Monday Morning Wake-Up Call. (If you think your commute is too long…)

If you think your commute is too long, be glad you’re not a godwit.Each year around this time, tens of thousands of bar-tailed godwits migrate from Alaska to New Zealand and Australia. The 7,000-mile journey — the longest nonstop migration of any land bird — is completed in eight to 10 days of continuous flapping without stopping to eat, drink or rest.

The godwit’s ordeal is so extreme that, as one recent paper put it, it challenges “underlying assumptions of bird physiology.” Before the bird takes off, its organs shrink, its pectoral muscles grow, and it gobbles up insects, worms and mollusks to store fat for the long journey. One scientist called the godwits “obese super athletes.”

— Matthew Cullen, Evening Briefing, NY Times. September 20, 2022. 

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…]

Black Sun (Miracle, All of It)


Beautiful, dramatic and a little bit scary’: Danish photographer captures starling murmurations” (WBUR.org, June 13, 2022).  A photo of starling murmurations from Soren Solkaer’s “Black Sun.”

“If you’re lucky enough to have watched it, it’s a sight you’ll likely never forget: hundreds of thousands of starlings covering the sky, undulating, shifting, forming giant fluid patterns that morph from second to second. The technical name is a murmuration. But in Denmark, where the birds fly above the northern stretches of the Wadden Sea, it’s called the Black Sun. That’s where Danish photographer Soren Solkaer first saw these mysterious patterns as a child — but it wasn’t until more recently that he pointed his camera at the phenomenon, spending the last five years following the birds on their migrations around Europe.”


Notes:

  • Thank you Lori for sharing!
  • Post title Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle.

do not walk by without pausing to attend to this rather ridiculous performance

Oh do you have time
to linger
for just a little while
out of your busy

and very important day
for the goldfinches
that have gathered
in a field of thistles

for a musical battle,
to see who can sing
the highest note,
or the lowest,

or the most expressive of mirth,
or the most tender?
Their strong, blunt beaks
drink the air

as they strive
melodiously
not for your sake
and not for mine

and not for the sake of winning
but for sheer delight and gratitude –
believe us, they say,
it is a serious thing

just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in the broken world.
I beg of you,

do not walk by
without pausing
to attend to this
rather ridiculous performance.

It could mean something.
It could mean everything.
It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote:
You must change your life.

—  Mary Oliver, “Invitation” in  A Thousand Mornings (New York: Penguin Books, 2013).


Photo by Joshua J. Cotten of male goldfinch, Backyard, Cordova, TN, USA in October 2021 via unsplash

Saturday Morning

Other times when I hear the wind blow

I feel that just hearing the wind blow makes it worth being born.

—  Fernando Pessoa, The Collected Poems of Alberto Caeiro

 


Notes: Photo – DK @ Cove Island Park.  Poem: Thank you The Vale of Soul Making

Wait…


Imgur: Falcon, by Dave Mcarthy

Miracle. All of it. (Take 2)

…and there she sleeps this morning. No mate. Frozen ice surrounds her, and she rests undisturbed. At Peace.

I’m looking out at her. Mr. Canadian Tough-Guy.  Wearing T-shirt – – Sweater over T-Shirt – – Hoodie over Sweater – –  Northface Down Parka jacket over Hoodie – – Hood up – – Snowpants – – Long johns – – Sweatpants – – Smart Wool Socks – – Sorel Boots – – Smart Wool Gloves.

And I’m still shivering, yearning to get back in the car. A car that’s running, heater blowing.

How all this works?

Beyond my comprehension.

Miracle. All of it.

6:55 a.m. 15° F (- 9° C), feels like 1° F (- 17° C), wind gusts up to 28 mph. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT.


Post title Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle.

Miracle. All of it.

The next time you look into the mirror, just look at the way the ears rest next to the head; look at the way the hairline grows; think of all the little bones in your wrist. It is a miracle. And the dance is a celebration of that miracle.

Martha Graham, Blood Memory: An Autobiography


Notes:

  • Quote Source Credit via Alive on All Channels. Thank you Beth.
  • Photo: Alexander Yakovlev – Dancers Frozen in Flour via FreeYork
  • Post title Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle.

Miracle. All of It.

Stop. If you’re inside, go to a window. Throw it open and turn your face to the sky. All that empty space, the deep vastness of the air, the heavens wide above you. The sky is full of insects, and all of them are going somewhere. Every day, above and around us, the collective voyage of billions of beings.

…There are other worlds around us. Too often, we pass through them unknowing, seeing but blind, hearing but deaf, touching but not feeling, contained by the limits of our senses, the banality of our imaginations, our Ptolemaic certitudes. […]

They had heard about the butterflies, gnats, water striders, leaf bugs, booklice, and katydids sighted hundreds of miles out on the open ocean; about the aphids that Captain William Parry had encountered on ice floes during his polar expedition of 1828; and about those other aphids that, in 1925, made the 800-mile journey across the frigid, windswept Barents Sea between the Kola Peninsula, in Russia, and Spitsbergen, off Norway, in just twenty-four hours. Still, they were taken aback by the enormous quantities of animals they were discovering in the air above Louisiana and unashamedly astonished by the heights at which they found them. All of a sudden, it seemed, the heavens had opened.

