You will say Fake! I will say No!


DK Photo: Flying to the Moon. 5:36 a.m. 71° F. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT. More luna pictures here.

T.G.I.F. Now. And Now. And Now.

Stony silence as we cross the bridge into Manhattan [Cove Island Park] and the streets [paths] begin slipping past. Every moment of your life brings you to the moment you’re experiencing now. And now. And now. I’ve never have been on the streets [paths] this early [many times], predawn, and the driver [DK] agrees that it’s eerie and perfect.

Jo Ann Beard, Festival Days (Little, Brown & Company, March 16, 2021) (DK-EDITED)


Photos: DK @ Daybreak. 5:04 & 5:15 am, August 5, 2022. 76° F. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT. Other photos from this morning here (landscape) and here (swans).

 

 

Walking. With those unheard are sweeter?

4:50 a.m. Late jump. Scrambling to get out before sunrise. 816 consecutive (almost) days on my daybreak walk at Cove Island Park. 816 days, like in a row.

I walk.

Cloud cover is heavy, humidity is heavier. Twilight is patchy.

I was up late last night reading Seán Hewitt’s memoir All Down Darkness Wide.  He shares an excerpt from a Keat’s Poem: ‘Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard / Are sweeter.’ And Hewitt continues…”And what of them.”

And what of them.

I didn’t find Keats, or poetry, until late in life. And like the toddler scrambling to catch his parent who lurches ahead, I’m still playing catch-up.  I thought I understood the lines, but lacked confidence to say, yep, that’s right, you got it DK.  So, I shut down my Kindle, and googled the lines for an interpretation by Meursault to validate my understanding:

This line from “Ode on a Grecian Urn” is an example of Keats arguing that the power of thought, the imagination and anticipation is often greater than the act itself. Music and “melodies” that are imagined and anticipated are always in tune. They are played perfectly. A melody composed in the mind, cannot possibly be played badly or incorrectly. There is no possibility of error or an imperfect note. Therefore, Keats believes that imagining something brings more fulfillment and contentment than a “real” version ever could. He thinks that anticipation and expectation often outweighs the copy in the real world and that something real can only be disappointing compared to the imaginary.

I re-read the interpretation again, paused, shut down my Kindle, and fell asleep noodling the unheard.

So, back to this morning.

I walk.

…the imagination and anticipation is often greater than the act…they are played perfectly…therefore, Keats believes that imagining something brings more fulfillment and contentment that a “real” version ever could..

To my right, there’s a Great Blue Heron.  His long legs, and webbed feet slide across the ever-so-green algae.

To my left, there’s an Egret, ever-so-white as fresh snow.  Her feet in ankle-deep, cyan (?) tinted water, pausing from fishing for a moment. Go head DK, here’s my good side. I’ll wait for you to get your focus just right.

My imagination bringing more fulfillment and contentment than this?

Sorry.

That’s bullsh*t.


Notes:

  • Photos: DK @ Daybreak. 5:24 a.m. July 30, 2022. 74° F. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT. More photos from this morning here  (birds), and here (landscape)
  • Meursault (John Keats Forum, April 16, 2009)

Walking. With air kisses in the palm of the hand.

3:30 a.m. 809 consecutive (almost) days on my daybreak walk at Cove Island Park. 809 days, like in a row.

Here we go. (Again)

I walk.

Even for me, today’s early. Too early.  The normal shot-clock is exactly 1 hour prior to scheduled sunrise.  And we jumped the gun.  Mistake was checking Dark Sky App before bed.  Clear skies = clear shot at a crescent moon. So, there we were, 3:45 a.m., my date with camera and Luna.

I take a few shots and walk.

Rebecca Solnit in her book Wanderlust: A History of Walking talks about walking as the intentional act closest to the unwilled rhythms of the body, to breathing and the beating of the hearther thoughts were in themselves a form of locomotion. I thought about all this for a moment.  Well, I’m certainly breathing, and the heart is beating, but that’s about it. My a** is dragging. Rhythm? Locomotion? Nothing happening here.

I walk.

In the past month, there have been 3 incidences. A serendipitous meeting of man and a white-tailed deer popping out from behind a tree. Jesus, Bambi, how about a little heads up? I near crapped myself.

