Fragile as ash
a memory stirs
and the past comes back. […]
a single breath
can make it
crackle and burn.
35° F, clear, calm.
Body parts functioning, check.
Smartphone in breast pocket, check.
ID building pass, check.
Nine minutes to first morning train, check.
I step out the door, insert key, turn, and lock the door. There’s a clop clop clop of footsteps on the street. I turn to see Runner. Male, wearing a Miner’s headlamp, his beam illuminating the road.
2003. That’s you. Up, pre dawn: 5 miles Tuesday. 7 miles Wednesday. 4 miles Friday. Hot shower. Off to work. [Read more…]
Rest Wolodja, rest.
Source: The Washington Post, (
Our hands full or not:
The same abundance.
Our eyes open or shut:
The same light.
I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.
Photo: Christopher Gould
50° F, mid-January. Shameful, I know, but if this is global warming, fill me up, give me more, take me Home to Spring.
I wait for the light to turn and look up squinting, the Sun beams warm the bones, the soul.
I cross Madison and head up 48th.
The City that never sleeps is in peripatetic flight – cabs zigzagging, buses spewing exhaust, delivery trucks unloading the day’s provisions, couriers on bikes, commuters with one foot on gas, one hand on horn, street sweepers with rotating brushes raising dust, garbage trucks with their putrid stench, shopkeepers lifting their steel grates, street vendors setting out their apples, bananas and bagels – – and thoughts.
Walking these same concrete streets in a New Year. No cake, no candles, no party hats at 10 years. Here walks an off-center screw, never quite center, never just right – and yet the hand re-grips, shredding those fine threads, tightening and tightening cross-thread. Must find Proof. [Read more…]
A small child next to us looked down at her snow-covered boots, then pointed to a duck that stood on the ice on the bank and asked her mother an extremely good question: “Why don’t his feet get cold?”…
It’s this: The bigger the temperature difference between two objects when they touch, the faster heat will flow from one to the other. Another way of putting that is to say that the more similar the temperatures of the two objects are, the more slowly heat will flow from one to the other. And that’s what really helps the ducks. As all that frantic paddling was going on, warm blood was flowing down the arteries of each duck’s legs. But those arteries were right next to the veins carrying blood back from the feet. The blood in the veins was cool. So the molecules in the warm blood jostled the blood vessel walls, which then jostled the cooler blood. The warm blood going to the feet got a bit cooler, and the blood going back into the body was warmed up a bit. Slightly farther down the duck’s leg, the arteries and the veins are both cooler overall, but the arteries are still warmer. So heat flows across from the arteries to the veins. All the way down the duck’s legs, heat that came from the duck’s body is being transferred to the blood that’s going back the other way, without going near the duck’s feet. But the blood itself goes all the way around. By the time the duck’s blood reaches its webbed feet, it’s pretty much the same temperature as the water. Because its feet aren’t much hotter than the water, they lose very little heat. And then as the blood travels back up toward the middle of the duck, it gets heated up by the blood coming down. This is called a countercurrent heat exchanger, and it’s a fantastically ingenious way of avoiding heat loss. If the duck can make sure that the heat doesn’t get to its feet, it has almost eliminated the possibility of losing energy that way.
So ducks can happily stand on the ice precisely because their feet are cold. And they don’t care.
Call it Rest. I sit on one of the branches. My idleness suits me. I am content. I have built my house. The blue butterflies, called azures, twinkle up from the secret place where they have been waiting. In their small blue dresses they float among the branches, they come close to me, one rests for a moment on my wrist. They do not recognize me as anything very different from this enfoldment of leaves, this wind-roarer, this wooden palace lying down, now, upon the earth, like anything heavy, and happy, and full of sunlight, and half asleep.
~ Mary Oliver, from “Building The House” in Upstream: Selected Essays
Photo: Shmoo Shots with A Visit from the Spirit of a Lost Friend. “Summer Azure butterfly which landed on my left wrist and stayed and stayed and stayed while I balanced the camera and took photos with my right hand.”