I love the english language. Making sentences is like cooking: the page is your pot.
Evolution happens: saying "thee" and "thou" is downright prosaic, and if you flip the coin, getting educated people to say things like "somdiloquent", "shennaverous", and "suresia" eases the passage from nonsense to websters.
Master of phonegry, Lewis Carrol wrote the following brilliant poem. Enjoy.
'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe; All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrave. "Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch! Beware the Jujub bird, and shun The frumious Bandersnatch!" He took his vorpal sword in hand: Long time the manxome foe he sought -- So rested he by the Tumtum gree, And stood awhile in thought And as in uffish thought he stood, The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame, Came whiffling through the tulgey wood, And burbled as it came! One, two! One, two! and through and through The vorpal blade went snicker-snack! He left it dead, and with its head He went galumphing back.
"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock? Come to my arms, my beamish boy! O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!" He chortled in his joy.
'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe; All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrave.
Christmas, at home. Our house smelled delicious. The smell of baking bread with a hint of christmas tree.
I loved the sounds too. Dad splitting kindling in the kitchen with our big knife, the crackling fire, and the "pop" when mom pried the lid off the homemade canned applesauce with a tableknife.
The presents under the tree had unmistakable allure...especially those which I couldn't identify by traditional methods of smelling, shaking, and pinching.
Christmas day, the tide of euphoria swept steadily in until the day's end, when I crawled into bed, a blissfully selfish rascal, wearing, hugging, and clutching at as many of my presents as I could.
Christmas Day-- Away. I awake in the town of Banos, Ecuador. My friends and I have lived in a bus or hostel for the past month, and the long bus hours, hard beds, and cold showers have gradually become status quo. Banos means "Baths" in spanish, and the little town has been a holiday retreat for Ecuadorians for centuries. Nestled between steep hillsides and overlooked by an active volcano, Banos offers hot thermal baths, and lots of little cafes and shops designed to delight the tourists heart.
It is evening now, I spent the day on a rented bike of questionable quality, passing through beautiful mountain gorges and peddling madly along dirt tracks. Tired, I now rest inside a tiny telephone booth and listen absentmindedly to the noisy hum of young ecuadorians chattering about life. Picking up the receiver, I dial my phone card number, then 001 (U.S. int. code) then 1-207-725-7437.
Some minutes later, I set the phone back in it's socket, check carefully for my wallet, and then proceed to the hostel. My friends and I realize we haven't said anything about christmas all day long, and over the bubbling hum of our camping stoves, we quietly discuss what christmas is like thousands of miles away. Lying back in my bed clutching at my memories, I'm smiling, it is so good to know your missed.
Nearly a year has now elapsed since that day in Ecuador. I sleep in a cushy bed every night and expect electricity and hot water on command. Immersed in a culture of education, I hardly have time to think about this christmas, a christmas at home. I go to bed now, clutching fondly at memories of foreign lands, and happy at the expectation of this christmas, a christmas with my family.
NOTE! Pictures taken by jonathan, he gets all the credit for his awesome skills.
Don't be deceived-- my attempts at slacklineing usually last about 1.7 seconds. I consider this to be a good picture though, as it covers 3 essential parts: my amazing tent, the subject of slacklining, and my good friend phil (looking on, he is an ace climber! think V7.....)
One of the few things I participated in in Freshman orientation was the community service opportunity. Our mentor was a rather flighty individual named keith. At one point, he wordlessly handed me his signup sheet and sprinted for the dormitory! It was with some releif that I handed him his sheet when he breathlessly reappeared with his guitar....
We were headed for LifeCare, a collegedale nursing home. We had 2 hours to sing and socialize with the residents. I met many fascinating characters, including an elderly lady who claimed to be a strict vegetarian, but was continuously smoking cigarretes (outside of course). Another elderly lady, "Wanita" by name, wore copious amounts of lipstick, and had long red fingernails. She occupied herself by continuously straightening her bed, and by telling me some graphic tales about her youth as a mortician's daughter.
