Driving I-95 N. Free the Bird in the Net.

Cervical spondylosis, was his diagnosis. December 19th. And the start of 30 days of physical therapy.

And a maniacal routine of daily stretching exercises. And tracking the activity on an IOS App. Because that’s how Obsessive’s roll.

The slow heal arrives. Then Relief.  And the bliss of pain-free days. Ah yes, Youth returns. A few days of lolling in Full Gratitude…I’m as Good as new!

This is followed by the suspension of physical therapy. The total cessation of daily stretching supplements. And the IOS App is dumped into a folder with other apps left to Die.

Then we have a slow roll back to habits, to Life, to Work, and The Return to Sedentary World.

It’s late yesterday afternoon. The commute home. I gently turn my neck to check for traffic in my blind spot, and find its motion restricted, followed by a lightning dart down the shoulder and down the arm. It’s back. Heaviness sets in – Mood darkens.

I return my attention to traffic, and sit frozen in place. Puffs of breath working to provide relief.

And, I replay The Week Day.

Sit, 4:30 am-5:30 am, head down, neck down, reading morning papers.

Sit, 6 am to 6 pm, behind desk, behind screens, behind conference room tables.

Sit, in traffic, on the commute in and out, adding another hour.

Sit, for dinner.

Sit, in front of the Tube with the News (this pain externally injected, from Washington World).

Sit interrupted, on Elliptical for 42 minutes, 6000 steps.

Sit, watching Netflix, bingeing for another bout or two.

Sit, with tablet, more reading, head down, neck down, until the eyelids collapse in fatigue.

Lay, after twisting the airpods in one ear, then the other, and listen to Apeirogon, Colum McCann’s narration of his new novel. Swept away in Story with his accent, the lilt, the rhythm, until Body and Mind quit.

And then morning, and we do it all over again.

I’m 5-10 minutes from home.  And McCann’s narrating on Audible. I hit the 30 second re-wind to catch it again. Fragments stick.

to free a bird from a hanging net…

must unknot the nylon between the bird’s toes..

hold the wings against its hammering heart…

to calmly untangle the feet, the knees, the belly, the armpit, the bird’s head…

must unknot the nylon between the bird’s toes.



  • Post inspired by: “To free a bird from a hanging mist net, the first thing an ornithologist must do is unknot the thin strip of nylon from between the bird’s toes and then—depending on the degree of struggle and the length of time it has spent suspended in the net—to calmly untangle the feet, the knees, the belly, the armpit and finally the bird’s head, all the time holding the wings against its hammering heart, making sure that it doesn’t try to tear open your fingers with its beak or talons. It is akin to unlooping a tight knot in a silver necklace that, as you open it, wants to spread itself and thrash alive in your hands.” ~ Colum McCann, Apeirogon: A Novel (Random House, February 25, 2020)
  • Photo: Pixabay – Ruby Crowned Kinglet


  1. Gives me goosebumps….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Slow and steady wins the race, pal. I prescribe long walks it the woods, free of phone or any other device, with dog at end of leash. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Omg, 8000 steps on elliptical in 40 minutes???
    How come I never go over 5400 in 60 minutes?

    I’m calculating based in 85 to 95 strides per minute.
    I’m jealous.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

    When you are ready to surrender and heal, you will. 🌈🦋

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So very nice

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Why do we do that to ourselves? We do what needs to be done and go back to our bad habits, thereby undoing all the good.

    I’m with Lori. Nice long walks in the woods, no devices, looking up and around..

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Oh, darn! Ouch! Look at the link I sent on interactive hand and foot reflexology charts…and do you PT stretches!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Wow!! Set her free … please!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. unknot asap.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. maybe you should ask your employer for a bed so you can lay down instead of sit all day… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Kinky necks and lowered eyes. Palms full of technology. Brain full of screen time.

    Not a good recipe for calm and easy turning muscles and limbs my friend. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. At 4’10”, I am often looking up which balances all the looking down I do. 🙃

    I absolutely love the Colum McCann quote. Another one of your book references goes on my to-read list!

    The fact that your pain is capable of completely subsiding is a very good sign. You simply have to follow the path again, the one that previously brought you to relief.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Relax... says:

    I’m too practical. I mentally ran for the little moustache scissors to cut that offending net to smithereens (it can be mended later, after the bird is free). That would help the bird, but not you. 😦 I’m sorry, DK. I hope you can get it healed up again soon. (And every time I read this, I lift my phone screen to eye-height and give my neck a break!)

    Liked by 1 person

  14. sorry my friend, but I’m suffering too much for the little bird trapped in that horrible net and therefore cannot really have enough compassion for you at the same time – you, the gadget addicted overworked and overstretched (in every respect, too much of nearly everything) poor buddy…. Let me cut that bird free first, then I come to see after you!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Friendly advice to free the bird: fetch the app and promote it to those used daily, obsessively; walk around whenever you talk on the phone, stand in the meeting room…and rescue a dog who will drag you out every single day…12-15000 steps a day, head held high. That will do it.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Christie says:

    One of the attorney’s at the firm I worked at decades ago (senior year of high school & part of college years) had a back injury he had a special , dark green leather, thick firm upholstery custom built platform that he would lay on…he also had a desk and chairs and he had an adjustable podium so he could stand and read the heavy law books…pre-computers…he was a slightly built man…accommodations work! Since you are tall perhaps having your monitor raised on a wooden platform? so it is straight ahead of your view? A short ledge to put your feet up? A neck pillow, pillow for low back?

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I have freed a bird from netting we placed over our fig tree. That was enough. Got rid of the net, let the creatures feast instead. But you? That’s a bit trickier. 💞

    Liked by 2 people

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