Seventy Years Young - Happy Birthday Dad!

Still willing to get out there at seventy! You look great, dad! This photo was taken last March at Big Sky, MT.
As I continually come to grips with the fact that I'm getting older, things hurt, hair has migrated, bills are due, I need look no further than to my father for guidance on how to age gracefully. No, he cannot run a sub 6:30 mile for thirteen miles anymore, but he's still out there most days putting miles in on the beach. (Albeit with a starbucks coffee and iphone at a leisurely pace!) Maybe he's not doing a residency as a physician while enrolled full-time in law school, but he's writing books, seeing patients and pursuing a number of goals in brain research. He hasn't slowed down, at least in the things that really matter.

Dad even helped model for my snowshoeing book.

At seventy years old, my father is always thinking and always has new ideas. From his quirky habits, such as never wearing matching socks and putting his neoprene knee braces on the outside of his pants to his creatively titled book on our dysfunctional healthcare system Assholistic Healthcare it's clear my dad is an out of the box thinker, and this is one of the things that impresses me most.

My dad has always supported me, even if it was in unconventional ways. As a young child (actually, pretty much right up through high school) I was very hard on myself academically. One time my dad offered me fifty bucks to get a bad grade on a test, just so I'd chill out and relax. When I've had my ups and downs, he's been there for me. When I said I wanted to become a photographer, after having left college without having had even an inkling of an interest in photography, he supported me. My parents could have tried to push me into a more lucrative profession, but their faith never lagged. Now look Ma and Pa, I've got a job!

I love this shot of my parents on the big chair in a hotel in Madrid. Thanks for another great trip Mom and Dad!

From Costa Rica and Belize, to France, Spain, Maine and Montana, my father (and mother) have taken me to amazing places and instilled in me a love of travel and the outdoors. They put me on skis when I was four and I've tried to never take them off. Skiing has become a passion of mine and was something we shared for many years. Just last March, I finally had an opportunity to ski with my father again out in Big Sky, Montana at a Wilderness Medicine Conference. He might be seventy years old, but he's not afraid to let 'em rip!

A sunset off the coast of Monhegan Island in Maine. Just another one of the amazing places my parents have taken me.
In 2008, I invited my dad to join me for a week during my thru-hike of the Long Trail. It didn't go as planned, as my dad's knees failed on him going up Whiteface Mountain and coming down the other side. We made a slow crawl down a trail at Smuggler's Notch. My dad was weak and in pain the whole time, but he kept on exclaiming how he was so excited that it turned out to be such a painfully memorable experience. Always looking at the glass half full.
In recent years, photography has become a family pursuit and it makes me glad to know there is something I can give back for everything he has given me.

Got the shot, dad?

A beautiful sunset in Spain during a trip with my folks two years ago.
One of my favorite photos from a photography class taught by Steven Johnson that I attended with my parents at the Maine Media Workshops.
Dad, you've inspired and supported me. You have set an example which I can only hope to follow and your energy and passion have helped me to view my own aging as something which I should look forward to. I can't wait to celebrate these seventy years with you this winter when we're in South America. I love you so much and here's hoping the next seventy are as great as the last seventy!

Thanks for always being there for me dad. Happy Birthday!


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