Walking. Under the Red Maple.

Cove Island Park Walk. At Daybreak. 394 consecutive days. Like in a Row.

A handful of days after the long Memorial Day weekend. Reader: Hold that thought.

4:36 a.m. Dark Sky app is calling for 100% cloud cover, 50% chance of rain. Ugh.

I’m out the door.

I arrive at the park. Cloud cover ~60%. No rain. Not a hint of rain. Take that Dark Sky A.I.

Two loops around the park and I’m heading back to the car.

I’m 500 feet from the parking lot and I notice the tree.

Was this beautiful little tree here before? No chance. I would have seen it, for sure. Almost 400 consecutive days in a row, and I missed it?

Look at the fresh soil build up around the base. Could a tree this large have been transplanted?

What kind of tree it this? Red Maple? Could you possibly be this clueless? A Canadian who doesn’t know his trees?

I glance at my watch. Time to get home.

I quickly snap a shot of the tree and keep walking. And note that I couldn’t even get the entire tree within the frame. Really!?!

No.

I stop.

This tree is pulling me back.

I walk back. [Read more…]

Memorial Day 2020

The New York Times Front Page (May 24, 2020): “An Incalculable Loss.” America is fast approaching a grim milestone in the coronavirus outbreak — each figure here represents one of the nearly 100,000 lives lost so far. But a count reveals only so much. Memories, gathered from obituaries across the country, help us to reckon with what was lost.

One hundred thousand.

A number is an imperfect measure when applied to the human condition. A number provides an answer to how many, but it can never convey the individual arcs of life, the 100,000 ways of greeting the morning and saying goodnight…to share that closing prayer, that parting glass, that final hug.

One. Hundred. Thousand.

Don’t miss this story

 

Remember


On Memorial Day, we remember. (USA Today)

Moment of Silence


Star Tribune: Photo of bald eagle perched on gravestone at Fort Snelling, MN touches hearts

A few moments of silence

rain.jpg

Standing out there in the downpour, beyond the green rows of a new garden. He was bent far over before the flat gray sky in what appeared to be an attitude of prayer or adoration, his arms at his sides. The rain had plastered his shirt to his back and his short black hair glistened. He did not move at all while I stood there, fifteen or twenty minutes. And in that time I saw what it was I had wanted to see all those years…The complete stillness, a silence such as I had never heard out of another living thing, an unbroken grace.

~ Barry Lopez, from “Field Notes: The Grace Note of the Canyon Wren


Notes:

  • Inspired by: 5:08 a.m. 55° F. Quiet. A cool breeze flows through the open window. The pitter patter of soft rain falls on the Earth on this Memorial Day, May 29, 2017
  • Photo: Ponychan
  • Thank you Christie for introducing me to Barry Lopez.

Remembering the lost platoon

Important to watch to the end…

35 Seconds of Silence

They hover as a cloud of witnesses above this Nation

A pedestrian carrying an umbrella walks through a Memorial Day display of United States flags on the Boston Common in Boston, Massachusetts. See other Memorial Day Photos here: These Emotional Photos Show The Real Reason for Memorial Day

Post Title: Quote by Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887)

 

Running. With Whippoorwills.

dreamy-sea-gull-fly

Mile Marker 0:

It’s 4:25 am, and Quiet but for the whippoorwills which break the silence. How do I know they are whippoorwills? Because I like to say w-h-i-p-p-o-o-r-w-i-l-l-s. And because that’s the only way I can work in this beautiful poem by Howard Moss.

And then the whippoorwill
Begins its tireless, cool,
Calm, and precise lament—
Again and again and again—
Its love replying in kind,
Or blindly sung to itself,
Waiting for something to happen.

~ Howard Moss, from “Going to Sleep in the Country,” New Selected Poems

Tireless, cool, calm, and precise lament. Again and again and again.

Not the tireless. Not the cool. Not the calm. But I’ve got the lament part down. And the again and again and again part. And I excel at waiting for something to happen.

GET UP. GET MOVING. TIME TO RUN.

My lips form wwwwhip, wwwwhippoor, and there it is: whippoorwill. Soothing. I repeat it Again and again and again.

There’s magic in the formation of these letters.

Or I’m a circus monkey. [Read more…]

Memorial Day

breeze, France,

~ Mary Elizabeth Frye


Mary Elizabeth Frye (1905 – 2004) was an American housewife and florist, best known as the author of the poem “Do not stand at my grave and weep,” written in 1932.  She was born in Dayton, Ohio, and was orphaned at the age of three. The poem for which she became famous was originally composed on a brown paper shopping bag, and was reportedly inspired by the story of a young Jewish girl, Margaret Schwarzkopf, who had been staying with the Frye household and had been unable to visit her dying mother in Germany because of anti-Semitic unrest.


