November 22, 2017

Book Review Robinson Crusoe


Book Summary:
Taken from SparkNotes
Robinson Crusoe is an Englishman from the town of York in the seventeenth century, the youngest son of a merchant of German origin. Encouraged by his father to study law, Crusoe expresses his wish to go to sea instead. His family is against Crusoe going out to sea, and his father explains that it is better to seek a modest, secure life for oneself. Initially, Robinson is committed to obeying his father, but he eventually succumbs to temptation and embarks on a ship bound for London with a friend. When a storm causes the near deaths of Crusoe and his friend, the friend is dissuaded from sea travel, but Crusoe still goes on to set himself up as a merchant on a ship leaving London. This trip is financially successful, and Crusoe plans another, leaving his early profits in the care of a friendly widow. The second voyage does not prove as fortunate: the ship is seized by Moorish pirates, and Crusoe is enslaved to a potentate in the North African town of Sallee. While on a fishing expedition, he and a slave boy break free and sail down the African coast. A kindly Portuguese captain picks them up, buys the slave boy from Crusoe, and takes Crusoe to Brazil. In Brazil, Crusoe establishes himself as a plantation owner and soon becomes successful. Eager for slave labor and its economic advantages, he embarks on a slave-gathering expedition to West Africa but ends up shipwrecked off of the coast of Trinidad.

Crusoe soon learns he is the sole survivor of the expedition and seeks shelter and food for himself. He returns to the wreck’s remains twelve times to salvage guns, powder, food, and other items. Onshore, he finds goats he can graze for meat and builds himself a shelter. He erects a cross that he inscribes with the date of his arrival, September 1, 1659, and makes a notch every day in order never to lose track of time. He also keeps a journal of his household activities, noting his attempts to make candles, his lucky discovery of sprouting grain, and his construction of a cellar, among other events. In June 1660, he falls ill and hallucinates that an angel visits, warning him to repent. Drinking tobacco-steeped rum, Crusoe experiences a religious illumination and realizes that God has delivered him from his earlier sins. After recovering, Crusoe makes a survey of the area and discovers he is on an island. He finds a pleasant valley abounding in grapes, where he builds a shady retreat. Crusoe begins to feel more optimistic about being on the island, describing himself as its “king.” He trains a pet parrot, takes a goat as a pet, and develops skills in basket weaving, bread making, and pottery. He cuts down an enormous cedar tree and builds a huge canoe from its trunk, but he discovers that he cannot move it to the sea. After building a smaller boat, he rows around the island but nearly perishes when swept away by a powerful current. Reaching shore, he hears his parrot calling his name and is thankful for being saved once again. He spends several years in peace.

One day Crusoe is shocked to discover a man’s footprint on the beach. He first assumes the footprint is the devil’s, then decides it must belong to one of the cannibals said to live in the region. Terrified, he arms himself and remains on the lookout for cannibals. He also builds an underground cellar in which to herd his goats at night and devises a way to cook underground. One evening he hears gunshots, and the next day he is able to see a shipwrecked on his coast. It is empty when he arrives on the scene to investigate. Crusoe once again thanks Providence for having been saved. Soon afterward, Crusoe discovers that the shore has been strewn with human carnage, apparently the remains of a cannibal feast. He is alarmed and continues to be vigilant. Later Crusoe catches sight of thirty cannibals heading for shore with their victims. One of the victims is killed. Another one, waiting to be slaughtered, suddenly breaks free and runs toward Crusoe’s dwelling. Crusoe protects him, killing one of the pursuers and injuring the other, whom the victim finally kills. Well-armed, Crusoe defeats most of the cannibals onshore. The victim vows total submission to Crusoe in gratitude for his liberation. Crusoe names him Friday, to commemorate the day on which his life was saved, and takes him as his servant.

