Walking. And harvesting light.

69° F. 4:30 a.m. My daybreak walk @ Cove Island Park. 410 consecutive days. Like in a Row.

Dark Sky app: 93% cloud cover.

It’s a quiet morning.

A solo fisherman.

A runner. Male. Tights. Headband. Could pass for Richard Simmons. Smartphone strapped to his left arm. And white, wired earbuds. Does anyone use wired earbuds anymore?

And then a brisk walker with a Tuk pulled down over his ears, a North Face coat and gloves. (~70° F. Cancer?)

And me. Man-Child laboring under a massive backpack, containing more gear than you’ll find in stock at your local BestBuy, 98% of which will go unused on the morning walk. But it’s all gotta come, just-in-case.

My eye catches rapid movement, then color over the water. Ellen Meloy: “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.” Lori shared this, and The Mind keeps returning to it in a loop.

Miracle, that my eye spotted this creature in twilight. I’m away at a distance, I quickly swap lenses, and then approach. She’s skittish, and one would wonder why. [Read more…]

Walking. The Day After.

4:14 a.m. Dark Sky app: 60° F.

Out the door.  Morning walk @ Daybreak @ Cove Island Park. 402 consecutive days. Like in a row.

Man Fishing. GIANT man. Long, LONG fishing pole. Ex defensive lineman type. He lumbers towards his bike, dwarfing his two wheeler. Eyes closed, it’s his third attempt to swing his leg up and over, and he’s successful. He pauses, composing himself, letting the pain subside.

Man. Senior citizen. Walking a senior dog on a long leash. Both laboring to advance. That’s me in 20 years. Without a Dog. Sigh.

Woman. Cargo shorts. Long dark hair. Neatly kept. Shoes off. Sitting cross-legged on rocks. Hands in her lap. Meditating.

Egret, snow, snowy white, lands a few feet away.

Flock of geese quietly pass overhead.

The shimmer of pink reflects on the stones and water. Nice. I snap a shot. That shot up top.

And all of This, somehow, isn’t enough today.

After the Ring of Fire yesterday, that Big Show, this was too quiet, too normal, too SAME. [Read more…]

Walking. Under the Red Maple.

Cove Island Park Walk. At Daybreak. 394 consecutive days. Like in a Row.

A handful of days after the long Memorial Day weekend. Reader: Hold that thought.

4:36 a.m. Dark Sky app is calling for 100% cloud cover, 50% chance of rain. Ugh.

I’m out the door.

I arrive at the park. Cloud cover ~60%. No rain. Not a hint of rain. Take that Dark Sky A.I.

Two loops around the park and I’m heading back to the car.

I’m 500 feet from the parking lot and I notice the tree.

Was this beautiful little tree here before? No chance. I would have seen it, for sure. Almost 400 consecutive days in a row, and I missed it?

Look at the fresh soil build up around the base. Could a tree this large have been transplanted?

What kind of tree it this? Red Maple? Could you possibly be this clueless? A Canadian who doesn’t know his trees?

I glance at my watch. Time to get home.

I quickly snap a shot of the tree and keep walking. And note that I couldn’t even get the entire tree within the frame. Really!?!

No.

I stop.

This tree is pulling me back.

I walk back. [Read more…]

Walking. Beneath the Plimsoll line of conscious control.

4:26 a.m.

Dark Sky app: 48º F. Feels like 42º F, with wind gusts up to 27 mph. Cloud cover 95%. Light rain forecast in one hour… and, then, 100% cloud cover.

I slide on hoodie, with down jacket on top. Tuk over the ears. And out the door.

I ease into the front seat. Lower back, to hamstring, to thigh to left knee, sizzles. With both hands on the steering wheel, I close eyes, clench teeth, inhale, and wait for lightning to pass. I shift in seat, right, then left, then up straight, trying to locate the pain-free zone. Can’t shake it. I fire up the ignition, and drive.

