Eric Renderking Fisk share with the world his Winter Wonder Land Right Next Door...

SnowMageddon 2011!

Eric Renderking Fisk - February 2011 Bookmark and Share

The Last Light Of The 2000's

Ren's Rant January 22nd 2011My life changed significantly between 2001 and 2010. Most significantly is my relationships with my fellow retrocentrics that I’ve met on various retrocentric forums who have changed my life for the better. No, I’m alone; there are a lot more people who are trying to recapture the sense of style and the spirit of adventure from a by-gone era while exploring modern society in trying to discover what we’ve lost since “The Greatest Generation.”

For many of us, just emulating one of these heroes from the past is enough. For the rest that’s just isn’t enough.  We don’t want just the fedora, leather jacket, holster and boots. We just don’t want to act like a cinematic hero, we want to be someone who is a the cause of positive change in the real world. We want to be more like our parents and grandparents who saved the world from fascism and tyranny. The Fedora Chronicles was created in part to document that journey.

Last Light Of The 2000's

The sun setting for the last time on that decade made me realize how much I’ve done since I started work with Aaron Gantt on The Indy Experience and The Fedora Chronicles that began in 2004 awoke something in me – I did a lot of work but there was so much that I started and didn’t finish. I don’t want to allow another year, much less decade, end without that work being completed.

I want to document my life better on The Fedora Chronicles. Not just write reviews of movies, political rants and my own take on the food and resturants. Where am I going? Where is my life taking me and my fedora? I want to share all of that with you because I want to prove that I do as I say. Go out there and do it. Enjoy the world and what life has to offer while keeping your chin up…

The perfect opportunity for me was the massive amounts of snow that’s been falling throughout the country. It’s more snow than we’ve seen in ages and we might never see such amounts ever again if some of the expert climatologists are right. I want proof that we were out there enjoying it.

January 21st, 2011 Put them to work early!

I think the best thing that a parent can do for their children is let them go out and enjoy life and do things on their own. I’m not talking about letting them break open an old television picture tube in an effort to fuse lead and calcium to make uranium or play “American Chopper” with real blow torches.

Coppertop and H-Bomb wanted to make tunnels out of the snow banks. Fine! Let them. That’s a skill that might come in handy during the zombie apocalypse that’s sure to come after Nuclear Winter…

Last Light Of The 2000's

Remember kids... a shovel isn't a great tool used to for digging but they're also a powerful zombie slaying weapon!

Last Light Of The 2000's

Here's a secret for all you parents out there...

Last Light Of The 2000's

If you want to see how hard your kids will work, tell them that when they’ve done enough jobs around the house you’ll buy them their own fedora. Just don’t tell them how much work they have to do and they will never stop. Ever! H-Bomb shoveled the rest of the drive way, cleaned off his mother’s car, and then shoveled the deck!

Now I’m thinking… crap! How small do Penman’s blocks come? And is this kid thinking “Rabbit” or “Beaver” felt?

Last Light Of The 2000's

The best part about the deep snow? Coppertop can fill the bird-feeders with out needing a ladder or step-stool.

Last Light Of The 2000's

The best part about where my wife and I live is it’s obviously the woods that surround our home. We can walk out the door and walk less in a minute and we’re surrounded by trees. When the tree branches are full of leave we lose sight of the rest of the world and we’re in another one all our own. We feel the same way in winter with the same empty branches are covered with snow and the silence of the season is almost deafening. Here's Carol and H-Bomb with the Tripod Martian Dog, Lizzy.


Last Light Of The 2000's

Why was it so hard to get a picture of myself?  

Last Light Of The 2000's

It's neither the North nor South Pole, but it's something Coppertop made himself. I haven't seen him this proud since he broke the spade over the zombie bus driver's mellon.

February 2nd, 2011

Ren February 2nd, 2011I’m not really sure what bothers me the most this month.

One - We’re in the second or third week into February and there are a lot of people crying and bemoaning the fact that we have so much snow when in fact we’ve had it easy for the past decade or so. We’re human beings with the capability of dealing with it, and New Englanders are supposed to be a hearty breed.