Credits: Photography – thefujifreak. Poem – Decorated Skin

Find the Cost of Freedom


Daylight again, following me to bed
I think about a hundred years ago, how my fathers bled
I think I see a valley, covered with bones in blue
All the brave soldiers that cannot get older been askin’ after you
Hear the past a callin’, from Ar- -megeddon’s side
When everyone’s talkin’ and noone is listenin’, how can we decide?

(Do we) find the cost of freedom, buried in the ground

Mother earth will swallow you, lay your body down
Find the cost of freedom, buried in the ground
Mother earth will swallow you, lay your body down
(Find the cost of freedom buried in the ground)


Silence on this Day

Mother, son, mourning father, grave site

I found today’s editorial message in the NY Times to poignantly yet beautifully capture the spirit of today.

“If you listen carefully, you can almost hear the silence at the heart of Memorial Day — the inward turn that thoughts take on a day set aside to honor the men and women who have died in the service of this country.

It is the silence of soldiers who have not yet been, and may never be, able to talk about what they learned in war, the silence of grief so familiar that it feels like a second heartbeat. This is a day for acknowledging, publicly, the private memorial days that lie scattered throughout the year, a day when all the military graves are tended to, even the ones that someone tends to regularly as a way of remembering.

It always seems strange the way the fond, sober gestures of memory coincide with the last flush of spring, while the trees are still lit from within by their chartreuse leaves. The year is still rising, just. And yet it is something you often see recorded in the books and diaries of men and women at war — the sharp interruption of beauty, the moments, hours even, when the vivid tenacity of life itself feels most tangible, even in the midst of death. On a bright, beautiful Memorial Day, you feel, as clearly as you may ever feel, the profound separation between the living and the dead. This is the strangeness of the day, because that separation is a source of both joy and loss. [Read more…]

Peace

Charle Haughey's Vietnam War Photo

It was last month.  I don’t recall the day.  Just another weekday.

Off to work.  Barreling down I-95. Same route.  Each day.  Autopilot.  Not Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness.  Simple Mindlessness.

Flicking through iPod.  Can’t settle on a band or a tune.  Restless.

Foot heavy on accelerator.  Glance at speedometer.  Pushing your luck Pal.  Only a matter of time.  And you’ll earn it. (Again.)

Traffic backs up at Stamford exits as morning rush hour builds.

A black Chevrolet pick-up swings into my lane.

The iconic orange, white and black Harley logo on rear window.

Left hand bumper is adorned with a frayed sticker: 1968-1972: Marines. Vietnam Vet.

I stare.

Connecticut Plate 123JAR.

What does JAR stand for? [Read more…]

Be grateful for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice…

The video clip below is a short three minute excerpt featuring Steven Cornford. Cornford, 18 years old when he served in Iraq, was awarded a Silver Star for Valor. He and other vets suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder are returning to Iraq as part of Operation Proper Exit.  This is a moving clip.  He is still so very young.

What the short clip above does not include is Cornford’s closing remarks (which can be found near the end of the full video at “Operation Proper Exit: A return to the war zone“). It was a poignant reminder of the meaning of Memorial Day.  Here’s the excerpts: [Read more…]

Weekend Roundup…(including The Denali Climb by 5 Wounded Warriors with 4 Good Legs Between Them…)

WEEKEND ROUNDUPHere’s some noteworthy leading, learning & living articles that I came across this week …

Forbes: Intelligence Is Overrated: What You Really Need To Succeed. “Albert Einstein’s was estimated at 160, Madonna’s is 140, and John F. Kennedy’s was only 119, but as it turns out, your IQ score pales in comparison with your EQ, MQ, and BQ scores when it comes to predicting your success and professional achievement.”

(((Note to Tom Hood: Thanks for sharing.  Thank goodness Intelligence research is moving in my direction. Smile )))


WSJ: Mom Was Right: Go Outside. “Children spend more than 4 hours a day with technology and there’s no longer time for nature…latest research – untamed landscapes have a restorative effect, calming our frazzled nerves…after a brief exposure to the outdoors, people are more creative, happier and better able to focus.” 

(((Note: And here I sit, inside, banging away on keyboard.  Hmmmmm.)))

[Read more…]

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