A year ago today, on his 40th birthday, Ezra posted this “lonely photo.”  It came at the end of a blog post that recalled a long list of things he’d been able to do that year, despite his grim prognosis, and probably due in part to his choice to refuse chemo and to embrace palliative care.  He also described feeling untethered, given that his birthday and the end of 2013 had seemed like it would be his last horizon.  Ez lived five more months, during which he made many more objects and dinners, and took many more photos.

In late May, a few days before he died, we were sitting on the edge of the bed, looking out the window, and he said with joy, “It’s snowing!”… It wasn’t, of course.  Between the cancer’s progression and all the meds he was pretty disoriented.  I started to tell him gently that he was confused and to suggest he get some rest.  I’m so glad that I didn’t.  Instead I sat and watched with him, and said “Yea, isn’t it beautiful…”  Perhaps his last horizon was wintry after all.

Here’s to Ez and 40 fast years.

Big love,

106 Replies to “41”

  1. You and your family (blood and not) have been in my thoughts a lot this last year. Many, many hugs to you Hillary. <3

  2. Fast years indeed. So thankful to have kept pace with him for at least a few of them. It really is snowing here in Kansas today – will take his inexhaustible spirit out into it in a bit. Peace to you and the family.

  3. Here’s to Ezra, and to you, Hillary. Thank you for this…..I’m sure most of us remember the moment we saw this photo, so you are a gem for posting it again. He was/continues to be a gift to all of us, and so are you, with gratitude and love, xo

  4. Thanks for sharing this poignant moment Hill. It’s a treasure, for it captures both Ezra’s remarkable spirit and your loving relationship with him beautifully, Roger

  5. Hillary, I’ve thought about you and Ezra and your story together a lot this past year. I’m sending you lots of love and hugs. Holidays are always hard when there is an empty chair. And who knows? Maybe, just maybe, it is snowing where Ezra is.

  6. Beautiful. Simply, beautiful.

    I have thought about you, Ezra and Putney quite often this past year. Even though we have never met, your story is one that stays with me. And will for a long, long time. Wishing you peace, health and happiness for 2015.

  7. A sweet and touching story. My heart goes out to you on what must be a very trying day. Sending our warmest thoughts to you and Putney.


  8. I never met Ezra, only though his blog. I think about him all the time though, his life & struggles. He was such a lovely man and his artwork was beautiful to me. I loved the pictures of his dog the best, but all of his work was wonderful. I found him fascinating, all his videos about cooking, his fast videos playing with his dog, his bike building and sculpting pill containers. He is missed.

  9. happy birthday, ezra. you were a great friend even though we never met. i cheered your spirit and worried over you every minute

    now i think often of your beautiful wife who you loved totally and your dog who you loved just as much

    i’m so happy/ sad that we bought a copy of that lonely photo

    thank you, hillary, for letting us in on your wonderful memory

  10. Precious Hillary,
    It is so wonderful to hear your voice. As I sit here in my office,
    this very “wintry” image is attached with love and care on my
    bulletin board… It is the one and only piece of Ezra’s art that I
    as lucky enough to get… I love it… I love how the “light” which
    as always Ezra’s spirit over-shines the dark, even in this black and
    white image. I love the tracks of the hundreds and hundreds of
    footprints that are captured and wonder what journeys those feet
    traveled that day.. Blessings and love to you precious one… Please
    know you are in my ongoing thoughts and prayers…. Hugs…kathy s.

  11. Thank you Hillary for keeping Ez alive and sharing your touching memories. May next year bring you closer to finding joy and happiness after the last few years. Time really does heal the sadness of loss. The memories one day will stop hurting and will be remembered with fondness. X

  12. Hillary, it was so nice to come to the blog today, knowing it was Ezra’s birthday, and find this lovely entry: thanks for sharing your memory. Like so many others, although I have never met you or Ezra, I have thought about you both (and Putney, of course) and your journey many times during the past year. My wife and I hope you are doing well and wish you and yours the very best in the coming year.

    Big Love back at you.

  13. Thank you for posting, what a special day! It just occurred to me Ezra is sharing my mom’s birth date. Much Love!

  14. Thanks to Hillary for posting this, and to all the replies from many people who, like me, only knew Ezra through his blog. Such a comfort to share this small way of experiencing part of his life with you all. Peace and Big Love to all whom he touched,

  15. Thank you Hillary for sharing this beautiful moment. I’ve been keeping up with Ezra’s blog and photos on and off for probably close to ten years now and first discovered him when looking for hand-crafted wooden bike fenders. His excitement for life and for the things that he was passionate for came out in his photos. I was not aware that he had passed but have been thinking about him lately and have been meaning to check his blog. I hope that his blog and flickr photos can stay up for us to continue to enjoy. I hope that you are well, and thank you for being you.

