Walking. With Apophenia.

56° F. Heavy fog.

Daybreak walk at Cove Island Park.  723 consecutive (almost) days. Like in a row.

I’ve finished Amy Liptrot’s book “The Instant.”  A book where I wasn’t feeling it, not feeling it, nothing here, time to put this down, wait now, here’s a line, and now two, and then down the chute we go on the luge track.  Reminds me of a tweet by Tracie Collier after reading “Bomb Shelter” by Mary Laura Philpott: “She writes in a way that makes me want to hurl my laptop over a cliff.”

Back to Liptrot.  Who knew that I had Apophenia. Well, hold on. It’s not even clear that I’m adept at Apophenia. I’m probably better assessed by a psychologist (if I had one), as a lame, half-assed Apopheniac.  But we digress.  Here’s Liptrot:

Apophenia is the tendency to find patterns. It can be a disorder but, for me, finding patterns is sustaining. Unbidden, certain objects glow with relevance. I find the moon everywhere. This heart-shaped box contains not just a few shells but all the weeks and conversations and regrets of a friendship. We are meaning-making machines. I use all these little personal myths and totems to hold myself together: things to search for when I’m faced with overwhelming choice and freedom.

I use all these little totems to (try to) hold myself together. Yep. About right.

I’ve turned right at the Park, walking counterclockwise. Noting that I’m walking counterclockwise. Again. Did you know that you always walk counterclockwise around the park?  723 days, and you walk in the same direction every time.

I keep walking.

Have you ever seen anyone else walking clockwise in the park?  Come to think of it I have not.  Not one time? Not one time. Maybe because you are a half-assed Apopheniac.

I stop walking.

How about I turn around and walk the other way? 

I turn, start walking the other way.  25 feet.  50 feet. This just feels all wrong. I’m out of sorts.  Another 100 feet, my stomach doesn’t feel right. Good God Man, hold yourself together. Just turn around!

NY Times: Man Found Collapsed & Unconscious at Cove Island Park – Cause? A severe case of vertigo from walking clockwise.”

I turn. And I’m backtracking, now walking counterclockwise.  There. Doesn’t that feel better?  It does actually. Wow, hanging by a thread here.  (Note: I Googled it when I got home. The Earth spins counterclockwise.  Ha! Not a total loser. Damn Earth is pulling me in this direction.)

I walk. The World is all right again, spinning on its axis in the counterclockwise direction, and pulling me along. So damn logical. All of it.

I walk.

Out of the corner of my eye I see a large (I mean large) flock of ducks (?), geese (?) along the shoreline.  I don’t give it another thought.  And then I doHalf-assed Apopheniac.  If I was a capable Apopheniac, I would see the bloody pattern, the head shape, the wing pattern…and just know what they were.

I walk…feeling the earth spinning counterclockwise, and my pace accelerating.  Gravitational Pull or some space-universe-shit like that.

I get closer to the flock.  Hold on now. These are not some mutt Canada Geese, crapping all over.

What are these creatures? Look at that white necklace around their necks.

And there I stood, watching what appeared to be hundreds of birds feeding at low tide.

723 days, like almost in a row, and you’ve never seen one of these beautiful creatures?  (Maybe 1/8-assed Apopheniac.)

I snap a shot with my iPhone, scan the pic with Google Lens and viola: An Atlantic Brant.

Google Lens, Atlantic Brants, and a 1/8-assed Apopheniac here to witness it all…

Miracle. All of it.


Notes:

  • Opening Photo: Marek Piwnicki via Unsplash
  • DK Photo of Atlantic Brant @ 5:56 am, May 13, 2022 @ Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT.  More photos from this morning’s walk here.
  • Thank you Anneli for correcting me on the bird.  Atlantic Brant, not a Black Brant.  Now corrected.  Wow, slumped to 1/8-assed Apopheniac!

 

Comments

  1. You’re a marvel, pal, no two ways about it.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    “Apophenia is the tendency to find patterns. It can be a disorder but, for me, finding patterns is sustaining. Unbidden, certain objects glow with relevance.” … and more!! — Opening Photo: Marek Piwnicki via Unsplash. DK Photo of Black Brant @ 5:56 am, May 13, 2022 @ Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT. More photos from this morning’s walk here.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Christie says:

    It is a Miracle..eps when you look at the Cornell Bird link you shared and explore the map for the Black Brent migration and breeding areas…the Black Brent on the Western part of the world Migrate down to Mexico (Baja) and migrate back to Canada, Alaska & Russia via of the USA west coast & East Coast short migration, USA, breeding grounds of Canada & Greenland-So people in Five Countries are treated to their unique Beauty. The Eastern Black Brent has a very short migration into the East coast -so you are indeed fortunate to catch a viewing of the Black Brent… Now we all know that you are a smart man…and I will say another smart man deploys “Apophenia”, somewhat I would assume subconsciously, as he looks at much Financial, World economies, World Events, Birth Growth Rates, etc he is a collector of information present, historical, etc and in using his critical thinking skills, he makes his informed decisions. His forecasts impact many…he is Jeremy Grantham. ///btw I can’t make the link to you other photos of the day work…

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I really enjoyed this post, DK. I was most pleased that you saw and photographed the brant, but did you know that those are Atlantic brant? The black brant (Branta bernicla nigricans) go up and down the Pacific Flyway (to nest in the northwest) while the Atlantic brant (Branta bernicla hrota) – at least the ones that you see in NY, would go up and down the Atlantic Flyway (to nest in the northeast). They look almost the same but the Atlantic brant has more pale mottled breast feathers, while the black brant has darker breast feathers. But I’m very happy that you saw them and deemed them worthy of a photo. Interesting bit about the apophenia.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. You always keep us entertained DK! I read the other day that life only begins and expands at the end of our comfort zone….Now I definitely want you to walk the other way for 723 days ha!! 🤨🤗

    Liked by 2 people

  6. If it’s any consolation, every time I walked around the lake across from my former work (I so miss that part), I ALWAYS walked counter-clockwise. Except once, we decided to live on the edge. It felt beyond weird.
    I love how you share all these things with us. And now a new bird!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. As I was reading your post, David, I began to see ‘patterns of similarity’ with what I do. I had no idea there was a ‘name’ attached to it! Hahaha, So, despite the fact I thought I had the “I’ve got to be the only bloody person that does this,” now I know I’m a club member! Here’s to walking clockwise and woe betide if someone asks me to change other pattern-finding! Won’t do it, can’t do it, and that’s pretty much it! LOL Thank you, David! Cher xoxoxo

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Anonymous says:

    This is one way journalists (esp. freelance like me) survive! We notice patterns and relationships between what seem like disparate things/events and turn them into stories. I think pattern recognition is a very cool skill.

    Liked by 2 people

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