Walking. With Ennui.

5:25 a.m. Here we go again. 849 consecutive (almost) days on my Daybreak walk at Cove Island Park. Like in a row.

I gather my camera gear, sleep walking through the ritual now. Insomnia rages, 6 days running. No, I haven’t taken your suggested witches’ potions — that is, banana before bed, tonic water, melatonin, magnesium, and all that other voodoo shit that I can’t seem to even try. What’s the definition of insanity? Doing the same shit over and over again and expecting a different result. Well, here we are. On the 5:30 am Insanity Bus to Cove Island Park.

I get out of the car. I reposition the pack on my back, then the camera, all of it, heavy, unsettled, unsettling.

I walk.

I’m woozy, stewing in a brew of vertigo and fatigue. Brew…Brew…feelings brewing. I’m at the opening of Maddie Mortimer’s Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies: “Feeling brews itself in different locations, depending on the body. A man’s most honest impulses may begin in his hands or his heart, his toes, throat, fingers or thighs. Lia felt most things first in her stomach.” There’s nothing spectacular going on in this body right now. Spent immediately comes to mind. I slow my pace to get a grip.

I walk.

Mortimer goes on to use the word “ennui“, a Lori-word. I had to look it up…a feeling of utter weariness and discontent…world-weary sensation…soul-destroying fiend.”

I walk.

Adding to the ennui is an “off day” for photo taking. We’ve got the 3 impeding elements: (1) No cloud cover of any type. (2) High tide and (3) Humans. With sun rising later, the tourists are out. In force.

I walk.

I turn off the shoreline, finding nothing enlightening, and move to the walk path.

Man, tourist, adult, not a regular at Cheers here on the Daybreak walks, approaches. He’s shouting into the speaker of his smartphone. He’s FaceTiming. The participant on the other side of the call shouts back. And the back and forth continues, shattering the silence of daybreak.

I move left on the path directly in his lane, thinking this may jog him in lifting the receiver to his ear, or better yet, ending the call. No such thing happens. He shifts to the other side of the path to avoid me. I glare at him, he smiles back and continues his conversation. Idiot, oblivious to the world around him.

My irritation bleeds off, and I walk.

[Read more…]

God Found in Ōita!

2:30 a.m. Here we go again.

I’m up. Three days, back to back to back, at this God-awful hour. Three days, standing in bare feet on cool grass, with my camera pointed up, trying to still my hands, trying to still my arms, just trying Still everything damn it, from the shakes — and then, if that’s not enough — my eyes are tracking the moon, aka a bright, yellow blob that is spastically jumping up and down in my viewfinder. So, now I have the shakes and vertigo.  Has to be the lack of sleep. Has to be.

Rattled, I walk to the driveway, slowly, feeling my way through the dark, with jagged stones piercing the souls of my feet. Need to resurface this damn driveway. 

I lay my arms on the roof of the car, and point upward. Why 2:30 a.m., and not 1:30, or 3:30, or even 5 am, like at least 10% of Humans? God, again, only knows, if there is a God. And I’m thinking maybe there is a God, because Someone wants me up to see Something at this hour.

I look back into the viewfinder. Sh*t. This isn’t working.

I place the camera down on the roof of the car, and let my arms rest.  Sky is clear. No risk of missing the shot with cloud cover. Take a minute, re-group and go at it again.

I look up and down the street.  No one else is out in their Jockey sleep shorts, their short-sleeved, white V-Neck, lurking around in bare feet waiting for their hands to stop trembling like a frightened kitten.

I lift my palms and look. Everything appears to be normal, on the surface.

I take a moment to re-check camera settings. Then I move to the lens settings. And here I find that I somehow turned off the automatic image stabilizer. Ha! It’s not me. I just knew it couldn’t have been me.

I snug up tight to the car, the smooth steel, cool against my chest. With the ship now anchored, I lift the camera and point.  And, there, there She is, in all of her Glory.

So there is a God.

Just has to be.

Sitting @ Canon in Ōita, Japan.


Photo – Waning Gibbous Moon (57%). 2:38 a.m. August 19, 2022. 63° F. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT. More photos from this morning here.

T.G.I.F.


Source: poppins-me

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


Notes:

Walking. With Birdie.

4:55 a.m. 823 consecutive (almost) days on my daybreak walk at Cove Island Park. 823 days, like in a row.

I walk.