The second event earlier this week, I’m looking out for him, and, he’s waiting for me. He takes a few steps onto the shoreline, and then spins, once and then twice in the soft sand, and turns to stare at me.  See? Be happy! I watch this in disbelief. Did that really happen? Lori, what’s the damn word. App…? Appart..? Aprit…?  He prances down the shoreline, legs on giant steel springs, and disappears. [Read more…]

Walking. T.G.I.F.

Good morning.

4:23 am. Day 780 at Cove Island Park. 780 consecutive (mostly) days on my morning walk. Like in a row.

Beautiful morning. 60° F. Soft, gentle breeze.

I walk.

Images in front of me at the Park are repeats. I’m tired. This view is tired. All of it, uninspiring.

And that’s all that this Mind needs, just a sliver of darkness, and it’s match-to-gasoline.  Supreme Court strikes down New York Gun law, expanding concealed carry rights. Jan. 6 panel. Flood of pardon requests. Ukraine. Uvalde. Putin. Afghanistan earthquake kills 1000. New Mexico wildfire. Abortion rights. Gas Prices. Climate Change.

And then, a hardening, the shoulders tensing up, the thighs tight and stiffening, anger rolls up the torso like an incoming storm. Come DK. Snap out of it.

I walk.

I’m on the shoreline. And there they are. He’s embracing her.  They sit quietly and stare out over Long Island Sound.

This image prompts a softening.

Where I see Repeats, they see beauty.  The world awakening.

The image gives me hope.

They give me hope.

We need hope.

Halldór Laxness: “All the same…she was not too old once more to view the future in a dream; in a new dream. To be able to look forward is to live.

Photos from this morning walk here.

 

Let us taste the Strawberry Moon


Notes:

  • Photo: DK of Strawberry Moon. 100% illumination. #1 – 1:43 a.m. from backyard in Darien. #2: 4:27 a.m. Cove Island Park.  And then on cue, pink sky rolled in at 5:19 am @ Cove Island Park.  More on background of Strawberry Moon here. Thank you Christie for the heads up on tonight’s moon show.  (And keeping me up at this ungodly hour!)
  • Post Title from Poem by Lorna: “Let us taste the Strawberry Moon / Wrap us in the light of / The pink dawn-at-night moon / Let’s pretend that June’s perfection / Never ends / That the strawberries and cream of June / Will serve to mend / And to our troubled thoughts / A peace lend.

 

Sunday Morning


George & Grace @ Daybreak. 5:40 am, May 29, 2022. 59° F. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT. More photos from this morning here and here.

Walking. With My Oystercatcher.

She was alone. Some form of birdsong, but at a high (very) pitch.  It’s the long beak that caught my attention. What is it? No clue.

It’s tough to get close in the mucky, low tide. Tough to focus in pre-twilight. I take the half-a**ed shot from way back, wary that if I get another 5 yards closer, she’s gone.

I approach.

Today, 757 consecutive (almost) days on my morning walk at Cove Island Park. Like in a row. And I’m clopping in angle deep mud, hoping that I don’t sink to my knees. Don’t you dare bolt on me.

S: “So when did you become a Birder?” That was Wednesday, several days ago —  and it’s like cupping your hands to your mouth and yelling: So when did you become a Birder?…Birder…Birder…Birder….Birder…on repeat, the echoing Upstairs.

What she didn’t say, but it was back there: “So how long is this NEW obsession going to last.”  After 38 odd years, you sort of have each other figured out. 10 years ago, I would counterpunched: “Be nice if you found any sort of obsession to lock onto.” Instead, I smile, all grown up now. It’s really a strange feeling, this controlling yourself thing.  Destabilizing, really, this letting things go. Come on. Not really letting go. Just setting it in short term parking, and waiting, when the pressure is unbearable, and then release. And carnage. [Read more…]

Walking. In a Flash of White.

Walking.  @ Daybreak.  Cove Island Park.  746 consecutive (almost) days. Like in a row.

Fog. Dense Fog.  (Square alignment with mental state on 4.5 hours of sleep. Yes, we’re back b*tching about insomnia. And we were doing so good.)

