Stuck. In search of Wu-Wei.

stuck-mud-digging

“The paradox of Wu-Wei arises…”

The phone rings. I glance at my watch. 5:20 p.m.

We have a problem. We need your help.

Just one time, one time, it would be nice to get a different script at the end of the day. Dreamworks ~ The phone rings: “Hey DK, great news….”

My periscope is up and scanning the horizon. (Is the house burning or is it a pan on the stove that’s on fire? Fur is up.)

The interrogation commences.

Start from the beginning.
What options have you explored?
Did you check this? What about that?
Did you ask this? Did you ask that?

The team has done a thorough job in assessing the situation. (House is not burning. But it’s a large pan on the stove that’s smoldering.)

The anxiety is climbing. (Is that fear I’m smelling?)

The team, sensing a dead-end, is feeling out my receptivity for an exception approval. Meanwhile, I’m winding up the next series of questions and readying the cannon to fire:

[Read more...]

Running. In Search of Inspiration.

yoga,photography,black and white

Day 3. Contemplating a third consecutive day of running. The body was saying No. The Heart was saying No. The Head was saying take the day off.

No inspiration to run. No inspiration to write. (Yet, you seemingly have an abundance of inspiration to eat. Go figure. You think these things would balance themselves out. Laws of nature and all that. Wasn’t that Darwin?)

Who is she? The photograph up top.  No idea. But there she was.  Stretching. Graceful. Peaceful. And pointing the way to the front door. (Out Butthead. Out!)

On the continuum of awful to ethereal, the morning is rated as sublime. (I could never figure out how to use “sublime” in a sentence and here it is. Feels awkward, like an ill-fitting pair of shoes. Big word, so much bigger than you. Shameful how you jammed that in there. Has to be some form of writer / hacker malpractice.)  [Read more...]

Running. Backwards.

running-gif-illustration-thoughts-mind

We’re all sinking in the same boat here.

Tired.
Tired of thinking about it.
Tired of writing about it.
Tired of reading it.

A business lunch on Thursday.
I drop my head and listen to the conversation.
I close my eyes.
And savor each one.
Chocolate chips melting…coating my tongue.
7, not a typo, 7 chocolate chip cookies in less than 15 minutes.
A sugar addiction.
Deficiency of something.
Deficit of Discipline.
Disgusted.
Disgusting.
Tired of stepping on scale the next morning and expecting a miracle.
Definition of insanity…

Tired of waking up with 4 hours of sleep.
With eyes burning.
Burning and watering at 6am before the sun rises.
And by 2pm, earning a full fledged membership in The Walking Dead.
Short of patience.
Hungry for flesh and blood.
[Read more...]

Running. With Chubby.

dog, vizsla

Zeke and I slow and stop on a narrow part of the trail as we close in on a walker and her puppy.

“Is he a Vizsla?”

She’s tall. Lean. Has to be 6′ 3″. A trace of Euro accent. East German Swimmer? Swedish Volleyball player?

D: “Yes.”

“He’s Big.”

Her cute 5-month old terrier is at her heels. Bouncing on her toes. Looking up at her Mommy with admiration.

D: “Big?”

“Aren’t Vizsla’s smaller?”

Her pup has a pink collar. Lean. Muscled. Beautiful dog.

D: “Snacks.”

She grins and points. There’s Zeke. He’s 20 yards off the trail. Rolling on his back, grinding in Deer urine.  

I leash Zeke up. He’s still on his back, with all four legs in the air. His eyes manic, full, are locked on mine. He’s baring his teeth and growling.

“Zeke, Don’t Screw With Me.”  

And, then with a firm, snap-tug on the leash, I drag him behind me until we’re back in rhythm.

Team Frito-Lay builds a head a steam and roars by Team Euro.

Big and Bad.

Time Check: 5 miles. 63 minutes.

Nap Time.


Related Posts: Running Series. Image Source: Mine! Taken today on the run.


Driving. With my alcohol.

breathe-steam-portrait

4:40 am.
I’m rumbling down I-95.
Dave Matthews is blaring through the speakers. And has been joining me on the morning ride all week.

You’ve been off. Haven’t found your rhythm. It’s back. You’re burning it from both ends.  The adrenaline – - it’s pumpin’.

I look down at the gas gauge. And then to the estimate of the mileage remaining. Annoyed at the interruption. Need to stop. Better stop. I pull over to the Mobile station.

I’m listening to the clicks on the pump.  And find myself drifting off.  There’s mist coming from my nose, rising up, and then disappearing into the darkness. I breathe in deeply. Exhale through the nose. And watch the show again. Magic. A Miracle. My morning moment of meditation.  And like the wisp of air, Pessoa’s disquiet rushes to fill the stillness.

You’re more comfortable moving. You find peace in motion.  Yet, you know it ain’t peace.

It’s hanging on my bulletin board in the office: “business is the art of getting people to where they need to be faster than they would get there without you.”  A Hugh McLeod illustration.  A Big red hand with index finger pointing up – #1.  There it is. Your strength. Your core competence. The transference of your disquiet to others.  Pushing the pace.  Injecting your adrenaline. More. Better. FASTER.
[Read more...]

Just Perfect

perfect-stone-quote

I’m on the train, returning home, and rifling through blog posts on my reader.
My index finger pauses. Then stops.
You are perfect.
I stare.
You are perfect.
I am Perfect.
I am Perfect?
Who believes this nonsense?

No breakfast: And 1 granola bar for lunch. (No calorie diet after weekend gorging.)

No 8 glasses of water a day: Try zero. Zero liquids. (A head scratcher. Is that even possible? Are you a camel? An Android?)

No waiting for Walk Signals: I jaywalk in a criss-crossing of Manhattan streets, sheets of freezing rain slapping my trench coat. Eye glasses wet and fogging. (March 31. Please, Please make it Be Spring.)

No shortage of stupidity. I rub the rain-splashed-grime off the toe caps of my shoes with my hands, and instinctively reach for my suit pants. Black shoe polish. (I look around to see if anyone is watching.  Just me.  Who does this?)

No breaks: No pauses. No eye rests. No at-your-desk toe and leg stretches. (An accomplished All-Pro Back at the sedentary position.)

No Enjoyment of the Warming Evening Sun: Head down, as the crow flies, walk-running cross-town to catch the 6:30 pm Metro North. (Aware of no one. Aware of nothing. But the shot clock. More March Madness.)

No Perfection: Just another Imperfect Manic Monday.

 


Image Credit

Foliage

tall-trees-canopy-forest

What’s with the mustache?
(Silence)
Have you ever shaved it off?
(Pause) No.
How long have you had it?
(Pause) It’s older than you are.
Really?
(Silence)
Why don’t you shave it off?
(Silence)
So. Why don’t you shave it off?
(Pause) It’s foliage.
(Pause.) What?
(Silence) (I catch the stare. Then the flash of understanding, of empathy. The eyes avert. The awkward step backward to create space.)
Smiling,
I turn my back and walk away.


Image Source: Thank you Carol


My Zen. Is My Zen.

donuts,bread,sweet,dessert,

It’s Saturday, late afternoon.
Dinner out? Or eat in?
I take inventory of the fridge. Eyes pan from the top shelf to bottom. Not feeling it here.
I take inventory: Sweat pants. Shower-less. Shave-less. Matted hair.
Eat in.
I grab a pencil to scribble out my wish list.  I’m about to hand it off.

No chance. You’re coming.
Why?
I’m not listening to you complain that I didn’t get you what you wanted.
Oh, come on.

