Croatia 055

Insignificant? Not exactly. Although this stair looks like a multitude of ancient stone paths found throughout the world, it has historic significance. This is one of many stairways which lead to the top of a town called Stradinsky Buk in Croatia. This ancient city was the first town in the entire world to be illuminated with lights powered by electricity from nearby Lake Krka. Nicholas Tesla built a generating plant at the waterfalls of the lake which created AC current, exactly at the same time Thomas Edison was creating a DC generating plant in New York. Edison finished his generating facility first, but Tesla beat him to actually distributing power for street lights.

By the look of this old city, one would never guess the importance of such a major achievement. If you were to walk down the streets and alleyways of this old city, you would find a town which looked much as it did hundreds of years ago. This fact just goes to show that one cannot judge a city, a book or even a person by its mere cover. All have significance…including you.

Sprockets & Wheels


Sprockets are wheels with teeth circumventing the exterior edge of the wheel. The function of sprockets is to make moving something with force easier or to connect two or more sprockets together so that multiple things can move in sync. Sprockets are synonymous with gears in many instances.

Wheels are sprockets without the teeth and are created to rotate in order to move something. Wheels generally have a rubber compound adhered to its outer edge to create a smoother and quieter rolling experience. Often sprockets and gears are used to make wheels turn via some external force. Wheels are sometimes referred to as discs, hoops or rings.

These bicycles have many sprockets and wheels. They are rusting. They are not moving, nor have they for a while. The one thing they have in common besides the obvious is that they are not being used for their intended purpose which is to propel people to various places faster and with more ease than walking or running.

The above elementary descriptions about sprockets, wheels and bikes are offered as a reminder that we, as human beings, have many parts which are meant for specific purposes. Legs and feet to push the pedals which turn the sprockets that turn the wheels-all for the purpose of traveling somewhere. Arms and hands are used to steer and stop the bicycle. If you own a bike, do you ride it? Do you let it sit outside and rust? Is it broken, perhaps? Or, is it clean, well-maintained, stored indoors and ridden regularly?

If the essential aspects of our lives are not regularly used for their intended purposes and taken care of, they will deteriorate similar to these bicycles. I see this dynamic played out in certain parts of my life, and I don’t like it. However, I can do something about it. As with these bikes, rust can be removed, sprockets and chains oiled and tightened, wheels adjusted and tires filled with air, and so on. As with me, bad habits can be replaced with new and better ones. Talents which have layed dormant can be resurrected. Relationships once thought dead can be restored. New horizons of learning and exploring can become exciting adventures. All with the result of movement being made in the right direction. And, the ride can become quite enjoyable again. By the way, don’t miss the name of the closest bike…Free Spirit. Rather appropriate, isn’t it !

Working For A Livin’

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When the platinum song-writing, country music group, Alabama, was turning out one hit after another for well over a decade, they created a song which celebrated the work ethic of many Americans. The title was Forty Hour Week For a Livin’. The first stanza starts like this:

There are people in this country who work hard every day

Not for fame or fortune do they strive

But the fruits of their labor

Are worth more than their pay  

And it’s time a few of them were recognized

Alabama cited auto workers, steel mill workers, carpenters, sales counter workers, fire fighters, mail carriers, wheat field farmers, coal miners, truck drivers, waitresses, mechanics, policemen and everyone behind the scenes. Of course it would have been an hour long song if most jobs were listed, but the point was made.

I captured these guys working in freezing temps with a hefty wind chill as they (and others on the ground) installed a new utility pole near our home. They cut the power and transferred a transformer and high voltage lines, as well as installed guy wires and brackets for various cable companies. I didn’t ask, but beards and sunglasses, along with all of the standard gear and safety equipment, must be mandatory. Ha! I thought of the words to the Alabama song as soon as I saw these men working in pretty poor conditions. I’m sure they make good money, but more than that, they represent what hard work is all about. While there are some in this country who don’t have a clue as to this concept, please note that there are plenty more who do. The last stanza of Alabama’s tribute goes like this:

With a spirit you can’t replace with no machine  

Hello America, let me thank you for your time…

I, too, thank many for their hard work, especially those who place their lives in harm’s way or receive little recognition for their labors.