Walking. And Self Medicating.

4:20 a.m. 61° F.  Wind gusting. Dark Sky signals cloud cover @ 100%. Rain in an hour.

I walk.

Cove Island Park. 424 consecutive mornings. Like in a row.

Why so groggy? 

Mind scans the pre-bed time routine.

  • Shower.
  • + 2 Advil PMs. Essential for 6 hours of sleep.
  • + 2 Advil Dual Action Acetaminophens. ‘Now get up to 8 hours of powerful relief…lower back pain…’ It ain’t eight hours of relief. It’s like four. And I’m now on Amazon’s monthly, serial subscription ordering plan.
  • + 1 little blue pill. To keep the pipes running. TMI.
  • + Sugar, throughout the day up to bed time. In the form of handfuls of Hersey’s nuggets, bags of Welch’s Fruit Snacks (they are small bags), and the latest addition — Swiss Miss Premium Rich Chocolate Hot Cocoa. With a handful of mini marshmallows sprinkled on top.

There was a time. No flu shots. No aspirin. No cold medication. No allergy medicine. No Anything. A diesel engine that would just keep running. Middle age Plus = Wheels coming off this bus.

I walk. Limping. Left, lower back in a bad place.  Internal parts, bones, blood, arteries, nerve endings, all sloshing in a sugar bath.

Nope. I don’t want scolding, coaching or gentle persuasion from you Sugar-Free Vegan’s out there. No. Don’t want to hear it. This isn’t a Cocaine problem, or an Oxycontin problem (yet).

I walk. Back is loosening up.

I’m listening to Colum McCann’s book Dancer and narrator speaks of his lack of belief in God. My ears perk up. “Our bodies are foul things to live inside. I am convinced the gods patched us together this disastrously so that we might need them, or at least invoke them late at night.


I drive to Calf Pasture Beach, listening to Dancer. Dreary day. Overcast. Rain spitting on windshield. I park the car, and walk.

100% cloud cover.  Grey. Gray. What’s the difference? Who cares. It’s dreary out here.

And there, now, flashing yellow, in all its glory, on the other side of the guardrail, growing out of gravel and among the discarded trash (pick up your sh*t people), is what? A sunflower? Here?

She’s stooped over, way over. Looking down. Disgusted like I am, staring at the trash.

I bend over to get a straight-on shot of her (Photo 1 above)… the back Bucks me back, I inhale, and ease back up. Damn this is getting old.

I stare at her for a moment, and assess how to get down. How can I bend over? Maybe, lay down at her level? Will I be able to get back up? Laying on gravel helpless.

I think about that for a moment, this would require setting down the backpack and camera gear. Seems like a lot of work.

Bend down? Chance it? 

And then it hits me.

The act felt sacrilegious. A disrupter of nature and order. A polluter of a different kind. Yet, I don’t see an alternative here?

With two fingers, I grab her neck, and ever so gently urge her up. You lady, need to straighten your posture.

I grab the camera, and snap the shot. (Photo 2 above)

Colum McCann again: “He caught me looking at the portrait and said: It’s our function in life to make moments durable.

And there I stood standing over her.  Her neck began to give way, returning her to her stooped position.

I look at the shot in the view finder. You Girl, made me happy this morning.

This moment, Colum, is a durable moment, that I’ll never forget.

Photo: DK @ Daybreak. 6:00 am, July 3, 2021. 61° F. Calf Pasture Beach, Norwalk, CT.


  1. We have 4 “volunteers” in our yard…growing about 4 inches a day with the rain we are finally getting. No flower heads yet but even the leaves follow the sun. Perhaps your Lady Sunflower will lead you to further self medicating distractions looking for her Fibonacci cousins. That is a rabbit hole worth entering. Have fun…and hope you feel better. MA


    Liked by 1 person

  2. it happens to everything in nature, we are all temporarily in these forms, but it doesn’t make it any easier as we begin to feel our shape-shifting. (says the woman with 2 sore feet, and 1 challenging thumb.)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful! I love your personal testimonies. Every walk with you is different. By the way, if you were my height, you would have got the shot without stooping, squatting, lying down or tilting. A little sunshine on a cloudy day. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. maybe that yellow flower needs its own version of a little blue pill…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Definitely a durable moment well captured.

