We Bounce

In Life Is Short, Pep Talks by David99 Comments

Ladakh, India, 2008.

A year ago, on Easter weekend, I fell 30′ from a wall in Pisa, Italy. Most of you know that. I shattered both feet, cracked my pelvis and was told I would never walk the same again, and would “always have a limp, though you’ll limp with both feet, so it won’t look like a limp.” Whatever that means. A year later, after a couple surgeries, extensive rehab, and now the help of my chiropractor and trainer, I walked to dinner last night without the trace of a limp. It comes and goes, to be sure. Some days are better than others, and some days I need my cane. But through this year I’ve learned that I can do damn-near anything. So can you. The human spirit is a remarkable force.

I hit 40 this year. In those 40 years I’ve hit the ground more than once. Among other shining moments, I was diagnosed with diabetes when I was 20. I’ve divorced twice. I’ve gone bankrupt once. Each time I thought I’d never survive, would never live the life I wanted, would end up living in a box under a bridge, would wither from the shame of failure. But we bounce. We don’t have to, of course; we can choose to wallow, allow ourselves to be victims. Or we can say, F*ck it, take a deep breath, lean into the pain, and the fear, and move forward.

Have you seen the Honey Badger video on YouTube? (warning: NSF, rough language.) If I had a spirit guide, it’d be the honey badger.  We don’t all have bodies that do what we need them to, can’t all lean on good looks, or have above-average intelligence. But we can choose to endure, to persevere. I don’t want a perfect life; I want the courage to keep going, to sleep off the venom, to keep going, to bounce back. What’s Easter if not a celebration of the possibility of resurrection, and return from the darkest life has to offer?

We bounce, but it’s usually a choice. It’s that way in life, and it’s that way in art. And when bouncing isn’t enough, the truly blessed have friends to catch them, and you all carried me through moments this year, especially last May, that I didn’t think I’d come through. So this short post is simply to say “Thank you,” to remind you that you too will bounce back from the fall, whatever that is for you, and to wish you, from the bottom of a grateful heart, a Happy Easter.


  1. I wish I could be strong enough, will work on it. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks, David. This is exactly what I needed to be reminded of at a “challenging” time in my life.


  3. That was an amazing post…thank you for sharing your thoughts with the rest of us.

  4. Hey man, glad your back on your feet. Keep trucking, keep telling your story and keep inspiring us as no other can.



  5. Frederick – Thanks for the words, man. I wish I had more to tell about the bankruptcy but I’m not sure there’s really more to say. Canadian bankruptcy laws force bankrupt people through a bit of a financial re-training, and I lucked into having a really excellent trustee who was committed to helping me get back on track and never repeating the cycle, so she gave me a lot of homework, and directed me to some great resources to learn from. My greatest fears were that this process would leave me with nothing when in fact it allowed me to crawl out of a hole I’d been in for a long, long time. Very freeing, if not also very humbling.

  6. Very inspiring words David! It’s sometimes easy to wish we had somebody else’s life (and how I wished I had your talent and life!), but we fail to realize that it is only a moment in time, preceded by ups and downs we wouldn’t necessarily wanna make our own, or if we did, only in hindsight. I know you had mentioned your bankruptcy before and as I am going through a pretty low point in my life, I was actually wishing to hear more about you overcame that. Very timely postings from my own personal point. Thanks for sharing David, and sincere congratulations on your resiliency.

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  8. Thanks, David! You always have something to teach me and inspire me with. Namaste.

  9. A life-affirming message. Congratulations from someone else who has experience with adversity. I came to your blog by chance tonight and found the very thing i need to hear. Thank you.

  10. Hey Man! That’s a fabulous Easter message.

    Congrats on your progress and your tenacious spirit. Hope this coming year is a great one for you with only photographic challenges.

    Happy Easter to you.