  16. Wonderful Hillary. This photo hangs above my daughter Riley’s bed. A reminder to make the most of the time you have and not take anything for granted.

  17. hallo Hillary, aan de andere kant van de oceaan heb ik vaak aan jouw vriend gedacht. Raar omdat ik hem niet kende. Niet echt. Alleen via z’n foto’s en later via z’n blog. Hij was een fiets maniac. En een dans maniac. Hij documenteerde zijn leven zo dat het leek alsof ik hem goed kende. Maar dat is natuurlijk niet zo.
    Maar ik was onder de indruk van zijn moed en levenslust terwijl ik goed begreep waarom hij nie verder verpleegd wilde worden.
    En ik bewonder ook de moed van degenen die om Ezra heen stonden.
    Het ga jullie goed.
    Fijne kerst.
    Groet, niko
    (deboof on Flickr)

  18. Absolutely beautiful, Hillary. Those last couple of months were very understandably quiet on the blog. I often (daily) wondered how you and Ez were doing and how the end was playing out. Thanks for sharing this today. It’s great to hear from you and to get a glimpse into those last days. Big love right back to you.

  19. I have a print of this picture in my living room to remind me of Ezra’s beautiful story every time I look at it. His story has helped me understand life and death better. Thanks Ezra

  20. Thanks for sharing this with us Hillary. It’s a Big privilege Tor us all. We still love Ez. We wish you all the best and a vero merry Christmas to you and your beloved. Take care. Grazie di cuore.

  21. Hill.

    Like Ezrs, you have a grace with words. You are truly remarkable in you poise and strength. It was with great pleasure I followed Ezra ‘ photographic work on Flickr. And even a greater sorrow when I learned of his illness. Thank you for posting this sublime and intimate moment.

  22. Happy Birthday Ezra, I try to take the UTA out every day.

    Thanks for the post Hillary, we hope you have a peaceful holiday.


  23. buon compleanno,happy b-day in italian…and thank you for sharing with us some of your treasures.a big hug to u,precious hill,perfect wife of an extraordinary men.and,obviously a lil’ cuddle to putney ^_^

  24. Thinking of you from half a world away, as I do from time to time. Much love to you and to Putney and others who were close to Ezra.

  25. “Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
    And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
    Do not go gentle into that good night.”

  26. I’ll never forget how Ezra’s beautiful work and perspective captured my attention the first time a photo of his shined among others in a google search about something or other. Thank you for sharing this lovely memory. This photo beamed from my FB feed today – it kind of felt like that first glimpse again. Full of gratitude and wishing peace for you always.

  27. So sorry that you have to endure this year of first’s. First birthday without him, first holiday, etc. He LIVED a great life although short as it was. So many have learned so much from him, including myself. Smile through the tears, remember and he will always be with you. Big love back at you! Give Putney a hug, she misses him too.

  28. Hillary, despite never having met either of you, I always think of you and Ezra and hope you are coping OK. I’m so glad (selfishly?) that you check in with us all.

    I frequently revisit Ezra’s photography site over and over. The way he captured his life with you and Putney, of Nova Scotia, his bike building and his cooking, always fascinated me, from the minute I saw it. I haven’t any clue how I even stumbled upon everytime Ezra, but I’m so glad that I did. His photos inspire me artistically and emotionally. Especially any shot with people which really showcase his relationships to everyone around him. Really beautiful. You can tell that you all loved one another deeply. Peace and love today, especially. HUG.

  29. What a beautiful post. Thanks for keeping this site up to date Hillary, I always love seeing something new from you as a reminder of Ezra, a person I grew to know and care about without ever actually meeting. Best wishes as always to you and yours, and happy birthday E!

  30. thank you for sharing this memory, hillary. it was important and comforting to visit this blog today and hear from you about a man we all love so much. i’ve been sending you big love all day and will continue. xo, c

  31. I didn’t know Ezra. The closest contact I ever had with him was a few emails exchanged a few years ago, but I feel like I knew him. Ezra was and continues to be a big inspiration in my life. As a bike builder myself, I consider Ezra one of the best. His simplistically and style were like no other. He will be sorely missed even by people he never knew.

  32. Amazing how someone you have never met can influence little things in your life in one way or the other. I never Had the pleasure of meeting Ezra but I always looked forward to reading his posts and seeing his work. He is truly missed. Much love.

  33. I was remember Ez all day, perhaps I am remembering him all days. I feel him because he is living in all of us. Thanks Hill, because you are brave and great. Big hug. Love you so much.