Finding Friday cheerful and intelligent, Crusoe teaches him some English words and some elementary Christian concepts. Friday, in turn, explains that the cannibals are divided into distinct nations and that they only eat their enemies. Friday also informs Crusoe that the cannibals saved the men from the shipwreck Crusoe witnessed earlier and that those men, Spaniards, are living nearby. Friday expresses a longing to return to his people, and Crusoe is upset at the prospect of losing Friday. Crusoe then entertains the idea of making contact with the Spaniards, and Friday admits that he would rather die than lose Crusoe. The two build a boat to visit the cannibals’ land together. Before they have a chance to leave, they are surprised by the arrival of twenty-one cannibals in canoes. The cannibals are holding three victims, one of whom is in European dress. Friday and Crusoe kill most of the cannibals and release the European, a Spaniard. Friday is overjoyed to discover that another of the rescued victims is his father. The four men return to Crusoe’s dwelling for food and rest. Crusoe prepares to welcome them into his community permanently. He sends Friday’s father and the Spaniard out in a canoe to explore the nearby land.

Eight days later, the sight of an approaching English ship alarms Friday. Crusoe is suspicious. Friday and Crusoe watch as eleven men take three captives onshore in a boat. Nine of the men explore the land, leaving two to guard the captives. Friday and Crusoe overpower these men and release the captives, one of whom is the captain of the ship, which has been taken in a mutiny. Shouting to the remaining mutineers from different points, Friday and Crusoe confuse and tire the men by making them run from place to place. Eventually, they confront the mutineers, telling them that all may escape with their lives except the ringleader. The men surrender. Crusoe and the captain pretend that the island is an imperial territory and that the governor has spared their lives in order to send them all to England to face justice. Keeping five men as hostages, Crusoe sends the other men out to seize the ship. When the ship is brought in, Crusoe nearly faints.

On December 19, 1686, Crusoe boards the ship to return to England. There, he finds his family is deceased except for two sisters. His widow friend has kept Crusoe’s money safe, and after traveling to Lisbon, Crusoe learns from the Portuguese captain that his plantations in Brazil have been highly profitable. He arranges to sell his Brazilian lands. Wary of sea travel, Crusoe attempts to return to England by land but is threatened by bad weather and wild animals in northern Spain. Finally arriving back in England, Crusoe receives word that the sale of his plantations has been completed and that he has made a considerable fortune. After donating a portion to the widow and his sisters, Crusoe is restless and considers returning to Brazil, but he is dissuaded by the thought that he would have to become Catholic. He marries, and his wife dies. Crusoe finally departs for the East Indies as a trader in 1694. He revisits his island, finding that the Spaniards are governing it well and that it has become a prosperous colony.

My Review:
This is most definitely a work of its time. However, unlike many works that are caged by their era, this story cannot be forgotten in the annals of history. Defoe had created a time machine with this novel. Just enough historical fact paired with a healthy dose of historical fiction, and a big slice of adventure pie for dessert. This is one of those stories that takes you there. All in all a highly recommended read!

Review Summary:
Readability: 3/5
Characters: 4.5/5
Writing Style: 5/5
Total Pages: 599
Reading Time: 15 hours
Would I recommend this book? Yes

Book Challange Qualifications:
Back to the Classics 2017: A Classic Published Before 1800

November 20, 2017

Weekday Arduino Project #1

LCD Screen Reads Out Servo Angle

The Project:
Create an Arduino project that steadily increases the angle of a servo, and prints the angle on an LCD screen.

Pictures:
Why?:
This is a tester for a long-term project that I am working on currently.