No mystical Deer stepping out of the shadows. No Atlantic Gants preening. No Swans-A-Swimming. No Humans. And one Human rapidly losing enthusiasm here.  I adjust the backpack, strap on left shoulder biting. Damn, why so heavy today.

I walk.

The shoreline is layered in fog so dense, air brushes my face with infinitesimal droplets of rain.

My footfall sinks an inch or two into the beach sand.

I walk.

There’s a white flash.  It’s moving too quickly. Auto focus can’t lock in on her, can’t get a clear shot of her in the fog soup.

An Egret.  Legs tucked together tightly, platform diver, wings flapping ever so slowly, all of it keeping her airborne.  Miracle. All of it.

And White. Oh, so white.  Snow white against the all-world gray morning.  A palette no computer can replicate.

Why this white? This so white.

Why not black, or green or fuchsia? Why just egrets this white.  Why not all Birds-of-a-Feather be this white?

And who decided?

And I stand watching. Standing in the same fog. With the same heavy backpack. Yet, all of it is lighter.  Clearer.

Delia Ephron, in her “Left on Tenth: A Second Chance at Life“: “Out of this convoluted, mixed-up thinking, I manage to spin a little hope…I do feel that I was thrust into darkness and given back light. And it opened me up to feeling part of a larger world, I’m not sure why…Like everyone else, I have a time here and it will be over…This gift could be snuffed out at any moment.” 

The image persists… an old black and white photo decaying on its edges…the egret wing flaps…her legs elegantly tucked tight behind her, she flies. Lightly, child. Lightly.

This gift could be snuffed out at any moment.


Note:

  • Photo: Egret, this morning. 5:08 a.m.  Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT.  More Photos from this morning here.
  • Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle.
  • 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.”

this delicate painting will endure

On the shelf in my studio in Bloomsbury are four postcards of paintings that I love: The Blue Rigi, Sunrise by J.M.W. Turner; Stonehenge, a watercolour by John Constable; Self-Portrait by Rembrandt, dated 1658; and The Convalescent by Gwen John.

Just one look at this reproduction of Gwen John’s painting and my breathing becomes easier. The whole composition is a symphony in grey. She must have mixed the colours on her palette first—Payne’s Grey, Prussian Blue, Naples Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Brown Ochre, Rose Madder, Flake White—then all the other colours would be dipped in this combination so that every form is united in grey: the dark blue of the girl’s dress, the thrush-egg blue of the cushion behind her back and the tablecloth, the rose pink of the cup and saucer echoing the delicate pink of her fingernails and lips, the teapot like a shiny chestnut. The wall behind her is flecked with mustard-coloured dots placed randomly and precisely, as marks in nature always are, like the speckles on an egg. The painting is as fragile and robust as an egg—the structure of the composition holds everything in place; this delicate painting will endure.

Gwen John instructs the model to loosen her hair and part it in the middle. She wants the model to resemble her. Before Gwen starts the painting, she positions herself in the wicker chair and tells her model that she must sit in exactly the same pose. Gwen lowers her eyes and holds a small piece of paper in her hands. She is completely still, and her stillness pervades the space around her. The room becomes silent. The model now copies Gwen; she looks down at her hands, and she doesn’t look up until she has heard that Gwen approves.

—  Celia Paul, Letters to Gwen John (New York Review of Books, April 26, 2022)

Walking. Could it be this moment…Could it be…?

55° F.

Soft breeze, a kiss on the cheek. Clouds heavy, but quiet.

Here we are (again), on our daybreak walk at Cove Island Park.  722 consecutive (almost) days. Like in a row.

We’re semi-functioning on 4 hours sleep, maxI can’t sleep.  Near-Dead Man Walking.

I’m at the highest point on the Island, overlooking the expanse of the Sound.

And there it was.

Lori’s Large word: ethereal…So delicate. So light. Lightly Child, Lightly.

“…a light that could be a feeling…”

And the beat of those wings, thrumming inside of me.

“…a sound could be a color”

I’m frozen, eyes locked on the wings…Get the damn camera up Man, get it up!

“…and that heaven could be…this moment…”

Now!

