What is Your Maximum Load Capacity?

A physics problem in 7 short movements

Calvin: “How do they know the load limit on bridges, dad?”

Calvin’s father: “They drive bigger and bigger trucks over the bridge until it breaks. Then they weigh the last truck and rebuild the bridge.” Calvin and Hobbes Bridge Capacity — by Bill Watterson, November 26, 1986

There are formulas that tell me the exact load capacity of my truck, shelving, a forklift, the foundation of my house, and even my bed. But I can’t find any formula that helps me calculate my personal load capacity.

How much can I carry before I break down?

A teenage girl goes about her day in her remote village in the Lacandon Jungle, Mexico. It takes two intense days of walking through the jungle to get to the village.

The way we humans move in our environment, the rhythm of the day, the way we carry our loads — literally and metaphorically — has always fascinated me.

I think of her as we figure out how to move in our pandemic world.

How is it that nothing spills ?

How is it that the vessel doesn’t break?

How is it that her movement is so elastic and strong?

A woman goes about her day in Cinque Terre, a small village tucked in along the rugged Italian Riviera coast.

Her strength and flow caught my attention when I took this photo in the summer of 1981:

Her load well balanced; overflowing with a bounty of greens.

How did she learn this skill-full balance?

When I revisited the same village a few years ago, the houses looked the same but the locals had disappeared in the flocks of tourists.

Have Amazon next day deliveries replaced the art of balanced carrying?

Have we lost the art and skills of kinesthetic engagement?

Have we lost the familiar smell of fresh produce carried in generation old baskets, propagating in symphony with a subtle mix of sweat, perfume and saltwater?

Katharina and Maria, 1968.

My great grandmother and her daughter

in front of their postwar social housing one bedroom apartment, their little purses held with pride.

A symbol.

A hand-embroidered handkerchief,

A comb,

That’s what I remember the contents of their purses to be.

Shimmer of hope always one home baked Apfelstrudel away.

My husband and me

New graduates

New parents

in a new place

The mortarboard on our heads

A thin symbol

For a full load

Our first born

Holding the things that spilled over from her parents

The do lists

Notes from the school

Life affirming aphorisms

Greeting cards from complicated relationships

Bills to pay

When do we start holding experiences, energies, emotions in our body?

How much can we hold?




As an artist, I invite you to join me on adventures where the ordinary becomes extraordinary and the art of becoming truly human begins to unfold.

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Erika Senft Miller

Erika Senft Miller

As an artist, I invite you to join me on adventures where the ordinary becomes extraordinary and the art of becoming truly human begins to unfold.

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