With a sliver of time, a narrow window for light, I need to hustle. I slide out of the front seat, gingerly place right foot, and then left foot on the ground. I stand for a moment and wait for pain to subside. A few deep breaths, and sizzle settles to simmer, and its go-time.

390 consecutive days, like in a row. My morning walk at Cove Island Park. Backpack. Camera. And I’m off.

I walk. [Read more…]

Walking. With #1 Son.

383 consecutive days. Like in a Row. Morning Walk to Cove Island Park. You’ll say, impossible. I’m telling you, you don’t understand the Wiring. Only 1 day during the streak that put it in jeopardy, and that’s a story for another day.

Back to this morning’s walk.  Eric’s on My Mind.

We set up a makeshift office for him in the attic.  A white IKEA desk. A desk chair from Staples. A floor mat under the chair from Amazon. A small single bed against the wall.  And there he hibernates. 

Late night, he shifts in the chair, the floorboards creak, his office directly above the Master bedroom. His chair directly on top of me, sleeping. He’ll be editing his photos, the same photos for hours. Days. The penguin from South Africa, that one up top, took weeks. Deliberate. Meticulous. Punctilious. Like a Professional.

He crawls into bed at ~3 a.m. About the time when his Dad, me, stirs, getting ready for his Daybreak walk. [Read more…]

Walking. With Truckers, Parakeets & Puppies.

375 consecutive days. Like in a Row. Cove Island Morning Walk.  The commitment to stop this obsession on the 366th day, came and went. Rachel Cusk: ‘…this balking of my will.’ This pull of something Larger.

10:00 a.m. yesterday. Cablevision contractor (full mask the entire time because it’s the right thing to do) takes his wire cutters, and with a quick turn of his wrist, strips the white pvc wrapper from the copper wire. I couldn’t do that without slashing my index finger. Wish I could do Something with these hands. Need to watch Dick Proenneke’s Youtube documentary on building a log cabin in the Alaskan Wilderness. That’s right. Get off-grid and build something. 

4:35 a.m.  Newspaper ‘Man’ (not Boy, not on a 2-wheeler but an early model Nissan) flicks his wrist and the NY Times  sails in slow motion, its blue wrapper flapping in the air, and hits the driveway with a thud. I’d like to do this, just one morning…Fling papers on driveways, watch them skid on dewy front yards, or slow the car to wind it way back and slam it against the garage door…

4:45 a.m. I turn onto the I-95 entrance ramp. Truckers. So many Trucks.  So many red tail lights.  Not one time in the last 60-75 days, as I enter the merging lane, have these monster trucks not moved into the center lane to let me enter. Not.One.Time. Driving all night and still have the decency and courtesy of swinging their big rigs into the center lane to let me in. Not one Time. That’s Professional. 

I’m across from this giant tandem semi, which wobbles over into my lane and then straightens out. Must have reached over to give his puppy a snack.  Wheels. Life on the Road. “It can get lonely on the road60% of truckers are pet owners, 40% of them taking their pets on the road with them…Sarah Giles, 27, drives for All Freight Carriers and carries a pair of dogs — and…a green-cheeked conure parakeet. ‘They’re about a foot long, as smart as a 4-year-old and very affectionate,’ she said. ‘Bonnie wants to be on me all the time, insists on everything her way, and doesn’t like strangers near the truck.’”

Sarah has a pair (!) of dogs and parakeet!  I look ahead. Of the 10 truckers in front of me, 4 have buddies riding along.  My passenger seat is dark, empty, and Sad. No friends. That’s Sad.

5:39 a.m. I make my way up to the point at Cove Island Park.

Walking by myself.

No puppy.

But damn, what a view…


Photo: DK @ Daybreak. 5:24 to 5:39 am, May 15, 2021. 46° F. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT.

 

Walking. 365 days. Like in a row.

Good morning.

