Ella Wheeler Wilcox

There is no chance, no destiny, no fate,

Can circumvent or hinder or control

The firm resolve of a determined soul.

Gifts count for nothing; will alone is great;

All things give way before it, soon or late.

What obstacle  can stay the mighty force

Of the sea-seeking river in its course,

Or cause the ascending orb of day to wait?

Each well-born soul must win what it deserves.

Let the fool prate of luck.  The fortunate

Is he whose earnest purpose never swerves,

Whose slightest action or inaction serves

The one great aim.  Why, even Death stands still,

And waits an hour sometimes for such a will.


My friend Di Billick was diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. For those of you who don't know (I never did) it's a hereditary nerve disease which results in muscle atrophy, especially in the arms and legs.  She's been told by doctors  to avoid too much stress on her body.  After a while of considering that and allowing the disease take it's toll, she decided that instead of simply succumbing to her circumstances, she would do her best to defend what strength she had and build up even more.

After two years of the exercise she wasn't supposed to do, Di is going to participate this Saturday, 7 April 2012 in Valparaiso's Ringing in Spring 5k and 10k run. She won't be running, but her goal is to complete it.  It's such a feat for someone with her condition, that the Hereditary Neuropathy Foundation published an article about her this month, and I was honored when she asked me to take the photo that would accompany it.  Read the article here, to understand more of what motivated her to do what most in her situation would consider next to impossible.

Jillian Pancini Photography

My aim as a photographer is to chronicle  what I see as the truth when I open the shutter, and if I do that in a way that others can relate to, I feel I’ve done my job. I do not claim to be expressing or possessing any cutting edge ideas or skills, nor do I claim that my photography is particularly exciting.

The man in the picture saw me with my camera.  He looked directly at me from over fifty feet away, seemed momentarily disturbed, and then settled back into his fishing, as if he were the only person in the world.

It makes me sad to think of how many people don't know how to enjoy real solitude.  The old man was not lonely.  Well, I can't presume to know exactly how he felt on that day, but his face said that he was at peace.  He didn't have someone to talk to.  He didn't have music to listen to, and he didn't have a book to read, to take his mind off of other things. Only his thoughts and his fish, and I don't think they had much to say.