Two – I haven’t felt the need to work out and exercise since I’ve been shoveling all of this snow and it’s getting easier to do so. Will I be lulled into a false sense of fitness and will be dragged into the ocean by Greenpeace the first time I go to the beach thanks to my girth and flab?

Three – Maybe I’m getting too old for this crap. While I enjoy the idea of being a capable man who’s able to handle this, the idea of a snow thrower or plow for my John Deere tractor is looking pretty good at this time. Yet if I buy one of those this spring when they’ll be on sale, I won’t need it again for another decade or so…

Ren by Harrison

Pictured above - A picture taken by Harrison Fisk of his dad.

Ren by Harrison

Out of all the pictures that I took earlier, I hoped that this would articulate how deep the accumulated since November. The porch is over 2 feet of the ground; the snow is obviously above the porch. The snow is higher than the porch and it's not from the roof. So high in fact that I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen such accumulation since we first moved here and I’m starting to wonder about the sever flooding problems were going to be enjoying come the late-winter thaw in March.

My wife and I have been doing a lot of snowshoeing around the property and after each time we get some good trails packed down it snows again. Often after these storms those trails is fresh once more. You can’t tell from these pictures, but this is less then 6 feet away from the side of my house and this is a regularly walked trail from the back basement door to the shed my wife and I built.

Snow Shoeing

I’m really happy to have been able to take this picture since Coppertop Fisk (on the right, behind Carol) was feeling a bit grumpy and didn’t want to tag along. I gave him a shiny flashlight to carry to use when we get out to the woods, then he was fighting with his brother to take the lead or took short cuts to get out in front.

Ren in the snow

I asked Carol to take this picture because I wanted to show a lot of folks that I mean what I’m saying about the depth. You can’t tell because this is a landscape and not a portrait picture – even with the snowshoes I’m almost up to my knees in snow.

Same Trail Three Corners

It’s hard to imagine that just a couple of weeks ago that these trails were free and clear of snow and covered with a thin layer of leaves. The paths had been working on and clearing for the past decade had simply been reclaimed by nature after a few  storms and a couple of feet of snow.

I remember the question was asked in “Lawrence Of Arabia”

Jackson Bentley: What attracts you personally to the desert?
T.E. Lawrence: It's clean.

That’s the same way I feel about winter. The white covers everything from the lawn and the garden to the trails in the woods. It covers everything from trash in the yard the cars in the driveway. Even the way the snow gathers on the branches, there’s a purity to the winter weather. It causes everyone to slow down, causing the orchestrated daily chaos to cease temporarily.

For a brief period, the world is perfectly at peace during and after a snow storm.

February 6th, 2011 - Rhododendron State Forest

Ren Rhododendron State ForestMy wife and I made a commitment to each other at the beginning of the year to help each other keep our New Year’s Resolution. It wasn’t just enough to make the resolution to get in shape but this year we also promised that we would be hard on each other and ourselves to stick with it. If one of us was feeling lazy, then the other would step in and be the motivator.

Carol wanted to stay home, feeling tired and down. I had to talk to her out of her out of this day’s bout of mid-winter depression and told her that if we didn’t get out now we would never leave and she would regret it tomorrow morning.

This Sunday I knew that there would be nobody on the trails this weekend. We would have them all to ourselves, anywhere. We put the snowshoes in the back of the Flex and drove to the Rhododendron State Forest. It’s beautiful in the summer and autumn, but we’ve never seen it during this time of year. What better time to explore?

Once we got there, Coppertop and H-Bomb couldn't get out on the trail fast enough.

Rhododendron Coppertop and H-Bomb

 The question remains - is she happy now?

Happy Carol

While my wife and I were driving to the Rhododendron State Forest here in Southern New Hamphire we were talking about the concept of middle age and the legendary “Midlife Crisis.” What actually is it.