It’s hot. Like 76° F and it’s not even 5 am yet.  It was Eugenides who said: “It was one of those humid days when the atmosphere gets confused…you could feel it: the air wishing it was water.”

Yet, there was zero confusion here. I’m wearing long pants and a long sleeve shirt — because, I’ll be damned if I’m going to be scratching myself for the next two days from gnat bites. I would rather suffer through the heat, and b*tch about it, than let those pesky SOBs feast on me. DK 1, Gnats, no bloody chance.

But, it’s hot. On top of the long pants, long shirt, and the white, just-under-the-knee sweat socks, I’m dragging this backpack around, just in case some miracle of a bird sighting will require a long zoom lens. Take 1 day off, you obsessive, compulsive, maniacal idiot, or is it manic?… and leave the bag in the car.

I loosen the straps on the backpack, and shift the load a bit to rebalance, thinking this will help. It doesn’t.  Why is it so bloody heavy? [Read more…]

Walking. With Raspberry Syrup. (Part 1)

4:35 a.m. I pull into the parking lot. It’s been 805 consecutive (almost) days on my daybreak walk at Cove Island Park. 805 days, like in a row. 800 days from now, will I still be doing this? 

Ingrid Rojas Contreras’ “The Man Who Could Move Clouds: A Memoir” is pumping into my head. “The grooves of thought that surfaced, the tracks our minds insisted running on, catching always at the same places.

I strap on the backpack.

I walk.

There’s a deep pull in my right calf. What the hell is that?  I keep walking. Stop. Reach downward, feeling the back of my leg, careful not to let the weight of the backpack tip me over.  It’s tender.  Wow. WTH is this?

I walk.

But, I can’t shake it. Mind scurries in search of the root cause of This. Ah yes.

Leg cramp, 1 a.m. Deep leg cramp, that just won’t let go. I roll over, but it won’t release its grip, tightening and tightening. I struggle to get up, then get upright, then apply full pressure through the grip.

It begins to ease.

I sit on the edge of the bed, breathing heavily.

I replay yesterday’s intake:

  • Couldn’t have been the 4 pieces of Susan’s birthday cake.
  • Couldn’t have been the 4 packages of Welch’s Mixed Fruit Gummies. Yummy gummies, fruit juice coating my teeth and tongue, slithering down my throat.
  • Couldn’t have been the 3 bottles of Zero Sugar Snapple Lemon Tea. Zero-Sugar. Right. 
  • Couldn’t have been the heaping bowl of Vanilla Bean Häagen-Dazs ice cream topped with chopped nuts and Stonewall Kitchen Raspberry Syrup. Flashback, way back, to the DQ Sundaes, dripping with strawberry sauce. But this Stonewall stuff, this syrup, is altogether at another level. If there was a God, there is no doubt he bathes in this.

So, back to the leg cramp. I turn to slide under the covers, and there she is, sleeping. She’s got her eye mask on.  She has her ear plugs in. She hasn’t shifted, she hasn’t moved, her soft snore continued uninterrupted through it all as she dreamt about bunnies playing in the grass or some sh*t like that.

And here, like 2.5 feet from her, a mere 3 minutes ago, her husband of almost 40 years is freakin’ dying.  I’m mean DYING.  He’s rollin’ around moaning, I mean MOANING.  It could have been a heart attack for God sakes. Take all that bloody sleep gear off, get your ass up and give me CPR or Something.

I listen to her soft snore.

Till death do us part.

I was seconds from that.


Notes:

  • Photos: DK @ Daybreak. 5:15 am, July 19, 2022. 71° F. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT. More photos from this morning’s walk here.

T.G.I.F.


Source: JFF Book Publishing (via Nini Poppins)

Walking. With Memoir (or Musings) of a Madman.

4:05 a.m. I step up to find that my digital scale is still on the fritz. First a lost wifi-connection, which I fiddled with for 30 minutes yesterday.  And now, it just flashes and stares at me. I step off and on again, but it will not read out my weight. Now if that’s not telling you Something...I stand on it, staring down at it, a few body movements away from heaving it out the 2nd floor window. I step off, stare at it again, and leave it alone (for now). I’m not done with you yet.

Here we go (again.) 799 (!) consecutive (almost) days on my daybreak walk to Cove Island Park.  Like in a row.

Humid. Breezy. 72° F. Low tide. 25% cloud cover. Few humans. Magnifico.

I walk.

