Walking. With On Golden Pond.

3:30 am: Up. Six hours of sleep, easily two short. Two shots of Tylenol PM won’t keep this guy down. I think about amping up the dosage to three, soft baby blue, colored pills —  bad idea Doctor, bad idea.

3:35 am: Skim morning papers. RSS reader feeds. Blog Posts. Emails. Texts. Read a passage from Joyce Maynard’s At Home in the World where J.D. Salinger tells her: “Some day, Joyce…there will be a story you want to tell for no better reason than because it matters to you more than any other…You’ll stop looking over your shoulder to make sure you’re keeping everybody happy, and you’ll simply write what’s real and true. Honest writing always makes people nervous, and they’ll think of all kinds of ways to make your life hell. One day a long time from now you’ll cease to care anymore whom you please or what anybody has to say about you. That’s when you’ll finally produce the work you’re capable of.” Hmmm. Not ready for ‘real and true.’ And ‘honesty’ makes me nervous. But Salinger does offer sound reasoning for the mediocrity that spills out onto this page. There’ll be time enough to chase the written word that I’m capable of.

4:25 am: Strip, including Apple Watch. Ounces make massive differences. I step on the digital scale, and inhale. The figures race upward, like slots in Vegas, having similar odds.  It stops hard on the Score. I exhale.  Wow, good result. Space for large breakfast.

4:35 am: Check temperature. 60° F. Put on long sleeve shirt. 60° F and I need long sleeve shirt. For some reason this triggers a scene from “On Golden Pond” where Katherine Hepburn shouts: “Don’t be such an old poop Norman.”

4:40 am. 38 consecutive daybreaks in a row. On same walk. same location. same loop. I know precisely what time to leave the house to walk the mile to Long Island Sound and arrive ten minutes before Sunrise. I make a point to google WebMD when I get home to diagnose my form of OCD. I pack my camera bag, take 3 large gulps of water, and head out the door.

5:10 am. I’m on shoulder of Weed Avenue. The geese, 50 or so, float ever-so-still, catching their last bit of shut eye before the day starts.  There are two swans, with their heads tucked under their wings. Must be cozy in there. And mallards interspersed among the others in the sleepover.

There’s no traffic. Long Island Sound is quiet. The World gives Sun its moment of silence.

5:25 am. Here comes the Sun. The World stands still to watch the spectacle. I snap a few shots, put the camera down. And watch, the Sun, in all its glory, with gold and orange hues.

A loon, with its long, curved neck, breaks the silence with its call.

And this triggers another line from “On Golden Pond“. “Come here, Norman. Hurry up. The loons! The loons! They’re welcoming us back.”

Yes, they welcome me back. Thankfully. Again.

Each breath, a Gift.

Daybreak. 5:25 am. June 13, 2020. 60° F. Wind: 9 mph. Gusts: 22 mph. Cloud Cover: 3%. Weed Ave, Stamford, CT.


  1. Keep going, Dave. Always nourishing, your words today also reminded me to stop looking over my shoulder to make sure I was keeping everyone happy. So important right now. Thank you, friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi David, I have not tried Tylenol PM. Once in awhile I will pop in a Gravol when I feel extra depleted. Huge Wow on your 3:35am passage/quote. Deep inside I know this to be true. Yet, I need the reminder. Often.

    I get it on the same walk, same loop. Especially, since March 15th.

    Creative weaving “On Golden Pond” in your story. It fits perfectly. I wholeheartedly agree: “Each breath. A Gift.” A great post!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Saturday. Again another Saturday. This time DK, for several once’s, no tears just smiles and…hope. Started this early morning with squared shoulders, hair standing taller than physical self desperately needing a brush…both hair and self…and thought about tall hair, squared shoulders and…standing together tall with and into hope. If a few more would-could our selves, our country, our world could-should tilt into…hope.
    Thinking big and tall this no-tear Saturday.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. That passage made me stop and think and then I shared it with a friend who has been encouraging me to write for the sake of writing (I still, if I’m honest, do not consider myself a writer by any means). And i did take offence to your calling your writing mediocre. It is not. And you share parts of you and it is real and it might make you nervous but you do it anyway. Little bits here and there.

    Now I want to watch On Golden Pond again.

    Yes, Each breath. Is such a gift.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Smiling. Thank you Dale. I have On Golden Pond in my cue. We all need more wholesomeness and kindness these days. News and World is frightening. Hope you and Zeke enjoy your walk today.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lovely. I should see if I have it on my decoder a friend gave me (I find it such a pain in the ass to watch through this thing, frankly) We definitely do need more. I have been taking the news in little bits and pieces because frankly, it’s all negative, all the time.
        I was just telling a friend I think he and I will go for a car ride to the water’s edge… 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Good stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. for some reason, wordpress is not letting me respond. I am not wordpress. I will press on. In my efforts to get this response posted. The one I just wrote. Patience? It’s hard to have with words sometimes. and software.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. regular email? too dangerous for you? I got some words. for you.
    Wordpress…and I pay for their services…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ugh! Sometime if you clear your browser cache it clears up the problem.


