George Hartzog in 1972
At 630 feet, The St. Louis Arch is the tallest man-made
monument in the United States, Missouri’s tallest accessible building,
and the largest architectural structure designed as a weighted or
flattened catenary arch. The arch is located on the west bank of the
Mississippi River where Pierre Laclède, just after noon on Feb. 14, 1764,
told his aide, Auguste Chouteau, to build a city.
“It was Hartzog who took a set of plans that had been lying dormant for fifteen years and built the great arch of St. Louis. Those who know the story of the arch say that had it not been for Hartzog there would be no arch. Hartzog the ranger is a hero in St. Louis, but at this moment he is not a hero to Tony Buford. ‘God damn it, George, this river is a mess. There is no point fishing this God-damned river, George. The fishing here is no good.'”
“Hartzog looks at Buford for a long moment, and the expression on his face indicates affectionate pity. He says, ‘Tony, fishing is always good.’ The essential difference between these friends is that Buford is an aggressive fisherman and Hartzog is a passive fisherman. Spread before Buford on the bow deck of his johnboat is an open, three-tiered tackle box that resembles the keyboard of a large theatre organ.”
– John McPhee, The New Yorker, Nov. 14, 2011
Hartzog was the Quixote of the Arch.
And you are the Quixote of…?
Giants To Defeat
My windmill looks down at me from the mirror, and highjacks the voice in my head like a pirate radio running interference. It tells me I’m not doing things right. Or that I’m wasting myself. Sometimes it hurls the lighted match that detonates the nuclear-bomb of my anger over a stupid little thing, fanning the fire with each turn, until I find the shut-off valve. And yet, at other times it’s just a small little whisper that carries the biggest temptation of all, “Run away,” it sings, “Let’s get out of here.”
And every time I reach deep within my chest, my armory, where my best weapon beats, and I slay that monster down with Faith, and Love, and Truth, knowing that this is the battle that will keep me company. For it is only through fire that I will temper, and only through exertion that I will endure, and only through love, that I will win.
Luisa F. Toledo
My windmill is – Century old thinking on scripture where literal translation is king and when the king got old we were left with thinly veiled prejudice – Digging below the surface of God’s Word to find nuggets of truth that stand the test of time and of the pagan onslaught – The religious right being lovingly wrong.
I must tip at changing the culture of Christianity from last century which says scripture is inerrant and infallible to a missed revelation that “you must find the intent/purpose/point of the narrative … the rest is interesting but NOT inerrant or infallible” It is time Christianity steps (kicking and screaming if it must) into the next century of God’s apocalypse …
-Steven J. Wunderink
Totally prepared to defeat paralyzing fear with my trusty pen.
The windmills in my mind are the perception of music by our society, and our approach to music as a country.
The windmill that beckons me, the giant I am here to defeat is the darkness in myself and all mankind: self-deception, fear, pride, greed, lust, jealousy, anger, discouragement, hopelessness. My cause is to help people exercise their power to choose with greater honesty, virtue, wisdom, courage, and power — to help people conquer limitations, maximize their potential, and achieve true freedom by reminding them who they are.
I am here to defeat the power of acceptance – that state that permits you to live rather well but curbs your spirit to the point that you do not dare to care or hope or dream. Acceptance becomes Indifference becomes resignation. I keep striving for myself and encourage others to strive too. Acceptance will not claim me. Ever.
The giant I am here to defeat is Human Trafficking. While my current day job is simply looking at data to analyze customer actions I want my life to be spent towards putting a dent in the multi-billion dollar illegal industry of trafficking ~27 million humans.
Thanks for listening,
Samuel R. Seibert
I think we all set out to defeat some long-past perceived slight from a teacher, or not getting picked by the cool kids in dodge ball… ‘I’ll show them’.
But ‘I’ll show them’ wears off. Or it becomes just plain bitterness. But it does introduce you to the giant.
The giant’s name is doubt, and he can never be slain. He grows as you grow. …and you must fight him, or he wins and becomes regret.
Our giants for 2013 are: scheulding- time for work AND play, and bringing the WOW factor to our business
Danny & Vera Snook
Shane Speal’s giant is a consistent $1500+ performance fee
for his concerts (with an average of 1 concert a week).
Windmill is independence.
Giant is steady paycheck.
I have a vision that I wish to share with the world. It has to do with time and dimensions. My elevator speech needs some work, though.
Time is generally understood to be “the fourth dimension” now. Pictures are two-dimensional (up-down and side-to-side, that’s two) and when you add a third – depth or near-far – you get space, which is where we feel at home. But our relationship with that fourth dimension, time, feels pretty weird and constraining. It has been described as being adrift on a flowing river without a paddle. We can walk around and jump and feel somewhat free to choose where we go in space, but we don’t feel that we have much choice as far as “where” we go in time. Sometimes we feel that time goes slower or faster, but the best anyone can do is to consciously manipulate that speed (or their perception of it?) to some extent. It seems that no living person has been able to find a paddle or get off the boat.
Now, I am a religious person, and the vision that I hope to share is somewhat religious in nature. I believe that we are eternal beings. I think that the concept of eternity usually translates in people’s minds as “the river keeps going forever.” There is a sense that, after death, the next boat ride starts. It might be much better or whatever you picture in your head about it, but “time keeps on ticking ticking ticking into the future.” Well, I am starting to think that might not be the best picture of eternity. I think that, as eternal beings, we will not forever experience one moment followed by the next one, constrained by time in the way that we are now.
If I may conjure a scene: Imagine you walk into a room and see a timeline displayed on the wall of the history of civilization. You walk to the left and see the building of the pyramids. You slowly walk to the right and the events written on the timeline are all major events remembered in human history. You remember hearing or learning about them in high school. After several feet you have skimmed past several thousand years and you come to the day that you were born into the world.
It’s just a little dot with a label. But looking at it, you feel something that draws you in. As you see the events of your own life displayed there on the wall, you also remember having lived them. You feel the scraped elbow, you taste the ice cream, you recall the frustration. You experience them as if they were happening to you right then. Because they are.
This is my vague picture of the “afterlife” that I would like to share. If you believe that you will go on living after you die, I would suggest that you are right now, in your eternal form, watching and more-than-watching your time constrained life. It has been said that God is watching us, or there are angels watching us, or even dead relatives who watch us. I think that, in addition, it can be said that we are watching ourselves.
Back to that room with the timeline (“heaven” if you want to call it that). Now it is more like you are watching your life like it was a movie. But you also have a remote control with a rewind button and a fast-forward button. You can skip to any part of your life and experience it, learn from it, live it. Time is no longer your master.
That’s what I think, at least.
Della, do you have to read a lot of weird emails like this one? 🙂
Anyway, I guess the imaginary giant I feel like I need to fight is just to make sense of what is going on in my brain and to communicate it to other people. Thank you for the opportunity.
The giant I’m tilting at is the ugly bastard who has turned history into a soul sucking bore. History should be a subject that fascinates kids and the adults they become. I want people to see that history is a social network that allows us to connect with our ancestors and their wisdom.
Wrestling all week long to describe the windmills of my mind but truthfully it is the riverbanks of my heart that appear as fortresses that are my selected foe. Conquering the challenges within are the greater feat!