  11. “We bounce, but it’s usually a choice.” Perfectly right.
    So good you made your choices, again and again.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, knowledge, ideas and also from time to time those deep insights into your life. You are a stranger to most of us, but even so your inspiration is a great gift for so many (me included). I am following your blog for more than two years now, and I am curious where the journey of your life will lead you in the future…

  12. Author

    Andreas – Go to Gravatar.com and register, set up an avatar and it’ll display on this blog, and many others using the plug in. It’s pretty popular, so you only have to do it once for it to appear almost everywhere. If a 40-year old can do it, so can you. 🙂

  13. Thankyou for everything you do David. Especially this timely post. I’ve been feeling rather tired and beaten down for quite a few months now. This truly gives me some inner strength to not allow myself to be a victim, but to charge forward!
    God bless, and continue to heal!

  14. THANK YOU David!!! I’m SO glad you bounced back, I prayed for you after your fall, I almost never comment on your blog but I’m a constant reader, and I have some of your e-books as well. You are a great and true inspiration for me, both photographically and personally. Thank you for fighting, for showing us that it’s possible, for inspiring us. Big hug to you from Madrid, Spain.

  15. Just started reading your posts recently after having one of you books recommended to me. Sounds like the last year has been a journey and then some.

  16. Hard to believe it’s been a year. So, so grateful you’ve made it through all of it with such amazing grace. The world is a better place because you’re in it. Thank you for being here. 🙂

  17. Rob, thanks for being in my corner. Sometimes you need other people to believe the hard things for you while they still seem impossible. 🙂

  18. Free to wander,
    Free to roam.

    David, I truthfully never *believed* for a second you wouldn’t walk again. The first time I read that, my immediate thought was “Nope, that’s bull sh*t, he’ll be fine”.

    I can’t say if it was just miss-placed optimism, or that it was intuition because I was removed from the event, who knows…

    I never remember it being 30 ft…maybe I wouldn’t have been so optimistic! Glad you are “back”…great shot, btw. 🙂

  19. Thanks for the thoughtful post, David. It brought a tear to my eye. Yeah, really.

    Glad you’re still bouncing. Happy Easter!!

  20. I can’t believe it’s been a year! A Happy and blessed Easter to you as well.

  21. Having just discovered your Within the Frame book and podcasts, all dated from before your accident, I must say I’m so sorry you’ve been through all of this, but, I’m thrilled to find you on the other end of it. You’ve inspired my camera and now you’ve inspired my spirit. Happy Easter!

  22. As always, thank you! Your gratitude has gotten you through alot of this, too. treasure that in yourself.

  23. Just over a year ago you were on my periphery, David. Your fall brought you into my awareness, and I shared all your little bits with my wife, like you were a member of the family. “David fell.” “David’s back in Canada.” “David’s had surgery.” “David’s out shooting again.” While I don’t embrace “religion”, I do believe there is “more”, and that you are blessed and a blessing. Glad to have you with us, sharing as you do. Happy Easter!

  24. What a wonderful reminder. We all go through rough patches, we all have bad things happen to us, it’s how we pick ourselves back up and move or bounce forward that counts. Always love to read what you have to say.
    (By the way, you can get Honey badger t-shirts… I wear mine with pride.)

  25. What an excellent testament to fortitude and perseverance, really always inspiring and motivating words, that’s why I always hustle on over when I see a star on my Top Sites bookmark place. Keep it comin man!

    P.s. love how you are embracing the black and white realm- gotta question: did you use a polarizer on this shot to achieve the black skies? I have a dedicated b+w mode set up on my cammy where I set a blue shift and apply a red filter thereby getting blue skies very dark-? Right. Happy Easter David!

  26. An inspiring post. Keep up your great work and help us keep improving along the way. You are a person so many people look up to…

    Happy Easter!

  27. David, thanks for the “feelings” words you give us.

    It is not for nothing that you get so much reactions, from us, your friends!

    Happy Easter to you and all of you

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  29. David,
    Thank you for your message. It touches me at a time I need to hear it as it seems to do for others. One of the beautiful things about it is that reading that other people needed to hear this as much as I need to hear it is doubly inspiring and really does create connection. So thanks again for being so honest and vulnerable.

