And she said Yes!


Our Rachel, with her fiancé Andrew who proposed last night.

Tuesday Morning Wake-Up Call

Perhaps what eternal recurrence means is not that our life will actually repeat itself forever, but rather that we should not rest content until we have reached a point where we love it enough just as it is, to wish it were indeed so. Play it again, I say.

—  Helen Morrison, (Katie Holmes), Coda (2019)


Notes:

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?


  • Photo: “Camel Herding” by David Swindler: “Since we are in Mongolia, what could be better than taking on the role of a camel herder! It was a cold morning in the Gobi Desert as evidenced by the camel’s breath. Fortunately, we warmed up quickly as we climbed the steep dunes with the camels. Immediately after I snapped this shot, the camel came up and kissed Evelyn on her shoulder. What a memorable morning we had with these magnificent animals!” (Thank you for sharing Christie!)
  • Background on Caleb/Wednesday/Hump Day Posts and Geico’s original commercial: Let’s Hit it Again.

Hear dawn take her first breath

This was also the month (January 1949) Mr. Crockett famously rounded up his charges to watch the sun rise over Babson Park and recite poetry. Sylvia wrote, “The early hour was so that everyone could hear ‘dawn take her first breath’ and thereby reach a higher ‘kinship with infinity.’

— Heather Clark, Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath (Knopf; October 27, 2020)


Notes:

  • Plath was 16 years old at the time she wrote this.
  • Photographs: DK @ Daybreak. Jan 5, 2021. 6:43 to 7:20 am. 33° F. Cove Island Park, Stamford CT. More photos from this morning here.

Sunday Morning

[…] Perhaps you feel it, too, as this long, hard year draws to a close — a newfound tenderness for even the smallest, most familiar sounds and sights and textures of a day, along with a heightened awareness of just how fragile and precious each moment really is. Whether or not we have lost loved ones, jobs, routines, or even faith, none of us are who we were a year ago. We’ve been remade, invisibly yet irrevocably, both by our collective grief and by our dawning recognition of the truth of who we are – connected, interdependent, vulnerable, mortal. And, just perhaps, if we’re lucky, we’ve also been altered by wonder.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’ve learned about myself during these many months of being home and being quiet. And surely the most profound lesson has been that, in spite of everything, there is beauty and meaning to be found in life as it is, right here, right now. It’s become my daily challenge, and my daily choice, to find it. As British botanist Kathleen Basford observed, “It is when we are confronted with poignant reminders of mortality that we become most aware of the strangeness and wonder of our brief life on Earth.”

If this time is our only time, and it is, then surely we do owe it to ourselves, and to each other, to pay attention, to look deeply, to listen closely, and to respond to all of it, somehow, with love and gratitude. […]

In her memoir “Wild,” Cheryl Strayed recalls her beloved mother’s parting advice to her, before her too-early death from cancer. “There is always a sunrise and always a sunset,” she told her daughter. “And it’s up to you to choose to be there for it. Put yourself in the way of beauty.”

“Put yourself in the way of beauty.” It’s such a simple instruction. And yet, what a powerful and useful reminder this is as we cross the threshold into an even more challenging time. A reminder that we do have a choice to make each day, no matter how dark and difficult the path may be. We can choose where we put our attention, what we share, what we bow to, what we love – not in spite of what else is going on around us, but because of it. […]

—  Katrina Kenison, from “choosing beauty” @ katrinakenison.com, December 31, 2020


Notes:

  • Putting myself in the way of beauty again this morning.  DK @ Daybreak. Jan 4, 2021. 6:30 to 7am. 30° F. Cove Island Park, Stamford CT.

Cold Moon

“The moonlight through the windshield. No one talks.”

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


Notes:

  • Photo: DK. 6:35 p.m. Dec 28, 2020
  • “December’s Cold Moon reaches peak illumination on Tuesday, December 29, 2020, at 10:30 P.M. EST. Why is it called the Cold Moon? The Moon names we use in The Old Farmer’s Almanac come from Native American, Colonial American, or other traditional sources passed down through generations. A variety of Native American societies traditionally used the monthly Moons and nature’s corresponding signs as a calendar to track the seasons. Today, December’s full Moon is most commonly known as the Cold Moon—a Mohawk name that conveys the frigid conditions of this time of year, when cold weather truly begins to grip us. Other names that allude to the cold and snow include Drift Clearing Moon (Cree), Frost Exploding Trees Moon (Cree), Moon of the Popping Trees (Oglala), Hoar Frost Moon (Cree), Snow Moon (Haida, Cherokee), and Winter Maker Moon (Western Abenaki). From The Old Farmer’s Almanac: “Full Moon For December 2020“.

 

Weekend Plans


Photo of Rachel’s Sully.

Merry Christmas

The picture was taken last night. Part of a family tradition that Grandma started years and years ago —  Grandma sends her gifts which they open on Christmas Eve. It’s always pajamas. The ritual never grows old, and has travelled with us as we moved from city to city, and from house to house, chasing a Life.

It’s 5 a.m. It’s silent now, but for the high winds howling outside my window. The moment reminds me of their younger days, when we lived in much smaller quarters.

We call out good night to each other down the hall. How beautiful, the way that children sleep so deeply and peacefully that their parents’ voices do not wake them.” (Elizabeth Alexander, “The Light of the World: A Memoir.”)

I sit, writing this post. It’s quiet but for my breathing. A tear slides down my cheek.

Martin Amis said that “Time has come to feel like a runaway train, flashing through station after station.”  Melancholy sweeps over me —  I wonder how many more Christmas moments are left before they move on with their lives.

Maybe one more. Please, give us at least one more…

Merry Christmas.

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call


Daybreak. December 21, 2020. 6:45 to 7:46 am. 34° F. Cove Island Park, Stamford CT

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…]

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