Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Habits of Industry

I read it on the inside of a bottle cap.

"A man who gives his children habits of industry provides for them better than by giving them a fortune." Richard Whatley

My parents gave me those gifts but I'm not sure I took them. Hard work over a long time has been my habit but on closer inspection they have mostly been labors of love. A habit of industry would have me playing the piano and guitar, speaking German and Italian, and the grass would be mowed, trim painted and the garden weed free. Those aren't labors of love.

Reading Doug Klassen's post Someday Might Slip By on Forty Years on Two Wheels about blogging, riding, not riding, and generally how time slips by if you aren't careful with it made the bottle cap wisdom leap out as a reminder from above. Good thing I was riding a bit and paying attention.

I have been struggling for years to develop better habits of industry and not just live on inspiration to move me to action. I don't want to have to be in the mood to work. If I wait for the mood to hit me to paint the trim around the house it just won't happen.

I'm sitting at Barnes and Noble writing this just finishing up the dessert course. The Vespa is sitting right outside the window and I can watch people stop for a quick peek. I took the long way to get here considering I hadn't planned to ride this way.

Stopped in town to look at the old fire escape on the Odd Fellows Hall. I have photographed it a number of times and I don't seem to tire of looking at it. And I never have been able to figure out exactly what the Independent Order of Odd Fellows actually does. Even a look at their Web site didn't help.

Riding through Lemont I stopped to look at the restored grain elevator and coal storage bins.

The Granary is one of those beautiful architectural gems than don't often manage to get saved or restored.

Found another farm lane disappearing up along a cornfield that I couldn't resist.

Getting more and more comfortable off the pavement. At the top of the hill was another view I've not seen before. I suspect there are many more.

I think I am almost ready to practice a habit of industry and mow the grass. Or wash the car. Both are unsavory tasks that don't ever really need done do they?

Hell, I suppose its all part of growing up.


Gary said...

Growing up is icky. Don't do it.

Ride well,

Anonymous said...


Doug K. said...

I told my son, who is now 20 years old, "The secret is to never grow up but then still be smart enough to act like an adult when you really should."


Steve Williams said...

gary: The older I get the more troubling I see the idea of being "mature". I'm traveling a different direction.

anonymous: Thanks for the heads up on Whywork.org. Interesting site.

doug: Some days it is harder to know when to act like an adult. Was that wisdom embraced by your son?

Gubernaculum said...

Wonderful pictures.
I find off-road scootering is a joy and found new found avenues to ride my scooter. Great job of letting us know of your adventureous exploration on your GTi250.

Mike said...

Your pictures never cease to amaze me. What sort of camera do you use? I bet it has a fixed lens on it. I've never seen images that sharp from a zoom.

Steve Williams said...

gubernaculum: Glad you have found some use from things that are posted here. The GTS is a capable scooter in a wide range of uses.

mike: Thanks for the compliments on the photography. I use two different cameras depending on the weather and how much stuff I am dragging along with me.

When the weather is bad or really wet I use a small Canon S50 digital camera. If fits in my pocket and produces a 5 megapixel image. More and more though I am taking a Nikon SLR with me. Those are almost always made with a zoom lens.

Doug K. said...


To answer your question about my son: Dave is doing well in college, works too many hours at Target to earn his spending money, and I suspect is still having more fun than he ought to be having.

One of my measures of adult behavior is how one treats other humans, especially children and the elderly. Dave had better be doing good there because I'm pretty sure I could still wup him in a fight.


Anonymous said...


I ride my P125X on off-road trails every chance I get. Not motocross trails, mind you, but simple farm roads and wagon paths.

...not that there are many of those in this overgrown urban area where I live.

Being able to ride off-road is a side-benefit of two wheeled transport.


Vince Stevens said...


I've yet to get away from the city on my Et4. It seems there is always something holding me here. Fortunately, I can read your blog and experience some of what i'm missing... even if vicariously.

Though I've not taken a formal photo class, I learned to shoot using an old Nikon FE2. I loved that camera, easy to use, simple, taught me a little about how to take a good picture. I traded it for a Nikon 6006 for the auto focus (my eyes needed a little help). The auto camera just isn't as good as the old mechanical one. I miss it.

After spending more money on film and developing than I can admit to, I finally left the film world. After much research on the internet, visiting camera shops until they started giving me dirty looks, and generally making myself a nuisance, I settled on a panasonic fxo1. I was impressed with the Leica lens (24mm - really wide) and a 16x9 size photo for landscapes. It doesn't do so well on auto, but allows me enough manual function and freedom to take better shots than I ever have.

Your photography centers the reader in your blog. My eye keeps going back to the rural Pennsylvania you document so reflectively. One can almost feel the cool, wet fog on their skin, smell the sweet river water, hear the buzz of cicada...

You'll inspire me to move from the city one of these days..

Eric Link said...

Love your blog and photography. The guitar for me was a labor of love, that's my only comment! ;) Oh, and viva la vespa! (I have five I won't bother to list them but I ride as much as possible)