The K’s are in the car.
You could have put a hat on.
I could have stayed home.
(Silence)
[Read more...]

Easily one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had

El Salvador

Our Eric travelled to El Salvador on a mission. Background posts can be found here: White T-Shirts and I can feel him.  He sent us a Thank You Note (shocking!) after he returned. Here’s his note:

[Read more...]

Running. Full Stop.

cookie-monster-funny-gif

Well, it was only a matter of time.
Reversion to the mean.
I stepped on the scale.
Blinked.
Holy Sh*t. An Explosion.
One month of late night snacking (will work it off tomorrow),
an extra portion here (will have a light lunch),
a candy bar or two there (will skip a meal),
and the Jenga Tower collapses (wiping out a 15 year record low).

So, I’m off. Running. Mianus River Trails.
Overdressed (way) for 32º F. Man wearing plastic suit on a hot summer day.

No dogs. No gadgets. No water. No people. No talking.
No fancy shoes. No fancy moisture wicking shirts.
No anti-chafe Body Glide balm for my Boobies.
No whining about the cold.
No complaining about the mud, the ice, the roots and the ruts.
No agonizing over turned ankles.
I will either levitate over all of it or mow it down.
And, Heaven help any chatty Human in the way of this-calorie-shedding-angry-middle-aged-bulbous-white-man.
We’re taking it all off, all of it, in one day.

Time Check: 7 miles.  1 hour 17 minutes.

Nap time.


Related Posts: Running Series. Image Source: Mme Scherzo

I can feel him

infant,photography,black and white

Mother and Son are texting last night.
Dad is in the Group Message.
Mom jabbering.
Son with monosyllabic responses.
The intermittent bing bing bing signaling the back and forth.
Dad is silent. Observing the exchange from a distance.
Pictures come across from El Salvador. Magic.
There he is. Smiling.

What was he? 7 months old? 9 months?
I’m holding him up by his arm pits.
His little hands gripping mine. Trusting.
Warm water splashing over us.
He bows his head towards my chest to duck the spray.
He whimpers.
I pull him closer.
He rests his head on my shoulder.
He squeezes his hands into little fists and rubs his eyes.
And looks up.
And smiles.
Those eyes. That smile.
I squeeze him tighter.

And feel his skin on my chest. On my fingertips.
And smell the Johnson’s Baby Shampoo in his hair.
Hold that moment.
Freeze it.


Somewhere in the future I am remembering today.
   ~ David Berman, From the Charm of 5:30

Photograph: Elena Shumilova via Mme Scherzo


Riding Metro-North. Mid-Day Oasis.

New-York-City-Street-Cabs

Same train.
Same track.
Same destination.
New time of day.
A mid-day oasis.
A sabbatical from the morning crush.
No scramble to find a seat.
Tourists staring out the window.
Day visitors chattering.
Students with headphones bobbing their heads.
And a smattering of Suits.
The Sun beams through the windows overheating the railcars.
The train clacks Se détendre. Se détendre. Relax.
We pull into Grand Central at 3:51 pm, 10 minutes late.
The crowd meanders out of the car.
I zig zag around them.
I have a 4pm call and need to get out of the tunnels to get a cell signal.
The escalator to the Exit is out of order. I look up the stairs. Way up. And groan.
I take them. One at a time.
Counting them off.
17.18.19.
35.36.37.
I look up. Dear God. I’m only about half way there. Where the h*ll is the Oasis now.
45.46.47.
Heaving now. Gasping for air. Middle age wheels are coming off.
56.57.58.
I steal a peak at my watch. 3:58 pm. 2 minutes until the start of my call.
Pay attention. A toe stub would be a calamity, serious mellon damage.
A backward tumble is unimaginable.
71.72.73.74.75.
3 steps left.
76.77.78. Could this be what a heart attack feels like?

I dig into my bag. And pair my bluetooth ear piece to my phone.
“Good afternoon everyone. I’m going to put my phone on mute. Please take the lead.”
Wow, I managed to get that out.

Superman leans against the sign post on Madison and 46th.
The chattering continues in his right ear
as he watches the yellow cabs flying by.
The delivery trucks.
The buses.
All a symphony. An orchestra.
He waits for the Walk signal pondering the antidote to his Kryptonite.
And there it is.
Breathe Man.
Breathe.


Related Posts: Driving/Riding Series. Image Credit


White T-Shirts

photography

We wait for the phone to ring.
Every Sunday.
For the obligatory college briefing call.
(As long as you feed from the trough, you’ll call home on Sunday. Non-negotiable.)
Rachel jabbering. Eric tight lipped…leaking information on a need-to-know basis.
Not last night.
Big day for me on Tuesday Dad.
I forgot it’s his 20th birthday.
You forgot right?
Of course not.
Of course you did.
You know that I’m leaving for El Salvador on Saturday.
I’ll be taking vitals…blood pressure, temperature…and recording it.
Dad, I’ve been told there will be thousands, all waiting for medical care.
We’ll be readying patients for the doctors and dentists.
And then feeding homeless at night.

I’m dressing for work this morning.
I check the weather app. -5° F with wind chill.
How many children are huddled and shivering in the cold? Hungry. A soda can and not much else in the fridge for breakfast. Not in El Salvador. Here. Right here.
I shudder.
I reach for a t-shirt. Folded. Stacked. Clean. White.
I’m drawn to the label. I squint to read the small print.

XL 100% Pima Cotton. Machine wash warm with like colors. Only non-chlorine bleach if needed. Tumble Dry Low. Warm Iron if needed. Made in Bangladesh.

Made in Bangladesh.


Image Credit

(7º F.) Conversation with G

winter-cold-jacket-bundle

G:    Gluttony?
dk:  Lately or average?
G:    Gluttony?
dk:  Bit testy, no? Ice cream and pasta.
G:    Church?
dk:  (crickets)
G:    Do unto others…?
dk:  Come on Father. I can’t believe we’re all created in your image.
G:    Do unto others…?
dk:  Oh for G…Sakes. (Sorry) Some of them deserved it.
G:    Adultery?
dk:  No. Closer to celibacy. Desert here Father. Monk. Parched.
G:    Kindness?
dk:  Mostly. Yes.
G:    Kindness?
dk:  OK. OK. There’s work to be done here.
G:    Be sure you wear your thermals.
G:    And, don’t forget your tuk and mittens.


Image Credit

Are you ready to feel it now?

Photo of Harry CHAPIN


Two weeks running.
Every day. Every day.
The commute in. The ride home.
It opens the day.  It closes the doors.
Same tune. One tune.
Over. And over. And over.

[John Waters: “Without obsession, life is nothing.”]

From end to end.
The tune on a loop three to six times depending on traffic.


↓ click for audio (Harry Chapin – “All My Life’s A Circle”)



The Big Gato waits. Crouched.
Tapping his fingers on the seat. Impatient.
Waiting for Chapin to stop jabbering.
And then it comes. 4:30 on the running time.
I crank the volume up.
The dashboard vibrates.
Chapin cues him up.
Michael, the Cellist. Man Singing with Soul.
DK and the rest of the band join him to belt it out to the finish:

All my life’s a circle;
Sunrise and sundown;
The Moon rolls thru the nighttime;
Till the daybreak comes around.

All my life’s a circle;
But I can’t tell you why;
The Seasons’ spinning round again;
The years keep rollin’ by.


