Walking in ‘ett ögonblick’

So it had to come. It was only a matter of time. 

It’s been 1,129 consecutive (sort of, almost, consecutive) days on this morning walk at Cove Island Park. Like in a row.

Yet, most recent mornings at the Park were absorbed by this little family. I scrapped the walk, ignored my step counts, and stood to watch them start their day. Are they up yet? Having breakfast?  It’s been one month of cygnet posts, coincidently, one month to the day when I shared “Guess who has arrived?!?!?!” 

I stopped by the nest. High tide had swamped it, and washed away all the straw that Mom and Dad had so carefully constructed for the nest.

Embers flickering, I’m inhaling smoke from the Canadian wildfires. I couldn’t find them. A mallard, yes. A scruffy gosling, yes. But no cygnet. And no swans. And all that I seemed to have left were these lines from Szilvia Molnar:

At any given moment, it was a necessity. Funny how quickly I had lost the idea of “any given moment.” Momentum implying something similar to “movement, motion, moving power” but also “alteration, change” over a “short time,” having a longer duration than “an instant,” ett ögonblick, a blink of an eye. As a puff of smoke giving in to air, I watched the moment disappear from me.

My cygnet and his parents were gone.

Guess.What.Day.It.Is? (Volume Up)


  1. Thank you Sawsan!
  2. Background on Caleb/Wednesday/Hump Day Posts and Geico’s original commercial: Let’s Hit it Again.

Quiet, please. We are not alone.

Spring unfolds each year in color, yes, but also in sound. And, regrettably, in noise — some of it emanating from our gardens.

When Nancy Lawson, a Maryland-based naturalist and nature writer, speaks about the voices of frogs or birds, she uses the word “sound.” When she refers to humanity’s voice — the din of mowers, blowers and chain saws — she describes it as noise, specifically “anthropogenic noise.”

Her definition: something that is “disrespectful of all the other sounds and runs roughshod over them,” she said, with “often unnecessary rudeness.”

These days, we’re not just driving one another crazy with the racket that fills most neighborhoods. We’re “smothering some of the opportunities for animals to communicate through their senses,” she said, “to perceive the world through their senses.”

That means communications are masked and predator alarms and other critical life cues are stifled.

The challenge she poses for us: “Let’s think about the fact that these are our neighbors, too. And they can’t just run inside and put on noise-canceling headphones.” […]

In other words: Easy does it.

“If you treat the local environment like the homeland it’s meant to be,” she writes in “Wildscape,” “you’ll be exposed to more cultures and ideas and ways of life than if you visited with people from every country in the world.”

Sometimes, she said, that’s not about doing something, but the opposite: Stop mowing so often; stop leaf blowing. “Stop these sensory disruptions,” she said.

Even with actions we know can cause harm, like using pesticides, it’s not just the direct damage that she alerts us to.

“It turns out that putting out scents into the world that cause odor pollution can disrupt flower fragrances, and bees’ ability to find the floral resources that they need,” she said of an often unnoticed violation of the Scentscape.

Noise has unexpected effects, too, like reducing the nesting success of bluebirds and tree swallows, and decreasing the foraging ability of owls and bats.

Or this: As cars drove past, Ms. Lawson noticed a monarch caterpillar flinching upward from the milkweed it was feeding on near her roadside. A paper she found cited the same reaction — and how traffic-stressed animals even bit the researchers, something they had never documented before.

Quiet, please. We are not alone.

— Margaret Roach, from “Quiet, Please: You Are Not Alone in Your Garden


Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

The beautiful thing in some ways about the smartphone, for example, is that my robotic vacuum will never do anything but vacuum instead of me. But my smartphone can be an instrument in that I can decide every time I pick it up whether I’m going to use it in a way that actually develops my heart, soul, mind and strength that is subordinate to and for the purposes of love.

If I pick up my smartphone and I develop a relationship with people I’ll never meet — influencers and celebrities — by watching videos, that diminishes me. But if I pick up my smartphone and I call my daughter or FaceTime her, that activates love and relationship. Basically, it’s using the thing to more deeply engage with the world rather than to retreat from my investment in the world.