  30. What a fantastic attitude; what clear insights. Thanks for sharing this. Blessings on you – or, continued blessings because it sounds as though you already know how to recognize and roll with the blessings. Happy Easter to you, too.

  31. Thanks for sharing that David. Lately I feel like I have the bounce of a hockey puck on an outdoor rink. If it’s any consolation you’ve done amazing things even without the challenges you’ve faced.

  32. Thank you for being such an inspiration to all of us. Happy Easter.

  33. David:

    You are an inspiration, on many, many levels.

    Thank you,


  34. Nicely written and very inspiring. We bouce, some more then others, some higher then others, but that’s mostly due to motivation and effort. Like you said we have the choice to stay down for the count. The human spirit is remarkable though and will 9 times outta 10 get us back on our feet fighting for what we want.

  35. Thanks David,

    I come across your work a couple of months ago, I brought Visionmongers which I love and dip into your Blog for inspiration and wisdom.
    This message surly is wise and inspirational.

  36. I discovered your blog at exactly this time last year and was horrified to learn about your fall. I’ve followed your recovery and am thankful you are doing so well. I’m inspired by your talent, your spirit, and the way in which you share all of that with us here. Happy Easter!

  37. well said, David. I’ve bounced a few times myself, and I am forever great foul that I never gave up when my hope was low. It is like a tide; it will rise again.

  38. But a Honey Badger? It was so gross. Ok I get the point and I am sure I could need some of this persistent and get rid of the resistance. Working on it but Cobras are not on my menu yet 🙂 Happy Eastern to you and your family

  39. I love this line “But we can choose to endure, to persevere.” very well put. I hope your recovery keeps progressing well.

    As always a wonderful image. Beautiful lines and dramatic sky for a the B&W.

  40. “I don’t want a perfect life; I want the courage to keep going, to sleep off the venom, to keep going, to bounce back.” Thank you so much for this encouragement… very timely words for me. Have a blessed and happy Easter!

  41. I needed to read this today…and a Happy Easter to you. Keep bouncing!

  42. Wow, David. Every time I read your blog I leave it feeling inspired and motivated. Thank you for sharing your struggles and triumphs with all of us. Happy Easter.

  43. The title and contents captured a place in my heart and warrented an overdue hello. Inspirational message within, wise words and a true source of inspiration to all. Bounce on and bounce as high as you can. Remember to enjoy the air up there!! Turning 40 is not so bad. I welcome it next year with gusto!

  44. David, you are always so inspiring…keep up the attitude of inspiring others…

  45. you are one honey badger yourself, David!!
    and we get inspired by spirits like yours…
    thank you and Happy Easter!! 🙂

  46. Happy Easter, David. It was actually a year ago tonight, about now. Or maybe in an hour or so. It is 21:40 now, this side of the pond.

  47. Thank you for bouncing back. You are an inspiration to me in more ways than I can describe. Happy Easter! – may its blessings continue for you in the days to come!

  48. Happy Holidays to you to David. You are truly and inspiration. I look forward to your blog posts, your books and of course your photographs. Thank You!

  49. thank you thank you, I’m bouncing as I read about your experience, your insightful thoughts.

    Enjoy todays west coast sunshine, get outside.

  50. Words of wisdom, David. I broke my back in two places a few years ago in a horriffic car accident. I should be dead. The doctors warned me that I’d always have back pain and that I would likely not be able to carry a pack all day long like I used to do. Fortunately, most of what they told me turned out to be wrong. Yeah, my back aches some times but I still go out and hike all day with a heavy pack on my back. My quality of life has not diminished one bit.

    Congrats to you for maintaining such a positive outlook and thanks for sharing your experience with the rest of us. It is truly inspirational.

  51. That was fabulous and timely, David. I have never commented, but needed to say Happy Easter to you.

  52. I’m grateful for the words and images you share here. Both have touched my heart for the better. Happy Easter Mr. duChemin! May your day be blessed with amazing light, many smiles and the presence of loving and fun friends. 🙂

  53. You are the bomb David..wish you could hear my applause right now. Thank you for sharing your images and life.

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