What you need:

  1. Arduino Uno board
  2. 16 pin 16x2 LCD screen
  3. 3 pin servo
  4. 10k ohm potentiometer
  5. 220 ohm resistor
  6. Breadboard
  7. Arduino software
The Schematic:

The Code:
// Include the library code:

#include <LiquidCrystal.h>
#include <Servo.h>

// Initialize the library by associating any needed LCD interface pin
// With the arduino pin number it is connected to
// Const ints
const int rs = 12, en = 11, d4 = 5, d5 = 4, d6 = 3, d7 = 2;
const int numRows = 2;
const int numCols = 16;

// Ints
int potpin = 0;
int val;
int count  = 0;

// Create servo object to control servo
Servo myservo;

// Set up LCD display
LiquidCrystal lcd(rs, en, d4, d5, d6, d7);

void setup() {
 // Set up the LCD's number of columns and rows:
 lcd.begin(numCols, numRows);
 Serial.begin(9600);
 myservo.attach(9);
}

Void loop(){
 // Refresh the display
 lcd.clear();
 lcd.display();
 // Set display
 lcd.setCursor(0,0);
 
 // Math for Servo
 count = (count + 1);
 Serial.print(count);
// Reset counter if it reaches 1000
 if (count == 1000){
   count = 0;
}
 // Convert and write to servo
 val = map(count,0,1000,0,180);
 myservo.write(val);
 
 // Print angle on LCD
 lcd.print(val);
 delay(50);
}

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions!


July 19, 2017

Book Review: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea


Book Summary:
The story opens in the year 1866. Everyone in Europe and America is talking about a mysterious creature that has been sinking ships. Finally, the United States government decides to intervene and commissions the Abraham Lincoln to capture and identify the creature. On board the ship are Pierre Aronnax, a renowned scientist along with his manservant, Conseil, and Ned Land the king of harpooners.
The Abraham Lincoln is attacked by the creature. Aronnax, Conseil and Land go overboard. The three men find themselves on top of the mysterious creature, which is actually a submarine vessel. They are taken on board and placed in a cell.
The men meet Captain Nemo, the commander of the vessel, known as the Nautilus. He tells them they can stay on board the ship and enjoy freedom as long as they return to the cell if asked. They are never to leave the vessel again. Ned Land says he will not promise that he will not try to escape.
Captain Nemo treats the men, especially Aronnax, very well. They are clothed and fed and may wander around the vessel at their leisure. Aronnax is thrilled by Nemo’s vast library. The men spend their time observing sea life through observation windows. Aronnax studies and writes about everything he sees.

During their time on the Nautilus, the men experience many exciting adventures. They hunt in underwater forests, visit an island with angry natives, visit the lost city of Atlantis, and fish for giant pearls. However, there are also many distressing events coupled with the erratic behavior of Captain Nemo. One night the men are asked to return to their cell. They are given sleeping pills and awake the next morning very confused. Nemo asks Aronnax to look at a crewman who has been severely injured. The man later dies and they bury him in an underground cemetery, where many other crewmen have been laid to rest.
On a voyage to the South Pole, the Nautilus becomes stuck in the ice. Everyone must take turns trying to break a hole in the ice so the vessel can get through. The ship almost runs out of its oxygen supply and the men grow tired and light headed. However, they escape just in time.
Another time, the vessel sails through an area heavily populated by giant squid, when a giant squid gets stuck in the propeller of the submarine. The men and the crew must fight off the squid with axes because they cannot be killed with bullets. While fighting, a crewmember is killed by a squid. Nemo is moved to tears.
The rising action of the story begins with Nemo’s attack on a warship. Aronnax does not know to which nation the warship belongs, but he is horrified when Captain Nemo sinks it. The men decide they must escape at all costs.
One night, while off the coast of Norway, Aronnax, Conseil and Land plan a rash escape. To their dismay they realize they are heading toward a giant whirlpool--one that no ship has ever survived. Amazingly, in only a small dinghy they emerge safely. They awake in the hut of a fisherman. At the conclusion of the story, Aronnax is awaiting his return to France and rewriting his memoirs of his journey under the sea. 

