I wish the whole day were like breakfast, when people are still connected to their dreams, focused inward, and not yet ready to engage with the world around them. I realized this is how I am all day; for me, unlike other people, there doesn’t come a moment after a cup of coffee or a shower or whatever when I suddenly feel alive and awake and connected to the world. If it were always breakfast, I would be fine.”
― Peter Cameron, Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You: A Novel
I jumped into a cab after de-planing in Fort Lauderdale late Sunday afternoon. An uneventful flight. Largely uneventful that is, with the exception of the couple sitting in the front of the aircraft in premium seating. They were wearing face masks and plastic gloves synched with rubber bands. (Ebola.) If you gotta fly and you’re freaked, put on the protective gear. (It would be a cold day in Hell before you’d see me absorbing the ‘looks’ on a three hour flight.) Face-Mask-Man catches my stare. His eyes lock on mine as if to say: We’ll see who’s the Fool.
“Do you take American Express?”
The cab driver’s response is undecipherable.
I’m guessing he’s in his 60’s, his accent places him from the Islands, and he’s wearing a day or two beard.
I ask again.
“Do you take credit cards?“
This ‘Sir” thing is de-stabilizing. When did I become a Sir?
I note that I have plenty of legroom in a Yellow Cab. I’m grateful for one of life’s rare and simple pleasures.
How was your flight?
Good, thank you.
Where you coming from?
Is it cold?
It’s getting there.
89°F. The air conditioning is either not working or he’s conserving fuel. I open the window to let the tropical air blow in.
Do you want me to turn on the air?
No, it’s fine, thank you.
Is the friendliness a ploy for a larger tip? I scold myself for the unprovoked cynicism. And then reverse course and conclude that a friendly driver would earn a larger tip and that my cynicism was rationally placed. And the wheels on the bus go round and round.
What is the address again?
I repeat the address.
Is that on A1A?
I have no idea. Sorry.
Anticipating a bad outcome, I grab my smartphone and turn on Google Maps. And wait. I don’t want to be pushy and start offering instructions. Not yet anyway.
For the first time ever, researchers have used an unmanned hexacopter to monitor killer whales in the wild. In August 2014, Dr. Lance Barrett-Lennard, Vancouver Aquarium Senior Marine Mammal Scientist, collaborated with Dr. John Durban and Dr. Holly Fearnbach from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to use the hexacopter in the field.
Researchers will use the 30,000 photographs taken during 60 flights to assess northern resident killer whale health. From above, the scientists can assess their girth and determine whether the killer whales are sickly or pregnant. These photographs have already revealed several pregnancies, previously undetectable. This information will help guide management of the protected northern resident killer whale population, as well as the endangered southern resident population.
The APH-22 marine hexacopter was built by custom aerial photography company Aerial Imaging Solutions and is owned by NOAA. Its use was authorized by a marine mammal research license issued by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, a special flight certificate from Transport Canada, and animal care permits. The team of scientists also assessed the impact of the hexacopter itself on the animals, and they were able to determine that it went unnoticed by the whales.
Note: The noise in the video may sound loud, but these drones are actually very quiet. You would have to listen hard to hear the drone 10m above your head. The audio is recorded off a camera 30cm from the motors and attached to the frame. In the field the drone was high above the water and researchers noticed no reaction in the whales.
Thank you Rachel. Incredible.
The human heart beats
approximately 4,000 times per hour
and each pulse, each throb, each palpitation
is a trophy engraved with the words
“you are still alive.”
You are still alive.
Act like it.
~ Rudy Francisco
6:02 am. Sunday, October 19, 2014. 52° F. Breezy. Autumn.
Mind rolls back to yesterday afternoon. Saturday at 4pm, and my body was signaling late Sunday. The heaviness of Work returned early, a thick Bay Area Fog. (Where’s my weekend?) I’m on a JetBlue flight heading South on Sunday afternoon to catch Monday morning meetings.
I’m ten pounds up from my six-month low. Ten pounds! My last running post was Sept 7th. My last run outside was Sept 14th. Over one month ago, and THAT run is still fresh. I glance at my notes from that day:
Garmin flashing 0.72 miles. Stomach cramps. They will work themselves out. Just slow it down. Keep your feet moving. 0.78 miles. Legs moving, body is haunched over. 0.80 miles. Pain ripping through left calf. I moan, stop and clutch my leg. No Mas. I turn and return home. To the couch.
