I am struck by the way certain realities in our common world appear much like beacons–indicators of deeper truths in the unseen world–as in the way every fraction of Life exists only in the wake of some other thing’s death. And for each of us who carry that special light of consciousness which makes us human, we bear the fingerprints of Life much older than we.
I first met Ernie fifteen years ago, shortly after I began working in the field of water damage restoration. He’d come to speak at a training course I was attending, and I vividly recall overhearing a conversation between him and a colleague, about the effect of the Earth’s centrifugal force upon the process of drying wet materials. Ernie might be the only guy I know who can have such a conversation and almost take it seriously. He’s smart like that. He’s rather famous in the industry for inventing a machine that can dry things that are difficult to dry – hardwood floors in particular.
I’ve used Ernie’s magic drying machine many times over the years; it’s saved a lot of floors for me. I thought the machine was cool enough fifteen years ago, but Ernie’s never completely satisfied; he’s improved it several times since he started, and I suppose he’ll improve it even more before he’s through. I used to think this was just because he likes to tinker (though I think he does), but I’ve come to realize there’s more to it than that. Like I say, the material parts of our world sometimes point to grander things. I think I’ve come to know Ernie’s grander thing, and it’s quite brilliant.
I had an opportunity to share a meal with Ernie awhile back, which gave me the chance to witness some of that brilliance. There is something deep and mystical about sharing a meal with a person. When we eat together, we acknowledge our dependence upon the resources of this world, as well as each other. We share in the transfer of energy – the energy bound in the food we eat as it transmutes to sustenance and becomes part of us, mingling with the invisible energy of thoughts shared as we converse and leave bits of ourselves with one another. It’s a shame this ritual of meal-sharing is becoming more and more rare.
While I sat across the table from Ernie, he described the work he’d done and was still doing on a group of old cabins he bought some time ago. “Most buyers would’ve knocked those things down, cleared the way for something larger,” he said. “I saw something in bringing them back.” A spark shown in his eyes as he said this, an indication of the grand vision that drives him, and I thought of all the houses that have been saved over the years because of the magic machines he makes.
“That’s you, isn’t it?” I said. “This is what you do. You save things.” How profound is this, that in a culture which thrives on throwing things away and replacing them with more disposable versions, here is one who says, I can save this thing. I can make it better than ever. How different would our world be if more of us were inspired in the same way?
Many would say there’s nothing magical about the stuff Ernie does, that it’s all about the science of physics and engineering, but I wonder if there’s really much of a difference between science and magic. I spend a little time with Ernie the Magical, and I’m inspired to transfer inspiration to words and feed them into a digital device, allowing me to release them to the world for others to partake in. I know there’s a lot of science to describe how all this works, but when you think about it, it’s all pretty strange and wonderful, isn’t it?
Thanks Ernie, for teaching us to how to make things new again. Keep working that magic, my friend.