With just 15 minutes to go, I wandered into the last room on the hall. There, gazing out his window, was Karl Lampart. He spoke with a marked German accent and had a long and angular nose. I asked him where his accent was from, and looking at me with a strange smile on his face, he began to tell his story.
Karl was born in Germany, on the Baltic Sea. His father was Sephartic, and his mother was Ashkenazi, in other words, he was Jewish. He told me that since he was out in the country, the persecution of the Nazis wasn't as intense, but still, he had had to go into hiding for days at a time at a neighbours house. I glanced at my watch in the midst of our dialogue and realized I was 2 minutes late for the appointed meeting time, so I made a reluctant withdrawel, promissing him that I would come back soon.
Life has been busy here, and so it wasn't until this sabbath that I was able to go back, this time Joel Kurtz went with me. This time, his daughter was there to. She had dyed purple hair and long fingernails, but I quickly realized she was of high mental caliber as well. We started off on a conversation of what was most important in life. For posterity, he said that 1) the pursuit of happiness, and 2) that happiness was best found through finding a loving spouse.
Karl was an electrical engineer here in the states for most of his life. He told us about his philosophy of tolerances, he told us what is general political worldview was, and then we finally settled on the topic of jewish customs and practices. He told us about various orthodox traditions, the regulations for how far to walk on the sabbath, and how to say "Happy Sabbath" in Yiddish-- "Gut Schabes".
He finally got out his Hebrew scriptures, and showed us how their "old testament" compares to ours. He explained that they do not study the scriptures in an exegetical manner, but take each text particularly.
Frequently, when you ask Karl a question, he responds by asking YOU a question. He really cares about helping you to learn something.
When someone dies, we all lose something, but when Karl dies, we will lose something beautiful, something great.
Bike Time: 58:50 (Overall Bike rank: 127) (18 miles)
Run Time: 30:43 (Overall Run rank: 41). (4 miles)
Overall Rank: 101.
My training was hopelessly inadequate, as studies took top priorities. I felt horrible in the run, but it was my best event. Strange.
I was so tired at the end that I had great difficulty balancing. I eventually got Joel to help me down to the edge of the lake where I spent the next 10 minutes attempting to collect my wits.
I hobbled up to the tent where they served various refreshments for the race participants. Gatorade didn't look especially appetizing, and neither did Panera's day-old bread. At last my tired gaze stumbled on a large bowl of sliced oranges, which I promptly decided were precisely what I felt like. As I ate, I found that I could lean on the table and eat oranges at the same time, which gratified me immensely. After creating a small mountain of orange peels, I noticed something or somebody was trying to communicate with me. I eventually ascertained that it was an elderly gentleman, and, complementing myself on the remarkable acuity with which I had made this observation, I reached for the next slice. Unfortunately, he was persistant, and eventually I began to trace connections between the way his mouth was moving, and various unrecognizable sounds he was making. Mustering my full intellectual powers, I eventually decided he was attempting to dissuade me from eating any more oranges, at which I uttered a guttural "ok" and gradually forced myself to walk away.
Darkness has descended on another of my carefree summer days. Summer days that have flown, full of delightfully unprioritized tasks. Summer days that have melded into a potpourri of faintly forgetfull notions, once solved in sleep-- they seem to melt back into dilemma with the rising of the sun.
Try to find ten words, or a thousand if you like, that will describe your summer, and you'll find the whole is greater than the sum of it's parts. And so I crash into the wall of my inexpressible summer, and when I try to take the wall down, I find my mind too clumsy.
I have remembered Peru all summer long. Most everything reminds me about Peru, and many times it's not the similarities.
I have thought about going to College. I'm so afraid; I'm so excited.
We have had grand adventures, sailing, hiking, and swimming.
But what I like most about this summer, is the fact that I could be together with family. All the places I have been, and all the things I have done, are filled with thoughts of past and future, and then, as now, I'm thinking of my family.
