Walking. One Short. From Wing to Wing.

He has to be in his late 70’s, maybe early 80’s, but he’s out each morning walking, in twilight. There’s a handful of us obsessives out at this hour, including me, that strange guy, always in black head to toe, The Camera Guy (as Jim calls me, grateful he’s left ‘Creepy’ out of the prefix).

He has a severe limp when he walks, his right side slumps with each step. Retired Vet, would be my bet. Large, hulking man, must have been fierce in his day. (vs. me still pretending to be fierce, a younger old dog with false teeth, literally and figuratively. At least they don’t clack, yet. Something to look forward to).

We’re on Month 4 here with the morning walks, and despite the crossing of our paths each morning, he would not lift his head to acknowledge me. Perhaps stuck in his head. Perhaps wanting to leave me stuck in mine, which was exactly where I prefer to be. We all send off our own scent don’t we, mine a ‘Black Prickly de Chanel.’

Last week, he broke the silence.

“Do you know if the other Swan is still around? My wife and I were worried.”

I paused for a minute, and not sure exactly why I lied, but I did. I did notice her partner had been absent for a week or so, but I just didn’t have it in me to tell him. Or, perhaps I didn’t want to believe he was gone. Like Gone, Gone.

“Yes, he’s down by the bridge at the end of The Cove.”

“Oh, I’m so glad. Thanks.”  He kept walking.

That was a week ago.

The Old Man Walks.

I walk.

And she’s still out there alone. Not feeding. Not fishing. Not searching.  More like mourning. Grieving.

I snapped my last shot of her this morning, grateful for her presence, her beauty.  And at the same time, I steel myself against a pull into darkness, into her loss. My loss. Our loss. My mortality.

And I drag up Li-Young Lee’s poem: “These are days we live / as if death were nowhere / in the background; from joy / to joy to joy, from wing to wing, / from blossom to blossom to / impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.”

I leave her behind. I accelerate my pace, needing to find another wing, another blossom. And before long, an Egret. A heron. A flock of Canada Geese. A duck with her ducklings. The morning sun shimmering her magic hues on high tide.

These are the days…

Photo: DK. Swan. August 9, 2020. 5:40 a.m. The Cove, Stamford, CT (Related Swan posts: Swan1)


  1. Anonymous says:

    Aw. This made me tear up.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Another gorgeous share, Camera Guy. Heavy label, now that I type it. But all those lessons coming through the lens, increasing our focus and awareness even when we don’t have the camera in hand.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah Camera Guy, you’re stealing my heart…in part because of you’re desire not to upend the elderly gentleman and his wife. And though elegiac, and tear-worthy on this quiet Sunday morning, I appreciate the emotional tug. And you, of course

    Liked by 2 people

  4. oh, I and understand your reluctance to break his and his wife’s hearts, you will carry the heavy burden for them.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mortality is always in the background.
    But we still have to live like Li-young Lee described here. Down to the last drop of life in our veins.
    I would have lied too.

    This post, everything about it, the photos, the story, Nacre! So beautifully reflects an undertow!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow, David, this photo is almost surreal and transports me to a beautiful part of our planet. I agree “we all send off our own scent…”. I also like zen, quiet mode on a walk. Of course, unusual when he does break the silence. You may be right, yet, I hope you are wrong about the missing Swan. I copy/pasted poem. A good reminder. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Nature is amazing and so soothing!! … “I leave her behind. I accelerate my pace, needing to find another wing, another blossom. And before long, an Egret. A heron. A flock of Canada Geese. A duck with her ducklings. The morning sun shimmering her magic hues on high tide. These are the days … “

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Man Camera Guy. There goes my heart leaking out through my eyes.
    So beautiful. Poignant. And quite revealing of that soft underbelly scent of goodness threaded throughout your human nature. Like a woman’s evening gown of shimmering organza sprinkled with stardust. Revealing and concealing, catching light, casting shadows. Beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Now that, my friend, is the most beautiful post. Wonderful prose by you with the perfect poem and breathtaking photos.
    That poem has hit me hard. I need to find a blossom. Now.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hopefully he doesn’t read your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The rose color makes it even more poignant. Beautiful post and photo. I smiled at “black prickly de Chanel” 💛

    Liked by 1 person

  12. beautiful photo, and your kindness shines through.

    Now I don’t know if you are the Camera Guy or the Ninja..

    But I can see the Vet and the Ninja Camera Guy sitting and chatting on a bench at the Cove someday…

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I think having a camera makes you notice more things. Nice bit of writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Love this post! 👏And you are giving me the most beautiful captures for my book thank you ha! 😊
    But what everyone misses when we don’t acknowledge death, is understanding the pure essence of life! ☘️🌿

    Liked by 1 person

  15. How well you string words together to make your pictures almost jump off the page. there is a story in the limping man.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Ah.. my new wallpaper.. and screen saver!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Ack, somehow I missed this post in the slipstream of my email yesterday. 😦 So glad that I discovered it this morning. Beautiful work here pal, with ‘pen’ and camera. I sympathize with your mad rush for ‘another wing;’ we so desperately need beauty and happy endings at the moment. Thank you for sharing these twilight interludes.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Nice post Dave. One of the most graceful lies ever told.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. It’s what happens when you become attached to nature’s beautiful creatures. It happens to me all the time…with the last time being baby doves who were born in a big redwood tree at the corner of our backyard. Just when they were getting ready to leave their nest, a hawk got one of them. It’s so hard when they are gone, these sweet and beautiful beings that give us so much. I need to remind myself all the time that it is nature’s truth speaking…otherwise, I would be in tears much of the year. You are a sensitive soul, David…so much to appreciate about you.

    Liked by 1 person

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