It actually starts with the adolescence. When you start to figure the world out and your view of it changes from “All I want is toys” to “I want my own place to live, to be with girls and do exciting things” you also build up some expectations. Those expectations become aspirations as we get older and become more focused on them through the electives we take in high school and chose a major in college or trade school.

At some point life does not live up to our expectations as society starts to nail us with the hammer of conformity. You must submit to what everyone else is wearing, what people are driving, what house you live in and the vacations you must take. “The Committee Of They” takes a more active role in telling you what you can and can’t do if you intend on succeeding. You accept these limitations and social restrictions because you don’t want to be left out and left behind. You want to keep up with the Jones’ not because you like what they have but because you don’t want the Jones’ to look down upon you.

The conformity takes place in your mid-twenties to late-thirties and all too willing participants in the homogenization of the human species because you want what everyone else is having. Nobody wants to be left out.

At some point you start thinking about those things you wanted to do and never got done. This usually occurs between your twentieth or twenty-fifth high school reunion which is also with in a year or two around your fortieth or forty-fifth birthday when you’re already thinking about where your life is going in some areas and stalled in others.

Then you start to aks; how much usable life do I have left? How much “youth” is still in my tank for me to either start over or turn this Titanic of a life away from the Iceberg called “Built-In obsolescence?”

How much usable life do you have left to do the things you always wanted to do and be successful at something. Society thinks that just because you’re forty means you can’t do something's and you have to do others, you have to stop skiing in winter and exchange that for horse shoes and shuffle-board in the spring and summer.

Society says “you’re too young, you’re too young, you’re too young” and then suddenly switches to “you’re too old, you’re too old, you’re too old” but you never got the message “The time is right! The time is right! The time is right” unless it’s something “They” want you to buy.

You look at this juncture of your life and you keep asking your own version of “How much usable ‘youth’ do you have left?” You look at what you believe what “everyone else” is doing, all the “fun” they are having, all of their accomplishments, how they are important to the people in their lives and their work place.

You look at the car you hate. It’s “practical” and gets you to the job you hate. You stay at this job you hate because it’s close enough to the house you hate. You live in this house that you hate because it’s close to the job you hate. You look at the spouse that you're trying not to hate because she’s not the young little hot thing that made you feel important, sexy and needed; now you’re just comfortable with a shared history. With all of these raw emotions you're trying to fight keep things hot and romantic while fighting off complacency.

How much usable “youth” do you have left? You know, just in case you want to start over. Men reach an age when all these questions arise and in finding the answers their behavior leads to what is commonly described as “mid-life crisis.”

After this diatribe, my wife asked me if I’m describing myself. I said yes, only to an extent. What I described is what a lot of my friends are going through along with me. Everyone I know in my “peer-group” is going through something similar to this.

Why include this rant in my travel page for our “Super Bowl Sunday” hike through Rhododendron State Forest? Its hikes like these that keep “The Mid-Life Crisis” at bay. So long as I’m interested and young enough to do this, I’m not “middle aged” and this life is not “half over.” I have more than enough “youth” left in my tank to accomplish something.

This also explains my motivation for doing what I do on The Fedora Chronicles. It’s important work for me to create a space for others to say “I’m still alive. I was here, and I did something.”

This is the real me in these pictures. This is who I really am when I’m not writing a rant or working on a new graphic for this site. Hiking and being out in the woods as far away from any pavement is what makes me feel most alive with my clothes still on. It’s me and the elements with some-what unpredictable weather and conditions. To create a space on the internet that actually encourages others to actually leave their computers in their comfort-zones then do something so that they actually have something to share with others is perhaps the best thing I’ve ever done.

Happy Carol

“Summer Highway - No Winter Maintenance - Pass At Own Risk”

Fedora Chronicles CompassThere are two reasons why I had to have this picture taken. Somewhere out in Colorado there's a similar sign that says "No Winter Maintenance" - except that "Maintenance" is misspelled. My dad, brother Pete and I each have pictures of ourselves taken in front of this sign. I can't find the picture of me in front of that sign...