My Review:
The very first time I read 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, I was 10. I read it out of spite because my English teacher at the time told me it was above my reading level. 10 years later, and I have just finished the book for the 3rd time. If you look at my bio page of this blog, you will see that this is indeed my favorite book of all time. Jules Verne is a master of the pen, and it shows in this, the best book he has written, in my opinion. The story of Captain Nemo and his Nautilus is a tale of adventure, discovery, science, and revenge. Verne tells us almost everything we want to know, but keeps just enough off of the page to keep us thinking. My only criticism of this book happens to be with Verne's strive for scientific accuracy. A good 50 pages or more of this story is dedicated to describing, in great detail, fish of all sorts. While interesting at first, this becomes dry, and made me skip full paragraphs at a time without feeling like I missed anything crucial to the story.

Review Summary:
Readability: 3.5/5
Characters: 5/5
Writing Style: 4/5
Total Pages: 627
Reading Time: 20 hours
Would I recommend this book? Yes, everyone should read it at least once.

Book Challange Qualifications:
Back to the Classics 2017: A classic with a number in the title

May 20, 2017

The Problem of Energy Consumption and How to Solve It

Dan Jira
Writing Seminar 
Professor Beery 
April 28, 2017 
The Problem of Energy Consumption and How to Solve It 
Mahatma Gandhi once said “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.” One-hundred years later, we are feeling the ramifications of the later half of that quote. Non-renewable sources of energy are depleting, and the quicker we use them up, the quicker we are destroying the ozone layer of our atmosphere. Although alternative sources of energy are here and ever advancing, until hydrogen as a fuel source is introduced, we will never be able to run an emissions free economy. 
Whether or not you believe that global warming exists, it cannot be denied that the global use of energy is increasing every year. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, energy consumption per person (in Million Btu) has gone up from 65 in the year 2000 to 74 in the year 2010. That is the equivalent of each person in the world using 1.9 tonnes of oil each year.  The current rise of per capita energy consumption is worrying news considering that from 1980 to 2000, the average energy consumption over those 20 years was 63.9 Million Btu. However, the average over just the next ten years, from 2001 to 2011, was up to 77.1 Million Btu. This meteoric rise in energy consumption per person may not seem too drastic, but when you look at the world consumption of energy, during those ten years, you can see that it has risen from 400.6 Quadrillion Btu all the way up to 520.3 Quadrillion Btu. This 120 Quadrillion Btu increase over those ten years is nothing however, when you look at the data from 1980. The world consumption of energy in 1980 is 237 points lower than it is 31 years later. That increase is what I am concerned about. The 520.3 Quadrillion Btu of energy that the world used in 2011 is the equivalent of 89.66 Billion tonnes of oil (U.S. Energy Information Administration).  
It must be considered that because this table includes renewable sources of energy as well as nonrenewable that surely this cannot be a bad thing. However, in 1980, the average Petroleum consumption was 63,122 Thousand Barrels of Oil per day. In 1990, there was a modest increase to 66,541 Thousand Barrels of Oil per day.  The increase from 1990 to 2000 was a bit more drastic. In the year 2000, world consumption of oil was up to 76,928 Thousand Barrels of Oil per day. The consumption from the years 2000 to 2010 is just a bit more drastic. In the year 2010, world consumption of oil was up to 88,216 Thousand Barrels of Oil per day. Sure the increase over ten year intervals is not unexpected given the needs of the planet. However, the increase of  global consumption of 25,094 Thousand Barrels of Oil per day is worrying nonetheless. The story is even more drastic with natural gas. From 1980 to 2010, the global increase of natural gas was up 60,915 Billion Cubic Feet. From 52,943 Billion Cubic Feet in 1980 to 113,858 Billion Cubic Feet in 2010. The story for coal is the exact same, with an increase of global use of 3,762,483 Thousand Short tons from 1980 to 2010. The energy needs of the planet are more than telling of the increase in electricity consumption. The number of Billions of Kilowatt Hours the planet needed doubled from 1980 to 2005 and increased a staggering 11,357 Billion Kilowatt Hours over the course of thirty years, from 1980 to 2010. All of this translates to the huge increase in global CO2 emissions from 1980 to 2010 from 8,825.2 Million Metric Tons in 1980 to 11,392.4 Million Metric Tons in 2010. Sure these numbers may not seem huge, however if you add the total production of CO2 emissions over the course of those 30 years, then do you see where within the problem lies. From 1980 to 2010 an astronomical amount of 299,438.5 Million Metric Tons of CO2 emissions has been put into the atmosphere of our planet (U.S. Energy Information Administration). 
