T.G.I.F. a little sunshine…


Notes:

  • Photo: DK @ Daybreak. 5:15, 5:25 am, July 22, 2022. 73° F. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT. A few more pictures from this morning here and here.
  • Poem Source: liriostigre

Crisis? Go Watch the Rain for 10 minutes.

It rained one morning this week. I moved back to Texas last year, in part for the rainstorms. Here, it rains decisively, gloriously, like it really means it. It explodes, pounds, roars, thunders and then, suddenly, moves on. I stepped on my back porch, not wanting to miss the show.

I sat, silent, smelling that indescribable rain scent and stretching out my hands, palms open in supplication, the same position I use in church to receive communion. The physicality of the experience, the sensual joy of sounds, smells, touch and sight, was profoundly humanizing. In a very real way, I am made for that. I am made to notice the rain. I’m made to love it.

But digitization is changing our relationship with materiality — both the world of nature and of human relationships. We are trained through technology (and technology corporations) to spend more time on screens and less time noticing and interacting with this touchable, smellable, feelable world. Social media in particular trains us to notice that which is large, loud, urgent, trending and distant, and to therefore miss the small, quiet importance of our proximate and limited, embodied lives…

Both Richtel’s article and another article released the same week by The Times highlight the emerging trend of people having romantic relationships with fictional characters, rather than human beings. There is evidence that teenagers are consuming more pornography, even as fewer are having sex. In a piece for The Atlantic, Derek Thompson highlights the growing concern that screen habits are displacing beneficial experiences for kids, noting that compared with the early 2000s, teenagers are less likely to “go out with their friends, get their driver’s license or play youth sports.” They are also less likely to get enough sleep.

“Children today spend less time outdoors than any other generation,” the National Recreation and Park Association reports, “devoting only four to seven minutes to unstructured outdoor play per day while spending an average of seven and a half hours in front of electronic media.” I realized recently that I can identify more apps by sight than species of trees.

We are made to enjoy the physical presence of other human beings. We are made to enjoy rainstorms or sunshine or walks in the woods. We are made to enjoy touchable things. We cannot escape or overcome this need through technology. Our attempts to do so go against the grain of our deepest human needs and longings…

In the same way, I think we are finding that there is something essential and mysterious — dare I say, holy — about human beings interacting in person and with the natural world that simply cannot be replicated in virtual reality.

So what do we do? In his book “Strong and Weak: Embracing a Life of Love, Risk and True Flourishing,” Andy Crouch writes, “Perhaps the two best beginning moves, for those of us swaddled in affluence and intoxicated by our technology, are into the natural world — the world of stars, snow and rain, trees and deserts — and into the relational world — the world of real bodies and heartbeats, hands and faces.”

Just as people have worked to revive slow, unprocessed and traditional food, we need to fight for the tangible world, for enduring ways of interacting with others, for holism. We need to reconnect with material things: nature, soil, our bodies and other people in real life. This doesn’t necessarily have to be big and dramatic. We don’t have to hurl our computers into the sea en masse.

But we do have to intentionally resist the siren song of digitization, which by and large promises far more than it can deliver. We have to be cautious and wise about introducing devices into our lives that fundamentally change how humans have interacted since time immemorial. We have to plunge ourselves primarily into the natural world and embodied human relationships, with all the complexity, challenges, inconvenience and pain that entails.

Go watch the rain for 10 minutes. Go on a walk with a friend. Get off social media and meet one neighbor. Keep your kids offline. Put your hands in the dirt. Play an instrument instead of a video game. Turn off your smartphone and have dinner with people around a table. Search for beauty and goodness in the material world, and there, find joy. The way back to ourselves, as individuals and a society, runs through old, earthy things.

Tish Harrison Warren, from “We’re in a Loneliness Crisis: Another Reason to Get Off Our Phones” (NY Times, May 1, 2022). Warren is an Anglican priest reflects on matters of faith in private life and public discourse.


Photo: Ahmed Nishaath of Manipal Lake, Udpi, India via Unsplash.

