That is the cause that drives all of us; we meat-puppets, bio-piles, self-motivated obsessed carbon life forms that we are. The reason we do everything that we do is because we die. The meaning of life is that it ends.
The scrawled hearts on the park bench, the scratched names under your desk are cries from the past; reaching yearning, calling from that abyss where all things must go. We build cities and businesses, and lives because they are graffiti to the gods, and we want them to be hard to scrub off the walls.
Think about laborers under the beating sun dragging blocks for the great pyramids, think about the lives that were spent to turn great blocks of stone into a massive tomb for the ruler of a sand patch at the end of a muddy river. Thousands and thousands of hours of back breaking work, of lives spent like devalued currency, and for what? So one man could have a glorious tomb and take his riches into the after-life? Yet ten thousand, thousand men and women and children were buried in shallow graves in the sand. No embalming for them, no hope for an afterlife for them.
You think we are any different today? We work and sweat and labor to build high-rises that will be used, and then neglected, and then dilapidated, and then razed. Gone. Cities rise, cities fall, ruins fill the landscape and the flesh-toned tide of humanity rises and falls, ebbs and recoils, fades and though it is always dying, always being born, it is a continuous thread that stretches back into history, one meager life at a time.
Do you really think you are going to make your mark on the world?
Time is death, death is time. Eventually I will be gone, you will be gone, and perhaps if we are fortunate, we may be remembered by our descendants, or if we have done something famous or infamous we may be remembered long into the future, though that future does not really matter much to those still trapped like a fly in amber locked in the past.
I look at those scratchings on a park bench, and wonder at our own mortality, the great mystery that is death. What deep scratches are you trying to leave behind?
This is my 1987 Vulcan 88 Classic. It is big, it is old, but it is mine, and it brought me safely through a 1300 mile journey, so I feel a bit of gratitude towards the old lump of steel and weather-checked rubber.. I figure I owe it at-least a chance to live on in semi-retirement here in Florida. It spent most of its life in the cold and blustery north, so I imagine it likes it down here, as do I.
I bought this bike last year for the princely sum of $600, and have put about 7,500 miles on it so far. I love having a bike again, and florida is the best place for a motorcycle. I should spend even more time riding it than I do.
I rode this motorcycle from Northwestern PA, to the middle of Florida over 3 days, and loved every minute of the crazy adventure, I left directly after my last day of work ended, and then rode about 70 miles to stay that night at a friends house, and in the morning I left, and rode all day long, finally ending up in South-Carolina for the night. then the next morning I finished the ride.
I love looking down into a valley where I can see the curve of a river, or the shape of a town, and then compare that mental image to a map of the state or country to get an idea of my size relative to the earth, or the natural formations around me.
This image was taken by an astronaut on the ISS, and shows Florida at night. I can see the shape of Cape Canaveral, and even the tiny tiny little tip of light (just below the tip of the arrow) where the bridge from Titusville to Cape Canaveral is, and where I often go to sit and watch the yachts on the Indian River. I see formations of light that I recognize as towns and areas where I have driven and walked, and ridden my bike. I can imagine how it must feel to be up in the ISS looking down and seeing familiar places, and think about the memories shared on those small specks of light. It must be an amazing feeling to be high above the earth, but close enough to recognize land-forms and visualize your place on the little blue jewel that is the earth.
I will probably never go to space, commercial space-flight is far enough out that I probably will be too old to go, but I love looking at images like this, and thinking of myself and others like little specks on a small ball of rock spinning through the cold depths of space. We are in a peculiar place, half way between the atoms and the stars, small enough to be insignificant, and yet large enough to comprehend the laws governing the heavens.
When your obligation to an item outweighs its utility, it is time to cut the connection to that item.
I have fallen into the trap of saving something because I might need it someday, and so I have carried things half-way across a continent in the imagining that I will have a use for it again, and so I shouldn’t get rid of it. That almost never ends up being true for me, and I end up collecting all this junk that piles up and never seems to diminish. I go thorough periods where I will purge stuff, but that usually only leaves room to collect more.
Just this week I finally got rid of a set of flush-mount LED tail lights that I originally bought to put in my 93 Jeep Wrangler, (way back in like 2002) I ended up going with another style of light, and so I kept these lights (4 round tail lights, and 2 side-marker lights) in the thought that one day I would need them again, after all, they were BRAND-NEW!! why waste them?
Time went by, I sold my first Jeep, and moved, and moved again, then after a few more years I bought another Jeep YJ, so yay! I am going to use these lights!!
Nope…. The Frame-off restoration project I had in mind never happened, and 2 years later I sold that Jeep. I still had those lights.
I moved to Florida….And brought those lights with me.
I moved stuff around, in and out of storage… I still had those lights.
Last week I sold them on Ebay, and shipped them out to someone who hopefully will use them as I originally intended. Funny thing is that I could have done that at any time since I originally went with a different style and no longer needed them, and if I had ever wanted them again, I could have just gone on Ebay and bought more. It’s not like they are particularly rare or hard to find, in-fact I would have been better off if I had sold them right away, because they are about 1/5th the price now that they were when I bought them over 10 years ago, so I wasted that money, I wasted the opportunity cost of having to carry the things everywhere with me. I wasted the space they took up; I wasted the mental energy that I spent thinking about my obligation to do that project someday. In-fact each time I saw a jeep sitting for-sale somewhere, I would think: “I miss my jeep, I want another one, and then I can use those lights”
Now they are gone, my mind is at rest at-least as far as jeep-lights are concerned.
I have lived with the idea that creativity is a muscle that increases in strength the more you use it. I imagined that it was something that I could improve with time, as I kept making more art and refining my technique, perhaps creative ideas would flow liberally and this would be an upward spiral feeding on itself.
I was working a full time job that while I did enjoy it, it wasn’t a creative position, I was working according to a formula. I was solving problems, but they weren’t really creativity problems, and so my ‘creativity muscle’ wasn’t being used very much. I assumed that once I broke out of that routine, and was able to use my creativity more (in starting new ventures, creating new things, making new things, writing, editing, and designing) that I would flow into that routine and have creativity bursting at the seams…
Now that I am in the middle of that new paradigm shift, and creativity is required in all moments of my life, I find that I see it much more as a precious resource that can be wasted, and exhausted if spent poorly. I have been allowing my creativity to spill out of every crack and crevice in my life, I have been persuing every little idea and speculative thought that creeps into my head, and after a few months of this, I realize how draining this can be, and I am trying to reign in my wild abandon at getting into new things.
I am disappointed that I have run into this wall, but it only makes sense that creative work will become exhausting just the same as physical work exhausts bodily resources and must be conserved carefully.
I pondered that idea over the weekend, as I ran completely out of ideas last week because I was spending too much of my time making things and brainstorming, but this week is the start of a new phase, I will be more careful not to waste my creative energies on unimportant things.
Time to get cracking!
Twenty Eight Feet: life on a little wooden boat from kevinAfraser on Vimeo.
I read the book: ‘Dove’ by Robin Lee Graham, and somewhere stashed away, I have the original National Geographic Magazine articles about his travels, and this video makes me re-live reading those books. Here is a young man also on a small yacht sailing away for adventure.
I moved to Florida partially to someday experience this lifestyle, I ride past the yachts every morning, many of them have names of faraway places painted on their bows, I have seen Australia, Greece, England, Mexico, and the Bahamas to name a few. I imagine what it would be like to embark on an adventure like that. To set sail and not return for months or years, who knows where the wind will take me..