All of these billions of tons of CO2 have been building up in the upper atmosphere of our planet. Contrary to what some people think, these gasses are not causing a degradation of the atmosphere. No, rather, they are doing something a bit worse. These gasses are starting to build up another layer of the atmosphere. This layer is thicker than most of the other upper layers of the atmosphere and is trapping the sun’s rays inside the atmosphere, and in turn making the planet warmer. This change in temperature, although miniscule when compared to the universal thermometer, is causing significant damage to the planet. It cannot be denied that the ice caps are melting, and that deserts are expanding. If you look at the California drought of the past year, then you know of the problems that I am referring to. There must be a solution to all of this, because as much as the ecomaniacs want us to turn away from non-renewable fuels immediately, it is not that easy. 
Currently, the most widely used renewable power source is hydropower. From the early days of hydropower when a calm stream turned a water-wheel used to mill grain, to the modern-day marvel of the Three Gorges Hydroelectric power-plant in China which helped the nation produce more than 50% of the world’s hydroelectric power (Power-Technology). The only problem with hydroelectric power is that no matter how efficient it is, it is limited. The location of hydroelectric power plants is limited to land and environmental restrictions. Most hydroelectric dams create lakes behind them. Because of this, it is required for these dams to be put in specific places, and only after extensive geological surveys to make sure that the resulting lake created by the dam would not destroy any sensitive ecosystems in the area. 
The second most widely used renewable energy source is also the oldest: wind power. Wind has been used to power grain mills since the early 9th Century to grind grain. However, it is only as of 1888 that wind has been used to create electricity. In recent years, the “annual growth rate of cumulative wind power capacity has averaged 25% during the last five years” (Power-Technology). The largest on land wind farm in the world is actually in California. The Alta Wind Energy Centre has an operational capacity of 1,550MW through 586 individual turbines. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the United States consumed 3868 Gigawatts of electrical power. This means that the largest wind farm in the world can only produce 0.0004% of the electrical power required to run the nation. However, there is a problem. The General Electric 1.5MW Turbines that are the most common around the world, are massive. These windmills are, on average, 80 m tall, and the rotors are 77 m in diameter. If you were to fill the cylinder of operating space that these turbines need with water, you could fill 149 olympic size swimming pools. This means that the most efficient, and largest, wind farm in the world is situated on 3,500 acres. Solar power is the world’s third most productive renewable source of energy generating around 100GW per year (Power-Technology). Solar power has the same problem that wind energy does, in that its source is not constant. Unlike a hydropower facility where the source is a constant flow from a dammed river, solar panels and wind turbines are constantly plagued by the lack of their sources. However, these three sources offer one advantage that coal powered electrical plants could never achieve: zero emissions.  
Electricity is said to be the future of transportation; however, I disagree. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, electricity production accounts for the largest amount of CO2 emissions at 30% whereas transportation on accounts for 26. This means that until electricity is generated completely emission free, electricity is not the most efficient way to power your vehicle. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel because there is a solution coming soon. Hydrogen. The most abundant element in the universe in the universe has been powering the largest object in our solar system for over three trillion years, our sun. A hydrogen fuel cell vehicle operates on the same basic principles that make the sun shine. By smashing two hydrogen atoms into each other, a massive amount of energy is created. In the sun, this process causes radiation, however, luckily, here on earth, this process needs to be stimulated by oxygen. This means that when liquid hydrogen travels from its fuel cell to the engine of a car, and is mixed with just the air around it, not only does it push the piston up, enabling step one of a 4-cycle engine, but the gasses which are then expelled from the pipe in the back of your car come out as the wonderful chemical, dihydrogen monoxide, or, water. 