T.G.I.F. Just stay in bed…


Ukraine. Russian invasion. Wintery Mix followed by freezing rain. 28° F, feels like 18° F.  Best to just stay in bed, and ride it out.


Photo: DK @ Cove Island Park. Friday, Feb 25, 2022. 6:06 a.m. More photos from this morning here.

Walking. With a Google Misfire.

3:30 a.m. Rain patters on the roof.

Morning papers. Blog posts. Emails. I flip through the final chapters of Sarah Manguso’s Very Cold People. (Well written, disjointed, disappointing. Several hours of my life I won’t get back.)

And poof, several hours pass. Just like that.

Google:  “54° F. Wind Gusts up to 42 mph. Light rain. Hard rain in 55 minutes.”  54° F, on Feb 18? Say what?  Hard rain in 55 min. Bah! When were you ever this precise? There’s time.

Light rain sprinkles as I make my way around the park. Wind gusts, at my back, are as forecasted.

But “Hard Rain?” None.

It’s been 655 days. 655 almost-consecutive-days on these morning Cove Island Park walks. Like almost 655 days in a row, and not one day have I been caught out in a rain storm.

I’m out at the farthest point in the park. [Read more…]

Sunday Afternoon

I have loved the peacefulness of an ordinary Sunday.

It is like standing in a newly planted garden after a warm rain.

You can feel the silent and invisible life.

Marilynne RobinsonGilead: A Novel


Notes: Quote via Mythology of Blue. Photo: DK @ Daybreak. 7:21 am, January 2, 2022. 52° F. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT. More photos from this morning here.

Monday Morning

The slow overture of rain,
each drop breaking
without breaking into
the next, describes
the unrelenting, syncopated
mind. Not unlike
the hummingbirds
imagining their wings
to be their heart, and swallows
believing the horizon
to be a line they lift
and drop.

Jorie Graham, from “Mind,” in Hybrids of Plants and of Ghosts.


Notes: Poem via The Vale of Soul-Making. Photo: pan xiaozhen @zhenhappy via Unsplash

Monday Morning

5/24/41…

After all that, the change … was like the sudden, unwelcome awakening from a glorious dream. An awakening on a Monday morning when, with one’s castle and clouds and the silver sea dissolved into a sordid room, one realizes that one has to get up and dress in the cold night in a few minutes and plod through a weary day.

Patricia Highsmith, “Patricia Highsmith: Her Diaries and Notebooks: 1941-1995.″ Anna von Planta (Editor). (Liveright, November 16, 2021)— Patricia Highsmith, Her Diaries and Notebooks: 1941-1995


Photo: DK @ Daybreak. 6:52 a.m., November 22, 2021. 48° F & Rain. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT. Related Swan posts: Swan1

the sounds of blood and air

Dawn. There’s no sunrise, no birdsong.

Light seeps over the water, through the branches. The sky is lying on the loch, filling the trees, heavy in the spaces between the pine needles, settling between blades of grass and mottling the pebbles on the beach. Although there’s no distance between cloud and land, nowhere for rain to fall, it is raining; the sounds of water on leaves and bark, on roofs and stones, windows and cars, become as constant as the sounds of blood and air in your own body.

You would notice soon enough, if it stopped.

Sarah Moss, “the sounds of blood and air” in Summerwater: A Novel (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, January 12, 2021)


Photo: DK @ Daybreak. 4:56 am, July 19, 2021. 70° F. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT.

Walking. With Elsa.

4:00 a.m. I flip open phone. Check Dark Sky app. 72° F. Tropical Storm Elsa. Heavy Rain. Flood Warnings.

Right. How bad can it possibly be? Nothing this Canadian with years @ Northern Michigan hasn’t seen. Please. Yet another over reaction, media click bait.

Cove Island Park walk. 430 consecutive mornings. Like in a row.