Image Source: MTVhive

Last night I had the strangest dream

blue,face,portrait,art,photography

Last night I had the strangest dream. I was in a laboratory with Dr. Boas and he was talking to me and a group of other people about religion, insisting that life must have a meaning, that man couldn’t live without that. Then he made a mass of jelly-like stuff of the most beautiful blue I had ever seen — and he seemed to be asking us all what to do with it. I remember thinking it was very beautiful but wondering helplessly what it was for. People came and went making absurd suggestions. Somehow Dr. Boas tried to carry them out — but always the people went away angry, or disappointed — and finally after we’d been up all night they had all disappeared and there were just the two of us. He looked at me and said, appealingly “Touch it.” I took some of the astonishingly blue beauty in my hand, and felt with a great thrill that it was living matter. I said “Why it’s life — and that’s enough” — and he looked so pleased that I had found the answer — and said yes “It’s life and that is wonder enough.”

~ Margaret Mead, Anthropologist

 


Quote Source: Brain Pickings - Life Is Like Blue Jelly: Margaret Mead Discovers the Meaning of Existence in a Dream. Image: Unknown.

Men, Hat Tip To You.

0224-oly-cole-hockey
Canada: 3. Sweden: 0.

Dear Men:

You’ll read the papers later today. They’ll say:

  • Undefeated and decisive. (Toronto Global & Mail)
  • Smothering (National Post)
  • Dominating. (NY Times)
  • Relentless. (Chicago Tribune)
  • Four lines deep that just kept coming. (Toronto Star)

We watched you lock arms and sing O Canada. We sang along teary eyed. Our bodies tingled as we watched our Maple Leaf raised.

From all Canadians and ex-pats, Bravo Men.

Gold. Canada Gold.

DK


Image Credit

Runner. Grounded. Epilogue.

photography, portrait,black and white

4:45 am. Wednesday morning. Hump Day.

I lay in bed. I glance left to the window. It’s dark. Quiet.
Zeke nuzzles closer.
I close my eyes.

What’s it going to be? 
1/2 way back. 3/4 way back. All Better?

I ease out of bed. And inhale.
A twinge. A bite. A grimace. An exhalation.

Let’s call it 75%.
Bit of grade inflation but we’re going with it.

I dress.
I ease into the car.
The icicles on the eaves dripping.

Yes. Make it be Spring.

10:00 am meeting. Annoyances are whispy, floating in a thin ibuprofen haze in an otherwise cloudless sky. 10:14 am. Left eye begins to water. A fountain with intermittent spurts. The corneal abrasion roars out of remission and is shooting flares. 10:30 am. In the car, heading home. One hand over eye. The other keeping the wheel between the lanes, driving well below speed limit behind a semi trailer truck. 11:30 am.  Sitting in darkness. Taking conference calls.

Dispel this cloud, the light of heaven restore; Give me to see, and Ajax asks no more. (Homer)

5:35 am. Thursday. Fever?

I pop 3 Extra Strength Tylenol. And start pounding on emails. My left elbow tingles. I pull my sweatshirt up. It’s swollen, baseball size and throbbing. WTH? Where? How? Why? Thoughts race. We’re in a bit of a rhythm here:

Left lower back.
Left corneal abrasion.
Left elbow.

When it doesn’t feel right, go left.
And, if it doesn’t feel left?


Runner. Grounded.

back-pain

6am Thursday:
12” snowfall overnight. DK working from home.

SK: Are you going to shovel the driveway?
DK: No.
SK: No?
DK: No.
SK: (Eye roll) You’re going to let me do it? Again?
DK: I’ll do it this afternoon after I finish my calls.
SK: No you won’t.
DK: Are you going to keep riding me on this all day?

6am Friday.
3” of additional snowfall overnight.

SK: Are you going to shovel the driveway?
DK: No.
SK: No?
DK: No. Not before work. I’m not showering again.
DK: Just leave it until I return tonight. It will warm up and melt.
SK: Really? You’re kidding right? (She heads outside to shovel.)
DK: I told you to leave it. (She has this Thing about a clean driveway)
SK: How do you plan to get out?
DK: Get out of the way. I’m going to ram through the piles with the car.

2pm Sunday.
DK ventures outside to clear the back steps. SK opens the door.

SK: Why don’t you use the steel edger/chopper to break the ice?
DK: Oh come on. Really? I’ve shoveled show before. Get inside.
SK: OK have it your way.

(Mumbling. Girl telling Canadian how to shovel snow. What’s next?)
I get after it.
I bend the show shovel trying to break the ice.
I lean on it to try bend it back.
I look through the back door to see if she’s watching.
Coast is clear.
I stomp through the snow to get to the garage to get the steel chopper.
I start slamming the ice.
On the third swing, I hit concrete.
Cold, vibrating steel.
Shooting, stabbing pain in my lower back.
Air whooshes out of my lungs.
I fall to my knees. (Dear God help me.)

SK: What’s wrong?
DK: My back.
SK: You’re joking, right?
DK: Does it look like a joke? (I crawl upstairs to bed.)
SK: (Laughing) Do you see any irony here?
DK: No. I don’t actually. None.
DK: I do see you getting enormous pleasure seeing me keeled over in pain.
SK: Oh, come on. Big Man clears 2-steps. I shovel massive piles of snow. (Still laughing)
DK: Stay away from me. Way back.

Snow forecast 3″-5” tonight.


Image Credit

Dear Pudding


Dear Pudding:

As I told your Mom in our wedding vows,
I promise to love you fiercely too.
One day, when you’re a Mother, you’ll know the kind of love that I am talking about.
A love that makes my eyes well up with tears of joy when you simply hug me.
A love that moves me to rise from bed and check on you at three in the morning mostly because I just miss you when you sleep.
A love that makes it hard for me to let go of your hand when you try to balance on something because I know you need to learn from your mistakes.
I promise to look you in the eyes when you come to me with a problem.
I’ll always want to fix it for you right then and there.
I promise to listen as to whether you’ll want a hand or just an ear.
I promise to drop you off at college and when I do, I promise to do my best to contain my excitement for you so that I won’t embarrass you in front of your new friends.
I promise to have a reputation amongst your friends as a Dad that intimidates your boyfriends.
I promise to raise you to be strong and independent.
I promise to cry when I let go of your hand when I let go of your hand at the alter…
…I want you to know that every time when you open the door when I come home from work you’ll see a smile on my face
My arms already open ready to catch you
I’ll always be ready to catch you…


For you, Rachel…


It’s all that matters

chair on stage

I couldn’t get comfortable. It was a straight back chair. I’m infused with a dull, throbbing haze. The prior evening included two cocktails, a late night dinner and four hours of sleep short of requirements for base level performance. A modest change in daily routine – having a disproportionate impact on operating equilibrium.

I’m sitting. Sort of. Restless. The metal bars on the seat back are leaving tracks, the comfort of r-bar. Rough, cold steel on skin.  I’m twisting.  Trying to find a comfort zone. Those seated behind me zig when I zag. I cross my leg one way. Then pull it back and scissor it over the other. I sit upright. I slouch. I throw my right arm over the back of the chair. Then the left. And then go through the cycle again.

I glance around. The room is fidgeting.

He walks onto the stage. He sits in a panel chair. He takes a drink of water. And waits for the interviewer’s first question.

He’s successful.

No.

He’s wildly successful.

A Horatio Alger story. He grew up in a family with modest means. His Father worked in government service. His Mother at home with the children.

The room is quiet. Locked-in.

His energy fills the room.  His mind is whirring.

He shares his view and insights on a wide swath of territory. Domestic policy. Economy. Government. Immigration. Social issues. Philanthropy. The Arts. Conservation. His Love of Country.