  34. Thank you for sharing this truly beautiful story. Ezra’s creativity and passion for life continue to inspire me. Warmest wishes to you & Putney on this day…

  35. Happy birthday Ezra. Never met you but felt like I knew you through reading your blog and following your story. This past summer I was walking in downtown Portland Maine (my first trip there) and I walked past a woman with red hair and a man without any hair. I thought “She looks familiar. I know her. Who is she?” I kept walking and entered a store with my friend. We were browsing the store, checking out the hand made gifts and all of a sudden I said aloud “That was Hillary, Ezra’s wife!” About a half hour passed. I was back outside, walking around the downtowns again looking for more cool places to check out and I crossed paths with the same woman and man. This time I decided to walk back to them and introduce myself. It felt weird at first but I was so happy to say hello to Hillary and “My Sam”. Hope you all are doing well. Xoxo.

  36. So very beautiful- thank you for sharing this Hillary. I was thinking of Ezra as I presented to colleagues on the proposed palliative care and hospice education and training act (that I hope will one day soon become law). It aims to increase not only numbers of specially educated physicians- but also increase general awareness of choices around end-of-life care.

    Thinking of you and wishing you all best-

  37. hillary, perhaps i sent you some ringing in your ears? yesterday i scoured through the blog, looking for the post about dancing with the charming mad man. i wanted to share with a dear friend from college, who sadly is in the same place, time and prognosis wise, as ezra was when he wrote it. and then i read everything all again, more than twice. he remains larger than life, even though i never even met him. xxx

  38. just today i happened upon his “it’s not a fight” comment and thought again what a super person he was to have given the world this thought and how so much of his strength must have come from you.

  39. Happy Birthday Ezra and a warm thank you for this beautiful message Hillary. Today I was with a dear friend and I told her the story of the Lonely Photo and how meaningful it was from the moment Ezra posted about it. It was my Christmas present to myself last December. It touched my heart so much. This week I finally had it framed and it is in a wonderful space where I can look at it always. It teared me up to be thinking of him and then see your post. I wish you peace and much love Hillary. You are in my thoughts. xo Robin

  40. I remember that post Ez wrote last year! It made me feel proud to see his drive and courage, it was inspiring. Thank you Hillary for sharing this with us, big hug from far away

  41. Hillary, thanks for this. Like so many others, I knew Ezra only through his blog and photos, and yet he was such an inspiration. I think of him often, and send my best wishes to his loved ones. Peace and love to you all this snowy season.

  42. Happy birthday Ezra.

    Thanks for posting this Hillary. I love that photo.
    And I love how the memory of Ezra is being kept alive all over the world in his pictures. As late as yesterday I was telling my mother-in-law about him. She is visiting us at the moment and was asking me about the three framed photographs in our living room (one of Putney in the forest, one of him running up the sand dune, and one of your legs sticking out from under the duvet).

    Wishing you all the best. Mette

  43. Hillary- Thanks for sharing the moment. You are terrific. With an understanding that this must be a tough season for you after Ezra’s passing, my best to you for a happy and thoughtful holiday season and new year. I will toast Ezra this evening in view of your post. Best Regards.

  44. I hadn’t thought about Ezra for a while, but (with Christmas approaching) was walking the dog & reflecting on my Dad who is no longer with us either. My thoughts came back to Ez & I checked in again to see that brilliant image and read your loving dedication. And here I now am, walking the dog on the park and with a lump in my throat.
    I never met him but followed the blog for years and exchanged emails (he gave metal fabrication advice and was generous in doing so – to me, someone he never met) and like many others, loved & admired his dedication to quality work and his irresistible love of live. I was plodding around the park, mindful of a favourite section from John Masefield’s beautiful “Lollingdon Downs”;

    “I could not sleep for thinking of the sky,
    The unending sky, with all its million suns
    Which turn their planets everlastingly
    In nothing, where the fire-haired comet runs.

    If I could sail that nothing, I should cross
    Silence and emptiness with dark stars passing,
    Then, in the darkness, see a point of gloss
    Burn to a glow, and glare, and keep amassing,

    And rage into a sun with wandering planets
    And drop behind, and then, as I proceed,
    See his last light upon his last moon’s granites
    Die to a dark that would be night indeed.

    Night where my soul might sail a million years
    In nothing, not even Death, not even tears.”

    Thank you again for sharing that beautiful photo, and feel glad that he continues to inspire people all over the world. It was a privilege to have been caught in his orbit, even if only for a short while.
    Kind thoughts to you this Christmas.