Andy Crouch, from “Nurturing Our Relationships in a Digital World” (The New York Times · Interviewed by Tish Harrison Warren · June 4, 2023). Crouch is the author “The Life We’re Looking For: Reclaiming Relationship in a Technological World.”

Entire article is worth a read here.

Tuesday Morning Wake-Up Call

I don’t know about you Coach. But I hope that either all of us or none of us are judged by the actions of our weakest moments, but rather by the strength we show when and if we’re ever given a second chance.
— Ted Lasso, “Mom City” (S3, E11)


No errant spy balloons flying here — U.S.S. in Pursuit (VOLUME UP!)

Eric Kanigan flying drone. U.S. Sully in hot pursuit. Florence + the Machine on “Dog Days are Over!”

a single sheet of notepaper, on which Charlie had boiled 109 years into an operating code of life

Among Charlie’s things after he was gone, his family found a single sheet of notepaper, on which Charlie had boiled 109 years into an operating code of life. He filled the sheet front and back in flowing ballpoint pen, writing in definitive commands. Among them:

Think freely. Practice patience. Smile often. Forgive and seek forgiveness.

Feel deeply. Tell loved ones how you feel.

Be soft sometimes. Cry when you need to. Observe miracles.

— David Von Drehle, “My neighbor lived to be 109. This is what I learned from him.” From The Washington Post · May 22, 2023.  This essay was adapted from “The Book of Charlie: Wisdom from the Remarkable American Life of a 109-Year-Old Man,” by David Von Drehle

I encourage you to read the entire essay here.

Walking. With The Apparition.

I was heading back to the car, done for the morning, and there he was. Or was it an Apparition?  I’ve never seen him in daylight. I’ve never been within 10 yards of him.

It’s been 1,118 consecutive (sort of, almost, consecutive) days on this morning walk at Cove Island Park. Like in a row.

He’s also a (mostly) daily walker at Cove Island Park.  But he’s a real walker. He walks from somewhere deep in the bowels of Stamford, and around Cove Island Park, and back again — has to be a 6-7 mile loop.

And he’s off early. My shot clock starts one hour before sunrise and most days, I pass him in the car, and he’s half-way done.

You can’t miss him. He’s lean, late 60’s, early 70’s. A brisk gait, both arms swinging high.  In his right hand, a heavy policeman’s flashlight, its beam slashing the darkness. No earbuds, smartphone, music players. Austere.

He never looks over, always looking straight ahead.

Anybody walking that fast, that heavy, has to be running from demons. (Hmmmmm. Lori Gottlieb: Everyone has demons—big, small, old, new, quiet, loud, whatever.)

And here he was, in daylight, less tall, less dark and Human.

He offers the first words. [Read more…]

And, Take 14…not sure about ugly, but light, oh yes.

“I never saw an ugly thing in my life: for let the form of an object be what it may – light, shade, and perspective will always make it beautiful.”

— John Constable (1776 – 1837) in “Life and Letters of John Constable” by Charles Robert Leslie (Chapman and Hall, 1896). Quote is found in a letter that Constable wrote to his friend and fellow artist John Fisher in 1821. In the letter, Constable is discussing his views on landscape painting, and he argues that the artist should not be afraid to paint ugly things, because the right use of light, shade, and perspective can make even the most ordinary object beautiful. (Constable Quote via Alive on All Channels)

See more pictures from this morning’s walk of the Cygnet with Mom on FB here.


Morning photos from Daybreak Walk @ Cove Island Park. Egrets & Cygnet here.

And, Take 12…TGIF

See more pictures from this morning’s walk of the Cygnet with Mom on FB here.

Guess.What.Day.It.Is? (Volume Up)


  1. Thank you bougiecattle, Johan Graham
  2. Background on Caleb/Wednesday/Hump Day Posts and Geico’s original commercial: Let’s Hit it Again.

