Riding Metro North. With ‘My’ Little Bird.

So, let’s back up the bus a bit and set this up.  It was a New Year post titled What’s Your Spirit Bird where Margaret Renkl explains that “There’s a New Year’s tradition among bird-watchers: The first bird you see on New Year’s Day is your theme bird for the year. Your spirit bird.” 

So, I’ve seen many birds since Jan 1, but not my bird. Not the right bird. And I don’t want to hear from you rule-sticklers that it’s not keeping with the “first” bird rule.

And the mind slips off the rails to a rabbit trail in Gail Honeyman’s” Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine: “I don’t need anyone else — there’s no big hole in my life, no missing part of my own particular puzzle. I am a self-contained entity. That’s what I’ve always told myself, at any rate.” No Hugely Holes. Not Bigly anyway. Trump’s infiltrating the mind. God, I do have problems. Bigly problems. OMG. Help me.

Monday, was, a long day. 7am flight to Dallas. 4 hour flight. 5 hours on ground. 4 hour flight back.  4 hours of sleep. (I don’t know if this math adds up. Who cares?)

And then, it’s Tuesday. I’m sitting in the warming hut waiting for a off-peak 10:00 am train to Grand Central. Light snow is falling.  Darien Schools have closed for the day. 2-3 inches, and the world stops these days. (When I was young, I used to walk to school in 2 feet of snow – I’m sure, it was in bare feet, I was that tough.  Snow days? WTH is that? The world has gotten soft.)

I shift on the steel bench, the train is scheduled to arrive in 4 minutes. I flip through my messages. And out of the corner of my eye on the ground in front of me is movement.

I lift my head.

And there she is. Has to be she. Just has to be.

Sparrow. Fluffy. Furry. Staring at me. Me staring at her. Spirit Bird? You? [Read more…]

What’s Your Spirit Bird?

 

I sit at the kitchen table preparing to read the NY Times. I separate the front section from the rest of the paper, and then pause.

I get up, go to the fridge and grab the remains of yesterday’s leftovers.

I turn to the Opinion Pages, my first stop, and scan the titles. My eyes spot an essay by Margaret Renkl.  I’m a fan-boy of Margarets. I see that her piece is titled “Spring is Coming“…well that’s a bit aggressive on January 5th, no Margaret? 

I read on.

“There’s a New Year’s tradition among bird-watchers: The first bird you see on New Year’s Day is your theme bird for the year. Your spirit bird, the bird that sets the tone for your encounters with the world and with others, the bird that guides your heart and your imagination in the coming year. It’s hardly a serious ornithological exploration, but there are plenty of birders who will wake before dawn anyway, no matter how late they stayed up on New Year’s Eve. They will drive off to some wild place teeming with avian life, all to increase the sunrise odds of seeing a truly amazing first bird. Who wouldn’t love to be matched for a year to the spirit of the snowy owl? What a gift to be guided for 12 months by the soul of a Bohemian waxwing!”

I pause.

Yea, OK, it’s January 5th, it’s well beyond New Year’s Day but there’s no reason I can’t find my bird now. I need my spirit bird Now.

I stop nibbling on my sandwich. Get up. Step out the back door, watch, and listen.

Silence.

I wait a few moments longer, in my short sleeve t-shirt, in 38° F temperatures.

Nothing. 

Perhaps some encouragement. Come on Red! Where’s that Red Cardinal? There are four bird feeders in the backyard. All hang on their poles silently. No breeze. They don’t swing. They are Still.

Nothing.

I step back into the house, pull the sliding door closed, and finish up Margaret’s essay.

No Bird. Wonder what that means.

I reach for the remaining quarter of my sandwich, and look down…

Chicken Sandwich…

What a gift to be guided for 12 months by the soul of a Bohemian waxwing!


Photo: Ostdrossel

First Day Back


First day back after 2 weeks off…Sunny side up and Easy, way over easy…


Photo: Slowdown Studio (via Swiss-miss)

‘New Year, New You’ B.S. (Hear! Hear!)

And now for “27 ways to feel bad about yourself while the last piece of Christmas pudding you’ve ‘indulged’ in is still making its way through your intestinal tract…”

As the new year dawns, you’ll notice that without ANY space to breathe whatsoever, what was once a newsfeed saturated with sequins, pints and party platters becomes one bursting at the seams with resistance bands, Nutri Bullets and all manner of “New Year, New You” rhetoric. If that works for you, great. If it doesn’t, keep on reading…