And, there she is. A Black-Crowned Night Heron. For some reason, I’ve being seeing these birds everywhere. Like they are plants by Someone or Something extraterrestrial trying to send me a message. Look at her dummy.  Pause. Wait. Stand. Look. Watch. Contemplate. What’s the rush?

She’s certainly not my spirit bird, the cormorant.  But the anti-me. So patient. So stoic. So calm. Standing there in water up to her ankles waiting for breakfast.

So, I do. I stare at her.  But, there’s something else gnawing at me. It’s that super thin, long white plume growing from the back of her head.

And the question is why?

Who decided it needed to be white? And not blue, orange or black.

Why super-thin and not a feather?

Who decided there needed to be a plume at all?

And, of the billion things to look at this morning, why are you locked in on this plume?

Flaubert continues in Memoirs of a Madman and November (1901), and he didn’t have Google or the internet:

Madness is the doubt of reason.
Perhaps it ‘is’ reason.
Who can prove it one way or the other?


Notes:

  • Photos from Daybreak walk at Cove Island Park this morning, @ 4:52 am. to 5:45 am. July 13, 2022, 72° F.  More photos from this morning here.
  • Post title inspired by: “But for the man who watches the leaves trembling in the wind’s breath, the rivers meandering through the meadows, life twisting and turning and swirling through things, men living, doing good and evil, the sea rolling its waves and the sky with its expanse of lights, and who asks himself why these leaves are there, why the water flows, why life itself is such a terrible torrent plunging towards the boundless ocean of death in which it will lose itself, why men walk about, labor like ants, why the tempest, why the sky so pure and the earth so foul – these questions lead to a darkness from which there is no way out.” Gustave Flaubert, Memoirs of a Madman and November (Hesperus Classics, 2003)

Walking. In Pursuit of Stalker.

4:40 a.m. Daybreak walk at Cove Island Park. 788 consecutive (almost) days. Like in a row.

Yesterday, Eric (#1 Son; #1 on most days) and I were at the kitchen table having lunch.  Popeyes Spicy Chicken Sandwiches (and Cajun Fries). If you haven’t tried it, it is absolutely the best.  (And yes, it easily tops Chick-fil-A, Shake Shack, McDonald’s and Wendy’s. I know.)

Now, what isn’t as easily digested, are the calorie counts.  Chick-fil-A @ ~ 500 calories.  Popeyes sandwich tops 1200 calories. Add 800 calories for the fries, and what you have here is FDAs maximum calorie intake for an entire day, in a matter of < 10 minutes.

So, I step on the digital scale this morning…flashing, flashing, flashing, measuring, measuring, measuring, weighing, weighing, weighing…an interminable wait, that couldn’t have been more than 2 secs,….Then boom it locks in: + 2 lbs, day over day. WTH!

Mind races through yesterday’s meals.  Ah yes, Popeyes. Plus, 1760 mg of Sodium in the fries.  Another 1460 mg of sodium in the Chicken Sandwich = 3220 mg in < 10 minutes, a whopping 1000 mg over what FDA recommends daily.

That’s what we have here. An, old, fat, nearly retired, giant Salt Lick.  Disgusting.  Disgusted. So, was it worth it? You work so hard to cut weight and then blow it all up in < 10 minutes of food porn lust. 

I think about this while I’m standing on one leg, balancing, wondering if I have another 5 years to live. Yep, I’d have Popeyes again today for lunch, identical order. Saliva builds.

So, back to yesterday’s lunch.  Eric tells me that his Buddy was chatting with a friend of his who happened to mention that she walks at Cove Island Park each morning to catch the sunrise.  Buddy proceeds to tell her about his best friend’s Dad and his daybreak walks at Cove Island Park.  Eric, continues, “I think she said something like: ‘You know, I see this older guy at the park every morning. Backpack. Camera gear.  Doesn’t ever say anything. Really keeps to himself. Strange guy.'”

“She said that? Exactly that?” [Read more…]

Walking. Bring out your Dead!

It all started with an article Susan sent me. This one or something like it: 10-second balance test could predict longevity. “The inability to stand on one leg for 10 seconds in mid to later life is linked to a near doubling in the risk of death from any cause within the next 10 years, according to research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.”

I try to ignore it. Put it out of mind. Impossible.

So, it’s 4 am, yesterday morning, and I’m standing in the bathroom, trying to balance on my left foot. Counting down 10-9-8-7-6… I reach for the counter.  You have got to be kidding.

