Riding Metro-North. Off-Peak.

blur-portrait

My early morning routine, My zone, My sweet spot, is detonated.
I’m on the mid-afternoon train to Manhattan.
Everything is out of order. Way out of order.

It’s a sparsely occupied train.
A few Suits. Students. Tourists chattering. Children buzzing.
All rules of order violated. Quiet Car? What’s that?

The landscape is foreign as it flashes by the window.
The whites of winter turn to the darks of buildings, and back. Strobe lights. Disco. Discombobulating.
Pulse quickens. Wrong train? No. Daylight. Mr. Hyde makes his appearance in Light, flings his robe back, and works to shake off his lethargy.

Eyes are heavy from scanning emails. Words are merging together.  Regurgitation, without nourishment. Chewing, remembering nothing, looping back to re-read. Sigh.

I give up. [Read more…]

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…]

1° F. Feels like -21° F. Or, Plan B.

hawaii,oahu

Good Morning!
Sunrise.
Inhale. Deeply.
Salty ocean air.

Slow walk down the beach.*
Surf lapping feet.

Morning papers.
Scones, butter, and strawberry jam.
Coffee.

Sunscreen. Sunglasses. Pool chair.
Kindle.
Sashaying palm fronds.
Late morning nap.

Catch of the day: Red Snapper.
Grilled vegetables.
Tall Iced Tea.

82° F.
Long swim.
Wide winged pelicans skimming over turquoise waters.
Soft afternoon rain.
Mid afternoon nap in hammock.

Light Dinner.
Gentle breeze. Sunset.
Evening cocktail.
Crickets.

One last chapter.
Drift.
Drift slowly away.

Do over.

~ DK, Today’s Alternate Reality


Notes:

Whoa Horse! I told you to stop, damn it!

black and white,

There is a story in Zen circles about a man and a horse. The horse is galloping quickly, and it appears that the man on the horse is going somewhere important. Another man standing alongside the road, shouts, “Where are you going?” and the first man replies, “I don’t know! Ask the horse!” This is also our story. We are riding a horse, we don’t know where we are going, and we can’t stop. The horse is our habit energy pulling us along, and we are powerless. We struggle all the time, even during our sleep. We are at war within ourselves…We have to learn the art of stopping – stopping our thinking, our habit energies, our forgetfulness, the strong emotions that rule us. When an emotion rushes through us like a storm, we have no peace.

- Thích Nhât Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching: Transforming Suffering Into Peace, Joy and Liberation


Credits: Quote – Sensual Starfish. Image: landscapre

 

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…]

SMWI*: Blind Courage (And a whole lot of faith)


A remarkable true story of a blind hiker, Bill Irwin, and his 2100 mile journey of faith along the Appalachian Trail with his Seeing Eye dog Orient.

How do you know which way to go?
I don’t. I just follow him.
How does he know?
God leads the Dog. Dog leads me.


SMWI* = Saturday Morning Work-Out Inspiration

Driving I-95 S. With Tiger.

cute-gif-tiger-sleeping-snow

Thursday, February 12, 2015.

It’s 6:12 am.
Overcast, and 17° F.  Pre-dawn.
The Groundhog forecasts 6 more weeks, he’s been wrong before.

I-95 South is dry.
The wind kicks up road salt, swirling behind the mud flaps of convoys of truckers barreling into Manhattan.
It’s a race to beat the morning Rush. Smokey & The Bandit. Snowman. Buford T. Justice.
Traffic is light and smooth. VO Manhattan. Neat.

Same car.
Same highway.
Same route.
Same Ólafur Arnalds’ playlist.
Same destination.
Same damn biting cold. [Read more…]

Flying. Over I-95 N.

runway-flight-airplane-take-off

Friday, February 6, 2015.
3:00 a.m.

I’m startled by the alarm.
No, not startled, rattled. It’s rare that I need an alarm, at any start time.
I’m groggy and already working against a shot clock, at 3:00 am.

I shower.
The 6-inch rainwater showerhead is gushing. The water is ripping hot.  But I’m unfazed.
It’s Day 3 on the road. I’m averaging 5 hours of sleep a night. Ok, maybe 4. And its catching up.
Comatose Man. Wound tight. Coiled. Shoulders heavy.