I decide to break my pre-run routine. (Which, besides complaining about running, is to do nothing, but get out the door.)
I get down on my knees. I’m thinking 1 Plank. I position my iPhone stopwatch where I can see it. I take a deep breath in preparation. (My blogger friends are deep under my skin. Bone deep. If Lori can do three two-minute planks in one work-out and Carolann can do a four-minute plank, this is just a matter of practice, right? And, last time I checked, I’m a Man, right?)
I get in planking position. I’ll knock one of these off before my run, and then have something to write about when I return. I’m glaring at the stopwatch. (I’ll show them.)
(Think I got this.)
(Breathing a bit heavy, but I’m just finding my groove.) [Read more...]
The sounds of engines leave the air.
The Sunday morning silence comes at last.
At last I know the presence
of the world made without hands,
the creatures that have come to be
out of their absence.
Calls of flicker and jay fill the clear air.
Titmice and chickadees feed
among the green and the dying leaves.
Gratitude for the gifts of all the living
and the unliving,
gratitude which is the greatest gift,
quietest of all,
passes to me through the trees.
~ Wendell Berry, Sabbaths, 2007 XI
- Poem: Thank you Steve @ Anderson Layman’s Blog.
- Photo from National Geographic. “Autumn’s grandeur spreads across Eagle Lake on Mount Desert Island, one of several coastal islands that make up Acadia National Park in Maine. Eagle Lake, which supplies water to nearby Bar Harbor, is deep, clear, and relatively free of plant life.”
Nina Conti one more time…Stick with it to the end, especially closing piece of act. Thank you Sandy!
Is not this a true autumn day?
Just the still melancholy that I love -
that makes life and nature harmonise.
The birds are consulting about their migrations,
the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay,
and begin to strew the ground,
that one’s very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air,
while they give us a scent that is
a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit.
Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it,
and if I were a bird
I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.
— George Eliot, [Letter to Miss Eliot, Oct. 1, 1841]
Don’t give up on this one too soon. The location is Byron Glacier in Alaska. “Byron Glacier was essentially a gift of unclimbed boulders sitting in a valley draped with hanging glaciers. Heaven on earth, or so I thought.” (Read more about inspiration for this video here: A Vertical Life.)
LOVE the music. It’s “Work Song” by Hozier. Hozier, 24, is Andrew Hozier-Byrne who is an Irish musician from Bray, County Wicklow. He released his debut studio album Hozier in Ireland in September 2014.
SMWI*: Saturday Morning Work-Out Inspiration
Ólafur Arnalds, 26, is a multi-instrumentalist and producer from Mosfellsbær, Iceland. Ólafur Arnalds mixes strings and piano with loops and edgy beats crossing-over from ambient/electronic to pop. This tune features Arnór Dan who is the lead singer and songwriter of the Icelandic band Agent Fresco and collaborator of Ólafur Arnalds.
- His official web site can be found here.
- This song can be found on iTunes on his 2013 Album titled For Now I Am Winter
Related Post: Near Light
It had been crossing so long it could not remember.
As it stopped in the middle to look back,
a car sped by, spinning it around.
Disoriented, the chicken realized
it could no longer tell which way it was going.
It stands there still.
— John McNamee, Kafka’s joke book
And don’t miss a full series of terrific penguin gifs here: observation deck
Short video titled: “A Typical San Francisco Morning” which was shot with a hand held camera out of a helicopter during two morning flights this month. Incredible…
The quote, paired with Meryl Streep photographs, was erroneously attributed to Streep and has been going viral on the internet. The quote was written by Portuguese self-help author/life coach José Micard Teixeira. It’s not clear that this quote has any connection to Meryl Streep, but, we love the quote and we love Meryl, so we’re going with it…all of it.
“I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me. I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons. I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities. In friendship I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement. Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals. And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience.”
Source: Jaimejustelaphoto. (Timestamp is directionally correct with our 7:05 am sunrise)
It’s dark. 5:40 a.m. I’ve got an early morning jump, and I’m high stepping it to the station. It’s October 14th and the weatherman is calling for mid-70’s. (And it’s damn humid before sunrise.)