    And PS — I have just joined the board of THIRD ACTion Film Festival – our vision is to guide an age positive cultural shift…. so…. on that note — what if you shift the frame on aging too?

    Sort of like holding lady sunflower’s head up? You man, need to straighten your attitude. 🙂

    What if you widened your lens? Aging isn’t about frailty– it’s a dynamic process. A continuous cycle of nourishing and harvesting that creates benefit to present and future generations — like your 424 days… like in a row…. We’ve all benefitted from your sharing and it is the resilience of age that has built your discipline muscles to keep doing it… 424 days in a row and beyond… 🙂

    And see! Nothing about sugar anywhere! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I want to know how you handle your addiction at work!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Christie says:

    I say it is a miracle in your part of the country to see a blooming Sunflower this early! I yet to see a flowering one here & have yet to do the sunflower count in our garden, this year…years ago I almost paint the words “Sunflower Sunrise Farm” (of course urban farm) Since people always commented on the Sunflowers and one man would set up his tripod and take photos. If I run into someone walking in the neighborhood and we haven’t meet as we talk where do you live I say the house with all the sunflowers, Oh! Though this year we’ve changed part of the landscape where the sunflowers grew so folks might not see them from the road. (a tree has grown(25 ft Maple leaf coverage”) and we added a green house in that spot. We no longer grow them out front due to the “banquet effect for the deer”. We’ve had summer where the count was between 300 to 400…Also a miracle in my opinion is this:
    I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well
    Psalm 139:14 (NIV)
    and thank you for all the share your brought to our eyes, minds and ears…they are wonderful gems of Miracles!!!
    PS send some rain our way…this extreme drought is awful…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sunflower Sunrise Farm! Love that. And it is raining now, buckets!


      • Christie says:

        Ha, paint that on the “Gate” w/painted sunflowers too! The officials are prompting us citizens to have Our To Go Bags Packed -Be ready to Go…3 different evacuation levels and they said sometimes the only evacuation notice will be #3 Go Now -we may be running for our lives, if we can’t get to the cars or the roads have trees down…Scary…

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Olga Kanigan says:

    We have our bags packed too. Fire contained for now.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Your writing always captures each moment beautifully. Amazing how the sunflower was a reflection of your own posture. And how we all wish it was as easy as pushing it up for a few seconds!! Feel better soon 🌻🌻🌻

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ageing is humbling. Glad you are still vertical and enjoying life! I now have one of those plastic pill-a-day things — with five pills in each. UGH!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Ack, am *so* backed up on reading blog posts, running in reverse order and trying to catch up. :-O So sorry to hear that your back is giving you problems, pal, but I get it. This aging thing can be a rough ride at times. Thankfully, your eyes are working just fine–that sunny girl is a beauty.

    And though my hands are shaking with the effort of *not* commenting on the sugar intake and its conceivable effects, I am going to, in the words of Elsa, ‘let it go…..’ 😉 Feel. Better.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Bim Sohan says:

    Stunningly beautiful

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Dave, made me smile, grin, sigh and smile again. Don’t I know this very problem too?! Try a sunflower selfie next time! How? No idea, just popped in my head…. I don’t do selfies so I probably shouldn’t give any suggestions.
    And of course you don’t want any ‘helpful’ advice of the Vegans out there…. I wouldn’t either. Only, you don’t do your ageing body no favour and you know that well enough. That bloody aching back is urging you to listen to it – please do! Not for us, not even for your beloved ones, but for yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Na, just put the phone in selfie mode, hold it into the flower’s face and press – just needs some bending over…. bingo! And I’m gonna be your new self-made photo-trainer, ok?

    Liked by 1 person

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