Running. No More. (For now)

“Running is practice for not quitting.”

A line from Robert Andrew Powell’s Memoir titled ”Running Away.”

Unclear why the line stuck after I read it in Beth’s post titled Custodians of the Peace of Mind. But stuck it has. Who’s my Custodian?

Running is practice for not quitting.

It’s been a month. Every day. Every.Single.Day. 

Out the door at ~5 am. Backpack over left shoulder, camera in right hand. Both hands occupied, smartphone tucked away, and inaccessible.

I walk.

5 mile loop.  1.5 hours. 50-70 photos. Every morning.

Followed by a photo upload to the P.C.

Then a slow page turn of the pics.

And a deletion of the misfires.

Then a creation of a Google Photo Album, “June 6 2020 Cove Island Park Walk

Then I connect the Day’s album to the Google Nest Hub Max via my smartphone, which rotates each photo in a slide show on a 10 sec delay.

And, we have a new performance each day.

I’ve moved the Hub Max next to my PC, and there it sits with me, from 7am to 7pm, my entire work day.

Photo’s on the slide show, click, click, click, click. And for that second, I’m swept back to that moment when I took the shot.

During conference calls. During Zoom meetings. During email replies. During text exchanges. Those pictures, that I took, that I made, that captured some beauty in my eye, causing me to stop, and pause, and see…and then snap. They draw me gently away from Work, to the Moment.

Louise’s blog post this morning lands softly. “We call home through everything I do. Everything I create. Everything I am.”

Running is practice for not quitting. I believed this in my bones.

But I’ve quit.

And I like it.


Photo: 6:07 a.m. this foggy morning. 67° F. Wind: 5 mph. Cloud Cover: 68%.  Long Island Sound from Weed Ave, Stamford, CT.

Saturday Morning

5:02 a.m. I’m out the door. 65° F.  Hass: “Still. Not a breath of wind.

Morning routine since May 5th sans running. 5 mile round trip walk to Cove Island Park. New thing, this walking thing. Camera forces me pause, to stop. Apple Watch flashes “Finished Your Workout?” And offers up two options, “End Workout” & “Pause.” I stare at the both options. Even looking at “Pause” makes me uncomfortable.

I look for my Canada Geese and their two offspring. They never disappoint. Fluffy youngsters, hungry, pecking away at the grass. Mother hisses. Hey, I’m Canadian too, cut me some slack!

I look for my Swans, mates, sleeping with their necks tucked back under their wings, floating on their water bed on high tide.

I look for my trio of mallards, two females and the polygamist. Skittish.

I look for my Loon, solo, always solo, fishing. She dives deep. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44…and she’s back up on top. I catch myself inhaling, a deep breath for you girl.

I look for my Egrets. Pure white, as snow.  Heart sinks a wee bit in their absence.

I tune into Fenton Johnson‘s new book on tape At the Center of All Beauty: Solitude and the Creative Life and I’m swept away by the narration: “If the journey through our interior landscape is so critical to our characters, let us become more informed and responsible travelers. Let us start by turning off our phones and spending more time alone…with the red semaphore atop the cell tower blinking on, off, on, off, presence, absence, presence, absence. I bask in this lovely stream of words…thinking: This is why one becomes a monk: to cultivate in every moment presence to the beauty of the world…The spirit works with what she has at hand.

I tuck my earbuds away and walk.

It’s daybreak. Sunrise paints the sky, and the still water below her.

And yes, “soon enough, I was quiet too.”


Inspired by: “In all the mountains, / Stillness; / In the treetops / Not a breath of wind. / The birds are silent in the woods. / Just wait: soon enough / You will be quiet too.— Robert Hass, “After Goethe,” Time and Materials: Poems 1997-2005.

T.G.I.F.: Paws Up (60 secs)


Resort at Paws Up Montana. Longer video version here. (Thank you Christie!)

Saturday Morning. And then, little by little…

You must learn to stop being yourself. That’s where it begins, and everything else follows from that. You must let yourself evaporate. Let your muscles go limp, breathe until you feel your soul pouring out of you, and then shut your eyes. That’s how it’s done. The emptiness inside your body grows lighter than the air around you. Little by little, you begin to weigh less than nothing. You shut your eyes; you spread your arms; you let yourself evaporate. And then, little by little, you lift yourself off the ground.

Like so.

Paul AusterMr. Vertigo


Notes: Quote – Thank you Whiskey River. Photo: Jacqueline Green, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Photo by Richard Calms. (via Mennyfox55)

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

A butterfly,

pinked by the hour, lands on a blade of sweetgrass,

then flits off.

The blade twitches once, then stills.

