How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.
— Annie Dillard
Home is now behind you. The world is ahead.”
While contemplating this picture and quote, listen to Concerning Hobbits, one of my favorite songs from the Lord Of The Rings movies.
In honor of my little brother’s birthday yesterday (22, you’re making me feel old here Eric!), here are of some of his more recent quotes– as in, these are the only ones I can remember off the top of my head. I could write a pretty good series of Things Eric Says, and I’m fairly certain one of these days that will probably happen. So perhaps consider this a preview of epic works to come. They say that as a writer you should mine your family life for material. Pretty sure I’m set for writing material for the rest of my life. For a kid with selective mutism he sure has a lot to say when no one else is around, and most of it is hilarious.
Selective mutism is defined (by Wikipedia) as “… a psychiatric disorder in which a person who is normally capable of speech is unable to speak in given situations or to specific people. …. Children and adults with selective mutism are fully capable of speech and understanding language but fail to speak in certain situations, though speech is expected of them. The behaviour may be perceived as shyness or rudeness by others. A child with selective mutism may be completely silent at school for years but speak quite freely or even excessively at home.” This describes Eric to a T. It can be a challenge, but hey, we’ve all got our issues. Some are just more obvious than others. I’m sure some of his teachers, who I don’t think he ever spoke to during his 4 years of high school, would be astounded at at the Chatty Cathy he turns into as soon as he gets home. One never knows exactly what will emit from his vocal cords, so it’s never boring (see below).
Things My Brother Says
- “I’ll bet this metal pole would float.”
Dad: “Are you in shape yet?”
Dad: “Well then we better keep biking until you are.”
- “Don’t make me turn on my synthetic lightning.”
Mom: “The bison like those dry spots to hang out in.”
Eric: “They should try my lips, they’re pretty dry.”
- “Look at that wad of goats over there.”
- After farting in the kitchen directly in front of me, just before leaving the room: “Here’s your gift of Christmas stench.”
- As we approach a waterfall on a hike: “I hear the pitter-patter of falling water. Or 100 mountain goats peeing at the same time.”
- “I think my ass geyser just exploded.”
Happy Birthday Eric! You’re the best little brother I’ve ever had, and I can’t imagine how boringly-normal my life would be without you. You are one of the most righteous dudes I’ve ever met, and I’m so proud of you.
Rock on, bro.
“Walking takes longer… than any other known form of locomotion except crawling. Thus it stretches time and prolongs life. Life is already too short to waste on speed.”
“I don’t much care for straight lines. Too lacking in possibility.”
– Craig Childs, from Soul of Nowhere
Grandpa, Grandma, and Mom a few years ago.
“To stare directly into the eyes of a place like this, to not look away, is nearly unbearable.”
– Craig Childs, from the book Soul of Nowhere
Max and I spent quite some time here, photographing and getting to know this place, in Canyonlands National Park, Utah. We also sheltered from a few rather large thunderstorms here, and watched some fantastic lightning shows from the comfort and safety of this cave in the canyon wall.
Check out his much better photographs on his website: Max Seigal Photography.
I seem to be a bit behind in blog updates, my apologies. I’ve been a little busy. Here’s the very (very very) brief version. I promise more details and pictures as soon as I can.
Pooja and I parted ways in Hanoi, Vietnam. I flew to Singapore to meet up with three other friends : Max, Joby, and Mallory. We spent two nights and one day in Singapore, then flew to Malaysian Borneo. There, we climbed Mt. Kinabalu, which is the highest peak in SE Asia, in a day. Some of us may have made it all the way to the summit, and others of us may have felt like the past year we’ve spent in flat places like Ohio, Florida, and South Carolina did nothing to prepare us for uphill toils at altitude. However, it makes for a pretty sweet story. And there are lots of birds and interesting plants in the Borneo jungle, which made the whole experience slightly more tolerable. After Kinabalu we spent a few days on Banggi Island, off the northern coast, relaxing on the beach and swimming around looking at coral and vibrant blue starfish.
From Borneo we flew to Kathmandu, Nepal. A 6hr bus ride brought us to the town of Pokhara, where we are currently. This morning we went paragliding off one of the mountains just outside town. I won’t try to describe that experience in a few words, because it’s not possible. Fantastic and breathtaking sorta sums it up. The rest of the day was spent procuring permits and supplies, and tomorrow we head out for about 9 days of trekking around the Annapurna region, heading to a place called Poon Hill and possibly Annapurna Base Camp. I expect it will be awesome, and that I will probably take way more pictures of the mountains than I will ever want to go back and look through.
I still can’t quite believe I’m actually in Nepal, just as I couldn’t quite believe I was actually in Borneo ( Good thing I have the passport stamps to prove it, or I would think it was all just a dream). These are places that I’ve read about in National Geographic and seen in wildlife and nature programs, not places that I ever thought I’d actually go myself one day. I knew they were real places, but they were so far away from Ohio that I almost didn’t really think they were real. And now I’m here.
Every day truly is a new adventure, and I cannot wait to see what tomorrow brings.
“Whatever tomorrow brings I’ll be there, with open arms and open eyes, yeah.” That song played on the radio as I drove away from Merritt Island NWR in March, and it helps me to remember that no matter how wonderful (or awful) the past, we must always look forward, because if you’re too busy looking behind you’ll miss all the beauty and wonder in front of you. And, in my case, you’ll probably then run into a tree or trip on a rock, and be forcefully reminded that life is in the present. Every bruise and scratch just reminds us that we’re human though, right?
Every tomorrow is full of promise, the promise of life.
|Red River Gorge, Kentucky, November 2011|
|Baltimore, Maryland, June 2011|
“That which I have learned I leave as my legacy.
Close all gates behind yourself.
Every generation should have its own Bible.
The walls we erect to protect Ourselves from early pain often shut us off from later joy.
To immerse oneself in the natural world is to share a universal thread with every living thing.
Always declare yourself to the person you love.
Live each day not as though it is your last, but as though it is the last day of the lives of the people you meet.
All the best stories are about love.”
|Merritt Island NWR, Florida, February 2012|
Howard Frank Mosher
from the book On Kingdom Mountain