04/17/2015 On Death

ON DEATH

Some consider death a great mystery. What next? Where do we go? Is there a god? Is there a soul? These questions, although legitimate, are an absolute waste of time and energy. I will not refuse others the right to believe in the afterlife but I cannot believe that which I cannot experience. My limited days won't be spent forecasting the inevitable darkness that may plague some. Why must I fear death? Do the corn crops fear death? Hell, my dogs don't even fear death. Their days are spent in the current day within the current second of the current hours minute. They worship no saint and praise no god and fear little. When did humans lose this spirit?

Death can be a glorious resolve or a selfish end. A tragic moment or one of triumph. Why then does it haunt our thoughts? If a god demands virtue and yet judges your free will, is this how you would choose to spend eternity? 

The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.
— Mark Twain

There's a sense of bliss that arises once you no longer concern yourself with the end and instead focus your energy on the present. For it is now that we live, though we may die tomorrow. If I was to die tomorrow should I spend my last hours fearing that which draws near? Or will I enjoy the final moments I've been awarded? I'd rather die tomorrow, enjoying each remaining breath than to live another 60 years with the fear of death haunting my thoughts.

Recent events have opened my eyes to the fragility of life. I've witnessed those who are bitterly weary of every breath they draw, and I've witnessed those who simply enjoy life wholly. I know well who's company I'd choose to keep.

-Steve Lockhart

04/13/2015 Orchestra

ORCHESTRA

Three songbirds rest in a tree, overlooking Hopkins as the rain clouds sweep overhead.
The robin perches itself in regal posture while two chickadees skamper.
In the distance swims a trio of geese singing their verses of nature.
Raindrops dance gaily on the surface of Hopkins, filling its pool to nourish its inhabitants.
Can life be so simple?
I open my senses into this phenomena, allowing its energy to empower my own. 

Oh to never have witnessed the beauty of Hopkins.
I journey here often for leisure but have never opened my senses to absorb its beauty.
It's early April as I pen this entry. The Michigan grounds have thawed and the traveling foul have returned home.
Their songs liven our days. The cold has past and nature awakens once more.
Oh how it slept.
The trees have yet to sprout leaves, they turn bright green in the evening mists.
They will awake soon.

Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.
— Henry David Thoreau

Hopkins offers solitude amidst the noisy city.
Yes, there are distant growls of cars passing but they fade away as the songbirds sing.
I excite to the notion of the tree frogs singing their songs as the sunsets.
Twenty minutes, maybe thirty. I rejoice.

The mighty overseer draws the shades to the innocent eye.
It is within every life form, and lies dormant in most.
How they would rejoice to converse with it.
It remains in darkness as in light. It says "Give unto me the truth, for I can decipher nothing else."
The songbirds sing this truth, as does man. But what do we see?
Do our thoughts cloud the overseer's vision? Does it close the shades awaiting truth?
Or is it always there? When the eyes draw shut and we forget all thought, it draws the shades open and truth flows in.
Why would we ever shut him out? For he shows us the beauty within each breath, within each song, within each chirp, within each croak, within each growl, within each trill.

The sun sits upon the horizon, vanquishing day and returning to rest.
The tree frogs now sing along with the songbirds, creating a melody that even Bach couldn't capture.
The decrescendo of the dusk offers a beautiful stillness and wondrous tension.
The geese echo the baritone while the chickadee sings the chorus.
As the sun breaks ground these trees come to life in a glorious crescendo which could resolve in the crashing of cymbals!
Majestically they sing.

Who has witnessed this orchestra? Do others allow the overseer the sight of the falling sun?
Does the professor spend a moment by Hopkins to absorb its knowledge?
Does the shop owner listen to its tune after a hard days work?
Did the Chippewa of many centuries past behold its grace? Why must its tune remain uncaptured by many, though it lies within a mile from many homes? 

To most this would be no sacred spot. It's simply a place to eat lunch, catch fish, or exercise the family pet, not sacred ground.
To me it has become sacred, as do all grounds I walk. As the overseer peers through the shades and witnesses all truth as it occurs, I find sacred ground.

The evening grows dim as the song mellows into a sweet, soft bouquet of sound.
I breath the sweet air, my lungs expand, and I sense the soft flavors of the trees and rippled waters.
It is time for my retreat as I hear the melodies say their farewell. I travel now, senses alive, and shades opened. 

-Steve Lockhart

04/10/2015 Thoughts on Business

THOUGHTS ON BUSINESS

I have learned many theories on business within the classroom, but very little have I learned of the true principles of the free market. I have studied the graphs, analyzed quarterlies, and even recommended investment strategies (for all men in their mid 20s have learned all there is to know). Yet, I knew nothing of true business. Although cliche, it's true that a man knows NOTHING until he truly experiences things FULLY. To learn theories teaches one little about the world of business. In fact, I'd argue it hampers their ability to succeed in business entirely. Boxing oneself into a corner with only theories to rely on robs the man of the fluidity necessary to perform.

I have been fortunate to find myself in a niche industry, the waters of which grow more and more crowded, while only true craftsmen remain afloat. Whoso dares leave the confines of the 9 to 5 to stand over molten wax from 5 to 9? Some view it as a hobby, myself included! I love what I do. Some choose paint, others choose clay, but my medium is wax. There is a beauty to be found in it's curing process. 

It has recently been brought to my attention the unscrupulous acts of D rate businessmen (invertebrates). Within the confines of my market is a brotherhood of businessmen who I would go to battle with anyday. Their interests align with mine and mine with theirs. And yet, where there's a market there are vultures looking to pray on unfounding victims. They stoop to low levels to coerce business instead of earning it, slithering unseen, instead of standing upright. These men, no, boys, are cowards. They use the so called "legal" system to find holes within small businesses in attempts to strong arm their business. Whoever so calls themselves a man doesn't slink behind the law to do their bidding, he uses his strength, wit, and courage to achieve what cowards cannot. 

"A pure hand needs no glove to cover it."
            -Nathaniel Hawthorne

To the scum who slinks I say, "I would go bankrupt before transacting with a spineless fool who hides behind documents." I'm very much so satisfied with the company which I currently keep for their actions are of men with clout. I ask my brothers to stand with me against the cowards who attempt to steal mine and YOUR likeness. We built this, we fought for this, we will flourish, and they will crumble.

-Steve Lockhart

 

* I was in quite a mood that day...