Saturday Morning

5:02 a.m. I’m out the door. 65° F.  Hass: “Still. Not a breath of wind.

Morning routine since May 5th sans running. 5 mile round trip walk to Cove Island Park. New thing, this walking thing. Camera forces me pause, to stop. Apple Watch flashes “Finished Your Workout?” And offers up two options, “End Workout” & “Pause.” I stare at the both options. Even looking at “Pause” makes me uncomfortable.

I look for my Canada Geese and their two offspring. They never disappoint. Fluffy youngsters, hungry, pecking away at the grass. Mother hisses. Hey, I’m Canadian too, cut me some slack!

I look for my Swans, mates, sleeping with their necks tucked back under their wings, floating on their water bed on high tide.

I look for my trio of mallards, two females and the polygamist. Skittish.

I look for my Loon, solo, always solo, fishing. She dives deep. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44…and she’s back up on top. I catch myself inhaling, a deep breath for you girl.

I look for my Egrets. Pure white, as snow.  Heart sinks a wee bit in their absence.

I tune into Fenton Johnson‘s new book on tape At the Center of All Beauty: Solitude and the Creative Life and I’m swept away by the narration: “If the journey through our interior landscape is so critical to our characters, let us become more informed and responsible travelers. Let us start by turning off our phones and spending more time alone…with the red semaphore atop the cell tower blinking on, off, on, off, presence, absence, presence, absence. I bask in this lovely stream of words…thinking: This is why one becomes a monk: to cultivate in every moment presence to the beauty of the world…The spirit works with what she has at hand.

I tuck my earbuds away and walk.

It’s daybreak. Sunrise paints the sky, and the still water below her.

And yes, “soon enough, I was quiet too.”

Inspired by: “In all the mountains, / Stillness; / In the treetops / Not a breath of wind. / The birds are silent in the woods. / Just wait: soon enough / You will be quiet too.— Robert Hass, “After Goethe,” Time and Materials: Poems 1997-2005.


  1. Oh my. Yes. “Warten Sie. Balde, ruhen Sie auch.” You even unlodged a line of German poetry out of my brain after several decades — buried alive apparently. Thank you, Dave (was just out in the garden with my camera).

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Martha. I had to Google Translate: “Warten Sie. Balde, ruhen Sie auch.” Are you waiting. Balde, rest too. Yes!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Your extra effort inspired extra effort on my part, Dave. Those lines were what I recalled from Goethe’s poem Wanderer’s Nachtlied, the English translation of which inspired your post. I got a couple of words wrong in my 30-year-old dug up memory:

        Über allen Gipfeln Ist Ruh, (In all the mountains, stillness)
        In allen Wipfeln Spürest du (In the treetops)
        Kaum einen Hauch; (not a breath of wind)
        Die Vögelein schweigen im Walde. (The birds are silent in the woods.)
        Warte nur, balde (Just wait; soon enough)
        Ruhest du auch. (you will be quiet too.)

        Thanks for the refresh of a poem I adored while taking German in college (before living there three different times over the years). I can appreciate it even more at 56. Another fun fact about this poem, “On September 6, 1780, the German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote [this poem] with a pencil on the wall of a wooden cabin on the Kickelhahn mountain in Ilmenau, Thuringia.” ( PS: loons rock.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Ah, nature!! … “I look for my Canada Geese and their two offspring. They never disappoint. Fluffy youngsters, hungry, pecking away at the grass. Mother hisses. Hey, I’m Canadian too, cut me some slack!”

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you for this breath of beauty and tranquillity this morning.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I did the silent hand clap when you finally took out your earbuds. Yay!!!!!

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Anonymous says:

    Lovely. Soothing. Needed.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. You know when you share “mine” they become ours ….. thank you David. 💕
    Right now I am fascinated by a family of starlings and their babies. Every morning and at dusk parents arrive with a bunch of squawking babes demanding to be fed.
    The parents, on the other hand, are training them to fend for themselves around bird feeders and suet (their favorite).
    Take you time with nature and she will show the way.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. ‘Absence presence absence’ And now after so many years of practice. I’m feeling more ‘presence absence presence.’ Beautiful reflections Dave! Love your new beginnings! 🌟🌈🌟

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Ok, I read this, intended to comment, 9 hours ago. Then I got a phone call from work and had to be there! Been itching to come back to this beautiful post all day!

    1. What ever it is that got you to stop running and slow down, I’m glad! Because I’m really loving the photos that are coming from this walk and stop at this park to visit your Mallars, Swans, Geese, Loons, and Egrets.

    2. Are you a Canadian Man, or Canada Man? 😉 sorry, had to.

    3. Did you really call a Mallard duck a polygamist ??? 😂

    4. Take the Apple watch and Fitbit off, just take them off for one day. I haven’t worn a watch since graduating college, 1996, still look at my wrist when I’m short on time.

    5. I’m tempted to get the Johnson book. It sound really good.

    6. Thank you, for taking us with you on your walk 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  9. A couple of beautiful photos of the lake; seems like you are enjoying your walks.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. i’m very proud of you, for the slow and quiet experience

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Beautiful post, David. Yesterday I unplugged from WP. Barely looked at FB or IG, too. Sometimes gotta step away from the noise (not that this beauty is noise).
    Whatever made you stop running (I hope you’re not suffering from something) and slow down to visit YOUR birds (I love that) is a good thing. Kinda glad you took the buds out, too.
    Wonderful photos, and I found myself reading each number, holding my own breath!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. This is gorgeous – every word…well, every word after I spit out my coffee laughing at the polygamist…

    Liked by 2 people

  13. We have a town reservoir with an array of reliable wildlife always in the same spots — like your egret and loon (I envy the loon!!) There is a cormorant who has been standing on the same rock to dry his wings, the row of turtles, the geese and goslings slowing traffic as they waddle across the road.

    Love them all.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Late to this party, but couldn’t go without saying that I loved the photos, the walk instead of a run, the descriptions of *your* birds, all of it. So glad that you’re allowing yourself the time and space to breathe, pal. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  15. I too know how to unplug – that’s why you only hear from me now, nearly two days on….. and you are one of the very, very few I visit at all – so feel privileged! 😉
    I’m so, so happy for you to discover the ‘slower world’ – important things will still be there to be done when you’re not running so wildly through life. It REALLY is often Mind over Matter (and if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter)…. I had to slow down considerably because my body just didn’t accept the pace any longer. And I feel so much better, free-er, more relaxed, relieved and re-enlivened….
    Beautiful post, you now start SEEING – isn’t it a thing of beauty? Really seeing, not just on the periphery but in real time?!

    Liked by 2 people

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