And without breaking stride, he injects self-deprecating experiences.

We’re in his web.

Q: What keeps you up at night?

A: I’m 6x years old. My Father passed away about this age. When you are 50, you believe you have another half to go. When you turn 60, there’s a keen realization that 2/3rd’s is gone.  A shift from a ‘lot to go’ to ‘what’s left’. I don’t know when…when my mind or body will no longer permit me to keep up the pace. But I have a lot that I want do…a lot I need to accomplish.

He pauses. Reflects. And continues. (The wildly successful man continues…)

A: What I really worry about is getting “that call” at night on one of our children. He shakes his head. Let’s set that aside. I worry about my children growing up with appropriate balance, with the appropriate values, given that they have been surrounded by great wealth. That is why I plan to give most of it away. At the end of the day, I want my children to be happy.

That is all that matters.

That is all that matters to me.


Flight Log: The Final Frontier

Travel, story,weather,airplane,aircraft

My journey from NYC westward continues.  A five hour non-stop flight has morphed into a surreal 2 day experience with stops at JFK (with 2 plane changes), LGA (with full airport evacuation), Detroit and Chicago. This is the last leg of the journey.  (Prior posts for this trip are referenced below along with the post dedication.)


The 45 minute hop from Detroit to Chicago was quiet. No chop. A Quiet cabin. Light snow was falling in Chicago carpeting the catering trucks and the luggage carriers. A slender, stoop-shouldered man guided the aircraft in. His hoodie was covered in snow. His fluorescent batons offered a soft illumination. It’s feeling a lot like Christmas Eve. In February.

The City that works. The Machinery was humming this evening. Plows. Sand trucks. Baggage handlers. Crew. De-icers coating the aircraft in a lemon colored bath. A beautiful orchestra. All to get us somewhere safely. I’m feeling gratitude.

My Son was born here. In Chicago. I burroughed deep and back to find a moment. Susan is pulling him on a red sled to greet me as I walk home from the train station returning from work. His chubby cheeks are red. His hair is matted and wet from layers of clothing. His smile…a lighthouse beacon. His arms reaching up. “Dada! Dada!” I reach down to grab him. I hold him close. I can feel his warm breath on my neck as he nuzzles. I miss my son often. And especially when I’m tired. Like now. When the aching just won’t stop.

Cheryl found me eerily calm during this journey. I had many hours to contemplate why. She no longer covered my business and left about the time I started blogging. This hobby. This community. This labor of love. This stringing of words together and having someone actually care to read it. A miracle drug. It stills and softens the mind. It injects peace where none formerly existed. Albert Camus said “In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion.” This. THIS allows me to turn away from the world.

My finger lingers over the Publish button. The cabin is dark with the exception of a handful of us hunched over our screens. 35,000 feet in the air, my wireless icon is flashing. I’m wired.

It’s a miracle. All of it.

Me. Family. Our dog. Friends. You, yes you, reading this. This iPad. My Eye sight. This plane flying. Pizza. (I’m famished.)

All of it.

Too big to figure out.

Too important not to find a small corner of it to call my own.

My finger hovers over the Publish button again. Proof read it again? Is it too much? Is it over the top? Is it good enough?

Friend, you’re asking yourself the wrong question. The only question that matters to help you decide if you should hit Publish:

Is it a miracle?

(PUBLISH)


Same trip – related posts:

This post is dedicated to Shara who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to book and re-book flights, get seat assignments, and keep me moving forward to my destination at all hours of the day and night.  Thank you Shara.


Flight Log: MotorCity USA

 funny,laugh,painful

My journey from NYC westward continues.  A five hour non-stop flight has morphed into a surreal 2 day experience with stops at JFK (with 2 plane changes), LGA (with full airport evacuation) and now Detroit.  There are still two legs to go however let’s camp out in Detroit for a moment.  (Prior posts for this trip are referenced below.)


Heading to MotorCity USA.

We are descending on a gentle, clockwise turn into Detroit Metro. The pilot touches the giant bird down – a 30 ton sparrow gliding into her feathered nest.

I catch myself humming a tune from one of Detroit’s finest: Seger.

I think I’m going to Katmandu,
That’s really, really where I’m going to.
If i ever get out of here,
That’s what I’m gonna do.
K-k-k-k-k-Katmandu…

I step out of the jetway at Detroit Metro Airport. It’s gleaming. Lined with wine bars, a Spa, a Suishi Bar and a Online Café. My lungs are pulling me to the aromatic L’Occitane En Provence body soaps drifting onto the walkway. I’m traipsing through a meadow in the South of France.

I’ve lolly gagged over to Gate 38. My flight leaves from Gate 30. Plenty of time.

Then. I stop.

I’m in the Delta Terminal. I missed my connection from Detroit due to delays out of NYC. Shara re-booked me on American Airlines: DET – CHI – West. Yes, another painful connection via Chicago but we’re advancing.

I’m in the wrong terminal. My heart is racing. This “miss” is on me.

I need to take a shuttle bus. The Blue Shuttle to the North Terminal.

I glance at my watch. 5:00 pm. Flight departure is 5:40. Still no shuttle. I’m rattled. Sweet Jesus.

I arrive at the North Terminal. 5:20. Agent states that the final gate call has been made. “You need to hurry.” I get through security and run to the gate. A-30. Last gate in the wing down a long corridor. Natch.

5 passengers are left to board. And 3 others hover by the desk…Wait List passengers hoping for no-shows.

I hand the Agent my boarding pass and my ID.

Agent: Sir, you are now booked on the next flight.

DK: Can you please check again?

Agent: Sir, you are on 8 pm flight. It’s right here on your boarding pass.

DK: Ma’am, I have a reservation on the 5:40 pm flight to Chicago connecting to another flight heading West at 8pm. The boarding pass is wrong. Please check again.

Agent: Sir, did you check in late at the ticket counter? Your boarding pass has you ticketed for the next flight. These other Wait List passengers are now entitled to a seat because you arrived late at the gate.

DK: (PAUSE) Ma’am, I don’t want to be difficult. Can you please do me a favor? It will only take you a minute. Check my flight connection out of Chicago. If I miss this flight, I miss my connecting flight. (I lean forward and whisper. She leans in.) Then, would you kindly check my mileage status and my lifetime miles on your fine airline? Then, I might suggest that you can make an informed decision whether or not to bump me in favor of these other passengers that didn’t have a confirmed seat.

The Waiting area passengers have been watching the show with interest. So what’s it going to be? The Rules or the pushy Mustachio Slav from NY.

The gate area is Silent but for the Agent tapping on her keyboard.

Agent: Mr. Kanigan, you’ll be seated in Seat 11c. Thank you for flying American.

Off we go to Chi-Town.


Same trip – related posts:

Flight Log DL1131: Y.C.M.T.S.U.

 funny,laugh,painful

My journey from NYC to the West continues.  A five hour flight is now rolling into 2 days and I’m still on the ground in New York. If you missed yesterday’s excitement, the posts can be found here: Just another manic Monday and here: Star Log: Flight DL2282. The Epilogue.

And, the journey continues:

  • 10:00 am. Back in car this morning. This time to LaGuardia Airport. Gorgeous day. One would have no idea of the pandemonium caused by Mother Nature yesterday. (Feeling Good!)
  • 10:50 am. Made good time. Head for Kiosk to get boarding pass. Message blinking telling me to see agent. (Nope. Not going to ruin my day today. Just a minor technicality)
  • 11:25 am. Still with ticket agent. She’s struggling to issue a boarding pass for second leg of the trip. After 20 minutes of working it, she looks up sheepishly, grins, and says: “Why don’t you just have it issued at the gate in Detroit?” I stare at her. She can read me. “He looks like he’s on the edge. He’s smiling but he’s teetering. And any Man with the confidence to be wearing that grey streaky mustache, isn’t likely to be sold ‘The-get-your-boarding-pass-in-Detroit-B.S.-Story’ I’m selling.” Yet, The Man walks away shaking his head and mumbling. Agent breathes deeply…having avoided a sure fire confrontation with some crazy Slav looking mustachio.
  • 11:35 am. I’m through security without incident with a vice grip on my driver’s license, watch and wallet. No bloody mishaps today.
  • 12:00 pm. First call for boarding.
  • 12:05 pm. Announcement blares on intercom. “All passengers, crew and employees must immediately evacuate the building. All passengers, crew, and employees must evacuate the building!” The reason: hit this link.
  • 12:45 pm. Thousands rush back into the terminal and file through security check-in (again).
  • 1:30 pm. Boarded flight. Plane 1/2 empty. Announcement explaining the delay: waiting for two ticketed passengers (tools?) to make it back through security after the evacuation. (This is NY people. This was a sputtering flare. Get on the damn aircraft.)
  • 1:45 pm. We push back from gate
  • 2:00 pm. Captain: “We have a problem with our Nose gear. We need to get a tow back to the gate to have our maintenance crew check it out. I’m sorry folks but we can’t fly without this fix.” (Nose gear is malfunctioning! Really? WTF. NFW. You need Nose Gear right? I then grab my nose and wonder if I need my nose hair clipped.)
  • 2:15 pm. Waiting for tow. (2 flights out West from Detroit. I’ve missed my scheduled connection. Closing in on “timing out” of Plan B.)
  • 2:30 pm. Jet engines powered down.  And we sit. (You’re testing me People. You’re testing me.)

Note to Self: DK, they’re thinkin’ you’ve moved to fiction writing because you can’t make this sh*t up. (*Y.C.M.T.S.U.)


Related Posts:

Star Log: Flight DL2282. The Epilogue.

funny,laugh,painful

I arrived at JFK at 6:00 am this morning for an 8am departure.  The details of the day can be found in Part 1 of Just Another Manic Monday.

And now as Paul Harvey would say, here is the rest of the story:

*4:00 pm. We are standing in queue for de-icing. Captain announces that he’ll give this another hour and a half before he makes a final call. He says he can’t give an estimate on departure time. (Eyebrows up. Crowd is wary but still believing.)

* 4:05 pm. We sit. 8 hours and counting and still not in the air. We sit. And we wait. (Twisting in our seats. Cannot get comfortable. Where’s the line between claustrophobia and panic?)

* 4:30 pm. Captain: “I’m very sorry to have to tell you this however we are timed out. FAA regulations require us to go back to the gate as the crew cannot be on duty for more than 15 hours.” (The cabin is silent. You are timed out my a**! Calm before shock sets in. He did NOT just say that!)

* 5:30 pm. Captain: “Sorry folks. All the gates are taken and we need an aircraft to vacate a gate.” (Crowd rumbling now. Insurrection on the cusp. Passengers ignoring calls to sit down while plane is in active taxi-way.)

* 5:50 pm. Passenger: “Do you think you can give these kids some cookies, or crackers, or chips or something. They are famished.” (One offering of water and juice for the entire painful show. Are we racing to the bottom in airline client experience here?)

* 6:00 pm. Captain: “Folks we’re heading to the gate now.” (What a coinkidinky! I arrived at JFK at 6 am. It’s now 6 pm. 12 hours. But who the hell is counting!  Round trip without leaving the ground! The plane is supersonic.  I didn’t even know that I went West and back again.)

* 6:30 pm. De-plane. The sorry looking pack is herded to the Service Desk to re-book and sort out luggage. (And, yet another interminable wait. I note the small basket at the front of the line: 15 bags of pretzels, 10 2-packs of short bread cookies and 3 Cokes – - all this goodness for 150 passengers. This is what they call a Peace Offering?)

* 7:00 pm. “Sir, it could take anywhere from 1 to 4 hours to find your luggage, or we can forward your luggage on to your destination.” (Is this a Saturday Night Live skit? 4 hours?! Am I on candid camera?  They are waiting for me to crack. I refuse to crack. I will not crack. I will not crack. I will not crack.  I stare at the Customer Service Rep who has taken her share of beatings this evening. I step feebly away from the desk mumbling “1 to 4 hours”.)

* 7:50 pm. Bag rolls down the conveyor. (I’m looking at it like it’s an oasis and I’m parched. Could it really be my bag? There is LIGHT.)

* 9:30 pm.  Home! Susan and Dog give the King wide berth.  Hostility has a pungent smell and they want no part of it.

* Epilogue. Bonus! Tomorrow we get to try it all over again…


Image Credit

Just another manic Monday

image

* 4:30 am. Wake before alarm. Heading West for conference.

* 5:05 am. Get in car. Large fluffy flakes coating car. (Beautiful morning!)

* 6:00 am. Arrive at JFK Airport in good time. (All good)

* 6:10 am. I discover I’m at wrong terminal. (Tension building)

* 6:15 am. Check luggage. Hit with $25 bag fee. (Annoyed)

* 6:20 am. Get scolded by TSA agent for not removing my belt. (Rattled. Hope not to get frisked.)

* 6:23 am. Gather luggage. Put on shoes. Prep for long walk to right terminal. (DK is at his best when he’s in motion.)

* 6:24 am. Something is off. I turn back to empty bins. Find my driver’s license sitting all alone in bin. (Heart hammering. OMG.)

* 6:25 am. Hoofing it to other terminal. (You could have lost your license pal. Karma is at your back. It’s going to be a great day!)

* 7:20 am. Board on time. (Good omen!)

* 7:40 am. Two empty seats in my row in full flight. (Jackpot!)

* 7:45 am. Spot good friend cramped in row behind me. Invite her to my empty row. (Cheryl joins “Mr. Jackpot!”)

* 8:45 am. 45 minutes after planned departure, Captain signals a delay due to heavy snow accumulation and icy conditions. He asks us to be patient. (No prob Captaino!)

* 9:45 am. Captain indicates queue is long. He needs our continued patience.

* 10:45 am. Captain comes on intercom to say de-icing fluid leaked into cockpit and galley and needs to be cleaned up before departure. (Passengers groan)

* 11:30 am. Captain asks us to de-plane. (Madness ensues as everyone bull rushes out)

* Noon. We are asked to head to Gate B-41 to a new plane via a shuttle ride and 1 mile walk. (DK is back in motion. Stretch out the hams and butt cheeks – could those plane seats be any more comfortable!?!)

* 1:30 pm. We board another plane. (Enthusiasm rains! Westward Ho!)

* 2:30 pm. Captain explains that water lines are malfunctioning. (Like no toilet flushes on 5 hour flight).

* 3:00 pm. Catering delivers bottled water. Captain speaks: “There will be bottled water and handi-wipes to do your business.” (He did NOT just say that!)

* 3:30 pm. Stewardess calls for seat backs and table trays up.

* 3:45 pm. Our luggage is being loaded from the other plane. (Optimism re-fires again)

* 4:00 pm. We are standing in queue for de-icing. Captain announces that he’ll give this another hour and a half before he makes a final call. He says he can’t give an estimate on departure time. (Eyebrows up. Crowd is wary but still believing.)

* 4:05 pm. We sit. 8 hours and counting and still not in the air. We sit. And we wait.


