Walking. Anybody Can Do This. (Not)

2:30 a.m., I’m wide awake, ready to start the day. Hello Day!

It’s a few hours before I set off on the 55th consecutive day of a five-mile walk to greet the sunrise at Cove Island Park.

I’m anxious to see what’s in store for me this morning. And worried that I might sleep through the 4:55 am to 5:15 a.m. peak feeding time for the waterfowl. Normal people set an alarm. I have four gadgets on the night stand next to me ready to jump into action. But for some reason I can’t explain, I don’t. I can’t. A life time of never needing an alarm to get up, I’m not going to start now. I don’t change. And, let’s face it, You don’t either.

4:25 a.m.  I gather up the camera gear. I double check to find the memory card is in its place — the recollection of backtracking 1.5 miles three days ago, getting soaked by a sprinkler system that turned on at 5 a.m., cursing the rest of the way home, and needing to take the car to the park for fear of missing feeding time. All of this is fresh. And it ain’t going to happen today.

I throw the sling around my shoulder. Take a long swig of ice cold water. And I’m out the door.

Photography.  Camera. New hobby thing. Mixing it up a bit.

I’ve watched hundreds of instructional videos on Youtube. Paged through the camera user manual – a lot of damn good this did.  Texted back and forth with a buddy who gave me some tips.

ISO. Shutter speed. Aperture.  Exposure Compensation. Continuous tracking. EVF. LCD. Autofocus. Manual Focus. Single Point. Zone. Wide Angle. Tracking. Single shot. Burst. Still. Video.  Good God. My Head is spinning.

Then add to the soup, small (very) buttons. A small, sensitive touchscreen. Clumsy, large hands. Not yet arthritic, thank God, not yet anyway, something to look forward to. Throw in farsightedness, and you have menus and pop-ups jumping in and out. And blood pressure surging. Jesus, I’m of average intelligence, it just can’t be this hard.

And forget the quality (and breathtaking expense) of the camera equipment, lenses, battery (and back up), and memory cards, there’s so much more to this Photography-thing that was lost on me. [Read more…]

Saturday Morning

4-57


Daybreak. Egret. 4:57 & 4:59 am. June 27, 2020. 67° F. Humidity 81%. Wind: 2 mph. Gusts: 3 mph. Cloud Cover: 29%. Weed Avenue, Stamford, CT

Saturday Morning


Notes:

  • Daybreak. 5:04 am. June 20, 2020. 67° F. Humidity 100%. Wind: 3 mph. Gusts: 5 mph. Cloud Cover: 13%. Weed Ave, Stamford, CT.
  • And inspired by this:

A long dark curve is the poem in your body
is the river
is the loon’s throat.
Have you ever asked yourself how
the loon’s voice
opens?

~ Cheryl Hellner, from “Prayer for the Wild Voice, for Nina” (Heron Dance Journal, Feb 2006)

The day broke around me like a cool dream

The day broke around me like a cool dream. Sea; sand; a sky that melts into the sea — a landscape of misty pastels with a look about it being continuously on the point of melting.

~ Angela Carter, from The Bloody Chamber in “The Bloody Chamber And Other Stories” (Vintage Digital; October 31, 2012)


Notes:

  • Photo: DK – Daybreak. 4:58 & 5:00 am. June 17, 2020. 58° F. Wind: 5 mph. Gusts: 8 mph. Cloud Cover: 19%.  Weed Ave, Stamford, CT.
  • Quote via andrasteiax

Morning Walk (90 sec)


Written by Harry Stead, Why Long Walks Will Change Your Life (Human Parts @ Medium.com)

Walking. With On Golden Pond.

3:30 am: Up. Six hours of sleep, easily two short. Two shots of Tylenol PM won’t keep this guy down. I think about amping up the dosage to three, soft baby blue, colored pills —  bad idea Doctor, bad idea.