Need to get home. My House. My Bed.

I stand in the shower, eyes closed, letting the water wash over my head, my neck, and my back.
Heavenly Shower.
The morning meditation is interrupted by the clock, my consciousness signaling a waiting cab in 20 minutes.

My original flight, a non-stop to LGA, was scheduled for 11 am.
This, of course, was unacceptable for Restless Man.
Man alone wants something to happen at all costs—something, anything.¹

I’m re-booked on a 1-stop via Miami, pulling up my departure to 5 am.
You should arrive at the airport no later than two hours before your flight.
That’s 3am.

I shave, wary about slicing open the thin skin on the left side of my chin.
10 minutes to Taxi.
I zip up my carry-on, and scan the room one last time. (Don’t leave any gadgets behind)
My hand’s on the door. You forgot something.
I drop my bag, walk back into the room, and set some bills on the counter next to her card. Hi. My name is Migue.
Miquela (Sp. translation) = Who is like God?

I’m off to the airport. [Read more…]

Riding Metro-North. With our Kids.

a-few-good-men-jack-nicholson

It’s 5:25 am.
A dark, windless morning.
14° F.
I’m stepping quickly in my 1/2 mile walk to the station.
Suit. Top Coat. Gloves. Black lace-ups. No boots.
Fear of: Black ice + Tumble = Face plant.
My right ear is tingling.
A dandy frost bite when I was 11. No hat. No matter how long ago, acts of stupidity are never far from consciousness.

I glance at my watch. It’s tight. I step up my pace.
Way (WAY) short on sleep. Mood: heavy. Dark.
There will be retribution for the arranger of the 7 a.m. meeting in the City. Matthew 5:38: Eye for an Eye. DK 1:29:2015: Arm, Leg and Eye for an Eye.

There are days when you need to read with paper in your hands. With something real touching your fingers. Yet, I’m conscious of being the only one in a packed train car crinkling a newspaper, shattering the silence of fingers swiping digital pads. The commuter next to me is asleep. I work on folding the morning paper.

It’s maddening that I’ve never been able to hold and fold a newspaper like many commuters. I can’t roll my tongue. I can’t wiggle my ears. The genius who set up this 7 am meeting is going to feel the cold chill of the Juno aftermath.

I pan through the front section and my eyes lock on 4 lines. I have no expertise in this area. Zero fundamental knowledge. But I know what I see. I know what I feel. We’re in trouble.  [Read more…]

Driving I-95 S. With Bombogenesis.

electrical-cord-face

6:10 am.

The digital read-out on the dash flickers + 22 F.

Where’s the  “+”?

It’s dark, and cold, and the day opened with the media blaring: ‘Bombogenesis‘: Northeast Blizzard “Juno” Will Be Fueled By Dramatic Pressure Drop. This is followed with a pre-recorded, public service announcement of impending doom:

This is an important winter storm advisory. A blizzard warning is in effect for the State of Connecticut.  It is predicted to bring high winds gusting up to 60 miles per hour.  Snow accumulation of 20 to 30 inches is expected.  Coastal flooding and high tides are anticipated. Widespread and long duration power outages are expected.  Utility crews are prohibited from engaging in repair work until the end of the storm.  There will be a travel ban at 9pm this evening.

In 1973, the ’63 GMC Short-Bed Step-Side was outfitted with a block heater. A three-pronged electrical cord dangled from the grill and was plugged in overnight. On most frigid British Columbia mornings, this would be enough to crank up the Chevy after three or four turns and get us to hockey practice.

40 years later, my ignition fires on the first pull, with no dangling cords hanging from the grill.  The Gratitude Bus is rolling.

I pull out and accelerate onto I-95.  The highway is clear and dry. I’m flowing with traffic.  My Ólafur Arnalds’ playlist lands on “Undan Hulu.”  I have no idea what Undan Hulu (Icelandic) means but the Cello solo hits a sweet spot.  I hit replay, replay and replay in my Monday morning meditation.

Yet, there is no mistaking the dark streak darting in and out of Arnalds’ Cello solo. [Read more…]