      • Me too, same as you.
        It’s 5:43 am here on the west coast. It says so. On my computer.
        I pray.
        it’s accurate…? it’s running hot these days. I am not my computer. I run hot, but I am not my computer. M computer is a little glitchy. Too much heat these days.
        My computer keyboard is my most recent lover. We respond to each other. This one is pretty good…sweet really. Playful.
        But I keep a back up. Have to. This is air. Spare oxygen. Emergency supplies for times of shortages.
        This is one of them. No Linguini on the shelves. All other shapes of pasta, but no linguini.
        I am not the store. I do not have empty shelves. I am not bereft. I am not bereft.
        Though I just had a writing project pulled out from under my feet because I’m
        Not black enough to have my name on the public project. It’s been in the works for 2 years. Dropped quickly. In a meeting. Just Fat man and Little boy. No big deal, really. It’s not about me.
        My little projects. No one gives a fuck. Why should they? It’s not about them. Or us. It’s about me and my keyboard. I know I know…no one gives a fuck (whine, slap, snap out of it. Out. Of. It. It..is not good. For you.)
        4:30 am: I get up too early.
        4:32: I put the hot water on.
        4:33: I step on the scale. I try to measure things. Things that can be measured. Time. Weight.
        4:32: A good sign. Down one pound. A good sign — I haven’t lost too much. I haven’t gained too much. I’m even. I just like to be even. Sometimes I need to “get even.” IF I need this too much I might hurt someone. Or commit a crime. Just rage, your h
        4:32: A good sign. Down one pound. A good sign — I haven’t lost too much. I haven’t gained too much. I’m even. I just like to be even. Sometimes I need to “get even.” IF I need this too much I might hurt someone. Or commit a crime. “Just rage, your honor, just rage…this one is mental… we’ll let her off with light sentence. ”
        I’m a playwright….I like lines. Dialogue mostly. Characters. Action. but they can be dangerous voices in my head. It’s already crowded up there…
        4:35 Me and my scale. We’re in sync. Today. Some days, we are fierce enemies. Other days we are dance partners. 4:45 I try to schedule my day.
        4:45 I check the temperature of my computer. Check to see if it’s running a fever. It’s okay for now, had a good night’s sleep. No symptoms of madness…no symptoms of Covid 19, at
        least for the moment.
        I check emails, texts, feed my cat.
        New food this morning. He’s so damn picky – I spoil him. I do. He’s my companion. He soothes me. So do drugs. But I try not to take them.
        5:00 the sun/ the light breaks.
        I am not the sun.
        I am not the light.
        I will not break.
        I hope.
        To stay out of the Institution. For the day.
        I don’t run today. I ran yesterday. It’s so hard.
        I don’t swim these days. The pools are closed. The bay is too cold for me.
        So I’m running, as YOU KNOW.
        The run yesterday, allows me to write to you this morning. I’m grateful For your post.

        Just had to let my machine cool down. I went for a walk. Always the right thing.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Love the Chronology read-out. So good!


          • some unnecessary repetition in here… had to cut and paste from a word doc. It was a challenge. Well worth it. Thanks for reading … and writing.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Writing is often treated as a project of making things, one piece at a time, but you write from who you are and what you care about and what true voice is yours and from leaving all the false voices and wrong notes behind, and so underneath the task of writing a particular piece is the general one of making a self who can make the work you are meant to make.

            — Rebecca Solnit, Recollections of My Nonexistence: A Memoir (Viking, March 10, 2020)

            Liked by 1 person

  8. “Two shots of Tylenol PM won’t keep this guy down.”

    The image this sparked in my mind, maybe a tranquilizer shot from a distance. Heavy meds to put you to sleep.
    I’m not a writer and I’m in no position to evaluate. But I’ll tell you this much, you’re ONE of a kind. And how it makes me feel when I read your writings is what keeps me coming. I feel like I’m face to face with your Soul.

    The Butter of this post, what J.D. Salinger says to Joyce Maynard, applies to every aspect of life, not just writing. And I know I was born missing that gene that makes people look over their shoulders. When I meet people who do, who still look over their shoulder, all I see is the invisible cage their hearts are trapped in.

    Ps. You might not write real and true, and though honesty makes you nervous, I’m certain you never write lies.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Each breath a gift, so true.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. wonderful post, David. Now I want to be out walking before the sun comes up!

    and I’m waiting for that day when I step on the scale and say “good result” to myself. Maybe if I take my glasses off that will make a difference…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This post. this thread of comments. Pure gold.

    Life. Unfolding. Enriching. Evolving. Shifting.

    News is bad. News is just news.

    Now life. This life found here? That’s the rich stuff. That’s the stuff.. well the stuff life is made of.

    and you my friend. You and your words and your photos. The quotes you share. The thoughtfulness of your pairing photo and words… Ahhh. that is all rich stuff. That is life. Beautiful. Inexplicable. Mystical. Life.

    Thank you for the sunrise.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Yes, each breath a gift. So true. Except when you step on the scales. My grade nine science teacher told us “Air has weight.” Ever since then, I’ve always EXhaled before standing on the scales. (To be honest I don’t think it makes a difference. I think he meant compressed air has weight.) But I do spit before getting on the scales. You never know. Those scales are accurate to within half a pound, so what if that half ounce of spit would have nudged the number up to the next pound? I doesn’t hurt to try. Have a great weekend, DK.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. When we are bathing in nature. We can only speak the truth. We can only express awe, wonder and love. So keep bathing in nature my friend. And your true nature will emerge without effort. 🌈🌙🌟🌝

    Liked by 1 person

  14. The pressure you put yourself under. Too type A 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Hardly mediocre, Dave, hardly mediocre. Way above the standard, often touching outstanding. But ‘doubt’ is thy middle name and self-deprecation a comfortable place to rest your assessments. Each day – as the sun. I read your thoughts every day and for me – and so many others- I think ‘yes, he’s back.’ The day can begin.


  16. gm to the bird man of long island sound, another great day to, my friend

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Anonymous says:

    Why is the reason we enjoy this nature wonder now and not when we were younger?

    Liked by 1 person


  1. […] special thank you:  To David Kanigan Live & Learn for sharing a quote. I needed to hear this.  I have wanted to write this story for a long […]

    Liked by 1 person

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