Monday, April 16, 2012

Nearing the Finish Line

© Hannah Phelps 
jigsaw reduction woodcut that is almost done...

It's Patriot’s Day!

I wrote about the significance of Patriot's Day a few years ago. There is a lot going on in Boston today, but the main event is always the Boston Marathon.

Maine and Massachusetts take the day off. New Hampshire doesn't, but I watch coverage of the Marathon while I draw or prepare paper or sometimes print a white-line woodcut.

So I witnessed the exhilarating finishes of all four major races. Congratulations to the new champions:
Shirley Reilly and Josh Cassidy won the wheelchair events and Sharon Cherop and Wesley Korir outran everyone else in the heat. Cassidy, who happens to be an artist, broke the world record this morning.

What does any of this have to do with painting or printmaking?
I have a big exhibit coming up and my major goal this year is to make the best work possible. It is a fun task, but it hasn't been easy. I can't help but feel inspired by the elite athletes and the thousands of other people who have taken up the challenge to run 26.2 miles. Watching them achieve their goals helps me stay motivated to work on mine. 

And while I am sharing the athletes' triumphs, I am also remembering how lucky I am. Like fit people who choose to run a marathon, most of my challenges are self-imposed. I was born with working limbs and organs, into a country with clean water and a household in which I had plenty to eat, and I was able to go to school and learn to read.

Cherop and Korir are from Kenya. Korir had to run 5 miles each way to go to school. During the post-race interview, he said that during some hard spots on course, he kept singing and praying. He now has more money to send back to his home community to fund a hospital he built.

Cassidy was born with a disease in his spine. Traveling down a hallway might have seemed like a miracle some days, but now he is the champion of an endurance event.

On top of all that, every year I am reminded of the incredible story of Rick and Dick Hoyt. Today was their 30th marathon. If you don't know about the Hoyts, you should get the story straight from them:

When things get so-called "tough" for me, I'll just start singing. That's what winners do.


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