But I can hopefully give someone who’s had a bad day an hour and a half to go into a different world where bills or illness isn’t the top thing on their brain. That’s the only skill set I really have. So I have to keep trying.

The worst thing about being famous for Melissa McCarthy is how hard it’s become to follow strangers around a discount store called Big Lots. This is a shop where you can find, for example, patio furniture, a large rack of lamb, sparkly nail varnish and also an Oscar-nominated actress, twice a week, in sunglasses and facemask, staring at strangers. “It’s my therapy, I just find it wonderful.” she says, lightly.

Not just anyone. She doesn’t want to follow just anyone, she likes to follow, for example, the guy wearing all purple, or with his beard tucked into his belt, or the woman in headphones, singing. “I guess it’s because,” she thinks, “everything we’re sold is about perfection – are you making your own organic baby food? Are you milling your own gluten-free flour? So, I have a true love and obsession for someone who’s just like – this is me.” She grins. “Yes, I get a true rush of joy when I can tell someone’s living just as they want. Somebody who’s, like, really rocking their life, I want to be in their glow for a few minutes. It recharges my batteries.” In another life, would McCarthy be one of those people, roller-skating around a discount store, singing? Would she be beard guy? “I think…” she leans in, “I am one of those people. I am beard guy.” […]

And while McCarthy is known for her charm and good-natured jollity, it’s this kind of thing that brings out the rage in her. “I hate any kind of injustice. And people attacking someone for just trying to be who they truly are. What does it matter to them? Do no harm, be kind – if everyone just followed those two rules, we’d be fine. Not,” as she’s seeing in America right now, “‘you can’t read this book’, ‘You can’t talk about certain histories.’ I don’t have any patience for all that.” When she touches on her angers, she gives a glimpse of the tenacity and grit that doesn’t so much lurk behind her cheery optimism as prop it up and push it forward. “Can you imagine if everybody was just kind for one week? The difference would be so unbelievable I don’t even know how it would feel. And the weird thing is, it’s just… not that hard to do?” […]

“There’s a rhythm or a flow, where my mouth precedes my brain in some form?” It’s not only joyful, she says, “It’s really cathartic….“I can be much better off in life. I spend a lot of my work day just… shredding people, so I’m not screaming at someone at a stoplight because they didn’t go the second it turned green. I can wait a minute. I’m fine. […]

“Comedy allows you to sit next to somebody whose ideas don’t match up. And maybe you come out a little closer. I think that’s what I’m supposed to be doing, in this world.” She thinks. “I can’t do a lot of useful things. I don’t know how to clean up the oceans, or stop our violent tendencies. But I can hopefully give someone who’s had a bad day an hour and a half to go into a different world where bills or illness isn’t the top thing on their brain. That’s the only skill set I really have. So I have to keep trying.” [..]

She has this theory, she says. If two people are standing on opposite street corners, “and one person is screaming hate, just terrible things, while the other person is saying, ‘You’re doing a great job. Keep it up! You’re a good parent!’ everyone’s going to look at the hate screamer, right?” She sighs, it’s what we do, human heads are easily turned. “Partly because, it’s hard to scream compliments. Niceness – it’s not as noticeable. So when I see people out there with microphones literally screaming terrible things, I always want to get like, a slightly bigger microphone.”

This impulse is a trait that she shares with the characters she plays, a compulsion to question the modern world and a bawdy confidence, which inevitably makes everything better. “Actually,” she adds, quite serious now, “I would not mind spending a day on the street corner just randomly complimenting people, really loudly. ‘You have terrific pants on,’ or ‘I love your fringe!’” She thinks for a second. “I’m going to have to do it, aren’t I?” I’m pretty sure, I tell her, she already is.

— Eva Wiseman, excerpts from “Interviewing Melissa McCarthy: ‘I spend a lot of my work shredding people‘” (The Guardian, May 21, 2023)

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call (Volume Up)

Cygnet Wakes. Video (Volume Up) from this morning’s walk at Cove Island Park.  Other photos on FB here.

And, Take 10…Sunday Morning

See more pictures of the Cygnet with Mom and Dad on FB here. Goslings in formation with Mom and Dad here. And daybreak shots here on this morning’s walk at Cove Island Park.

Wally’s Great Adventures (70)

hello friends, wally here. i’m sorry for being away so long. my friend ray from nashville sent me an email and he said it looked like dad dumped me, and that he’s fallen in love with something called a cigaret, or signet or some stoopid white fluffy thing. i thought about that and it all made sense and would explain why i kept asking dad to borrow his laptop and he wouldn’t let me. he must have been sending love notes to his cigaret. and, oh, just when you think it couldn’t get worse, mom dropped me off at the vet, who shaved my paw, stuck me with a needle, and then everything went blurry and I was out. when i got up, i looked down and i was missi’g my ballies! and it hurt so much down there. i was so shocked to see they were missing that I must have passed out again. when i got up, mom and dad were waiting but dad said he couldn’t bear to look. i asked him how did he think i felt, and he just shuddered. then we came home and mom said that i had to wear a plastic lampshade on my head. and i had to agree with dad, i looked like a circus monkey and dad refused to let me wear a lamp on my head. vet also said that i couldn’t jump and run too much for two weeks, TWO WEEKS! dad said no almost-show-quality dog of his would be off the grid for 2 weeks and interrupt training…but for a few days i’m resting, taking short walks with mom and going on car rides with dad. so that’s it for now. Wally.

And, Take 9…

See more pictures of the Cygnet with Mom and Dad on FB here. And daybreak shots here on this morning’s walk at Cove Island Park.

And, Take 8…

See more pictures the Cygnet with Mom and Dad on FB here. And daybreak shots here on this morning’s walk at Cove Island Park.

Lightly Child, Lightly.

I like to follow the path that nature gives me. Much of what happens in life is not in my power; most events are the outcome of stuff that happened thousands of years ago and will have outcomes of their own in years to come. I adapt and enjoy and refuse to fight the things that can’t be fought, I let go of the questions that cannot be answered and instead I push at doors that fall open to my touch and ignore the ones that resist too much. I have worked hard, tried hard, learned that life has flow and that resisting it brings problems. I’ve known people who fight too hard for what they want—fighting and wanting become a way of life and they never stop and never get happy. I ride streams that are going my way, share moments with people who are friendly, stroke relaxed dogs and approachable cats, cut the grass when the sun shines, shelter when it rains, and so on. Instead of standing in the ocean and feeling its swell pushing at me, trying to resist its push and then staggering and falling, I like to lift my feet just a little and be lifted. Bobbing effortlessly along like a leaf in a rill, turning this way and that to look at the world as it passes—enjoying the ride. That doesn’t mean simply accepting the ways of people. Injustice, cruelty and greed must be addressed, but I try to do it with love, with understanding and compassion. Not to confront, but to gently open a better, kinder desire-path for the stream to flow into because it’s easier. Some people, of course, are beyond the ability to change and so must be resisted. It’s not all plain sailing.

I wasn’t always a follower of the path. I wanted to be a writer and I tried so hard, entering, applying, but the doors remained so tightly closed that my knuckles bled from knocking. Then I gave up fighting and fell in love again with life, wrote the poetry of my days and the things that woke me in the early hours, demanding to be held in the mind for a moment and be seen. Now I don’t care about ‘being’ anything, I like writing for fun. Desire got in the way and slowed me down. I do what the moment tells me to do, instinctively. Of course I make plans of a vague, uncertain kind but I’m not overly attached to them.

—  Marc Hamer, Spring Rain: A Life Lived in Gardens (Greystone Books, April 4, 2023)




  1. Thank you Horty for sharing a photo from a friend who is visiting Egypt!
  2. Background on Caleb/Wednesday/Hump Day Posts and Geico’s original commercial: Let’s Hit it Again.
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