As you wander through time, you'll make the mistake of thinking that those who came before us were in some manner different, perhaps lesser of the generations.
I caught this young boy at the Minnesota Renaissance festival last fall. He brings to mind the history I've read of the ache in an impoverished Englishman's soul to escape the tyranny of the English crown. An Irishman's boy he might be also- living in a time when the potato famine was just beginning. Perhaps, he is the son of a Scotsman before his family was evicted during the Scottish clearances.
Altogether, about a million people in Ireland are reliably estimated to have died of starvation and epidemic disease between 1846 and 1851, and some two million emigrated in a period of a little more than a decade (1845-55)- just 6 years before our own civil war. 200,000 Scots are estimated to have emigrated to the America's during the same period— some of them, the NcNeill's of the island of Barra for example, "were so utterly penniless and in despair that many had not a single rag with which to cover their bodies when they arrived on the continent."
Many of us extend from European ancestors who came to America during this time —as it was the last great hope. In spite of their poverty, their contributions to our society are broad, industrious, and heroic. It seems a turn of bad events made the previous generations hardy, with a fight to survive against all odds.
Although I do not know myself to be Scottish, my life has been surrounded by Scots. I have come to find it remarkable that nearly all of my very best friends in the world are all descended from Scottish lineage. It is as though there is a living thread of the past which desires to stitch us still together. Each of these friends have come into my life at different times and for different reasons and I typically discovered their lineage late in our friendship.
I have always been a story teller- and photography has better equipped me to hold your attention, and speak to what matters most to me. Perhaps in this case it will instill a sense of pride for the friends God gave you. Perhaps, it will encourage you to be mindful of your own lineage and all that was endured to bring you to the here and now.
Life is a tapestry woven of repetitious characters - and we record it as history. It is "HIS" story- and you are also written in the book of life.
Some one will read it one day- be sure your part is something to be proud of.
A once young man came by the stables to visit us late yesterday afternoon. He had tears in his eyes. I'd seen him the night before, when his eyes had first welled up with those tears. He sat Jesse and I down- as it was the close of day and the riders had dwindled to few. He looked at us both in earnest, and with a shaking voice he told of treasure hunting travels, and the friends he had made along the way. He was wracked with emotion and he could hardly now speak, but he said...
"Life takes you on a journey, and at its end, it slows and all that matters are the things you have seen, the people you have known. The memories you have created. These are things that no man can steal.
It's simply not true, that you can't take your treasure with you. The treasure becomes you- and it is all that you will take with you in the end".
Brian Lickman is one of Jesse's father's dearest and oldest friends. On Wednesday, March the 15th he was named Superstition Mountain Treasure Hunter of the Year by the Victory Club, an organization which honors those who vigilantly search for the legendary Lost Dutchman gold mine, and other lost treasure in Arizona's fabled Superstition Mountains. The honor that was bestowed upon him was as he called it, "the greatest moment of my life".
He had come to the stables to be sure we knew what it meant to him to have such friends that had made his life so rich- and that they would honor him amongst such great men. He talked of being a humble man- but, just now first feeling the full depth of humility. His gratitude still streaming down his face.
Humbling indeed- for all of us. What a great and wonderful man.
Veni, Vidi, Vici