Walking Cross-Town. With Rubik’s Cube.

new-york-city

The First train arrives at Grand Central. 5:55 am.  I slide on my gloves and exit onto 48th.

I walk.

The Streets are free of the morning rush.  No horns. Light traffic. A handful of us are on the streets. One sneaks into a diner for a cup of coffee.  Another stands huddled along the wall, ember glowing from his cigarette, stomping his feet to stay warm. Millions sleep in the hulking towers looming above.

NYC, my kind of town, pre 6 am.

There boils the paradox. The craving for quiet, for stillness.  The Need for the warming salve of Solitude. And, yet, the wiring is to stay in Motion. A spinning top turning and turning and turning, only to teeter at dusk and collapse into bed. [Read more…]

Do Over.

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When he was a puppy, he slept curled at my feet, under the covers.  The arch of my foot would caress his tailbone. As the night passed to early morning, he would inch up to my knees, still under the covers.

I would turn to my side and set my knee on his back, my leg rising and falling with his breathing.

Eight years later, he’s done with his breakfast. He jumps up on the bed, nudging his nose on the blanket, signaling it’s time to lift the covers. He turns in a tight circle once, and then again, and then falls. He shifts so he is parallel to me, with his back to my belly and his tail at my feet. No longer a puppy, his 70 pounds leans in.

I turn to my side and set my knee on his back, my leg rises and falls with his breathing.

I slide my hand under the cover and touch his silky ears, and pull him in tighter.

He stirs.

No, I can’t buy this on Amazon or find this on the Tube or in a Book.

No, I can’t feel this in any other Moment.


Note:

Riding Metro North. Man With a Plan.

hair-breeze-wind
High School graduation.
Scholarship.
Land of the Opportunity.
He leaves.

Undergraduate Degree.
Marriage.
Green Card.
Graduate Degree.
He learns. [Read more…]

Riding Metro North. And Sleeptalking.

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4:50 am.
11 minutes to the 5:01, the first train to Grand Central.
I step onto the front porch into darkness.
And into Salter’s Burning The Days…at both ends.

Peter Cottontail scurries down the driveway, his white tail bobbing.  A four-legged leaf clover.

Did I stop and allow myself to be surprised? Or did I trudge on in a daze?David Steindl-Rast prods in Awake, Aware and Alert.  Yes, David, Yes.

My head is down, I’m watching for icy patches. The footfall is covered with a moon shadow – the mind bleached with a word slurry. First Harrison: If you are strained, lacerated, enervated…take a night walk as far as you can get from a trace of civilization – a dance, and the ghost that follows you, your moon-cast shadow, is your true, androgynous parent.  And then Kalanithimy specklike existence against the immensity of the mountain, the earth, the universe and yet still feel your own two feet on the talus.  Lacerated. Enervated. Specklike. Immensity. My two feet. Flooded with Gratitude.  I keep walking.

4 minutes to departure. I pick up the pace. [Read more…]

A Seat At The Table


[…] the most incredible thing that has happened to me is that it is my version of a fairy tale that I’ve found in this unlikely and unexpected family a home that I’ve never had before.”

Dinner.

Family.

A Seat At The Table.

Moved.

Riding Metro North. With Weary.

train-gif-alone

It’s the late evening train.
Metro North to New Haven.
The Quiet Car.

On my left, sits Stoic.  No book. No smartphone. Hands on her lap. Eyes dead ahead.

On my right, sits Dude. Head down, tapping his keys, ear buds pumpin’.

Across, sits Weary.  Head back on head rest. Eyes closed.  Tinted transition glasses. Lightly salted side burns.  Hair, jet black, neatly coifed, perhaps too much so.  A Pabst Blue Ribbon Tallboy rests on the floor between his black loafers.

Weary’s eyes pop open and catch me. I avert.

Stoic sits stoic.
Dude is bangin’.
Weary reaches down for the Tallboy, takes a swig, sets it down, leans his head back and swallows deeply. [Read more…]

Driving I-95 S. The Last Term.

snow-gif-winter-white

3:39 am. Thursday morning. Or, Wednesday night bleeding over.
20 minutes until shower time.
I’m staring at the ceiling. Woozy.  Did you get any sleep?

