Walking. In Sacred Time.

5:15 a.m. Woozy from sleep meds.

Trudge to bathroom. Empty tank. Strip down for morning weigh-in.  Pause. Step over to toilet. Spit. I silently thank Anneli (again) for her tip, every ounce counts. Weigh-in outcome? Flat to yesterday. Could be worse.

Forecast, 19° F. But hold on. With wind chill: 4° F, wind gusts up to 39 mph. Oooooooh.

Body yearns for the warmth of the comforter and the bed. Sean Patrick Mulroy: “Here is what I love about the brain: How it remembers. How it sews what soft it can into a blanket for the nights when I am cold...”

301 consecutive days. Like in a row. Cove Island Park morning walk @ daybreak. Gotta keep the streak alive.

I suit up.  In this order. Underwear. White cotton t-shirt. Wool socks. Another pair of wool socks over top. Gym shorts over underwear. Fleece lined sweatpants over gym shorts. Fleece lined snow pants over the fleece lined sweatpants. Turtleneck over t-shirt. Sweatshirt with hoodie over Turtleneck.  Goose down jacket.  Another goose down jacket over top of the first. Tuk pulled tight over the ears. (Pronounced Tuuuuuuuk.) Hoodie overtop of the tuk.  Hiking boots. Thinsulate gloves (to work the camera dials).  Done! Ready!  I pause to catch my breath, I’m overheating. Wow. I’m coming unglued here. This is Darien, CT for God sakes. Not the Vostok Research Station in Antarctica.

I step out the door. Come on. Hit me. Give me your best shot. [Read more…]

Walking. With Breath-Cloud.

6:00 am.

I’m layered up. From bottom and working up: Wool socks. (2 pair). Long johns. Sweat pants. Snow pants. T-shirt. Long sleeved turtle neck. North Face hoodie. North Face jacket. Tuk, pulled down firmly over the ears. Fur-lined Sorel Boots. Gloves.

And the gear. Air pods. iPhone. Car Keys. Camera bag. Camera(s). Len(s). Memory card. Extra battery. Monopod. Wallet. And a Sling to hold it all.

This ensemble, embarrassing really, for a Canadian, who went to school in Northern Michigan. Man-up has an entirely new convention at middle-age — this not being a trek to the top of the Himalayas.

18° F this morning, wind gusts up to 20 mph. Feels like? 8° F.  Pretty Damn Cold.

I step out of the car at Cove Island Park, and a wind gust delivers its wake-up call. Eyes water. 228 consecutive days on this morning walk. But this one feels like a test. Body doesn’t want any part of this…

“Hey Siri. What time does the sun rise today?” Siri (perky): “Good Morning David. The Sun will rise at 7:14 am today.” She remembered my name! (Blush)

45 minutes until Sunrise. 45 minutes. Wow.

I walk.

Not a single soul out. I tromp out with my snow boots on the uncleared path, taking firm, deliberate, heavy steps, careful not to hit black ice.

Triple layers. All the gear. Anxiety over taking a tumble head first, and the ever-present risk of camera flying into a snow bank. God, I’m tired, and I couldn’t have walked 1/2 mile. [Read more…]

T.G.I.F.: 23° F feels like 13° F

 

 

Weather.com: 34° / Feels like 24° F. Wind gusts 19 mph.


Photo: anji (via Newthom)

Sunday Morning (Feels like 21° F)

Q: How is the goodness of God manifested even in the clothing of birds and beasts?

A: Small birds, which are the most delicate, have more feathers than those that are hardier. Beasts that live in the icy regions have thicker, coarser coats than those that dwell in the tropical heat.

~ Jenny Offill, Weather: A Novel (Knopf, February 11, 2020)


Photo: European Starling by Ostdrossel

Saturday Morning (Low of 19° F)


Photo: (via Your Eyes Blaze Out)

Flying AA 5240. With Grace.

It’s a head cold that won’t release.  Thurs, last week, I wake with a scratchy throat, a cough, and a certainty that this, this thing is sliding, and sliding fast. And it does. And it did. And it’s still here.

I take inventory.

Air travel. Hands laid down on arm rests, where hundreds of others set down exactly in the same spot. American’s Clean-up crew, not enough of them, mop up major spills. Most arm rests sit untouched by the cleaning rags, or maybe they are touched, with the same rag passing from one arm rest to the other to the other. Petri dishes, waiting.