Unmoored, they turned to the ocean, began talking about the “aeroplankton” drifting in the vastness of the open skies. They told each other about tiny insects, some of them wingless, all with large surface-area-to-weight ratios, plucked from their earthly tethers by a sharp gust of wind, picked up on air currents and thrust high into the convection streams without volition or capacity for resistance, some terrible accident, carried great distances across oceans and continents, then dropped with the same fateful arbitrariness in a downdraft on some distant mountaintop or valley plain. […]

On August 10, 1926, a Stinson Detroiter SM-1 six-seater monoplane took off from the rudimentary airstrip at Tallulah, Louisiana. […] [O]ver the next five years, the researchers flew more than 1,300 sorties from the Louisiana airstrip […].

They estimated that at any given time on any given day throughout the year, the air column rising from 50 to 14,000 feet above one square mile of Louisiana countryside contained an average of 25 million insects and perhaps as many as 36 million. [Read more…]

that which you hold holds you

She wondered how the moon, two hundred and thirty-nine thousand miles above the roof, could affect her as profoundly as it did. Being four times larger than the moon, the earth appeared to dominate. Caught in the earth’s gravitational web, the moon moved around the earth and could never get away. Yet, as any half-awake materialist well knows, that which you hold holds you. Neither could the earth escape the moon.

—  Tom Robbins, Still Life With Woodpecker: A Novel (Bantam; June 17, 2003)

 


DK with Crescent Moon. Waxing Crescent Phase. 7:38 pm, September 11, 2021. 71° F. (@dkct25 on Instagram)

Miracle. All of It.

Long. But worthy. And esp. don’t miss the scenes @ 11m 33 sec.


Notes:

  • Post title Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.

the great chain of life


“Expeditions like these teach us why we need to increase our efforts to restore and better understand marine ecosystems everywhere — because the great chain of life that begins in the ocean is critical for human health and well being. Check out just a small portion of some of the amazing encounters that were experienced via Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) SuBastian during the expedition.”  (Thank you for sharing Christie!)

Miracle. All of It.

I know already that I will return to this day whenever I want to. I can bid it alive. Preserve it. There is a still point where the present, the now, winds around itself, and nothing is tangled. The river is not where it begins or ends, but right in the middle point, anchored by what has happened and what is to arrive. You can close your eyes and there will be a light snow falling in New York, and seconds later you are sunning upon a rock in Zacapa, and seconds later still you are surfing through the Bronx on the strength of your own desire. There is no way to find a word to fit around this feeling. Words resist it. Words give it a pattern it does not own. Words put it in time. They freeze what cannot be stopped. Try to describe the taste of a peach. Try to describe it.

—  Colum McCann, Let the Great World Spin


Notes:

  • Photo: Bianca Nakayama. Quote via seemoreandmore
  • Post title Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.

Miracle. All of It.

The complex human eye harvests light. It perceives seven to ten million colors through a synaptic flash: one-tenth of a second from retina to brain. Homo sapiens gangs up 70 percent of its sense receptors solely for vision, to anticipate danger and recognize reward, but also — more so — for beauty. We have eyes refined by the evolution of predation. We use a predator’s eyes to marvel at the work of Titian or the Grand Canyon bathed in the copper light of a summer sunset.

— Ellen Meloy, The Anthropology of Turquoise: Reflections on Desert, Sea, Stone, and Sky


Notes:

  • Photo: DK @ Daybreak. 5:40 am, June 6, 2021. 69° F. Norwalk, CT
  • Post title Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
  • Quote via Brain Pickings. Thank you Lori for sharing.

Miracle. All of It.

Yes

It could happen any time, tornado,
earthquake, Armageddon. It could happen.
Or sunshine, love, salvation.

It could, you know. That’s why we wake
and look out – no guarantees
in this life.

But some bonuses, like morning,
like right now, like noon,
like evening.

— William Stafford, “Yes” in “The Way It Is


Notes:

  • Photo: DK @ Daybreak. 6:33 am, March 24, 2021. 39° F. Norwalk, CT
  • Post title Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.

One pair of eyes is simply not enough


Notes:

  • DK. Daybreak. December 9, 2020. 6:16, 6:52 & 7:00 am. 30° F feels like 23° F. Cove Island Park, Stamford CT
  • Post Title: One pair of eyes is simply not enough. Mary Ruefle, from “The Life of a Poet: Mary Ruefle” (Library of Congress, May 15, 2015)

Walking. With the Spirit Flock.

It was Tuesday.

Another morning walk. 140 days, 140 consecutive days in a row.

My 5 mile loop to start each day. Same time. Same path.

