By Sarah Williams, Staff Reporter
Peter Hardy, Associate Professor of Mathematics, was at the Nordica Auditorium on December 1st for his book release and concert. As the audience waited for the event to begin, Hardy enthusiastically greeted each student, parent, and faculty member as if they were old friends. Hardy’s book, “Thorn The All,” is the final book in his fiction trilogy about a one-hundred year old oak tree with a consciousness.
Hardy began with a quote from Shabestari, “The past has flown away.” Then he announced, “I am fifty-one today. December first is the birthday of outrageous charm.” He read from his birthday horoscope adding that he wrote a poem every year on his birthday admitting that most of them were morbid. From an earlier birthday poem, “The Year of the Yogi,” he recited, “This year I will be a writer, I will fall in love with my wife and she with me again and again.”
“My daughter, Zoe, did all the cover art on all of my books,” Hardy smiled, “and I wrote the songs on the CDs in each book.” He talked about the power of our mind being incredible, and told a little story about an eagle and a vulture before he began his first song similarly titled. Strumming the guitar confidently with the grand piano echoing in the background, Peter’s voice told stories as he sang his heart out to the engaged audience.
“How do we approach life?” Hardy was both philosophical and entertaining as he posed questions about environmental destruction and earth’s demise. Evocative images flashed across the large movie screen as he talked honestly about his beliefs in a larger force and how that came across in his book. He didn’t read specifically from the book, “Thorn The All” as he said it would be a spoiler for the first two novels.
At one point Hardy heralded author James Howard Kunstler for his book, “The Long Emergency.” Hardy talked about the dark path we are headed on as humanity and said, “At some point we may have a rude awakening.” From Kunstler’s book, Hardy quoted, “People cannot stand too much reality.” He talked about the end of oil and overpopulation. “We are, for the most part, not addressing these issues,” Hardy said.
Mixing poetry, singing, and philosophy, Hardy was wildly entertaining. At several points he talked about people’s different views of a higher power, and talked about God and peace. He prefaced his self-proclaimed most depressing song, “Four Dark Walls” with a story of being a junior at Orono and painting all his walls black. “It’s cold, it’s cold, as I sit here alone in my room.” The song was both melancholy and lovely as Peter crooned in his soothing voice and wailed on his guitar.
As Hardy wrapped up the hour of song and entertainment he showed a large picture of Leonard Cohen, a hugely influential singer, who just passed away this November. “In honor of Leonard Cohen,” Hardy began, and the piano followed with the strong sweet sounds of Cohen’s famous “Hallelujah.” Hardy had the words up on screen and soon the whole audience was singing in remembrance. Hardy left everyone with a greater understanding of who he is, his quest for knowledge and his love of peace.