I’m feeling Prime this morning. Another night of solid sleep. Something is working, exactly what, is unclear.
I strap on my earphones. I get off the train. I’m lost among the throng, and fidgeting with my ear pieces. (Apple.co can drag music from the clouds and shoot it into my head but can’t seem to get these earbuds to stick.)
I enter the main Grand Central terminal. The wall size Red, White & Blue greets me. O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
As do Police. Police Dogs. Bullet proof vests. And Guns.
I glance up as I exit the station. Nestled within a green leafy planter on a pole eight feet up is a sign: NYPD Security Camera. And surrounding the station are Police Cars. Police Vans. Unmarked Cars. And more German Shepherds.
I turn up the music to drown out the dark, and I continue down 42nd street. Fink is playing: Looking too Closely. Looking too close. No. No. No.
I pick up my pace. Everyone is standing still, or moving in slow motion; I’m passing them on my right, on my left. (The DK Express is hauling a**.)
With no safe jaywalking opportunity available, I wait for the Walk sign. Dark thoughts roll back several weeks. (Ocean Voung whisks in: “There’s enough light to drown in but never enough to enter the bones & stay.”)
It’s mid-morning, mid-week in August.
wsj.com – The Myth of the Midlife Crisis:
- According to a growing body of research, midlife upheavals are more fiction than fact.
- Life satisfaction reaches a low point around the mid-40s, perhaps due to stress associated with the simultaneous demands of work and family. But it rises after that.
- Midlife, he adds, “is a surprisingly positive time of life.”
And yet, I can’t help but parrot Franz Kafka: “My condition is not unhappiness, but it is also not happiness, not indifference, not weakness, not fatigue, not another interest –so what is it then?”
The Gods called your name
and the seas turned dark;
the earth quaked with power.
You looked up at Olympus
screaming at the gates;
“What will I become?”
The Gods fell silent, then-
with a thunderous roar replied;
“Who are you now?”
Nina Conti performs her hilarious human puppet ventriloquism act. This woman is talented. Period. (Thank you Susan).
Bethany Gosvener is a Portland, OR based visual artist.
So here I am. Doing exactly that, and freaking out every bit of the way. Ha. I’m grateful for those few years of trial and error. They allowed me time to develop and teach myself a variety of skills. It may sound odd, but even I am still shocked to see the work I’m doing. I can’t believe I had no idea this natural ability was within me. I am in an endless debt of gratitude to Steven for pushing me, supporting me. For loving me through some of the hardest times of my life. It blows me away. I am so blessed.
- Don’t miss Bethany’s full post of how she arrived here: “A bit of history“. Inspirational story.
- To see more of Bethany’s work go to her website, Instagram or Pinterest.
- Check out Meredith C. Bullock’s Interview with Bethany Gosvener where Bethany explains how she creates large-scale, life sized drawings.
Image Source: Jaimejustelaphoto
How one becomes undone by a smell, a word, a place, a photo of a mountain of shoes:
The shadow past is shaped by everything that never happened. Invisible, it melts the present like rain through karst. A biography of longing. It steers us like magnetism, a spirit torque. This is how one becomes undone by a smell, a word, a place, the photo of a mountain of shoes. By love that closes its mouth before calling a name.
An apple screaming its sweet juice:
There was no more simple meal, no thing was less than extraordinary: a fork, a mattress, a clean shirt, a book. Not to mention such things that can make one weep: an orange, meat and vegetables, hot water. There was no ordinariness to return to, no refuge from the blinding potency of things, an apple screaming its sweet juice.
The catastrophe of grace:
But sometimes the world disrobes, slips its dress off a shoulder, stops time for a beat. If we look up at that moment, it’s not due to any ability of ours to pierce the darkness, it’s the world’s brief bestowal. The catastrophe of grace.
Stones and silence:
Some stones are so heavy only silence helps you carry them!
As if to spare the birds at the feeder
any more competition than they already have
a snowflake drops right past the perches
crowded with finches, nuthatches, sparrows,
and without even thinking to open its wings
settles quietly onto the ground.
~ Ted Kooser. December 23, Cold. Winter Morning Walks: One Hundred Postcards to Jim Harrison
Fink, aka Fin Greenall, is a singer, songwriter, guitarist, producer and DJ. He was born in 1972 in Cornwall, grew up in Bristol and is currently based in Brighton, UK. His mother worked in the field of classical music and his father was a folk musician. Fin can recall “the one thing of his dad’s that Fin Greenall wasn’t allowed to touch was the old Martin acoustic guitar.” In an interview, Greenall remembers “It was his one possession where he said, ‘everything in this house is owned by everybody – apart from that.'” Their presence had an impact on his future in music. “The great thing about growing up in a house where music is a big factor… was the fact that music being part of your life was a perfectly natural thing.”
Find this tune and his 2014 album on iTunes here: Hard Believer
Koala goes for a morning run…Get those knees up!
Notes: SMWI* = Saturday morning workout inspiration. Source: themetapicture.com. Thank you Susan.
Source: So Many Cute Animals. (Photo so much like Zeke, not Zeke!)
I’ve been searching for a passage that I read weeks ago. I can see the font size, the paragraph, the white space, the light above and below the words. Strings that dangle in my consciousness. Yet, despite my end of day Google searches, I’ve come up empty. It goes something like this:
People ask you: “How are you doing?” You turn on the auto-reflex-reflux. You pound the drums with your sticks and dust up dregs. You don’t want others to know, but Life is Good. Very good actually. So, why? Why lead with the dark?
She stands at the turn of Exit 10. The front end of the last mile of my morning commute. The entire elapsed time is less than five seconds, tops. I turn the corner, I look for her, and I’m gone. And she’s gone.
She’s standing with other early morning commuters waiting for the Bus.
Correction. [Read more...]
Thank you Kurt @ culturaloffeirng
Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn?
Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends?
Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven’t the answer
to a question you’ve been asked,
or the hush of a country road at night,
or the expectant pause of a room full of people
when someone is just about to speak, or,
most beautiful of all,
the moment after the door closes and
you’re alone in the whole house?
Each one is different, you know,
and all very beautiful if you listen carefully.
~ Norton Juster
Some days one needs to hide from possibility.
~ Jim Harrison & Ted Kooser, Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry
Notes: Photograph via YourEyesBlazeOut
She has been coming to work with her mother since she was just six weeks old. And now it seems three-year-old Vittoria Cerioli, daughter of Italian MEP Licia Ronzulli, is taking an ever more active interest in mummy’s work as she joined her in a session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg yesterday. Stealing the show at this month’s session in eastern France, adorable Vittoria took part in proceedings as she lifted her arm up along with her mother to vote.
Don’t miss the full set of pictures here: Enchanting Little Girl Following In The Footsteps of her MEP Mother
91 total points. (If you are higher than 45, you are a Maximizer.)
“Most people fall somewhere in the middle.”
“Maximizers” like to take their time and weigh a wide range of options—sometimes every possible one—before choosing. “Satisficers” would rather be fast than thorough; they prefer to quickly choose the option that fills the minimum criteria (the word “satisfice” blends “satisfy” and “suffice”).
“Maximizers are people who want the very best. Satisficers are people who want good enough,”
“Maximizers landed better jobs. Their starting salaries were, on average, 20% higher than those of the satisficers, but they felt worse about their jobs.”
“Satisficers also have high standards, but they are happier than maximizers, he says. Maximizers tend to be more depressed and to report a lower satisfaction with life”
My Score: 60. (Oh Boy)
Read full article in wsj.com: How You Make Decisions Says a Lot About How Happy You Are
Headphones strapped on. A Pandora Mix of David Gray.
Situations running through my head.
Three good nights of sleep to rejuvenate the soul. A Southern Baptist Preacher, arms reaching for the Heavens: Praise the Lord.
If there is a God, she sang The Best Thing I Never Had on The Voice last night. Beth Spanger, a young lady from Aiken, S.C. I see Light, the woman is Light.
The leaves are turning,
one by one carried away in the crisp wind [...]
Away, away,says the blue and gold day,
and no one hears it but the wind,
whose law it echoes.
The dog has a red ball to chase.
You pick a flat, perfect stone
for the wall you hope to live long enough to rebuild.
I prune briars,
pick burrs from the dog’s fur.
I teach Come and Sit. Sit here —
a longer sit beneath the cedars.
The grass is freshly cut,
all the energy of a summer’s day rushing into bulb and root.
The dog runs off, returns.
The stones balance steeply.
Good work. Good dog.
This is heaven.