I go at it again.  Whispering the count down, 10-9-8-7… I reach for the counter again. OMG. I can’t do it.

I pause, inhale, and while balancing on my right foot, I reach down for my sock and put it on my left foot. No problem. I got this.

I’m brushing my teeth, and my attention is drawn back to the sock on my left foot.  OMG, I put the right sock on the left foot. 

I rush back to review the article, to see if the study found any connection to Alheizmer’s. Wow, thank God for that.

Later that day, I tell Susan the story of the balance-thing and the right sock on the left foot.

She knows that I have sh*t for balance, unable to stand on one foot for any length of time before toppling. Barely able to navigate on two feet. Can touch my toes, but no more. Not bendy. Nothing there. Not going to happen.

And after 38+ years of marriage, you know, you just know with certainty what comes next.

And you think that an adult, a defined term for what I am supposed to be at this stage of my life, I can stand quietly, watch the performance, listen, smile, and say something polite: “Wow, that’s so good.” “Or that’s nice.”

She starts her demonstration. She’s standing on one foot. Think Karate Kid.  You know the Crane Kick.  Then she moves to Yoga. The Tree Pose.  Warrior Three Pose.  Then she moves to the floor. Downward facing dog. Up dog. Before you know it, she’s gone through her entire Vinegar Flow or Vin-Damn-Something.

OMG. Sorry. I can’t take it. I’ve seen this performance hundreds, maybe thousands of times, or 300 iterations of it.  She’s a retired high school and collegiate gymnast. Now amateur yoga enthusiastic. I just can’t take it.

She’s on the floor, rolling around doing her Dog Sh*t —  I turn my back and start walking away.  I know it’s rude, but I- just-can’t-take-it-anymore.  She’s mumbling something about Hare Krishna, my back to her, her voice fading as I make my way up the stairs. My God, JUST STOP. [Read more…]

Walking. With Frost’s Road Not Taken.

4:16 a.m. Day #774, consecutive (almost) daybreak walks at Cove Island Park. Like in a row.

I’m on I-95 heading North, mixing it up this morning and heading to Calf Pasture Beach.  It’s a big deal for this Plow Horse to shift one step to the left, or shift one step to the right, the plow cutting the same furrow deeper. No chance of surprises when one is going straight, and straight down.

Back to I-95. It’s me, the Truckers, and hopefully not the drunks.  I’m in the speed lane, a giant tandem tractor-trailer to my right, driver has his window open taking in the cool morning breeze.  I glance over. I do everything in my power not to pump my fist in the air with the trucker salute to prompt a blast of his air horn.  Apparently it’s a dying tradition. Jesus, how old are you. And for all I know, it could be mistaken for a proposition. Keep your bloody hands down.

I approach the parking lot, it’s full, and cars line the shoulder.  And this being 4:29 a.m.  Irritated. WTH is this?

I pull up on the sidewalk, shut down the ignition, and watch. High School. Graduation parties. Sunrise. God, how long ago was that for me? OK. This wasn’t meant to be.  Just go home. No, you came this far. Come on. Just take a few shots and then you can go.

I watch kids pour out of their cars. Boomboxes blaring Rap. Peaceful easy feeling. (Not.)

I walk down the street and around the crowd that’s building on the shoreline.  I take one shot. That one above, and head back to the car. Not interested in tangling with some drunk, testosterone raging teen. Just like the smart-a** idiot you were then.

I’m in the car and back on the road, and the mood sinks. Road less taken, turns to be a bust. Let’s go home. Eat half a dozen glazed donuts. That’ll bring some joy for a moment. Palahniuk: “A moment was the most you could ever expect from perfection. You wake up, and that’s enough.And then the mountain of regret torpedos you for the rest of the day. [Read more…]

Walking. Sunday Morning. DK Saves.

Let’s just get to the punch line of this story. (Oh, btw, it’s 724 consecutive (almost) days on my Daybreak walk at Cove Island Park. Like in a Row.)

There it lay.  At the end of my walk. An Atlantic Horseshoe Crab. Flat on its back. Nothing delicate or beautiful about this alien-looking thing. I’m sure its Mother loved it.

Its Telson was slapping back and forth. (Telson = Tail.  And of course I didn’t know that it was called a Telson. Googled it.) Creature was caught way up on the beach, tide shot out, and here we are. In Deep Shit. And you thought you were having a bad day?