Rain jacket. Pants. Socks. Shoes. There was a time, in July, when you’d walk out, t-shirt, shorts, sock-less, maybe a baseball cap — and absorb whatever would hit you. Today, not so much.  Hemingway: “No, that is the great fallacy: the wisdom of old men. They do not grow wise. They grow careful.” He nailed it.

I lug the backpack to the car. The camera. Fanny pack, with keys, smartphone, earbuds.

I drive.

Radio News recaps yesterday’s headlines:

  • Governor Cuomo Declares First-In-The-Nation Gun Violence Disaster Emergency as Part of Comprehensive Strategy to Build a Safer New York, Fifty-one people were shot across the state over July 4 weekend.
  • Five undervaccinated clusters put the entire United States at risk.
  • The armed group who assassinated Haiti’s President, Jovenel Moise, were “professional killers” consisting of more than two dozen people, including two American citizens and retired members of the Colombian military.

OMG. Off with the radio.

The newspaper delivery man flips the morning paper on the driveway. It skids in the rain.

Stamford Sanitation. His orange florescent bib reflects my headlights. My back twinges watching him empty the can. God Bless you Man.

And not another soul dares to join me in this downpour. The question is why YOU are out here.

I jump out of the car to take a few shots on Weed Avenue, on the way to the park. The rain jacket can’t keep it out. My shoes sink in puddles. Socks are sopping wet. Long-sleeved shirt and t-shirt are wet to the skin. I get back to the car to find I left the door open, rain puddles on seat. Oh, what a beautiful day, you Idiot!

I drive.

I turn the corner to pull into Cove Island Park.

After 430 consecutive mornings, like in a row, you notice what’s out of place.

Sesame Street: “One of these things is not like the others. One of these things doesn’t belong. Can you tell which of these things is not like the others before I finish this song?”

[Read more…]

Saturday Morning


Daybreak. December 5, 2020. 7:30 am. 41° F.  Heavy Rain. Cove Island Park, Stamford CT

Monday Morning Wake Up Call

Rain? Wet? Puddles? Bring it on…


DK. Daybreak. November 23, 2020. 7:00 to 7:30 am. 57° F and Rain. Cove Island Park, Stamford CT

Today’s Forecast: Rain. More Rain.

How lonely it is:

A winter world full of rain,

Rain raining on rain.

—  Richard Wright, from “Haiku: The Last Poems of an American Icon


Photo: DK. Daybreak. October 30, 2020. 6:37 am. Today’s Forecast: Rain. And more rain. 40° F, feels like 31 ° F. Wind Gusts up to 33 mph. Cove Island Park, Stamford CT

Something about the waves, those that lift us, those that wipe us out.


This morning. Cove Island Park: Empty, but for DK and gulls.  55° F.  Rain. Blustery, with wind gusts up to 32 mph. Cloud Cover: 98%.   Post Title from: The Great Offshore Grounds: A Novel by Vanessa Veselka.

Sunday Morning

No weather so perfectly conjures a sense of foreboding, of anticipation and waiting, as the eerie stillness that often occurs before the first fat drops of rain, when storm light makes luminous all roofs and fields and strands black silhouettes of trees on the horizon. This is the storm as expectation. As solution about to be offered. Or all hell about to break loose. And as the weeks of this summer draw on, I can’t help but think that this is the weather we are all now made of. All of us waiting. Waiting for news. Waiting for Brexit to hit us. Waiting for the next revelation about the Trump administration. Waiting for hope, stranded in that strange light that stills our hearts before the storm of history.

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


Photo: DK, 6:15 am, September 27, 2020. The Cove. Stamford, CT

Today’s Forecast: Rain

You will never be alone, you hear so deep
a sound when autumn comes. Yellow
pulls across the hills and thrums,
or the silence after lightening before it says
its names—and then the clouds’ wide-mouthed
apologies. You were aimed from birth:
you will never be alone. Rain
will come, a gutter filled, an Amazon,
long aisles—you never heard so deep a sound,
moss on rock, and years. You turn your head—
that’s what the silence meant: you’re not alone.
The whole wide world pours down.

