Walking Cross-Town. With a greeting party.

Yesterday. 3 a.m. I’m laying in bed, in darkness, exhausted. Eyelids, like anvils, won’t close. Won’t shut.

I’m swimming in Marina Benjamin’s head: “my head is lit up…like an out-of-hours factory…whirring generators flip on…lining up tasks in a shoulder-shoving queue…mostly I just fret, worry-beading problems and irritations…forming a manacle of woe.”

I have a 10 a.m. meeting in the city, an important meeting, with important people. The meeting is 7 hours away, like almost a full working day away, yet, I’m prepping. You need to sleep Friend, you will run out of steam by 10am.

It’s the 5:38 a.m. train to Grand Central. I can’t sleep. Can’t read. Can’t focus. I close my eyes and thoughts spin in a whirlwind, and then stop. Meditation. I’ve quit. It’s been three weeks. The app sits in the phone in my hand. The meditation prompts are a few clicks away. My fingers re-grip the phone. Now, do it now. You could use it now. 

6:35 a.m. I’m in an unfamiliar tunnel in Grand Central. I step out of an unfamiliar exit onto 48th Street…on an unfamiliar walk across town. This all looks new.

I walk.

Snowflakes fall, a dusting. The sky is gray. The skyscrapers line both sides of the street and tower above me.

My eye catches white against gray, the gray of buildings lining 48th.

A seagull. Wings outstretched, she sails up and down between the buildings and floats in the updraft. I feel lighter, the body aches to drop my case, stretch the arms wide, and run alongside – my wingspan lifting me higher – up, up alongside the gulls. Fly DK. Fly.

And then there’s another.

And another.

And another.

I lose count as the remaining flock sails passed me, in a show I’ve never seen so close to Broadway on any of my hundreds of morning walks across town.

A welcoming parade, just for me. As if to say: Good morning D.K. Good morning. Take the load off. What a great day it is to be alive. 

I prepare to step into my building and she comes to mind (again).  Mary Oliver. She sent them. She did. This morning march of birds.

Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?

Notes: Photo by gillianleigh, light snowflakes in NYC. Closing line by Mary Oliver from “Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches.


  1. I love it

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Anonymous says:

    …and she is proud of you as are we all.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. …and she is proud of you. Hope the meeting went well.



  4. And fly you did…you did Oliver proud. Well done, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Anonymous says:

    An even better gift.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. she wanted to send you a powerful reminder that you absolutely could not miss

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My soul is smiling now…
    Send them out west, I need them here, please 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  8. There it is…Yes!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Isn’t it amazing, the power we have, when we stop, breathe, pay attention, allow our spirit to soar? Glad you caught Mary Oliver’s gift and that your day went swimmingly and you had a good night’s sleep…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. freddiegeorgia says:

    I think we’ve all been seeing a lot of Mary Oliver…her soul hovering in our hearts and in the sky.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Valerie Meluskey says:

    “Good Morning!” every morning…or, we could just remind ourselves, “Fly!” Meditation is a kind of flight–possible when we become very still.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes!

      To understand anything…what is important, what is essential? A quiet mind, is it not?…If I really want to understand something, there is immediately a quiet state of mind. When you want to listen to music or look at a picture which you love, which you have a feeling for, what is the state of your mind? Immediately, there is a quietness, is there not? … It is that quiet mind, that still mind, which brings about transformation. When the mind is no longer resisting, no longer avoiding, no longer discarding or blaming what is but is simply passively aware, then in that passivity of the mind you will find, if you really go into the problem, that there comes a transformation.

      – Jiddu Krishnamurti, in ‘The First and Last Freedom’ (HarperCollins, October 5, 2010)

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you. We all really are on the journey together.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Bugger all, Dave…another Saturday morning and you’ve made me cry.
    You and Mary O.
    I’m out numbered…..

    Liked by 1 person

  14. What a lovely image this brought to my mind

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Beautiful, pal. So glad you let your gaze glide upward for the little ‘hat tip’ from Mary….

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Under the ceiling of somewhat ambiguous, though threatening sky, grey in color which straddles between black and white, dark and light, below a bustling frenetic city, where skyscrapers reach can pierce into grey, breaking into blue and sunlight, walks a tall man, tired, stressed, weary, responsible & committed…as he continues on… the miracle of unique, individual snowflakes start falling, drift, landing on his hat, settling on his shoulders & further dusts the ground… he wipes his eye with his hand on his free arm side, blinks, clearing his field of vision he glances up, a seagull aloft, rising, a scout or perhaps a rebel or a trailblazer pushing forth, tests the thermals, others join in, the numbers grow, the movement tight then eases to flap like a main sail cloths loosens, quivering, the flocks sail through, gifting…the man smiles, a calm meets his heart, awashing… reflection transpires, whispers float and swirl, astute and easy going words of Mary Oliver impact and he recognizes that “It’s All A Miracle” he is rejuvenated as he takes draws in one of those breaths…he knows that “Each Breath Is A Gift” he rejoices this moment in his journey through life…

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Your welcome, Dave…just felt like we were walking along with you… Glad you slept well, last night, The photo a bit reminiscent of Mary Tyler Moore show, sign on.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Meditation is so much more than an App in our phone. Mary has taught us all that and your experience going to work is a beautiful example. ✨👏✨

    Liked by 1 person

  19. 🙂 🙂 🙂


  20. i’m not one for meditation. Can’t stop my heayd from whirring and doing summersaults and circus games (particularly at night). Wish I could stop the circus and just blxxy calm down. But hey, I’m working on it. This is SO beautifully told. Aren’t you blessed to get your tips for the day directly from Mary Oliver?! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Beautifully written by you and Mary O. Birds are essential in lifting us up, aren’t they 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  22. YESSSS. I am not a fan of sitting meditation, it doesn’t work well for me, but it does for my husband, whatever. But. Connecting with nature in any form will always take me into that Zen point; that no mind state. Much is revealed in those moments, which you did discover through your seagull encounter. Excellent.

    Liked by 1 person

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