Ocean Vuong, from his new book titled: “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous: A Novel” (Penguin Press, June 4, 2019)

 


Photo Josephine Cardin with “Butterfly” by (via Newthom)

Tuesday Morning Wake-Up Call

light

When you get into your car, shut the door and be there for just half a minute. Breathe, feel the energy inside your body, look around at the sky, the trees. The mind might tell you, ‘I don’t have time.’ But that’s the mind talking to you. Even the busiest person has time for 30 seconds of space.

Eckhart Tolle, from Oprah Talks to Eckhart Tolle (Oprah.com)


Notes: Quote – Thank you Beth @ Alive on All Channels. Photo: maggie kirkpatrick

Lightly Child, Lightly

When silence reaches an ultimate point,

the light penetrates everywhere.

Hsuan HuaThe Chan Handbook: Talks About Meditation


Notes:

  • Photograph by Marta Bevacqua. Quote via Memory’s Landscape
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect 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.”

Sunday Morning

Theirs was then and remains even more today the stranger passion, the one little understood—or even comprehended as passion. Not erotic life, but the pleasure of the mind filling like the lower chamber of an hourglass with the slow-moving grains of a perfect day—sky, carnations, walking, reading, writing, Toasted Cheese, the presence of another who wishes to be so still, so silent too… It is possible to feel the fact of being alive as it breathes in, breathes out. It’s a life. It’s the life.

Patricia HamplThe Art of the Wasted Day (Published April 17, 2018)


Image: (via Your Eyes Blaze Out)

Flying South Southwest to DFW. Non-Stop. (Not Really)

airport

7:39 a.m. I have an hour to kill waiting to re-board and I’m searching for a photo for this post. I find it on a site titled “Under Heaven.” Isn’t that a coincidence. The photo is a near replica of the skyline that I see from the waiting area at Philadelphia International Airport. A patch of bluest of blues. An orange strip lining the horizon. Sun beaming in through the floor to ceiling windows. A Monday Morning Wake-Up Call. I live. I live. I live. I live.

7:15 a.m. The flight attendant states the estimate for the aircraft repair is one hour. We are asked to take our luggage and deplane. Because 1 hour is an estimate and you know how these things go. But, no one, and I mean no one is complaining.

7:00 a.m. It’s silent in the cabin. I mean Silent. It’s a long approach to the runway. Back wheels bump bump on the tarmac. Front wheel taps to follow. Reverse thrusters slow this 183,000 pound Airbus A321 bird. Whatever thrusters are, I’m grateful. The passengers begin to whisper and the plane taxis to the gate. I’m grateful for Philadelphia. The Liberty Bell. Rocky. Steak & Cheese Sandwiches. The Eagles. All of it. 

6:44 a.m.  The Captain comes on the intercom. “I have control of this aircraft.” And he stops. WTH does that mean? As opposed to being not in control? Noted that he didn’t say: “this is a routine maintenance issue.” I steady my hands, both trembling. No! No! No! No! I’m not ready to leave yet. I’m not looking for a room at the top of the world tonight. Four Seasons. Westin. Marriott. Red Roof Inn, anything. But not there. Not now. Not yet. [Read more…]

Riding Metro-North. With Holy Cow.

Morning. Today. 5:01 a.m. First train to Grand Central.

Dark Sky reports 33° F, feels like 25°.  Feels like: Not Spring. March 5th.  Spring backward. Falling and stumbling forward.

I wedge myself into a two seater, nudging the occupant awake. (Same occupant who was sprawled across two seats).  He’s annoyed. I’m annoyed that he’s annoyed. I’m way more annoyed. 

I glance up at the few unfortunates standing in the vestibule. Now they should be annoyed.

But for the low throb of the annoyances, and the giant overhead heaters blowing through the vents, the train car is silent. No talking. No whispering. No paper shuffling. Nada. Silence.

It’s as if Jack Kornfield blew the whistle and yelled Go: “It was the silence, stopping and taking a breath, opening the heart, seeing that the whole planet, and everything on it, is holy.”

And at that moment, the lead-weighted shoulders are freed.

The soles of the feet, through the leather soles of my lace-ups, feel the vibration of the steel of wheels on the steel of the tracks, bumping along with the rhythmic skip of steel on steel at the ties.

The seat under me is soft and shifts with each rail tie.  The train car rocks, my body sways ever so slightly left and right and then back again. My knees gently knock on the seat in front, first right knee then left.

Feet, knees, palms, seat — sensations are elevated.

I close my eyes. Drift off, and float along on Kornfield’s holy train.

His holy car. Holy Cow.

I awaken to the conductor’s announcement: “This station is Grand Central. Please mind the gap between the train and the platform.”

Meditation? Nah.

Mediation is not for real men.


Notes:

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