  45. I only had the chance to know you both through Ezra’s posts, but you all became such an unexpected and wonderful part of my thoughts over the years. It was a part of my day to check in and see how you all were doing and what was going on in your corner of the universe. I celebrated the all-clears, lamented the recurrences, rejoiced in the joy he radiated, delighted in the love you two shared, devoured the words he wrote, grieved when he died, continue to think about him and wonder how you are. It’s been lovely to hear your voice in words, and I thank you for continuing to post. It’s clear you two have had, and continue to have, a large impact on so many. Know you are thought of with hopes that you are well, that your darling man is thought of with fondness, and appreciation for sharing your journey. Wishing you a holiday filled with peace, and may the memories of Ezra be a blessing.

  46. Thank you Hill,
    Thank you for sharing a moments that brings us closer to you both. The smile on my face, as I see the film of your writings in my head, is broad and filled with many emotions.

    Last night Adrienne and I went to see Ailey at City Center. Uprising, choreographed by Hofesh Shechter was some “kick button dancing”! As Ezra would say. I know he had become disillusioned with the state of dance. We had a number of conversations on this topic. As I watched Uprising I could not help but feel Ezra was sitting next to me. No words. He could see the error in his argument. We shall keep on witnessing.

  47. It feels weird to miss someone that I didn’t know personally but I do miss Ezra. His photos, his posts, his videos, his presence. Thinking of you, Hillary. Hoping that seeing all of these positive and lovely comments brings you some type of peace.

  48. I followed ezra’s flickr feed for years, swapped messages about bikes and stuff. I followed the blog and his health. Only now discovered that we were the exact same age. I too was born dec 18 1973.

    Hope all is well, and like a lot of folks. I never met him, but his enthusiasm and zeal touched me.

  49. I’ve been following Ezra on Flickr since early 2008, loved his photos and life enthusiasm and followed this block since it began. I think about Fast Boy often and miss him.
    Much love

  50. I was just on flickr and happened to be looking at a photo of mine Ezra had commented on which reminded me to check this page. Thanks for continuing to share. Best to you and Putney Sue for 2015. Hugs from an internet stranger.

  51. I’d check this site occasionally, never commenting, only reading and hoping, and then reading and knowing, the beauty and life always vibrant. Something I thought of the past year, that Ezra did well – it is not the size of the mark we make that is important, it is the depth. Ezra’s mark is both, a rarity. Best to you; may the memories comfort your pain, laughter spewing through tears.

  52. Dear Hil,

    I never stopped thinking about Ezra, you and Putney.
    He was inspiring to me and many others.
    I am sorry for your loss.

    From my side as well: Hugs from an internet stranger. (Just read that in a previous post and its fitting..i was a stranger looking into your lives and coming to appreciate you all)

  53. I found myself here tonight – thinking of you guys. I’m also just an Internet stranger. More a Flickr stranger as I began watching your lives there. I remember the good times, the diagnosis, the bikes, the pooch, the meals and the wonderful photography. I have no idea what led me here tonight. I didn’t even know Ezra and I miss the guy. I think I was just wondering how you were doing. I hope you are well Hillary.

  54. I’m not quite sure what made him pop into my mind or what made me check the blog, but your post had me in sweet rememberence tears. Much love to you- sending warm and happy thoughts!

  55. checking back, reliving past times by randomly selecting entries, thank you for keeping this up. I’ll make an “Ezra” recipe this weekend in remembrance and break out the camera

  56. Dear Hillary,

    I’m one of the many who followed this blog for years, so moved by Ezra’s strength and honesty. Although I never met him, I was struck by how truly and deeply Ezra lived . . . his words and images so full of life and love. I check this site from time to time now, and wonder how Ezra’s beloved girls – you and Putney – are doing. Please know that you continue to be in our thoughts.

    All the best,

  57. 3 years ago, I saw a beautiful video about an amazing bike maker. From there, I found my way to this site and it changed my view on life. It was heart-breaking to hear Ezra leave, but there is something comforting about having this website to come home to. Keep the fast boy cycling, gang.


  58. I ride my fastboy bicycle every day, and every time I swing my leg over it I think of Ezra. It’s my favorite tool and I feel lucky to own it. Thank you Ezra and Hillary.

  59. Greetings Hillary, warm thoughts to you and Putney. Hope you are well. I’m thinking of Ezra today, his Birthday. His “lonely photo” has a perfect place on view in my home where I look at it every day. So deep and meaningful, as he was. Happy Holidays! Much love, Robin

  60. Even though I never met him, he still comes to mind. I will never forget all the beautiful photographs he put out there, especially of Putney, you and the handcrafted bikes. Cheers

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