I took this picture on a bike ride I took yesterday. This house and land is undeniably the most handsome on Orr's island. A beautifully manicured lawn runs to the doorstep of a beautiful house, which looks down on a beautiful blue pond. Unfortunatly, the pond was made by placing a concrete dam at the outlet of what probably used to be a small creek. Beyond being highly unsightly, the dam probably deprived a downstream eco-system of vital water.
This brings up an interesting point of ethical concern. To what extent should man impose his ideas of beauty on nature?
To some extent, the modern age has ushered in a state of irreversible change, from trails to interstate highways, from beaver dams to the hoover dam.
What about mowing your lawn? Or even landscaping?
Clearly there must be some line of delineation. Where that line must lie is the choice of the individual.
My bike took me out to the end of route 24 yesterday. The scenic ride wends it's way through the communities on Orr's and Bailey Islands before the pavement runs into sea and sky at "Lands End".
I left our house at 4:40 P.M., just as the trees and sky began to glow with the golden light cast off by the setting sun.
I passed quickly through the lingering shadows, feeling impolite to dance through their councils, but it was the road's fault, it hurried me along, daring me to find it's last corner....
The grasses nodded cordially at my passing, they said they had been waiting for me... but I didn't believe them, I haven't seen them move in years.
I paused at Lands End to take some pictures. An elderly lady in her car smiled at me, tentatively, wondering if I would smile back, and when I did, the moment was just as beautiful as the scenery surrounding me.
I have had the privelege over the past few days to work with a man by the name of Dick Bernier. Somewhat stooped and powerfully built, Dick talks through his large white beard in an accent that drips the unique and grammatically carefree style of Maine.
"You wasn't here yest'day was you?" He bellowed at me as I approached this morning, his weathered face crinkling into a big smile.
"It rained some'n awfull up my place yest'day!" he shouted. I am able to understand Dick quite clearly through my ear protection. (He, who has never worn ear protection, has some difficulty hearing, which might explain his extraordinary volumes).
Dick appears to be well versed in the lingo of his trade. The first day I worked with him was highly confusing......
"Hand me that Can't Dog over there and we'll roll this crow pole right onto the mill!" I paused between a hook strapped to the side of the machine and a large pole with a hook on it. He sensed my deliberation and tried to clarify. "The Peavey" he shouted, "I need the Peavey". I got desperate and grabbed the pole with the hook on it and handed it to him. He appeared gratified by this, and proceeded to compliment me on knowing the terminology.
And so I learned, little by little.
Can't Dog= Peavey= Pole with big hook.
Crow Pole=Pole them crows sit on= Skinny pine tree.
Flaring= Flaring the Log= Cutting irregularities off the log to make it round with a chainsaw.
Dick is a master sawyer. He generates very little scrap wood, and cuts beautifull boards with his little "band saw mill".
On thursday Barry, Per Houmann, and I hiked up Katahdin. We were encased in fog the entire hike, but that only increased the mystique and isolation.
Thanks to the vision of Baxter, here encapsulated in his own famous words, we were able to enjoy one of maine's greatest treasures.
"Katahdin always should and must remain the wild stormswept, untouched-by-man region it now is; that is its great calm. Only small cabins for mountain climbers and those who love the wilderness should be allowed there, only trails for those who travel on foot or horseback, a place where nature rules and where the creatures of the forest hold undisputed dominion.
As modern civilization with its trailers and gasoline fumes, its unsightly billboards, its radio and jazz, encroaches on the Maine wilderness the time yet may come when only the Katahdin region remains undefiled by man. To acquire this Katahdin region for the people of Maine has been undertaken by me as my life’s work, and I hope as the years roll on that this state park will be enjoyed by an ever increasing number of Maine people and by those who come to us from beyond our borders.
Katahdin stands above the surrounding plain unique in grandeur and glory. The works of man are short lived. Monuments decay, buildings crumble and wealth vanishes, but Katahdin in its massive grandeur will forever remain the mountain of the people of Maine. Throughout the ages it will stand as an inspiration to the men and women of this state."