Six hours ago Mom’s helping him pack.
Suitcases are open.
Zeke sets the mood, moping.

“Dad, do you have any sweatpants I can take?”
“Take anything you want.”
“Do you have anything that doesn’t look like leisure wear?”
I smile. It’s clear who mentored that sarcasm, honed now, cold steel glistening.

We’re in the car.
It’s Silent. Father and Son awkward.
He’s turning the dials, away from my 7 on 70s on Sirius to some thumpin’ Electro BEAT.
The bitter taste of scotch at 4:30am.
I let it pass. [Read more…]

Walking in Woods. Clueless.

trees-woods-light-umbrella

2:30 am.
We’re back on the front seat of the insomnia bus.
Unfinished business from work is clanking around.
No. Don’t get up. Not yet. Keep your eyes shut.
It’s dark. It’s quiet. I listen through my eyelids.
The North winds whistle, and freezing air leaks through the window sills.
It’s cold. I pull the comforter up.  Zeke, at my feet, stirs.

It keeps coming back.
It’s mid-December.  A late Saturday afternoon.  Overcast.  Rain is threatening.  I grab the leash, call for Zeke and we walk.

Baker Park is a small suburban park, a brisk ten minute walk.  It’s adorned with a half-sized aluminum backstop, grassy fields and a small playground.  A wooded area rings the back end with paths carved by the Boy Scouts in a summer project.

Zeke bounds ahead, his feet stirring the leaves that layer the earth.

I pass the first. It’s a glance.
I pass the second. It has my attention.
I pass the third. I slow my pace.
I pass the fourth. I’m troubled now.
I approach the fifth. I stop. Don’t you dare move to the 6th.

[Read more…]

Happy Belated Birthday

zeke-vizsla-sleeping-dog-pet-adorable

I’m on the couch reading, or quasi-reading and surfing – flicking through May Sartons’ journals in The House By the Sea and Knausgaard’s essay in The New York Times Magazine on The Terrible Beauty of Brain Surgery.

Yet, I’m wrapped by the beat of something bigger. Sun beams pour through the windows, warming, and then disappear with cloud cover.  The bird feeder hangs on a cast iron hook and swings ever-so-gently to and fro in the northerly breeze which gusts to rattle the windows.  And Knausgaard from his essay,  “I didn’t understand the words, but the sound of them filled the air with mournfulness and humility. Man is small, life is large, is what he heard in the ring of that voice.”

Then there’s Zeke, napping, after his six-mile morning walk, drawing Sarton’s short breaths, in a ‘rhythm, a kind of fugue poetry.’

The couch, books by world class writers, a sleeping dog leaning in and a morning free of all commitments – Oh, the bliss of Saturday mornings… [Read more…]

2015: Flummoxed by the Paradoxical Commandments

new-year-resolutions

If you haven’t read Kent M. Keith’s The Paradoxical Commandments, it’s worth a few minutes of your time.  If you were looking for the origin of these commandments and the connection to Mother Theresa, look here: The Mother Theresa Connection.

In my reflection of events in 2015, I do find the commandments paradoxical.  Let’s take a few highlights for a spin.

KMK:
People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

DK:   You are on a JetBlue flight. The woman sitting next to you in Coach removes her shoes, her stockings and then places her feet up on the seat in front of you. She wiggles her chubby toes to air out her dogs. (In case you were dying to know, she had a nice pedicure. The toenail polish was a pretty baby blue matching her fingernails. And there was no visible toe jam.)

KMK:
Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.
KMK: Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

DK:

You come home from work, its late, it’s been a long (very) day. You are eating dinner, alone. Your head is down.  (Important to note: Head Down.)  Your spouse of 30+ years looks over from the couch, sees Gaps, and asks if you’ve considered Rogaine.  You lift your head, your mouth is full – you try to validate if you just heard what you think you heard.  You chew. You swallow, and then ask: “Excuse me.  I didn’t hear what you said.”  She repeats it crossing the “Red-Line” of no communication during the first 10 minutes of the King’s decompression zone. You reel from two scuds to the chest, elect to drop your head down with no response and finish your dinner. For the next 123 days, you start your day each morning staring at the mirror assessing the speed of the backward march of your hair line. [Read more…]

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