Problem solved then... except I don’t think it is. I foresee another problem arising from the use hydrogen. The problem that I foresee is something that has only been published in six scientific journals as of 2015. The problem I foresee derives from a single line of dialogue that I watched about NASA on the Discovery channel when I was home sick from school one day. In single thirty second clip of this documentary, an SRB, or Solid Rocket Booster, was being test-fired. In order to cool the exhaust gasses, thousands of gallons of water were sprayed into the nozzle of the rocket engine to cool the gasses so they would not burn the area of land behind the SRB. It was the next line of dialogue though that I have remembered through all of these years. It said “Because of the amount of water vapor, or steam, that was created during the cooling of this engine, it will rain two hours from now on a government owned wetland 20 miles east of this facility. In the 1970s, they thought it was a coincidence, but they now know that it is in fact the test firing and cooling of the rocket engines that causes this rain-shower.”  After I heard this I theorized that if every vehicle in the United States were to run on hydrogen, with each car producing about the same amount of water vapor as it would CO2, weather patterns around the world would drastically change, for better or worse. It turns out that I was not alone in my theories, and in 2006, a journal published to Stanford University’s Global Climate & Energy Project stated that “A hydrogen economy is expected to reduce particulate concentrations overall although some local increases may occur due to changes in precipitation patterns” (Jacobson, et al.). This complex sentence is basically saying that if we switch to a hydrogen economy, emissions will be reduced overall, however, there will be changes in weather patterns. 
My solution on how to solve the energy and climate crisis is to use hydrogen power only in certain places. The main place where I would implement hydrogen power is electricity power stations. The amount of energy that could be produced with hydrogen instead of coal is about a 25% increase in power production. The water vapor exhaust could be collected and condensed inside the plant to produce water. In areas where water is plentiful, this can be put straight back into the ecosystem. However, in areas where clean water is a luxury, the water can then be used for drinking and irrigation. Furthermore, if this system were to be implemented into areas where electricity and clean water are uncommon, or even unheard of, then the benefits of a system which could provide both are astronomical. Another area where I see hydrogen power benefiting is the global shipping fleet. If a shipping boat were able to produce its own clean water while underway, and not have to carry it with them from the beginning, they would be able to carry more cargo, and produce no emissions doing so. Furthermore, this can also be applied to cruise ships that currently produce large amounts of CO2 emissions. If those emissions were replaced with water, the ship would be able to provide clean water for all aboard as long as the engines could run. The last place I would envision hydrogen power, and its by-products being useful is an emergency backup generator. Not only would this provide the user with electricity, but also clean water. If these ideas were implemented alongside hydro, wind, and solar power, than I believe the world could work to an emissions free power grid. 
The current power demands of the world we live in cause the emissions problems that we have been creating since the industrial revolution. However, it has only been within the past 40 years that we have started to realize the effects of our need for energy. Although we may be constantly expanding our use of renewable energy sources, it cannot be denied that they are not advanced enough yet to meet the needs of the planet. However, I believe that within the next 15 years, an emissions free economy can be created by changing the current fuel of choice of power plants from coal to hydrogen. 
Page Break 
Works Cited 
“Alta Wind Energy Center (AWEC), California.” Power Technology, Power Technology, www.power-technology.com/projects/alta-wind-energy-center-awec-california/ 
“2013 Honda Civic EX Sedan Review.” Automobile-Catalogue, Automobile-Catalogue, www.automobile-catalog.com/car/2013/1600520/honda_civic_ex_sedan_automatic.html 
“2013 Honda FCX Clarity Review.” Automobile-Catalogue, Automobile-Catalogue, www.automobile-catalog.com/car/2013/1154960/honda_fcx_clarity.html 
Gandhi, Mahatma. “A Quote by Mahatma Gandhi.” Goodreads, Goodreads Inc., www.goodreads.com/quotes/30431-earth-provides-enough-to-satisfy-every-man-s-needs-but-not 
Jacobson, Mark Z, et al. “Hydrogen Effects on Climate, Stratospheric Ozone, and Air Polution.” Stanford University: Global Climate & Energy Project, 2006, p. 10., gcep.stanford.edu/pdfs/QeJ5maLQQrugiSYMF3ATDA/2.1.5.jacobson_06.pdf 
“The World's Most Used Renewable Power Sources.” Power Technology, Power Technology, 2015, www.power-technology.com/features/featurethe-worlds-most-used-renewable-power-sources-4160168/ 
“U.S. Energy Information Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis.” International Energy Statistics, United States Department of Energy, www.eia.gov/beta/international/rankings/#?prodact=2-12&cy=2013&pid=2&aid=2&tl_id=2-A&tl_type=a 