I’m crawling out of bed a bit slower now, and wondering, “Maybe I take today off?” Days are getting shorter. Mornings darker. The sheen of watching daybreak, the first light illuminating the horizon, do I dare say, is becoming boring?

But we keep it going. If nothing else, it gives me something to boast about. Work that fragile ego. 

And Tuesday morning was setting up to be a replay of so many other mornings. Few surprises. My Swan sleeping alone at the edge of the cove. My Spirit Bird, the cormorant, fishing solo. That’s a photo I took of her —  her elegant curved neck, the matte black finish of her back, her gulping a breath before diving again.

I keep walking.

My camera goes back in the bag, and doesn’t leave the bag. Been here. Done that. Seen it before. Not worth the energy to pull it out of the sling.

I reach the Park and I approach the break wall. I’m looking out on Long Island Sound.  It’s quiet this morning. Few walkers. Calm. No wind.

I re-grip my camera bag to hoist myself up on the break wall and at that moment a flock of ~20 Canada Geese lift off the water, and surge low over my head. Those in the back honking to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.  It was one of those moments — the beat of 40 wings, the urgency of their calls.  I’ll knew that I’d remember this. Write about this.

I keep walking.

I’m thinking about why that moment was a moment. I was startled…a break of the silence. An interruption of the thoughts banging around in my head.  A piercing of the quiet, almost to say: Awaken Man. Look around you.

I keep walking.

I see another Cormorant feeding.  2 Spirit Birds in one Day. Now that’s Something. I take my camera out of my bag and snap a few shots.

I keep walking.

I notice another flock across the pond, but its not Geese. Smaller, darker, flying lower, wings flapping with greater urgency.

I stop to watch.

I swing my sling around to grab the zoom lens. Heart beating.  Come on Dave. Come on.

It was another Moment.

They were too far out even with the zoom.

I turned to walk back to the Park to see if I could get a better shot.

Hand shake. No time for tripod. No time to adjust camera settings. Blurry! It will be blurry!

25? 50? More?

[Read more…]

Sunday Morning

The natural world is not, to me, a fabric of stuff that gleams with revelation of a singular creator god. Those moments in nature that provoke in me a sense of the divine are those in which my attention has unaccountably snagged on something small and transitory – the pattern of hailstones by my feet upon dark earth; a certain cast of light across a hillside through a break in the clouds; the face of a long-eared owl peering out at me from a hawthorn bush – things whose fugitive instances give me an overwhelming sense of how unlikely it is that in the days of my brief life I should be in the right place at the right time and possess sufficient quality of attention to see them at all. When they occur, and they do not occur often, these moments open up a giddying glimpse into the inhuman systems of the world that operate on scales too small and too large and too complex for us to apprehend.

—  Helen Macdonald, Vesper Flights (Grove Press, August 25, 2020)


Photo: Mand. “We had hail one day and I noticed that one hail stone managed to get trapped on a single web strand.”

Miracle. All of It.

My eyes graze his binoculars and without a word he passes them over. And like that the birds are no longer smudges, but elegantly detailed and purposeful and real. They steal my breath as they always do, these creatures who think nothing of having wings.

Charlotte McConaghyMigrations: A Novel (Flatiron Books, August 4, 2020)


Notes:

  • Photo: Cormorant. Spirit Bird. Sept 7, 2020. 6:48 am. The Cove. Stamford, FT
  • Back Story: Walking. In Search of my Spirit Bird.
  • Post title Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Moments snap together like magnets, forging a chain of shackles. Why?

There’s a famous play, Equus, about a troubled boy with a blinding love of horses. The boy sees a psychiatrist named Martin Dysart, who tries to understand him by trying to understand his love. Dysart is confounded by it:

A child is born into a world of phenomena all equal in their power to enslave. It sniffs—it sucks—it strokes its eyes over the whole uncountable range. Suddenly one strikes. Why? Moments snap together like magnets, forging a chain of shackles. Why? I can trace them. I can even, with time, pull them apart again. But why at the start they were ever magnetized at all—just those particular moments of experience and no others—I don’t know. 

I can trace my love, too. Why stars instead of horses, or boys, or hockey? I don’t know. I don’t know. Maybe it’s because the stars are the antithesis of darkness, of abusive stepfathers and imperiled little sisters. Stars are light. Stars are possibility. They are the places where science and magic meet, windows to worlds greater than my own. Stars gave me the hope that I might one day find the right answers.

But there’s more to my love than that. When I think of the stars I feel an almost physical pull. I don’t just want to look at them. I want to know them, every last one of them, a star for every grain of sand on Earth. I want to bask in the hundreds of millions of suns that shine in the thousands of billions of skies in our galaxy alone. Stars represent more than possibility to me; they are probability. On Earth the odds could seem stacked against me—but where you are changes everything. Each star was, and still is, another chance for me to find myself somewhere else. Somewhere new.

Sara Seager, The Smallest Lights in the Universe: A Memoir (Crown, August 18, 2020)


Notes:

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