Washougal: Beacon Rock

"Find love, stay creative, be a great friend, share your knowledge and don't ever stop learning. You have a world of opportunity ahead of you." 

                                                                        -Greg Hatton

     So much of life has been packed into the past month. I had cast myself out onto the road to be alone within my solitude, to go find the places I don't want to be so that I could appreciate where I am headed. Big news: I made the decision to go from my salary paid position at Sandbox Studio to a freelancer.

    I hit the road a day later than I had planned. An unexpected visitor to the northwest was visiting from Los Angeles. He is an old friend of mine whose creative influences stretch back to my childhood. I will give him the credit of being the sole individual who taught me this one fact: Creativity is the best way to show someone that you love them. 

     It was his picture of Beacon Rock on instagram that gave me the clue that he was in town, so I had sent him a comment. It wasn't in the late hours of the eve of my departure that I had got a text from him saying that he was in Washington at the Washougal Motocross Track for a race. The arrangements were made for me to get a VIP pass to the race, it was left up to me to decide if I wanted to prolong my road trip a day longer and make time to visit an old friend. Never pass up an opportunity to meet with someone you look up to.

    This was my first time ever to a motocross event. The deafening sound of the motocross bikes aggressively ripping through the mountain side in attempts to gain first place was enough to make me a fan. My friend was busy when I first arrived so I took the opportunity to walk around and get a feel for the track. As a photographer I was of course imagining different spots I could take photos from. As I walked thru the crowds of people I could feel the intensity of the crowds energy rub off onto me. I have little knowledge of the MX world but I do know that James Stewart is "The Michael Jordan of Motocross," at least that is how my friend described him to me. His name was being announced on the loud speaker repeatedly during the race as he battled for first place. It was badass! Before I knew it the race was over and I was walking around the track with my friend talking about life.

    I was hanging on every word he said, sure to learn something from his life experiences. "I have spent a lot of time alone being on the road, traveling to many different places. It can be exciting. I have also spent a lot of time with other people that I care about. If there is one thing that I am sure about, it is that you can't go thru life without building memories with other people. More specifically, that one person you care about most! The strongest memories you create have the power to guide us through our lives, helping us make decisions. You have the ability to perceive these memories however you wish... good or bad. That is up to you. Time will continue to go on and we will continue to get older, this is a fact. You can live your life working hard, making your deadlines, making money, devoting your time to your dream... but it will mean nothing to anyone unless you create the time with the ones you love. The one's you share life with. This is what's important. Without having memories to share with somebody, life is empty."       

    We continued to walk around the track to watch the race from different view points on the track. When he told me that James Stewart is considered the MJ of motocross it created an image in my head that I knew I wanted. It instantly made me think of the jumpman logo... the photo below is the result of inspiration. "Jimmy" Stewart, that's what they call him in the industry, came in third overall. After the race was over I had the opportunity to meet Jimmy, his mom and the rest of the Yoshimura Suzuki crew. It was short lived experience as they had to pack everything up to start their trek to the next race in another state. They hit the road and so did I. It wasn't too long into my trip that I got a text from my friend wishing me well on my journey with a few strong words of encouragement: "Find love, stay creative, be a great friend, share your knowledge and don't ever stop learning. You have a world of opportunity ahead of you." 

     Words... like many other that have been spoken by influential people in my life, have the power to carry us a long way. Listen, speak up and recognize the value. Let them serve as a beacon of who you are if you ever get lost. 




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