~ William Stafford, “Assurance” in The Way It Is: New & Selected Poems


Notes:

  • Poem: Thank you The Hammock Papers
  • Photo: DK. Daybreak / Rain. September 10, 2020. 6:00 am. 68° F. At Cove Island, Stamford, CT

Running. With Incongruity.

Friday. Early afternoon. A crack between conference calls.

I run.

I’m up a whopping seven pounds since being sheltered in place. There are no barriers to entry, to the Fridge, to the pantry, to the potato chips. Or the counter tops, which on alternative days are lined with Susan’s Chocolate chip cookies, Zucchini loaves and Banana Bread.

I flip her an article: “Forget the Sourdough. Everybody’s Baking Banana Bread” and highlight the punch line:

Nervous about venturing into markets, many people are making do with ingredients at hand, including the moldering bananas. In the past month, banana bread beat out pancakes, brownies and pizza dough as the No. 1 searched-for recipe in the U.S. and world-wide, according to Google. The humble loaves are taking a star turn on Instagram and Twitter…. “The isolation stages of grief,” another said, are “denial, anger, banana bread.”

But I feel little of this. No grief. No denial. Little isolation. OK, maybe anger, ever-present, on slow boil.

And yet again, I’m out of step with the Pack, feeling none of the isolation, feeling none of the mid-winter-like cabin fever others are swamped in. [Read more…]

Lightly Child, Lightly

To be held
by the light
was what I wanted,
to be a tree drinking the rain

Linda Hogan, from “To Be Held,” Dark. Sweet: New & Selected Poems.

 


Notes:

  • Poem Source: thevaleofsoulmaking.wordpress.com. Photo: Enzo Penna (via Mennyfox55)
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

Good Morning

And on this uneventful morning, the soft rain makes the oak outside my window dip enough for the early light to stream across the braided mountain hanging on my wall. Now the thread on the border swells with the sun and seems for the moment the source of all strength. Then the sun steps higher in the sky, and the thread that holds all things together goes back to work.

~ Mark Nepo, from “The Golden Thread” (Patheos.com, April, 13, 2020)


Photo: Rain Drops by DEmiJAN Me

Today’s Forecast: 90% Probability of Rain

Nobody in Faha could remember when it started. Rain there on the western seaboard was a condition of living. It came straight-down and sideways, frontwards, backwards and any other wards God could think of. It came in sweeps, in waves, sometimes in veils. It came dressed as drizzle, as mizzle, as mist, as showers, frequent and widespread, as a wet fog, as a damp day, a drop, a dreeping, and an out-and-out downpour. It came the fine day, the bright day, and the day promised dry. It came at any time of the day and night, and in all seasons, regardless of calendar and forecast, until in Faha your clothes were rain and your skin was rain and your house was rain with a fireplace. It came off the grey vastness of an Atlantic that threw itself against the land like a lover once spurned and resolved not to be so again. It came accompanied by seagulls and smells of salt and seaweed. It came with cold air and curtained light. It came like a judgement, or, in benign version, like a blessing God had forgotten he had left on. It came for a handkerchief of blue sky, came on westerlies, sometimes – why not? – on easterlies, came in clouds that broke their backs on the mountains in Kerry and fell into Clare, making mud the ground and blind the air. It came disguised as hail, as sleet, but never as snow. It came softly sometimes, tenderly sometimes, its spears turned to kisses, in rain that pretended it was not rain, that had come down to be closer to the fields whose green it loved and fostered, until it drowned them. All of which, to attest to the one truth: in Faha, it rained. But now, it had stopped.

~ Niall Williams, “This Is Happiness” (Bloomsbury Publishing; December 3, 2019)


Photo: “All it ever does is rain” by Alan Schaller (via thisisn’thappiness)

Today’s Forecast

“Rain on roof outside window, gray light, deep covers and warm blankets. Rain and nip of autumn in air; nostalgia.”

~ Sylvia Plath, from a journal entry featured in “The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath”


Notes: Quote via violentwavesofemotion. Photo via Frillmag

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