Nancy Roman

Einstein Boating


A question – amongst all the questions I ask myself in my so-called older years:

What is worth spending money on?

Do I really want new clothes when I have drawers and drawers of clothes?

Well, yes, of course I do. But how much will more sweaters add to my happiness in my twilight years?


Sweaters – folded the KonMari way. I will confess I have a second drawer full.


And how about dishes and crystal?



Yeah.. really. It’s an illness.

I wrote on my birthday that I wanted a new iPhone. But my old iPhone is still working, and I hear that the new ones have so many more features that you have to carry a spare battery pack.

(So I bought new makeup instead.)

But what is really worth my money?

What will give me joy?

Every now and then – for seven years now – I look at the New York Times Photography Store. There’s a photo there that I contemplate. I love contemplating. I love this photo.


Einstein on Boat – 1934

This photo can be purchased in several sizes, framed or unframed. I can buy an 11″ by 14″ unframed for $169.00. I have been thinking about buying it for seven years.

It’s the price of three – maybe four – sweaters. I think I may have enough sweaters.

Perhaps that’s long enough to think about it. Perhaps this photo would bring me joy every day.

It’s time, I think, to own this photo. After all, I made Einstein a peripheral character in my novel. And seven years ago, this photo even inspired poetry. I am always a bit apprehensive to share poetry on this blog. I know my blog readers come to me for a smile. And poetry is so serious.

But anyway, here it is:


There is no theory here

Except the theory of the oar

Who has a notion of teasing the current

There is no science here

Except the science of the boat

Who is motionless and yet is moving

There is an equation

Discarded here

In fragments on the surface of the water

That explains the ratio of sunlight to sunburn

At the nape of the neck

Sometimes the occasion for celebration

Is the absence of mathematics.


  1. Reblogged this on ugiridharaprasad.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Carry on with the poems! I see few poems on blogs with the same appeal to me. You’ve captured the spirit of the photo, and added a corona of mystery. I enjoy your use of “who” for the oar and the boat: in one stroke you give them a personal life in the poem.


    • Thanks. I have a Poetry blog that I write – just occasionally, With Resistance. But I am always worried about adding poetry here. It’s very sweet to know it is welcome.


  3. The poetry is a good thing to throw in once in a while. I do like your keen humor.


    • Thanks. I will continue to concentrate on the humor…. just had a poetry moment, and I went with it.


  4. Remember, Marie Kondo says if it doesn’t spark joy, get rid of it. Enjoy your photo! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ~Elle


  5. Einstein is always a good investment!

    Thanks for sharing the poem, despite the apprehension.


    • There’s just something so approachably brilliant about Einstein. I like that he rowed the boat standing up and with such a serene expression.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Love the photo – and your poem! You should buy the photo.


    • I think I will. Now I have to decided – what size and framed or unframed?


  7. I can see why you’d like that photo! And your poem is wonderful.


  8. If you keep going back to something, contemplating it (and especially writing poetry about it) you should definitely buy it. It BELONGS to you. Don’t overthink it – go with you ‘gut’. And why not print your wonderful poem (it in a fancy font on fancy paper) and frame it and hang it WITH the photo?


  9. Christine

    Maybe one reason you like the photo so much is that you really want a small boat. I know that paddling around a calm lake in my small one-person canoe is something I really enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Could be. I think I would like Fishing. Especially the part where you just sit around waiting… thinking…relaxing…


      • Ray G

        A key part of what she said is “one-person”. Not what Al was doing, but still…

        Liked by 1 person

  10. The absence of mathematics is always cause for celebration in my book (or in my boat). Love the picture. There is something about Einstein that is just so approachable and warm. Have you seen the sculpture of him in DC? It just begs for you to climb up in his lap!


    • No.. where is that sculpture? I’ve been meaning to get back to DC.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s on Constitution Avenue, across the street from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. I want him to read me that story!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. How fascinating that that photo resonates so with you, while it leaves me with a big “meh.” Different strokes for different folks, right? You should definitely get it.

    Have you considering maybe reselling your truly prodigious supply of makeup? You could probably make a fortune.


    • That’s interesting. And I am not even sure what makes me love the photo, but I do. And I can’t sell that makeup. I NEED it all!


  12. Love the poem. In the end it will bring more satisfaction than a drawer of sweaters ever could.


    • Thanks… and you are so very right. I look back sometimes on pieces that I feel I have written well, and it is so fulfilling


  13. The poem is fabulous as is the photo. Buy it. Go ahead. ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€


    • Thanks.. I will tell my husband you put me up to it!


  14. What a cool picture – An ordinary activity enjoyed by a legendary brainiac in white pants – enjoying the flow and a little breeze. Screensaver maybe.
    Poem fits the image perfectly


    • Thanks… I wrote it so many years ago, but I still like it, which is not true of everything I write.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Dana

    I’ve been looking for a picture of Niels Bohr on a mechanical bull. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • And you haven’t found one?


      • Dana

        Not yet! ๐Ÿ˜€


  16. Laurie

    I admit to having more sweaters than you, but far less makeup. I’ve been trying to pare down my life as well in hopes of hitting the road when I retire. The hubs and I want to cruise the U.S. for a few years in an RV, and that means keeping only the essentials. I’m finding it difficult, but you’ve inspired me. Your poem is lovely, particularly the closing lines.


  17. sue marquis bishop

    Buy it! I loved the poem too. Let’s see more.


  18. First off…my goodness! I had to laugh when I saw your make up cabinet. So many products…lol. But I absolutely love your poem. I used to write simple poetry, but gave it up because I feel that I always have to rhyme. Yours in great and captures the essence of the photo. And, IMHO, you should definitely purchase the photo. I mean, really, how many sweaters does a girl need?? And the photo will bring you many years of happiness, where sweaters can only be worn in cool weather. Right?

    Another great post ๐Ÿ™‚


  19. Einstein did his much of his great thinking while floating alone in a boat.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: