Walking Cross-Town. On Edges.

NYC-walk-new-york

The mercury tipped 15º F. A veritable heat wave.
It’s 6:20 AM and the train pulls into Grand Central.
I twist in my ear buds and cue up my “Favorites” playlist.
Angus Stone: Bird on a Buffalo.
The herd stampedes out of the station.
Are you the bird? Or the buffalo?

I’m passing commuters on my left. And on my right.
Middle age, my a**. Can’t touch me. I’m sure those are whispers I hear behind me: “Who is that Pro Athlete?”
Another solid night of sleep. Superman. Cape.
I’m out on 48th and heading cross-town.
Cold air shocks Clark Kent. He wobbles, exhales mist, watches it rise and marches on.

My pace has me hitting each “Walk” sign in succession. Dominos falling.
No slowing, no stopping. Batta Bing, Batta Bang.
It’s going to be a good day.

Light wind gusts at my back.
Wind triggers the Old Irish Blessing

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

May the cabs stay on the highway and not plow into me on the curb.
May these brutal Arctic winds stay down.
May the sun warm my cold freezing a**,
And please God, no freezing rain. Please no more. [Read more…]

I feel a sudden clear focus and perspective

Oliver-Sachs-1

Oliver Sacks: My Own Life. Learning of Terminal Cancer

…It is up to me now to choose how to live out the months that remain to me. I have to live in the richest, deepest, most productive way I can…

…While I have enjoyed loving relationships and friendships and have no real enmities, I cannot say (nor would anyone who knows me say) that I am a man of mild dispositions. On the contrary, I am a man of vehement disposition, with violent enthusiasms, and extreme immoderation in all my passions.

I feel a sudden clear focus and perspective. There is no time for anything inessential. I must focus on myself, my work and my friends. I shall no longer look at “NewsHour” every night…

I have been increasingly conscious, for the last 10 years or so, of deaths among my contemporaries. My generation is on the way out, and each death I have felt as an abruption, a tearing away of part of myself. There will be no one like us when we are gone, but then there is no one like anyone else, ever. When people die, they cannot be replaced. They leave holes that cannot be filled, for it is the fate — the genetic and neural fate — of every human being to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death.

…Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure.

Don’t miss reading the full essay by Oliver Sachs: My Own Life. Learning of Terminal Cancer


Notes:

Sunday Morning: How can we not know that, already, we live in paradise?

landscape,ocean,clouds,island

WE LIVE, M. and I, about ten feet from the water. When there is a storm and the wind pushes toward us from the southeast we live about a foot from the water. It sings all day long and all night as well, never the same music. Wind, temperature, where the tide is, how the moon is tugging or shoving—each of these makes a difference. The tide going out sounds harsher than the voice of its rising, what seems like a disinclination to leave growls in it, with the sound of dark, thick-stringed instruments. Coming in, it is more playful. Every day my early morning walk along the water grants me a second waking. My feet are nimble, now my ears wake, and give thanks for the ocean’s song. This enormity, this cauldron of changing greens and blues, is the great palace of the earth. Everything is in it—monsters, devils, jewels, swimming angels, soft-eyed mammals that unhesitatingly exchange looks with us as we stand on the shore; also, sunk with some ship or during off-loading, artifacts of past decades or centuries; also the outpourings of fire under water, the lava trails; and kelp fields, coral shelves, and so many other secrets—the remembered and faithfully repeated recitations of the whales, the language of dolphins—and the multitude itself, the numbers and the kinds of shark, seal, worm, vegetations, and fish: cod, haddock, swordfish, hake, also the lavender sculpin, the chisel-mouth, the goldeye, the puffer, the tripletail, the stargazing minnow. How can we not know that, already, we live in paradise?

~ Mary Oliver, Long Life: Essays and Other Writings


Credits: Photograph – Ridiculously Photogenic Chewbacca

Walking Cross-Town. On A Golden Autumn Day.

Steamy-Grates-walking-winter

I’m on the 5:40 am train to Grand Central.
I dose through most of the ride in.
The throngs spill out into Manhattan.

It’s 15° F, but feels like 0°.
Frigid wind gusts rush through the concrete canyons, whistling as they pass by.
Salt is gnawing on snow and ice.
Steam from underground tunnels billows out of steel grates and evaporates into air.
Now you see it, now you don’t.

The streets are beginning to stir.
Cabs. Delivery trucks. Construction workers.

I’m marching cross-town on 48th.
Headphones in. Playlist set to “My Top Rated.”

Gloves on.
Ear lobes are tingling, frost-bite workin’.
No hat. Can’t mess what hair I have left.

The wind shocks the corneas, my eyes water.
I see him a block away. A mirage.
I wipe my left eye.

It’s the legs I notice first.
They are suspended.
Swinging wildly, jointless.

I’m closing in.
Forearm crutches. Not one. Both arms.
He leaning in.
Right. Left. Right. Left. Right. Left.

I’m 30 feet away.
[Read more…]

Ambedo


ambedo
n. a kind of melancholic trance in which you become completely absorbed in vivid sensory details—raindrops skittering down a window, tall trees leaning in the wind, clouds of cream swirling in your coffee—briefly soaking in the experience of being alive, an act that is done purely for its own sake.

…let your mind wander and enjoy the ride.
To find those moments when everything falls quiet
and the words lose their meaning.
that all mixes together
until you can’t tell the difference between the ordinary and the epic.
And you stop waiting around for some other meaning to arrive.
you notice how delicate and fleeting it all seems…


Notes:

Sniff. A small puff of dust…

dog-nose-cute-adorable-pet

Few have looked closely at exactly what happens in a sniff. But recently some researchers have used a specialized photographic method that shows air flow in order to detect when, and how, dogs are sniffing… The sniff begins with muscles in the nostrils straining to draw a current of air into them — this allows a large amount of any air-based odorant to enter the nose. At the same time, the air already in the nose has to be displaced. Again, the nostrils quiver slightly to push the present air deeper into the nose, or off through slits in the side of the nose and backward, out the nose and out of the way. In this way, inhaled odors don’t need to jostle with the air already in the nose for access to the lining of the nose. Here’s why this is particularly special: the photography also reveals that the slight wind generated by the exhale in fact helps to pull more of the new scent in, by creating a current of air over it.

This action is markedly different from human sniffing, with our clumsy “in through one nostril hole, out through the same hole” method. If we want to get a good smell of something, we have to sniff-hyperventilate, inhaling repeatedly without strongly exhaling. Dogs naturally create tiny wind currents in exhalations that hurry the inhalations in. So for dogs, the sniff includes an exhaled component that helps the sniffer smell. This is visible: watch for a small puff of dust rising up from the ground as a dog investigates it with his nose…

We might notice if our coffee’s been sweetened with a teaspoon of sugar; a dog can detect a teaspoon of sugar diluted in a million gallons of water: two Olympic-sized pools full.”

~ Alexandra Horowitz, Inside of a Dog. What Dogs, See, Smell and Know


Credits:

Great Question

solitude,wonder

…the world did not have to be
beautiful to work.
But it is.
What does that mean?

~Mary Oliver, in an NPR Interview – A Thousand Mornings


Notes:

Sunday Morning: As if this quiet day

hazy-day-ocean-landscape-black-and-white

Only a beige slat of sun above the horizon,
like a shade pulled not quite down.
Otherwise, clouds.
Sea rippled here and there.
Birds reluctant to fly.

The mind wants a shaft of sun
to stir the grey porridge of clouds,
an osprey to stitch sea to sky with its barred wings,
some dramatic music: a symphony,
perhaps a Chinese gong.

But the mind always wants more than it has –
one more bright day of sun,
one more clear night in bed with the moon;
one more hour to get the words right;
one more chance for the heart in hiding
to emerge from its thicket in dried grasses –
as if this quiet day
with its tentative light weren’t enough,
as if joy weren’t strewn all around.

– Holly Hughes, Dancing with Joy: 99 Poems


Notes:

The Caring Hand

tree-hand-sculpture

The Caring Hand” is a sculpture located in Glarus, Switzerland.


Source: Splitterherzen

 

Absolutely pure

bird-winds-soar-blue-sky

This world –
absolutely pure
As is.
Behind the fear,
Vulnerability.
Behind that,
Sadness,
then compassion
And behind that the vast sky.

~ Rick Fields


Notes: