Guess.What.Day.It.Is?

Robyn Davidson, who didn’t exactly set out to write about walking at all, but did so brilliantly in the course of her Tracks, a book recounting her 1,700-mile trek across the Australian outback to the sea with three camels (sponsored, like Jenkins’s odyssey, by the National Geographic Society). Midway in her journey, she explains its effect on her mind: “But strange things do happen when you trudge twenty miles a day, day after day, month after month. Things you only become totally conscious of in retrospect. For one thing I had remembered in minute and Technicolor detail everything that had ever happened in my past and all the people who belonged there. I had remembered every word of conversation I had had or overheard way, way back in my childhood and in this way I had been able to review these events with a kind of emotional detachment as if they had happened to somebody else. I was rediscovering and getting to know people who were long since dead and forgotten. . . . And I was happy, there is simply no other word for it.”

— Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking 


Notes:

Walking. In White.

3:35 a.m. Restless. Lousy night’s sleep. (Again.) Co-pilot is fast asleep next to me. She dreams of bunny rabbits and puppies. I’m being chased by failure and mortality. Any wonder why you don’t sleep?

Yesterday morning: “Are you getting tired of the same walk?” Translated, she’s getting tired of flipping through the same shots, the same landscapes, morning after morning. “No,” was my monosyllabic response, short, curt, clipped, after 3x years of marriage (I didn’t want to do the math), there was no need for more words.

4:28 a.m. Gear check. Backpack. Camera. Battery. Memory Card. iPhone. Earbuds. Audible Book re: Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking.  I adhere the strap to my right wrist, synch it up, and clip it to camera, listening for the satisfying snap. Secure.

4:33 a.m. I’m out the door.

Day 5x something, just shy of two months. Not a single day missed.  Same route. Near the same time. A five mile walk.  Walmsley to Linden to Hollow Tree Ridge Road to Hillside to Anthony to Brookside to Post to Weed Avenue to Cove Island Park. And back again.

Scene 1.  I’m 1/4 mile out on Hollow Tree Ridge Road and a patrol car stops one street up. Rare to see any traffic this time of the morning. He pauses under the street lamp, looking in my direction. He sees: Man, 6′ 1″, black long sleeved shirt. Black pants. Carrying something black in his right hand. Backpack on his back. Walking briskly. [Read more…]

Tuesday, January 5, 1999

We’ve all heard of that future, and it sounds pretty lonely. In the next century, the line of thinking goes, everyone will work at home, shop at home, watch movies at home and communicate with all their friends through videophones and e- mail. It’s as if science and culture have progressed for one purpose only: to keep us from ever having to get out of our pajamas.

— Mick LaSalle, Chronicle Staff Writer in the San Francisco Chronicle, published Tuesday, January 5, 1999


Notes:

Walking. Anybody Can Do This. (Not)

2:30 a.m., I’m wide awake, ready to start the day. Hello Day!

It’s a few hours before I set off on the 55th consecutive day of a five-mile walk to greet the sunrise at Cove Island Park.

I’m anxious to see what’s in store for me this morning. And worried that I might sleep through the 4:55 am to 5:15 a.m. peak feeding time for the waterfowl. Normal people set an alarm. I have four gadgets on the night stand next to me ready to jump into action. But for some reason I can’t explain, I don’t. I can’t. A life time of never needing an alarm to get up, I’m not going to start now. I don’t change. And, let’s face it, You don’t either.

4:25 a.m.  I gather up the camera gear. I double check to find the memory card is in its place — the recollection of backtracking 1.5 miles three days ago, getting soaked by a sprinkler system that turned on at 5 a.m., cursing the rest of the way home, and needing to take the car to the park for fear of missing feeding time. All of this is fresh. And it ain’t going to happen today.

I throw the sling around my shoulder. Take a long swig of ice cold water. And I’m out the door.

Photography.  Camera. New hobby thing. Mixing it up a bit.

I’ve watched hundreds of instructional videos on Youtube. Paged through the camera user manual – a lot of damn good this did.  Texted back and forth with a buddy who gave me some tips.

ISO. Shutter speed. Aperture.  Exposure Compensation. Continuous tracking. EVF. LCD. Autofocus. Manual Focus. Single Point. Zone. Wide Angle. Tracking. Single shot. Burst. Still. Video.  Good God. My Head is spinning.

Then add to the soup, small (very) buttons. A small, sensitive touchscreen. Clumsy, large hands. Not yet arthritic, thank God, not yet anyway, something to look forward to. Throw in farsightedness, and you have menus and pop-ups jumping in and out. And blood pressure surging. Jesus, I’m of average intelligence, it just can’t be this hard.

And forget the quality (and breathtaking expense) of the camera equipment, lenses, battery (and back up), and memory cards, there’s so much more to this Photography-thing that was lost on me. [Read more…]

Saturday Morning

4-57


Daybreak. Egret. 4:57 & 4:59 am. June 27, 2020. 67° F. Humidity 81%. Wind: 2 mph. Gusts: 3 mph. Cloud Cover: 29%. Weed Avenue, Stamford, CT

T.G.I.F.: Oh there is blessing in this gentle breeze

Oh there is blessing in this gentle breeze
That blows from the green fields and from the clouds
And from the sky: it beats against my cheek,
And seems half-conscious of the joy it gives.
Oh welcome messenger! Oh welcome friend!…
The earth is all before me: with a heart
Joyous, nor scared at its own liberty,
I look about, and should the guide I choose
Be nothing better than a wandering cloud,
I cannot miss my way.

—  William Wordsworth, from “The Prelude: A Parallel Text” (Penguin Classics; Revised edition, May 1, 1996, First published in 1850)


Photo: And gentle breeze there was.  Daybreak. 5:11 am. June 26, 2020. 67° F. Humidity 88%. Wind: 4 mph. Gusts: 6 mph. Cloud Cover: 5%. Weed Avenue, Stamford, CT

Lightly Child, Lightly.

Do you want to see the most beautiful thing I’ve ever filmed? It was one of those days when it’s a minute away from snowing, and there’s this electricity in the air, you can almost hear it. And this bag was just, dancing with me, like a little kid beggin’ me to play with it – for fifteen minutes. And that’s the day I realized that there was this entire life behind things, and this incredibly benevolent force that wanted me to know that there was no reason to be afraid, ever. Video’s a poor excuse, I know. But it helps me remember – I need to remember. Sometimes, there’s so much beauty in the world – I feel like I can’t take it, like my heart is just going to cave in.

— Wes Bentley [Ricky Fitts] American Beauty (1999) Written by Alan Ball. Directed by Sam Mendes.


Notes:

  • Quote via Vale of Soul Making.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?


Notes:

  • In Lifestyle: “Welcome, Lulu: Baby camel born at Al Wadi Desert nature reserve on May 9, 2020. The fluffy little one joins the herd at the Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah destination.”
  • Background on Caleb/Wednesday/Hump Day Posts and Geico’s original commercial: Let’s Hit it Again. Caleb is grounded in Work For Home and can’t come out to play this week.

“Our Lily”, “Arum Lily” and “Lily, Derailed”….

Saboyemichele: with “Our Lily” and “Arum Lily”. “The images above appeared in Lilliput Pocket Omnibus 1937/38 which was a humorous publication produced by Stefan Lorant, a photojournalist, author, and filmmaker. The magazine was known for Lorant’s juxtapositions of images for political or aesthetic effects. The left photo of the dancer was taken by Dr. Krohn from Praha (Prague). The photo on the right was taken by Felix Man. The synergy between these two pictures is visually stunning!

In search of DK’s Lily:

  • 1 hour searching on web to determine what type of lily the Arum Lily was.
  • 1 hour of searching through local garden shops after identifying lily type. (Full Disclosure: Co-Pilot Susan owned this.)
  • $10.50 worth of Calla Lilies.
  • 1.5 hours of photographing bought lilies over 2 days (and trying to get them to stand upright while taking shot. 100+ Lily shots.)
  • 5 minutes to set up this blog post, and 3 seconds to realize that I had misidentified the Lily species. (What type of lily is Arum Lily?)
  • The Lily Journey: Priceless.

 

Come back in next life as? A good novelist. A palm tree in Hawaii.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? Being at home, watching a good movie with my husband. Dining out with good friends.

What is your greatest fear? Fear.

Which living person do you most admire? Both Obamas.

What is the trait you most deplore in others? Bigotry. Narcissism.

What is your greatest extravagance? My Toto toilet.

What is your favorite journey? Coming home.

On what occasion do you lie? When it might hurt someone to tell the truth.

Which living person do you most despise? The one who thinks only of himself. (Fill in the blank.)

Which words or phrases do you most overuse? I’m so glad we had this time together.

What or who is the greatest love of your life? My husband.

Which talent would you most like to have? To play a mean piano. Also, to tap-dance like Eleanor Powell. (For those who are too young, check her out on YouTube.)

What is your current state of mind? Acceptance.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? My tendency to worry about the future if there’s nothing you can do about it.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Career-wise, it would be being the first woman allowed to host a comedy variety show.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be? Person: A good novelist. Thing: A palm tree in Hawaii.

If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be? My spoiled cat.

What is your most treasured possession? My late daughter’s cross necklace.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Hopelessness.

Where would you like to live? Right where I am.

What is your favorite occupation? Making people laugh.

What is your most marked characteristic? Optimism.

What is the quality you most like in a man? A sense of humor and kindness.

What is the quality you most like in a woman? A sense of humor and kindness.

What do you most value in your friends? A sense of humor and kindness.

Who are your favorite writers? John Steinbeck, Joan Didion, Stephen Sondheim, and lately, Randy Rainbow.

Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Atticus Finch.

Who are your heroes in real life? First responders. Caregivers.

What are your favorite names? Carrie, Jody, Erin, Kate, Zoey, Jack, Charlie.

What is it that you most dislike? Egotism and rudeness.

How would you like to die? In my sleep.

What is your motto? To be untouched by success and untroubled by failure.

~ Carol Burnett, from “Carol Burnett Answers the Proust Questionnaire” in Vanity Fair, June 17, 2020.


Portrait: Detroit Free Press. Carol Burnett @ The Golden Globes in 2016

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