Image Credit

Love them. What do I do with them?

words,write,writing,vocabulary,writer,blog,blogging

The Lori’s, the Mimi’s, the Beth’s, the… (I can go on and on)…they weave words. Fine, beautiful, silky words.  Effortlessly sliding around rock. Floating on air currents on a magic carpet. Drifting upward with red Helium balloons.  And then. There’s me.  Chopping. Hacking. Slashing. Racking my mind to find just the right word.  Blow after blow of self-flagellation.  It can’t be due to a lack of depth in (of?) vocabulary. (Well, maybe it is.) I do have a short list of magic words. I love them. Yet, I find it impossible to work them into a sentence. (Note to Self: In time DK. In time. You will work this list. It might be 3 yards and a cloud of dust, but you will cross the damn goal line. Yes you will.  And yes readers, you will soon find these deep blog passages of mine “imbued with sparkle and élan.”* Oh, God. Help me.)

Bucolic In a lovely rural setting.
Conflate To blend together.
Demure Shy and reserved.
Ebullience Bubbling enthusiasm.
Ephemeral Short-lived.
Ethereal Gaseous, invisible but detectable.
Evanescent Vanishing quickly, lasting a very short time.
Gossamer The finest piece of thread, a spider’s silk.
Halcyon Happy, sunny, care-free.
Imbue To infuse, instill.
Incipient Beginning, in an early stage.
Ineffable Unutterable, inexpressible.
Inure To become jaded.
Lissome Slender and graceful.
Mellifluous Sweet sounding.
Panoply A complete set.
Petrichor The smell of earth after rain.
Propinquity An inclination.
Redolent Fragrant.
Scintilla A spark or very small thing.
Sempiternal Eternal.
Sumptuous Lush, luxurious.
Surreptitious Secretive, sneaky.
Woebegone Sorrowful, downcast.


Sources/References/Credits:


SMWI*: Take me back


Breathless,
at the speed
this video took me back.

Saturday mornings in January.
Crisp, cold mountain air.
A sparkling layer of frost on the snow.

Running in Sorel boots to the outdoor rink,
Snow crunching under each foot fall.
Rushing to lace up our skates.
And we go.
And we go.
And we go.

If you close your eyes and listen
You can hear
The steel blades cutting the ice.
The chop, chop, chop of cross-overs to accelerate.
The spray of fine ice crystals from a hard stop.

Take me back.
To our Golden Pond.
This Canadian’s Heaven.

~ DK


  • SMWI* = Saturday Morning Work-out Inspiration
  • Credits: Video – Thank you Rob @ The Hammock Papers

5º F. I need:

cozy socks

Hot shower
A good book
My comforter
Japanese Art
Zeke
Pandora on loop
Kindness
Warm boots
A Snow Day
Quiet
Wood cackling in fireplace
Dog wagging tail
Pancakes with maple syrup
Fleece sweatshirt
Fleece sweatpants
Tomato Soup and Grill Cheese
Saturday morning
Smartwool socks
French movie
Costa Rica
Hot chocolate with marshmallows
Piping hot chicken noodle soup
Hot Tea with honey
An unexpected call from a friend
Softness of skin after shaving
Long weekend
Ice Skating
Hot apple cider
Chocolate
Long afternoon nap
Warm tropical winds
Poetry I understand
Poetry about spring
Spring
Spring
Spring


Image Credit


Running. In Delirium.

forest-mist-path-winter

37° F.
Mianus River Park.
I park the car.
I queue up my music.
I cross the bridge to the entrance.

Light rain is falling.
Mist is floating – cobwebs in trees.
Steam is rising from the earth.

I start my climb.
Rain. Rocks. Roots. Ruts.
Wet leaves.
Muddy track.
Treacherous.
I short-step my run on the way up.

I’m 1/2 mile in.
Stomach isn’t right.  I’m woozy.
I slow my pace.
I’m lightheaded.
Lift your head man. Look straight ahead. Get a grip. [Read more...]

O Tharraleos

 

Morning Meditation

black and white,woman,photography

I wish,
I could,
be bendy
this way.

But,
I’m not,
so bendy,
this way.

Perhaps,
if I was,
a wee bit bendy,
this way.
I could meditate
in her peaceful,
calming way.

I stare,
at her fine
bendy way.
And she stills
my racing thoughts.

I pause
to think,
Hey,
I’m meditating in
my pathetic
little way.

~ DK (Not Mary Oliver)


Image Source: Your Eyes Blaze Out


Dad reads. Eyes (and heart) moving down the page. Then bows his head.

delta delta delta,photography,hand symbol

Dad didn’t like it.
Dad didn’t support it. (Story here.)
Dad gets rolled (ignored is a better word).
Daughter does it anyway.

Last night, Daughter as President, addressed Seniors and incoming Freshmen in her final official duty.

Daughter sends Mom and Dad two text messages last night.

“Everyone Loved it.”

“They all cried.”

Here’s a summary of her speaking notes:

[Read more...]

SMWI*: Saturday Line-Up

bed-saturday-relax

Run? Later.
Mindless web surfing.
Saturday morning papers in bed.
Background music on Pandora.
Shower? Shave? No. Sweatpants.
Breakfast: French Toast with hot maple cream syrup.
Old episodes of “Cheers.”
Words with Friends.
Short walk with Zeke.
Lunch: Piping hot tomato soup and Grilled Cheese.
Curl up on couch in attic. Rain (forecasted) pattering on roof.
Samuel Beckett’s Three Novels: Molloy. Malone. Unnamable.”
Drift into Long nap.
Run? Later.
Gentle foreign film whisking me off to Paris.
Run? Maybe.


In a place like Paris, the air is so thick with dreams they clog the streets and take all the good tables at the cafés. Poets and writers, models and designers, painters and sculptors, actors and directors, lovers and escapists, they flock to the City of Lights. That night at Polly’s, the table spilled over with the rapture of pilgrims who have found their temple. That night, among new friends and safe at Shakespeare and Company, I felt it too. Hope is a most beautiful drug.

— Jeremy Mercer, Time Was Soft There: A Paris Sojourn at Shakespeare & Co.


SMWI* = Saturday Morning Work-out Inspiration. Image Credit. Quote Source: Schonwieder

Driving. In a fog.

weather_fog_driving

4:45 am.
Day 1 following end of extended vacation.
Groggy.
I hang over sink. Splash water on my face.
I step in shower. Ice Cold. Hurry out. Hug towel. Fail to rinse shampoo out of hair.
Shave. Razor cut over old scar. Blood dribbles. Minor cut. Unstoppable bleeding. Curse.
Dab dab dab hemorrhage with tissue. Jab and stick Kleenex to cut. Pleased that it sticks.
Stare at socks. Need navy to match suit. Trouble distinguishing navy from black.
First attempt with tie, hangs below belt. Second attempt, short at belly button. Victory on third.
Slide work shoes on. Wiggle toes. Foreign fit after two weeks off. Look down, scuffed.
Slide watch on. Date: December 16. Time: 10:00. Stare. Decision made to re-set later.
Step outside. Temperature 51º F. Temp yesterday: 23º F.
Fog. Soupy. Thick. Light rain drizzling. Eerie.
Early, yet traffic is heavy.
Disorientation.
Re-entry.
Re-engagement.
Pulse quickening.
Mind racing like pistons.
Back to work.