I’m staring at the Telson (and yes, I’m going to keep repeating Telson like some career Marine Biologist)…and I’m wondering if its Telson carries electrical current. Or like a skunk, backs up its ass and spews sulfuric sh*t all over my camera gear.  Or like a Cephalopod, shoots ink all over me, seeping into my skin, and poisons me.

Stamford Daily reports: “Idiot found dead on Cove Island Beach trying to save Horseshoe Crab. Good News though, his death wasn’t for naught. It was notable that he was found flat on his back, like the Horseshoe Crab he was trying to save – – his mouth wide open, teeth blackened with Cephalopod ink, with his arms straight up in the air, because no matter what, the camera gear needed to remain undamaged.

Per NatGeo, Horseshoe Crabs have been around for 450 million years. And here I am, Human, around an eye twitch of that time, trying to assess the probability of being electrocuted or poisoned.  I could have pulled out my smartphone and Googled it to be sure…but this gives you a full measure of this man…not a lot of depth, prefers to let the mystery of life and its currents drag him along to the finish. And ‘hopefully’ that Finish isn’t this morning.

So, there I am. Staring down on Horsey.  His limbs and Telson desperately seeking salvation. [Read more…]

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. [Read more…]

Lightly Child, Lightly

why don’t you read a poem about the sunrise written 5 centuries ago and contemplate the fact that we have been writing about the same sun for centuries upon centuries and then maybe you’ll calm down

—  Michael


Notes:

  • Photo: DK – 5:25 a.m., April 18, 2022. Sunrise @ Calf Pasture Beach, Norwalk, CT. More photos here.
  • 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.”

The First Visit. With PCP. (Part 1)

Her hair looked like this, sort of. But, oh, so much better. My first visit to this office, and the eyes, as they do, scan the room, its occupants, and then lock in on the hair. “How smart and understanding nature is, always leading us to the most beautiful!” (P. Highsmith)

I’m sitting on the examination table. Anxious. The paper, Crepe I think they call it, so very thin, so very smooth as the hand glides over its surface, crinkles as I shift. For protection, I’m sure, from bacteria of others. I lift my hands from the unprotected edges of the table, and put them in my lap.

I wait.

There’s a double tap on the door, and Hair walks in.

She’s masked. I’m masked. Breath flows up my mask, fogs up my glasses. Is that claustrophobia or vertigo? My head spins. I remove my glasses. Get a grip Man.

Locs? Dreadlocks? Dreads?  Come to think of it, I’ve never been this close to Hair like this.

“Sir? Are you OK?”

“I’m sorry. My mind drifted for a moment.” Please God, tell me that I didn’t try to touch her Hair. [Read more…]

Walking. With a Google Misfire.

3:30 a.m. Rain patters on the roof.

Morning papers. Blog posts. Emails. I flip through the final chapters of Sarah Manguso’s Very Cold People. (Well written, disjointed, disappointing. Several hours of my life I won’t get back.)

And poof, several hours pass. Just like that.

Google:  “54° F. Wind Gusts up to 42 mph. Light rain. Hard rain in 55 minutes.”  54° F, on Feb 18? Say what?  Hard rain in 55 min. Bah! When were you ever this precise? There’s time.

Light rain sprinkles as I make my way around the park. Wind gusts, at my back, are as forecasted.

But “Hard Rain?” None.

It’s been 655 days. 655 almost-consecutive-days on these morning Cove Island Park walks. Like almost 655 days in a row, and not one day have I been caught out in a rain storm.

I’m out at the farthest point in the park. [Read more…]

T.G.I.F.


Source: Peanuts via Mondo Shop

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?


Notes:

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?


Notes:

Alkalizing Self. Or, Something.

I mean seriously. Look at him. Is this a picture of sanity?

First it was a gentle nudge.

She sends me an article. “You might check this out.”  I skim it.

“The Ice Man.”

“Ice baths.”

“Deep breathing”

“Inner fire meditation and how it alters body chemistry.”

“You can experience lightheadedness, as the arteries and veins to the brain and body close slightly in reaction to the alkalizing blood.”

“You are inducing voluntarily a short stress response which ultimately will lead to more resilience towards everyday stress, mentally and physiology and feeling more in control.”

Blah, blah, blah. Total Bullsh*t. Whack job.

A few days pass.

She comes at me again. [Read more…]

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