Childhood

Eowyn going down the slide edited

Éowyn is just turning 2 years old, and is full of energy already. She takes to things with no reservations or hesitation, she runs up and dives in with both feet. I see her doing this with things as simple as trying to get onto the recliner with me.  She will run up with so much momentum, that she will bounce off and land on the floor. She wants to get up on my lap, but somehow the idea of coming up to me and then climbing up doesn’t occur to her. Watching her at the playground is a similar experience, she flies from the swings to the slides and back again. It is a workout just keeping up with her. I love to watch her have fun, she is such a little firefly darting here and there…

Its no wonder that we have nicknamed her: “TURBO”

EJH

A Poem For Summer.

I put a poem in the inside of every new moleskine I buy. I put this poem from Tennyson in the moleskine I used for the most chaotic, upsetting and exciting year of my life. (4-2014 to 3-2015)

An incredible number of things happened to me and my family during that time, and this poem has been on the back inside page of my moleskine journal the whole time. I have read this poem a hundred times if I have read it once.

Summer is finally here now.

Deductive Reasoning

My daughter Scarlette is 6, she is smart and observant, and sometimes the things she comes up with are really amazing. A few weeks ago she had a small splinter and after we removed it, we put a band-aid over the area, and Scarlette thought for a moment, and told me that she knew why band-aids worked.

I asked her to tell me why, and she said: “They work because they are like stickers”
At first I didnt realize what she meant, and then I remebered that when she was little we used to give her stickers whenever she bumped her head or scraped her knee or whatever. They were a placebo to take her mind off the pain, and so we would kiss the bump and give her a sticker to put on the sore spot. She remembered that, and deduced that band-aids were like stickers becuase stickers also worked and made her feel better.
That made me smile.

 

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Little Rivers – Henry Van Dyke [Book Review]

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I saw an old red leather bound book in the .25 section of a local Book sellers’ rack. The published date was 1907, and the title: Little Rivers by Henry Van Dyke. It was in rough shape, the edges were torn, the cover was held on with a rubber band.

It was a small book, once bound in red leather, with gold gilt lettering. I thumbed the cover open, and found this inscription: “Essays on profitable idleness” That cinched it for me, and since $0.25 is not much to gamble on a good book; I bought it (along with a Latin reader, and one of Fredrick Nietzsche’s works.)

Henry van Dyke (1852-1933) was an American clergyman, (Presbyterian) Ambassador and Author. Though much of his writings are related to his work, this little gem is not. It tells of his fishing trips in Europe and in New-England, and Canada. With a few pieces of outdoor poetry thrown in for good measure. I made the point of reading outdoors, it reminded me of my childhood, and it inspired in me a lust of the wild.The english is a bit dated, but that is due to it’s age. But that can be a shining point. Van Dyke uses the language to bring the reader down to the stream where he is casting his rod. But this is not just a book about fishing; no, there are many tid-bits of wisdom woven though the narrative. I particularly like this one:

There is such a thing as taking ourselves too seriously, or at any rate, too anxiously. Half the secular unrest and dismal, profane sadness of modern society comes from the vain idea that every man is bound to be a critic of life, and to let no day pass without finding some fault with the general order of things, or projecting some plan for it’s improvement.

I have a thing for old books, something about the idea that this book went though 100 years of history is intriguing to me. I wonder who held it, how many people read it, what influence it had on the lives of it’s owner..

I would recomend it for the outdoors person, it is worth the read.

-Ezra Hilyer

Graffiti To The Gods

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Immortality.

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?

-EJH

1987 Vulcan 88 Classic.

1987 Vulcan 88 Classic 1500

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.
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Ants On A Rock, Halfway Between The Atoms And The Stars.

Florida From the ISS, Where We Live

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.

EJH

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
-Henry David Thoreau

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Utility > Obligation

My 1995 Jeep Wrangler YJ

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.

-EJH

Creativity Is A Resource More Than A Muscle.

Creativity Is A Resource

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!

-Ezra