You’re going to remember this…


Notes:

  • Photo: DK @ Cove Island Park, 5:42 a.m. May 12, 2022. More photos from this morning here.
  • Quote: “I hadn’t known that a light could be a feeling and a sound could be a color and a kiss could be both a question and an answer. And that heaven could be the ocean or a person or this moment or something else entirely.” —  Megan MirandaFracture. (Walker Childrens; January 17, 2012) 

Saturday Morning

I love going on walks by myself. No pressure to keep up conversation. And there is something about movement that helps me think. To charge an idea with the body’s inertia. To carry a feeling through the distance and watch it grow.

—  Ocean Vuong, The Weight of Our Living: On Hope, Fire Escapes, and Visible Desperation (therumpus.net, August 24, 2014)


Photo: Daybreak. 5:49 a.m., April 30, 2022. 41° F. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT. More photos from this morning here.

At 63, regret has been a propellant

American culture is saturated with advice on managing regret — which generally amounts to pretending we don’t experience it… The message is clear: Regret is self-defeating, backward-looking, a negative feeling to avoid at all costs.

But for Mariko Yugeta, regret has been a propellant. At 63, the Japanese athlete has quietly become the fastest woman in her age group ever to finish a marathon. She’s a sexagenarian who is beating the times she chased as a promising amateur athlete in her 20s.

After putting her athletic goals aside for decades to raise children and pursue a full-time career, in 2019 she became the first woman over 60 to run a marathon in under three hours. In January 2021, at age 62, she ran her fastest marathon ever, in 2:52:13 — meaning the world records she’s now breaking are the ones she set.

As Yugeta reclaims the dreams she once abandoned, she says her athletic breakthrough is “fueled by regret.”

“I don’t think the feeling of regret is a negative emotion,” Yugeta told me. “What’s negative are thoughts like, ‘I can’t run fast anymore’ or ‘I’m too old to do this,’ and I think that it’s an entirely positive way to live, to use any regrets you might have as motivation to achieve a goal.”

Yugeta didn’t ever stop wanting to win, she explained. “I’ve always wanted to be No. 1,” she told me. “That’s what’s gotten me out the door on rainy and windy days.”

I’d never heard of someone with a comeback story quite like Yugeta’s, which strikes me as a case study in how regret doesn’t have to drag us down. Used the right way, it can inspire us.

“It’s a waste of time to think about days gone by,” she said. “What’s important is the here and now, and the future. How can you improve yourself in the days to come?”

(Read on…)

— Lindsay Crouse, from “A 63-Year-Old Runner Changed the Way I Think About Regret” in NY Times,

Walking. With a Trifecta.

718 days. Almost consecutive. Like in a row.  Morning walk @ Cove Island Park @ Daybreak.

Ritual is all we have. It’s what keeps us from the abyss.”  It’s Jillian Horton’s thought from “We Are All Perfectly Fine,” and there’s zero doubt that she wrote it thinking of me.

Perfectly Fine? Definitely not.

I round the turn into the parking lot. It’s empty. I mean Empty. Not a single parked car. Not a single soul lurking around.

My park. My time. Mine.

I walk.

45° F with 10 mph winds blowing from the NW, keeping this Spring’s Here thing real.

Inhale.

Blossoms.

“…as if a rose were flung into the room, all hue and scent” (Szymborska).

And then, came the Trifecta.

(The first being here, alive, standing in this spot, at this moment.)

The second, Luna peaks out from behind the clouds.  And drops her beam down on Long Island Sound.

And the third, at this exact moment, turning up randomly on my iTunes playlist of 3000+ odd tunes —  My Anthem. Van Morrison, So Quiet in Here.

Where we can be what we want to be
Oh this must be what paradise is like
This must be what paradise is like
Baby it’s so quiet in here, so peaceful in here
So quiet in here, so peaceful in here
So quiet in here, so peaceful in here
So quiet in here, you can hear, it’s so quiet

I raise my camera, focus on the train of her gown, and take the shot.

I’m going to remember this.


Notes:

  • DK Photo. Moonlight @ Daybreak. 5:15 am, April 23, 2022. 45° F. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT.  More photos from this morning here.

Walking. When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber.

I’m thumbing through Instagram yesterday, and be damned if that photo doesn’t come across my feed.  Location? Cove Island Park!