Related Posts: Driving Series

Image Credit

I now imagine they are lanterns from the past, casting light on what’s ahead

winter,snow,street,street lights, street

Wonderful story by Chris Huntington in the New York Times on Learning to Measure Time in Love and Loss:

On regretting missed opportunities:

“I’m constantly aware of lost opportunities. I used to think such lost opportunities were beautiful towns flashing by my train windows, but now I imagine they are lanterns from the past, casting light on what’s ahead.”

On gratitude:

“When you’re 20, five years is a long time, so they act out. I used to be like that. But now I’m two-thirds done, so every day is taking me closer to the door. When I think like that, I can get up in the morning and smile.”

On love and loss:

“Our son is from Ethiopia, where I once saw a dead horse on the side of the road that resembled an abandoned sofa. I asked a friend if we needed to do something about that, and he said the wild dogs would take care of it.  We took our son far away from all of that five years ago, which may seem like a kindness, except it also hurts. I wish our son could know those dirt roads and the way they looked like chocolate milk in the rain, the way the hillsides were a delicate green, the way our driver would not go into the zoo because he was disgusted by the concrete ugliness of the lion cages. I wish my son’s birth parents could see him swimming. He’s such a good swimmer. I wish they could hear him reading books aloud. I wish he could know them. I wish our son could speak Oromo, the language of his birth. Our story, so full of love, is also full of loss.” [Read more...]

Running. On Christmas Day.

signal-traffic-signal-green-red-fog-mist-Christmas

She had an oversized winter coat. No gloves. No hat.
She was a hundred yards from the train station.
And walking the other way.
No one was waiting.

It was Christmas Day.
27° F.
4:30 pm.
Kids are lounging.
Jake & Josh running in one room.
The other is curled up with Zeke and a comforter. Both sound asleep.
Dinner was in the oven. ETA of 6:30 pm.
I glance out the window.
Daylight is fading quickly.
There’s time.

I could see her outline in the shadows of the street lights.
Hunched over.
Alone.
[Read more...]

Happy Birthday Zeke

dog,puppy,cute,vizsla

Six years ago today, Zeke was born.

Who knew?

  • That a dog would eat (and enjoy) carrots, broccoli and cauliflower? (Incredible.  Better eating habits than the kids.)
  • That a dog could steal chewing gum from the counter top, unwrap it and eat it? (How?)
  • That a dog would bark, snarl and snap at the King of the Household to protect the others? (Why bite the hand that earns the cash that buys the food that feeds you? Repeatedly?)
  • That a dog would know every day at high noon, it’s Peanut Butter in Plastic Kong time? (How?)
  • That a dog would sleep under the covers at your feet, every single night? And then move up to share your pillow later on at night? (Who needs central heating in the winter? Or a comforter for that matter?)
  • That a dog could be so afraid of Andie, the black and brown tabby cat? (Come on Zeke. Man-up.)
  • That a dog could spot anything in the sky but would miss a deer 20 yards in front of him?
  • That a dog would lie down in front of his Momma, lift his paws one by one, and let her clip his toe nails. And then do a full-body wiggle between her legs after it was all done? (King’s Dog enjoys pedicures. Something very wrong here.) [Read more...]

Perhaps, means a little bit more

Grinch-Christmas

And the Grinch,
with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling,
how could it be so?
It came without ribbons.
It came without tags.
It came without packages, boxes or bags.
And he puzzled and puzzled ‘till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before.
What if Christmas,
he thought,
doesn’t come from a store.
What if Christmas,
perhaps, means a little bit more.

— Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Credits: Image. Dr. Suess Excerpt from Fables of Reconstruction.

Running. The Survivor.

rain_drops_at_night-wide

It’s Monday morning. 8:00 am. I’m waiting out the rain.

It’s Tuesday morning. I’m noodling on why I waited to write this post. I broke the chain: Run. Write the post. Nap.

Life and order. Life, and of course, order.

Let us simmer over our incalculable cauldron, our enthralling confusion, our hotch-potch of impulses, our perpetual miracle—for the soul throws up wonders every second. Movement and change are the essence of our being; rigidity is death; conformity is death: let us say what comes into our heads, repeat ourselves, contradict ourselves, fling out the wildest nonsense, and follow the most fantastic fancies without caring what the world does or thinks or says. For nothing matters except life; and, of course, order.

—Virginia Woolf

Back to Monday.

The rain doesn’t let up.

Mom now has Dad’s cold.  Zeke is stuck with Dad for his morning walk. The morning routine is turned upside down. He glares at me: “Where’s Mom?” He hears the rain popping on the car hood.  He snarls.

Life and order. Life, and of course, order.

We arrive at Mianus River Park. Hail size drops are splashing on the windshield.  I notice there isn’t a single car in the parking lot.  My spirits climb.  Rain be damned.

Survivor.
[Read more...]

Running. With Boom Boom Boom.

Train-snow-winter-steam

6:30 am.
27° F.  Sunny.
It’s Day 9.
9 straight days of sinus headaches. Nasal drips. Hacking. Energy levels not firing. Fatigue. Blahhhhh.
9 straight days of rotation between bed, couch and Kleenex box. And, this party is not yet over.
ENOUGH.
I gear up and head out the door. Time to man-up.
Croupy cough. Unshoveled sidewalks. Black Ice. All be damned.
This train is coming.

I’m flickin’ through my playlist. Bocelli? No. Click. Handel? No. Click. John Legend? No. Click. Sade? No. Click. Peter Gabriel? Solsbury Hill. Stop.


↓ click for audio (Peter Gabriel:  “Solsbury Hill”)



Climbing up on Solsbury Hill
I could see the city light
Eagle flew out of the night
He was something to observe

My pace quickens. That’s right. This Eagle is flying.
Sun sparkling on the snow layered with the morning frost.
Geese, out of the water, perched on rocks in the cove.
Even cold for their a**es. (Wonder if geese get hemorrhoids?) [Read more...]

Here comes the sun

Winter-sun-forest-trees

Day 1: Tickle in back of throat. Sudden bout of sneezing.
Day 2: 2 am. Difficulty swallowing. Throat burning.
Day 3: Fatigue. Fog. Tough guy regrets not taking a flu shot. (again)
Day 4: Man Down. Working from home. DayQuil to NyQuil to DayQuil loop. Delirious.
Day 5: Winded walking up the stairs. Read same page 3 times. Heavy eyelids.
Day 6: Thick nasal discharge. Can’t taste or smell food. Chocolate still Ok though.
Day 7: Patient care provider: When will you take a shower and get out of the house?
Day 8: Is that a break? Have the clouds moved? Has the sun muscled through and ignited the hills?


“You’ll be driving along depressed when suddenly a cloud will move and the sun will muscle through and ignite the hills. It may not last. Probably won’t last. But for a moment the whole world comes to. Wakes up. Proves it lives. It lives—red, yellow, orange, brown, russet, ocher, vermillion, gold. Flame and rust. Flame and rust, the permutations of burning. You’re on fire. Your eyes are on fire. It won’t last, you don’t want it to last. You can’t stand any more. But you don’t want it to stop. It’s what you’ve come for. It’s what you’ll come back for. It won’t stay with you. but you’ll remember that it felt like nothing else you’ve felt or something you’ve felt that also didn’t last.”

— Lloyd Schwartz


Credits: Image Source: Winter Sun by Onodriim. Poem Source: apoetreflects

I win

frosty-car-hood

It was cold.
A bone rattling winter morning.
Brother Rich and I are waiting for a ride to hockey practice.
We’re stomping our feet.
And banging our mitts trying to warm.

The hood of our green, ’55 GMC pick-up, is coated with frost.
A frosty floral design.