Airline club. I brush away crumbs of food on the seat and the arm rest. Coffee cups, soiled napkins, all sit stacked on the side table. One cup, 3/4s full, has a lipstick tattoo, and a fingerprint, a thin film from hand lotion leaving traces of her DNA. I shift in my seat, the freshly painted Quiet room can’t hide its fatigue from the thousands that pass through the day. It groans, Give me your Tired, Your Hungry, Your Rich, all sequestered in this Oasis a few minutes before boarding. Passing our crumbs, paying it forward.

Long term rehab facility. Walking down the hall. Avoiding a stare in each room. Ventilators pumping oxygen. 24×7. Pumping. Pumping. Why is she here? Why is he here? Does she ever get out of bed? How does she not get bed sores?  I turn the corner to my Brother’s room. A roll of the dice and he’s here. Here. Inside. I’m Outside. His roommate. A Veteran. (?) Amputee. It’s Veteran’s Day on Monday. Our eyes connect. Good morning I offer. He never responds. He has no bowel control. The Help pulls the thin curtain. It’s OK Sir. No problem. Just turn a little to the left. The smell of disinfectant fills the room, and burns its tracks.  On the flight home, someone has passed gas, the smell detonates in the cabin, the young lady in the seat next to me buries her head in her sweater and whispers: “Disgusting.” I’m brought back to Rehab. Just turn a little to the left Sir.

It starts in the head, the slow drip of fatigue slides like lava and builds, from sinuses down to the toes.  DayQuil every 4 hours. NyQuil before bed. Bed. Sleep. Work. Bed. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep.

This morning. I flip open the smartphone. 26° F, feels like 22°.  And it arrives. Why now, I can’t explain.  Anne Lamott’s ‘mystery of Grace.’  Mucous secretions streaming. This air I breathe. This thick comforter, and the warmth that it offers. This miracle of being here, in this moment, in all of its fog.  I’m Grateful. For all of it.

And, I’m not moving, not from here. Not from this spot. Not today. Not until noon.


Photo: (via Endless Summer)

Lightly Child, Lightly.

This is how you live when you have a cold heart.
As I do: in shadows, trailing over cool rock,
under the great maple trees.

The sun hardly touches me.
Sometimes I see it in early spring, rising very far away.
Then leaves grow over it, completely hiding it. I feel it
glinting through the leaves, erratic,
like someone hitting the side of a glass with a metal spoon.

Living things don’t all require
light in the same degree. Some of us
make our own light: a silver leaf
like a path no one can use, a shallow
lake of silver in the darkness under the great maples.

But you know this already.
You and the others who think
you live for truth and, by extension, love
all that is cold.

Louise Glück, from “Lamium” in Poems 1962-2012


Notes:

  • Glück won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1993 for her collection The Wild Iris. Glück is the recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award (Triumph of Achilles), the Academy of American Poet’s Prize (Firstborn), as well as numerous Guggenheim fellowships.
  • Portrait of Louise Glück by neh.gov.  Poem via misguided ghosts
  • 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.”

32° F (Feels like 26° F)

Silence…

thrilling cold —

so much beauty.

Like breathing pure oxygen.

~ Susan Sontag, from “As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh: Journals and Notebooks 1964-1980


Notes:

  • Inspired by: “The universe is still and complete. Everything that ever was, is; everything that ever will be, is – and so on, in all possible combinations. Though in perceiving it we imagine that it is in motion, and unfinished, it is quite finished and quite astonishingly beautiful. In the end, or rather, as things really are, any event, no matter how small, is intimately and sensibly tied to all others. All rivers run full to the sea; those who are apart are brought together; the lost ones are redeemed; the dead come back to life; the perfectly blue days that have begun and ended in golden dimness continue.” ~ Mark Helprin, Winter’s Tale (via beyondthefieldsweknow.org)
  • Photo Source: Your Eyes Blaze Out

Miracle. All of it.

The Great Cold Snap of 2019 has given us a ton of terms we didn’t know we needed: Frost quakes. Snow squalls. Steam fog. Now we can add another one to the list: ghost apples.  Andrew Sietsema was pruning apple trees in an icy orchard in western Michigan when he came across some.  “I guess it was just cold enough that the ice covering the apple hadn’t melted yet, but it was warm enough that the apple inside turned to complete mush (apples have a lower freezing point than water),” Sietsema told CNN.  “And when I pruned a tree it would be shaken in the process, and the mush would slip out of the bottom of the ‘ghost apple.'”…

~ Doug Criss & Gianluca Mezzofiore, Another byproduct of this extreme cold: ghost apples (CNN, February 8, 2019)


  • Related Posts: Miracle. All of it.
  • Inspiration: Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
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