While I’ve walked this road dozens of times over the past few years I’ve never considered it to be “dangerous,” nor did I actually even acknowledge this sign during the warmer months; there something a bit edgy about being here now in the winter.

Not scary, not worrisome, not fearful; just edgy. Since they stop plowing the whole road and leave just the first 20 or 30 feet of it open at the intersection for parking, it would be impossible to get any help if we needed it. Being miles away from the nearest road is a normal event for us, more so during my youth when I was living off the grid during my transient years. This reminder that we were going deep into the woods made the hike more exciting.

Happy Carol

Earlier I said that it was a safe bet that we would have these trails to ourselves because it was Superbowl Sunday? I might have lied or been mistaken. It was a nice surprise seeing someone else on Cross-Country Ski’s keeping the trail open for us! We tried to ask this Vermonter how the trails were and did they go all away around the park?

He didn’t really stick around to tell us, I think he was in a hurry to get home and watch the game. Oh well…

Happy Carol

I thought these two signs were funny in the context of when we were there…

“Rhododendron Bloom In Mid-July…” Good times… we have a little less than 6 months to go?

“One Way” – Really? One way to where? Where’s the trail?  

Happy Carol

I loved these pictures for many different reasons…

You can see how thick the forest and the snow is, and you can see how my fears about our kids not able to keep up with were unfounded. They raced forward and we were either yelling at them to wait up or we were struggling to keep up.

Happy Carol

There's a famous poster of a popular movie that a lot of us enjoy. Someone thought that I reminded her of that particular poster and wanted me to share.

Happy Carol

Fedora Chronicles CompassThroughout the years on these forums and websites I’ve talked to a lot of people about their desire to go on an exotic trip to somewhere else in the world and really experience what I call “The Raiders Opening Experience.” We all remember that scene when we first see Dr. Jones, he’s a mysterious figure obscured by the overgrowth and shadows in the jungle.

Depending on the time of year you can get that same experience, you just have to be willing to get as far away from the pavement as humanly possible. It’s out there, and sometime you get lucky and find an abandoned house or village. Not this time… but I know they’re out there.

It’s so easy to get lost when you’re out in the woods and that’s part of the point of going out there. Lose yourself and find out who you really are.

Just make sure you don’t go TOO far off the trail and bring a compass or GPS device to get yourself back to your car. Also, don't forget A.B.M. - Always bring maps.

Happy Carol

These were the last photos I took while we were heading out the woods. This was a powerful experience for me because it was in many ways a dream come true for me since my boys didn’t just keep up; they took the lead. It as a phenomenon seeing my boys running ahead with their snow shoes and staying on the trail and they stopped when we asked them to.

Coppertop kept stopping and looking at the leaves and asking questions about how the trees could keep hibernating like this. What’s the science behind this? We would have to check it out over the internet when we get home.

The First Light Of Day

I have such affection for extreme times of the day. The best example I can think of is the first light of day during a snow storm. The way the light comes through the clouds and defuses into a beautiful shade of blue. Most of the region is still asleep and there is hardly a sound besides the gentle hiss of the snow hitting the ground and the occasional bird chirp or other random movement.6

First Light 001


First Light 002

There are many mornings that I feel the full potential of life. What promises does the day hold and what can I possibly accomplish today. With the world this quiet and still and all the time ahead of me I can’t imagine not being able to get something done. This special morning light is the source of great creative energy and all one has to do is just be open and receive it all. Just open up your mind and heart and charge.

First Light 003

CompassThere is also some remaining holiday magic left in the air as symbolized with our holiday lights that are left up around our porch. There’s no more expecations for finding the perfect gift for Christmas or throwing the perfect party for New Years. By now the real work of the year has begun and we’re well on our way to make something special of the next 12 months. As I took these pictures I’m reminded that some of the most special places in the world can be easily reached, the most exotic locals are in your own back yard. It all depends on how you look at them and at what time of the day. Every place on earth that allows some nature to remain has a special moment. Just keep your eyes open and let it happen naturally. It’s all their if you’re willing to be patient and wait. Once you see it the first time, it’s hard to miss there after.

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