If you find all of this relentless (and, at times, negative) then join the club. I’ve decided I’m over it. I’ve clicked the “unsubscribe” button and it’s incredibly liberating.”New Year, New You” regimes are framed in such a way that they seem motivating, uplifting and encouraging. The reality is they’re designed to sell gym members and juice cleanses at a time when they’re most marketable and we’re most vulnerable. The sheer volume and velocity of this kind of content coming at us from every angle — while we’re still polishing off the last of the mince pies — can make us feel as though we’ve already failed within the first few minutes of the new year.Add to the mix, the pressure of New Year’s resolutions — which suggest that regardless of our current situation, we have much to improve upon; that we need to be better. We’re encouraged to set out a new set of goals, towards which to move to in the hopes of finding what we all want: happiness. We’ve barely finished the last verse of Auld Lang Syne and already, we’re exhausted, defeated and riddled with festive guilt.But here’s a thought: instead of subscribing to what’s become a very tired narrative, this year, let January be yours. (Read Caroline Foran’s 6 tips for moving forward here.)

So, if you insist on resolving to do something, do this: go easy on yourself, be your own benchmark for success. And think about the kind of lifestyle you want to live. Happy New Year.

~ Caroline Foran, from “6 reasons I no longer subscribe to ‘New Year, New You’ BS” (Mashable, January 1, 2019). Caroline Foran is a journalist and a best-selling author of “Owning It: Your Bullshit Free Guide to Living With Anxiety” and “The Confidence Kit: Your Bullsh*t-Free Guide to Owning Your Fear“.

Happy New Year!

Take a breath…

Don’t swallow the sun
The moon isn’t bright enough…

I promise I’ll be a better person this time next year.

If you’re reading this…
Congratulations, you’re alive.
If that’s not something to smile about, then I don’t know what is.

Chad Sugg, from “Swallow the Sun” in Monsters Under Your Head


Notes:

Resolutions. Day 1.

Today I want
to resolve nothing.

I only want to walk
a little longer in the cold…

Kim Addonizio, from “New Year’s Day” in Tell Me


Notes:

  • Inspired by Lucille Clifton, “I am running into a new year” (via Read a Little Poetry): i am running into a new year / and the old years blow back / like a wind / that i catch in my hair / like strong fingers like / all my old promises and / it will be hard to let go / of what i said to myself / about myself…
  • Poem Source – Memory’s Landscape.
  • Photo: Frozen Lake Tremblant in the Laurentides region of Quebec. Photo by Timothy A. Clary, Agence France, wsj.com December 24, 2017)

Did I eat all that? It’s time for New Year’s Resolutions.


Source: (via Newthom)

Running. Day 1, 2017.

bird-focus-look-down

Day 1, 2017.

A morning for reflection, lallygagging, and awe of a poem written by Stanley Kunitz: “still-wet words…scribbled on the blotted page: ‘Light splashed …’

Still-wet words. Light splashed. Wow. 

Sun beams pour in through the window, light splashes but does not lift this load…God, it’s so warm under these covers. How about reading, watching movies, and remaining horizontal?

10am. I need to exercise. Now! Sigh. What a state of mind on Day 1.

Mile 1

How about New Year’s resolutions? How about Not?  You’ve long since given up on Resolutions. You know the loop. Commit. Attempt. Renege in less than 30 days. Then self-flagellate for the remaining 11 months. Who needs it? Really?

Mile 2

I appreciated the punch line of Try a New Year’s Revolution: “I will work toward better days for myself…May Januarys be about self-acceptance, not self-improvement.” LOVE THAT.

Mile 3

“May Januarys be about self-acceptance, not self improvement.” I don’t think I can do that. I don’t think I can “do” self acceptance. OMG. I’m on another doom loop. This could be harder than setting New Year’s Resolutions. [Read more…]

to see a good end in all that and to find a good beginning in myself

 future-forward

I had gone back again to my little house and stood up on its roof and wanted to see a good end in all that and to find a good beginning in myself. And now, let us believe in a long year that is given to us, new, untouched, full of things that have never been…And now let us believe in a long year that is given to us, new, untouched, full of things that have never been…

~ Rainer Maria Rilke, from a letter to his wife in The Letters of Rainer Maria Rilke: 1892-1910

 


Notes: Quote – Anne Sexton Appreciation. Photo: DistantPassion

Burning the Old Year

portrait-mirror-behind

letters swallow themselves in seconds.
notes friends tied to the doorknob,
transparent scarlet paper,
sizzle like moth wings,
marry the air.

so much of any year is flammable,
lists of vegetables, partial poems.
orange swirling flame of days,
so little is a stone.

where there was something and suddenly isn’t,
an absence shouts, celebrates, leaves a space.
i begin again with the smallest numbers.

quick dance, shuffle of losses and leaves,
only the things i didn’t do
crackle after the blazing dies.

– Naomi Shihab Nye, “Burning the Old Year” from Words Under Words: Selected Poems


Notes:

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