711 days. 711 almost consecutive daybreak walks at Cove Island Park.  Like in a row. And not one, not one, single Eagle sighting.

And if that’s not bad enough, George, 50% of my Swan duo, is posing behind the Baby Eagle, as if to say, wake up idiot. WTH.

I send the photographer (Pituco1501) a note: “Wow. Great shot. I was there this morning and thought I saw an eagle, but then said nah, can’t be.”

I had punched out a text to Susan & Eric seconds after what I thought was an eagle: “Swear I saw an Eagle, but missed the shot!”

Eric replies: “B.S. Dad. It was a pigeon.”

Nice. And this coming from my offspring.

Instagram Photographer replies:  “Thank you so much!!! I know it’s hard to see them. Be patient sooner or later you will!! 🦅🦅”

Nice touch with the Eagle emojis. If I can’t see them live, maybe I can roll around in emojis.

Be patient. Sooner or later you will. 🦅🦅

711 days, and counting.

My God, like when?


Notes:

TGIF: I see the bad moon a-rising


Notes:

  • Post Title: “Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival.
  • DK Photo: Moon. Waxing Gibbous Phase (93%). 52° F. 4:00 a.m. April 15, 2022.

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

All of us are a little untethered right now, which means a lot of projecting our own fears and anxieties onto other people. Sometimes, if we get really quiet—quiet enough to hear ourselves—we realize we know.

Emmanuel AchoIllogical: Saying Yes to a Life Without Limits (Flatiron Books: An Oprah Book, March 22, 2022)


Photo credit: Alessandro Gentile

And then, there was One.


My Swans @ Daybreak. 6:37 am, April 9, 2022. 47° F. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT.More photos from this morning here.

Walking. With a sound we do not hear that lifts the birds off the water.

I know it’s them. It has to be them. They’re back. The geese that I followed last year.  The Female that nested on the dock. The Male the hovered nearby offering ongoing protection.

I scan through old posts to find that it’s been almost one year to the day, April 11, 2021: “Nest. Where you make it.”

I pull into the park, my eyes hungrily seek them again. It’s been a week now since I’ve spotted them. There’s no nest on the platform. But they swim, quietly, alone, together.  Waiting, I would guess, for the Moment.

Their Moment. Bigger than the madness in Ukraine. Or the toxicity of Washington. Or the gang shootings in Sacramento.

And it’s Ilya Kaminsky from “That Map of Bone and Opened Valves” that seemed to capture how I felt as I stared down at them:

It’s the air.
Something in the air wants us too much.
The earth is still…
On the fourth day I touch the walls,
feel the pulse of the house and I
stare up wordless and do not know why I am alive…
a sound we do not hear
lifts the birds off the water.


Notes:

Walking. And licking the wounds.

697 days, almost consecutive. Like in a row. This daybreak walk at Cove Island Park.

38° F, feels like 30° F, flashes Dark Sky app. Sorry, but that’s crap. Winds gusting up to 35 mph.

Just look at those clouds overhead in the photo. Even they’re huddled together trying to stay warm.

I’m standing in the exact same spot as my last post. That pure and clean moment. That soul lifting moment, lifting me, elevating me up and over my pesky, 1st world problems.

And here we are, a week later, and I’m feeling nothing. Nothing spiritual. Nothing soul lifting.

Jill Horton’s words are pumping into my earbuds on Audible from her title “We are All Perfectly Fine.” No, we’re not perfectly fine Jill. “What’s that like? It’s like bullshit…it’s like violence to my soul.

So the picture must be crystalizing for you this morning. We’re cold, we’re in a pissy mood, and not really sure why. Why not turn this bus around, suspend this walk, go back home, roll under the covers and sleep it off? Whatever the hell ‘this’ is. But I know that I excel at wallowing in it.

I keep walking.

I pull the hoody (‘hoody’ Dale, not ‘hoodie’, or some other French Canadian separatist derivation) over my head to cut some of this wind. And I pick up the pace to warm these bones.

I walk the breakwall, taking care to avoid the slime, to avoid a headlong tumble, to add to the morning woes.

I hear a scurrying in the stones.

I hit pause on Audible, yank my ear buds out and stop.

[Read more…]

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