In my travels, I have seen small children using tools that my parents would never have allowed me to touch. In Oaxaca, Mexico, a little boy was pounding away at a piece of wood with a knife that was larger than his head. His father, who carves exquisitely shaped animals out of wood, looked on with pride. In Bali I met little Wayan, pictured here, while he chopped shallots with his uncle. That sickle was awfully sharp! To borrow a phrase from my mom, he "sure as shootin'" cut his finger in the process.

His mother kissed the wound and I could see that, although there was some blood, he wasn't seriously hurt. He kept his attention on the camera as I documented his tears while mom looked on, unfazed by the accident. All in a day's work for the Balinese who work hard in the field just to get by. We saw a lot of villagers while we were there and I never saw someone without a digit.

Perhaps it's not a good idea to run with scissors, but I am up for taking risks now and then. Especially emotional risks and risks that challenge how I think, even what I think. If we don't push ourselves outside our comfort zone, how can we learn? If we shed a few tears in the process, then we're doing it right.


  1. Wise words and wonderful photos. But I'd still worry about a child with that sickle. It's my Western upbringing.

    You know how in the US we're obsessed with safety and put signs or coloured banners over holes in the sidewalk, etc., so people don't trip? Not in France. They assume people are paying attention to such things. And if you have an accident, well it's your hard luck! No litigation-happy society here!

  2. beautiful! you are a wonderful writer as well as
    an extremely talented photographer...i remember
    this moment exactly!-stace

  3. I love the contrast of that wee, screwed up face and the open smile of the mom. Still, there's a big difference between scissors and sickle!

  4. Hey you!!!

    I just got back from Paris not 10 minutes ago and I am checking email. Saw the info about your fabulous new website and lo and behold.........
    YOU are blogging.

    When I get a moment......ha.....I will post some photos of my own.



Thank you for your comments! It's always good to hear what you have to say.