3:35 am: Skim morning papers. RSS reader feeds. Blog Posts. Emails. Texts. Read a passage from Joyce Maynard’s At Home in the World where J.D. Salinger tells her: “Some day, Joyce…there will be a story you want to tell for no better reason than because it matters to you more than any other…You’ll stop looking over your shoulder to make sure you’re keeping everybody happy, and you’ll simply write what’s real and true. Honest writing always makes people nervous, and they’ll think of all kinds of ways to make your life hell. One day a long time from now you’ll cease to care anymore whom you please or what anybody has to say about you. That’s when you’ll finally produce the work you’re capable of.” Hmmm. Not ready for ‘real and true.’ And ‘honesty’ makes me nervous. But Salinger does offer sound reasoning for the mediocrity that spills out onto this page. There’ll be time enough to chase the written word that I’m capable of.

4:25 am: Strip, including Apple Watch. Ounces make massive differences. I step on the digital scale, and inhale. The figures race upward, like slots in Vegas, having similar odds.  It stops hard on the Score. I exhale.  Wow, good result. Space for large breakfast.

4:35 am: Check temperature. 60° F. Put on long sleeve shirt. 60° F and I need long sleeve shirt. For some reason this triggers a scene from “On Golden Pond” where Katherine Hepburn shouts: “Don’t be such an old poop Norman.”

4:40 am. 38 consecutive daybreaks in a row. On same walk. same location. same loop. I know precisely what time to leave the house to walk the mile to Long Island Sound and arrive ten minutes before Sunrise. I make a point to google WebMD when I get home to diagnose my form of OCD. I pack my camera bag, take 3 large gulps of water, and head out the door.

5:10 am. I’m on shoulder of Weed Avenue. The geese, 50 or so, float ever-so-still, catching their last bit of shut eye before the day starts.  There are two swans, with their heads tucked under their wings. Must be cozy in there. And mallards interspersed among the others in the sleepover.

There’s no traffic. Long Island Sound is quiet. The World gives Sun its moment of silence.

5:25 am. Here comes the Sun. The World stands still to watch the spectacle. I snap a few shots, put the camera down. And watch, the Sun, in all its glory, with gold and orange hues.

A loon, with its long, curved neck, breaks the silence with its call.

And this triggers another line from “On Golden Pond“. “Come here, Norman. Hurry up. The loons! The loons! They’re welcoming us back.”

Yes, they welcome me back. Thankfully. Again.

Each breath, a Gift.


Daybreak. 5:25 am. June 13, 2020. 60° F. Wind: 9 mph. Gusts: 22 mph. Cloud Cover: 3%. Weed Ave, Stamford, CT.

TGIF: Morning Swim


Daybreak. Mallard & her ducklings, in formation. 5:53 am. June 12, 2020. 67° F. Wind: 4 mph. Gusts: 8 mph. Cloud Cover: 73%. Special Weather Watch: Areas of dense fog locally early this morning. Weed Ave, Stamford, CT.

Sunday Morning

DSCF1156 - geese

June 7, 2020. Daybreak. 5:14 a.m. 62° F.  Wind: 9 mph, Gusts: 27 mph. Weed Ave, Stamford, CT.

Paul Klee: “One eye sees, the other feels

Saturday Morning

“The multiplication of our society’s demons has been accompanied by a ratcheting up of the sources and volume of its background noise. The chatter and diversions of our lives (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, texts . . .) serve to keep the demons at bay, even as we are creating demons faster than we can create noise to drown them out: environmental devastation, global warming, the growing gap between the rich and the poor, uncontrolled population growth, unlimited consumption held up by international media and most of our leaders as the glittering purpose of life. The appropriate response is not more noise. The appropriate response is more silence. To choose to be alone is to bait the trap, to create a space the demons cannot resist entering. And that’s the good news; the demons that enter can be named, written about, and tamed through the miracle of the healing word, the miracle of art, the miracle of silence.”

Fenton Johnson, At the Center of All Beauty: Solitude and the Creative Life (W. W. Norton & Company, March 10, 2020)


Photo: DK: 5:31 am. Daybreak. June 4, 2020. 64° F. Cloud Cover: 44%. Wind: 6 mph. Weed Ave & Cove Island Park Beach, 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.
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