Ezra Caldwell was supposed to die from terminal cancer a month ago. His creativity, boldly expressed through a bike building business based in Harlem, was supposed to be a legacy at this point, a remembrance. Yet Ezra burns on. He regularly writes on his own mortality in a revealing and thoughtful blog, Teaching Cancer to Cry and since choosing not to treat his cancer this spring, Ezra has very bravely documented what it means to live intentionally. That documentation is inspiring:
“…I’m like a kid on Christmas morning. I have beautiful medium format transparencies to scan from when I was up in Vermont. I have black and white rolls that need to be processed. I have bikes that need to be prepared for the bike cult hand built show coming up on labor day weekend (and a display to build!). I have photos to organize and put up on the photo website for sale for this week…
…I think this is called mania. And I think I love it!”
With a life organized around passion, it isn’t shocking that in the wake of cancer, Ezra has made those passions more up front and immediate. But there is a kind of defiance here, where many quietly live only in fear, Ezra has turned up the volume on the things he loves and made those passions very public. We’re not alone in being inspired by Ezra: Devoted family and friends have rallied around him. Most recently, the organizers of next week’s Bike Cult Show in Brooklyn have dedicated the event to Ezra. The last bike he built will be on display as will his ongoing presentation of what it means to very much be alive.
For more information on the show, on Ezra, and on where you may also be inspired by his life, check out the Bike Cult Show website.
Words by Andrew Gardner
Photo Credit: Bike Cult Show, Ezra Caldwell