May 2, 2017

The Oncoming Storm

The Oncoming Storm
Dan Jira
5/2/17

Three in the morning.
The threat of the oncoming storm
Haunts me as I stand and listen
To the rhythmic fwoosh of the windmills,
The generation of electricity
Drowns out my thoughts

The headphones on my head
Acting as nothing more than warmers
For my cold ears,
As I listen to the wind
Beating me up as I walk
And billowing my coattails behind me.

The darkness envelopes me
As I stand in the shadow of a streetlight
And raise the lighter to my mouth
As I try to fight the wind to light
Something I never thought
Would be hanging from my lips.

As I walk into the dorm
My face red and wet
The rain streaming down my cheeks
Crying tears my eyes refuse to produce
The halls are empty
As I walk to my door.

The taste of the cigarette
Stale upon my lips.
The same one that fell out of my fingers
That were too numb from the cold.
The smell my mother would kill me for
Reeks from my jacket.

I throw my keys on the desk
My overcoat on my bedpost,
Careful not to wake my roommate
As I try and breathe life back
Into my long lost fingers
And fall into my bed.

February 17, 2017

Déjà Vu

Dan Jira - 2/14/17

Have I done this before?
But how could I have?
I only just met you.
Haven’t I?
Is this a dream?
Reality doesn’t make sense.
I know where I am,
But how did I get here?
How long have we been walking?
Wait.
How long have we been stopped?
Has it always been snowing?
What happened to the sun?
The moon is pretty,
And so are you,
But who are you?
Who am I?
Have we done this before?

Have I done this before?
But how could I have?
I only just met you.
Haven’t I?
Is this a dream?
Reality doesn’t make sense.
I know where I am,
But how did I get here?
How long have we been walking?
Wait.
How long have we been stopped?
Has it always been snowing?
What happened to the sun?
The moon is pretty,
And so are you,
But who are you?
Who am I?
Have we done this before?

February 15, 2017

Wind

Dan Jira – 2/14/17

It was August the first time I walked this path,
I was nothing more than a new student who was lost
I was wandering around campus,
And here, in the back, away from everybody,
I found this strip of tarmac,
Carved out of the surrounding fields.

That first night, out on the path,
As I stopped to admire the windmills,
I felt it.

I felt the wind for the first time in forever.
The wind I used to feel, on a calm day on the lake.
Gentle, reassuring, and carrying the sweet scent of summer.
Although I had felt this wind earlier that month,
This time it was different.
This time it also carried a new scent. Freedom.

I have since walked that path
Almost every night that I have been here,
And I still feel it.

Now it is February, and its different again.
This time, I do not walk the path alone,
This time I walked the path with you for the first time.
Although I didn’t know you for that first stroll,
A familiar feeling blew upon my face.
This time stinging my nose, and cheeks.

But it still felt the same.
As we hold hands, and walk into the night,

The wind still blows.