Archive for July, 2008

Home is where my heart is

There is a lot people sacrifice in the name of a career. One wouldn’t think this simple photograph could make me realize just how much is missed, but it did.
I got this photograph, and another just like it (but with more tomatoes), from Annah in an email and then in a text message. The text message with a colander full of tomatoes and giant zucchinis beside them gave me a sinking feeling in my chest. This is the second year in a row I’ve missed the harvesting of the vegetables I spent so much time caring for over the past 4 months. The fruits of my labor are being handed out to neighbors and colleagues at Annah’s work. This is bitter-sweet.
It hit me that one day I might get a text message with a photograph of my newborn child. Maybe I’ll get a video sent to me in an email with my child walking for the first time.
A mentor of mine, Bruce Strong, relayed a message to me recently from his father who always says, “Look at your roles, your goals and then prioritize.” He sounds like a brilliant man.
I saw this quote hanging on a banner today that made me think of my role in life, career…
“God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.” – Reinhold Niebuhr
Serenity, Courage and Wisdom. I could use a little bit more of each.

Simple Men

“There may not be a lot of things I’m good at in this world,” Jason said after cutting down a tree, stripping it of its limbs and sectioning it miraculously quick. “But cutting down trees is one of them. I love it.”
Jason is one of those guys that surprises me every time he says something. Men aren’t supposed to share their feelings and show any signs of weakness, and Jason is subject to all those social pressures. On top of all that, he’s a true Vermonter, and New Englanders are notoriously reserved. But, his curiosity, sense of humor and openness peel away to reveal the core of who he is.
We, in America, want to be superstars, rocket scientist, pro basketball players… Our professions are our lives. We live in this extreme realm of reality where there is little room for normalcy nor calm.
Simplicity is something I’m seeking in life. I heard a young kid sing the Lynyrd Skynyrd song “Simple Man” at a festival today and it made the tiny hairs on my arms and shoulders rise.

“Be a simple kind of man
Be a something you love and understand
Baby be a simple kind of man
Oh won’t you do this for me son if you can

Forget your lust for the rich man’s gold
All that you need now is in your soul
And you can do this if you try
All that I want from you my son is to be satisfied”

People like Jason remind me to be a simple kind of man.

If you’re out there reading this Jason, thanks for letting me crash on your couch, thanks for letting me follow you around the woods, and thanks for being you.


“I know it might sound funny saying this, but there’s an inner peace,” said Rick Alger about being in the woods of northern New Hampshire with just his horses Ruby and Emma.
Being alone can be time to reflect or to wrap one’s head around the self, but it can also be lonely. “I don’t always talk like this,” Rick said. “You know… going on like this.”
I proceeded to claim I had some sort of conjuring skills or CIA-like interrogation techniques that allowed me to get things out of him that didn’t normally come out of us New Englanders, but I was wrong. “It’s no skill of yours,” said Rick. “It’s just that I haven’t seen someone in so damn long!”
Rick is a horse logger just north of Berlin, NH. He’s collecting water for Ruby, Emma and himself just before heading back to camp for the night.
Rick and his two horses tread lightly on the forest floor. People hire him for this reason. While mechanical logging may drop more trees in a given time period, logging with horses leaves barely a sign of man’s footprint.
This type of logging isn’t making Rick a rich man, but if integrity was measured in dollars this guy would be the next Rockefeller.

Show me the Paper

Dave Berwick was layed off from this Berlin soon after a large section of it was demolished in the winter of 2006. He remembers when this giant mill stretched off into the horizon. Now only the building behind his baseball team remains. They hope to turn what remains of the mill into a biomass power plant.

Dying Bird

Labored breathing brings life and death.
Ariadne often kisses the dead at church, but I can see sadness in her eyes after she discovers a bird her cat, Peter, named after a saint, had caught and bitten. The bite is fatal.
“It’s quiet and it’s not moving,” Ariadne whispers to me as if someone hearing would blame her for what has happened. “I think she is dead.”