One of the joys of being a photographer is catching those moments between people where something truly special is happening. Those are the pictures that speak to our shared experience of humanity and touch our hearts.
Or at least that's how I feel about this photo, I don't know about you.
This shot was taken at a public fire performance at Tommy's Park, in the heart of Portland Maine early this past summer. The woman in the picture is an accomplished fire performer, and at this moment she was handing a lit fire staff down to her boy for one of his first times spinning fire in a big public environment.
He was awesome by the way.
But I was just as awed by his mother. She, her friends, and her colleagues had trained and prepared him for this very thing, but handing him that staff can't have been entirely easy, no matter how proud she was. Fire can burn after all, and once he has that staff, he's the one responsible for what happens next.
It occurs to me that in some ways this must be at the heart of what it means to be a parent. A parent can only prepare and protect their children for so far and so long before they have to be willing to step back and let those children explore the world, find their own boundaries, and hopefully shine.
It has to be an incredibly tough thing to do, especially knowing that it won't always go well. We all get burned in one way or another as we grow into ourselves after all.
But then again, there are also times when we burn brightly and the fire never touches us.
Photos in this post ©2013 by E. Wintersong Tashlin, all rights reserved