“I dare you to lick it.”
“You dare me to lick it?”
“Yes.”
“What do I get if I do?”
“You won’t do it.”
“I won’t do it?”

He grins.
Pudgy boy shoots his devilish grin.
I pause.
I wheel around,
And, lick it. [Read more...]

Running. With Lust.

donuts,cookie,muffin,sweet,dessert,bakery

5:14 am.
I tap open the weather app.
23° F. 
I glance out the window.
Dark. DARK.

The morning is the hardest time. It is hard enough anywhere for a man to begin the day’s work in darkness…One may be a long time realizing it, but cold and darkness deplete the body gradually; the mind turns sluggish; and the nervous system slows up in its responses…But I must not dwell on it. Otherwise I am undone.

~ Richard Byrd

I stare at the ceiling.
Go later. There will be light. It will be warmer.
I pull the comforter tighter.
Zeke sighs and nuzzles closer.
Who are you kidding? Get up and out.

I climb out of bed.
Needing the pull of inspiration, I take a new route.

The master said:
You must write what you see.
But what I see does not move me.
The master answered:
Change what you see.

– Louise Glück, in Vita Nova

[Read more...]

Do Over

stream-fishing-gif

British Columbia. 1970’s:

Mountain firs line the banks of the creek bed.
Shadflies, flit in from the shadows, and back out into the sun.
Mountain run-off, clear and pure, glistens, sparkles.
I’m standing knee deep.
I pick the line with my forefinger, click, cast and release.
The bait lands with a plop.
I start working the stream.
I’m Working it.

December. 2013.

[Read more...]

Departure Day

fade-away-Scott-Marshall

It’s Departure Day.
Eric is scheduled on the 7:40 am flight.
Rachel is returning later in the day.

There’s the awkward milling around the kitchen.
When everyone knows what’s coming next,
yet no one is a hurry to get on with it.
He’s scurrying around with his last minute packing.
I hover at a distance.

It is Dark.
And Cold. Temperature locked on 32° F.

We’re in the car.
The Kanigan Men are short (very) on small talk.
We ride in silence. [Read more...]

Running. With Cummings.

sunrise

App says:
24° F.
Wind 16 MPH WNW.
Feels like 6° F.  (Are.You.Out.Of.Your.Mind?)

I step out the door.
Shock.
Autumn to Winter overnight.
Wind shearing through jacket.
It finds the bare skin between the sweatpants and socks.
And blows up my pant leg.
Mmmmmmm.
George Costanza. Shrinkage episode on Seinfeld.
Got to move.

Yesterday, the legs were pumping on the Elliptical machine.
Indoors.
Warmth.
Netflix movie running.
Today.  Right knee is throbbing. Bitter cold.
The Question is Why? Why are you out here?
(Hundreds of blog posts. Not one has emanated from the elliptical machine. Not one.) [Read more...]

Say Something

college classroom

Dread.
It started in the shower.
Stomach sour – doing loop de loops.
Northern Michigan.
Late November, 1980s.
The morning shower is followed by a long walk in the dark from the dorm.
Square into the teeth of a wicked Northern Michigan wind.
Mitts. Goose down coats. Parkas. Sorel boots.
Students filing in for the 8:00 am class.
I find a seat in the middle-back.  Need to get invisible.
I’m below the stoners and the drunks, adorned with hoodies.
I’m above the whizz-bangs, a**-kissers and kids with coke bottle glasses.
Three weeks earlier the Professor kicks off his class with ground rules.
“A full letter grade is determined by your class participation, frequency and quality.”
Red Pencil in hand.
He’d put a tick mark next to each name who’s hand would go up.
He’d hang over his journal scribbling after a noteworthy comment.
I’m sitting.
And shredded in half.
One half with head down to avoid being called on.
Coward.
The other half, The Angry Man – a full letter grade down before taking a single exam.
[Read more...]

Running. With Ferns.

green,photograph,woods,fern,

We’d run.
Our sneakers dripping with mid morning dew.
Hearts pounding.
We’d reach the plateau.
And See.
Our eyes held in rapture.
Not just any Green. An ethereal magnificence.

In Spring, it was an unfurling of a carpet on the forest floor.

In Summer, the ferns rose.
They climbed, fed by hard, warm rains.
Knee-high under the cover of deciduous trees.
Chest-high in clearings.
Emitting an earthy fragrance, fresh and cooling, filling our lungs.

In Autumn, Green gave way to a harvest of Gold.
Tips of fiddleheads crumbling as we batted them with our hands in our climb.
Rising particles of fine dust in air behind us.

We’d reach the creek.
A trickle now.
We’d kneel down, the moss cushioning our knees.
Lips rushing to slurp the cool water.
Pausing to catch our breath.
And, then back.
Back down the mountainside.
Our footprints cutting shadows through the ferns.
Leaving their imprints etched in our consciousness.

It’s so close.
So close today, 40 years later.
Thousands of miles away.
I close my eyes,
My skin tingles from the coolness under the canopy.
The Canadian Cascades lingering in my nostrils.
There it is.
Right there.
The Sea of Green.


“You have to begin to lose your memory, if only in bits and pieces, to realize that memory is what makes our lives. Life without memory is no life at all, just as an intelligence without the possibility of expression is not really an intelligence. Our memory is our coherence, our reason, our feeling, even our action. Without it, we are nothing.”

Luis Buñuel

Credits: Image Credit: Saicode via Sunforhersoul. Quote Source: Journal of a Nobody

Related Posts: Running Series.

What’s in a name?

Guy Mortier portrait by Stephan Vanfleteren

It opened with the intention of a feather-light, human touch of good will.
And it hasn’t closed.
Like a snag on your favorite sweater that you keep pulling and pulling.

It was 4 weeks ago.
End to end it couldn’t have lasted more than 7 seconds.
She’s an executive assistant on another floor.
I was passing by to get to a meeting. In a hurry.  (“‘Only the sick man and the ambitious,’ wrote Ortega, ‘are in a hurry.’” DK: Which one are you?)

Good morning x?”
“Really Dave, you’ve worked with me for how long, 5-10 years?  And you still don’t know my name.”
I’m so sorry,” stealing a glance at her name plate. She caught the glance.  Damage done. Twice, in seconds.

Later that week, I pass by her desk. And pause.
She talking to a colleague.
I refuse to speak to him.”
He turns to me: “Wow, what have you done to her?”

Colaianni’s whispers: “When I hear my own name, I have as much a sense of it entering my body through my back or my hand or my chest as through my ears… “

Note to Self: And when I don’t hear my own name or someone calls me by the wrong name, I have as much a sense of it entering my body through the back of their hand to my face, my chest, the back of my head…


“All things are engaged in writing their history. The planet, the pebble, goes attended by its shadow. The rolling rock leaves its scratches on the mountain, the river, its channel in the soil, the animal, its bones in the stratum, the fern and leaf, their modest epitaph in the coal. The falling drop makes its sculpture in the sand or the stone. Not a foot steps into the snow or along the ground, but prints, in characters more or less lasting, a map of its march. Every act of the person inscribes itself in the memories of its fellows, and in his own manners and face. The air is full of sounds, the sky of tokens, the ground is all memoranda and signatures, and every object covered over with hints which speak to the intelligent.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


Credits: Portrait: Stephan Vanfleteren. Emerson quote – Thank you Makebelieveboutique. Shakespeare Quote for blog title “What’s in a name?” – Soulsentences. Ortego quote: George Sheehan – Running & Being. Louis Colaianni quote from The Joy of Phonetics and Accents.