I looked back at my blog post on May 5, 2020. Clear skies. 42° F … “Nippy for May” is how I described it.  Didn’t know at the time that I’d be on this sustained journey.  This 365 consecutive day morning walk to Cove Island Park at daybreak. 365 days, like in a row.

I was surprised to see that a year ago, I was monitoring the nesting of yet another Canada Goose. And this year, I’m at it again. Same one? Who knows?  On the drive to the park this morning (and every morning since gestation started), I’m unsettled, uneasy — until I pull up, and verify that everything is as it should be. Life is as it should be. In order. No cruelty. No tragedies. Tracking to nature’s time. Hesse: But I need to feel beautiful and holy things around me, always…I need it, and I refuse to give it up…That’s my fatal flaw.

Mother Goose was curled up in her nest. Her mate, was strolling up and down the pier a few yards away.  Beth described me as their Midwife, and that sounds about right.

And despite Daniel’s prognostication that Mother Goose may bless me with the birth of a little one on my Anniversary, it didn’t happen. Not today.  Not yet anyway. I can wait.

And Him (or Her, more likely) way way upstairs, didn’t bless me with a glorious sunrise to honor my Anniversary.  No multi color light show in the sky. No wow shots.  But to be fair, He’s given me far, far more days of majesty than days of overcast, by a wide margin.

The rain, this morning, a super fine mist — somewhere in size between dust motes and very light rain. And it continued for my entire walk. A cool, light, fresh touch.

No one ventured out in the rain this morning. In a city of 130,000, I was alone. My Park. My Time.

It was high tide and water was gushing into the Cove.

The flags flying high above the Cove Island Snack shop (badly in need of paint) rustled gently in the breeze.

Waterfowl were awakening, cormorants were fishing.

A light fog hangs over the water.

And a lightness hangs over me as I’m driving home thinking that it’s time for a morning Break. A sabbatical of sorts.  Sleep in for a day or two, and then consider my next steps.

And then what? Replace it with what?

With what that could possibly be better? 


DK @ Daybreak. 5:08 am, May 5, 2021. 50° F. Light misty rain. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT.

Walking. It Ain’t Disney on the Sabbath.

5:50 a.m.

Go ahead, lip sync. I’ll wait.  362 consecutive days. Like in a Row. Morning walk @ Cove Island Park.

I can see her from the parking lot.  She’s up.  I rush to grab the camera gear, worried that she’s going to plop down again and I’ll miss the shot.

Yet, Something is off.

A raven approaches the nest with his shrill KRAA! KRAA! KRAA!

The male rushes towards it, hissing. Canadians, normally patient, and ever-courteous, can be pushed only so far.  Nasty black scavenger, steps back, offers a half-a**ed kraa! and takes watch from a distance. I look around for a stone to join in the defense. Lucky for you Ray, I didn’t find one.

Mother Goose, meanwhile continues to peck away at her nest.

There’s no sign of eggs.

No sign of little ones.

I wait.

And watch.

No eggs. No little ones.

She’s pecking, poking, arranging.  And then, she tugs and pulls on what appears to be a fetus, skin color, reddish orange.

I watch for a moment longer. And leave. Can’t watch this.

I walk up to the bridge, the entrance to the park.  Take another look from this vantage point. No eggs. No little ones. Maybe they’ll both be gone by the time I return. And some kind soul will sweep the remains of that hardscrabble nest into Long Island Sound.

I walk around the park, not anxious to return to the funeral, and return 30 minutes later.

She’s still poking at her nest. Odd.

The raven has departed, tired of waiting for a free meal.

Her mate is now sitting on the pier. Must be waiting for her to be done grieving so they can move on.

I cross the bridge. Still no sign of any eggs, or little ones. Ever the optimist DK.

I look away.  Sad, all of it. Heavy.

I get in the car, and turn up the heater. Cold? 53° F?  I can’t bear to keep looking at the scene.

I’m ready to back out of the parking lot, and take one last look. She’s still cleaning her empty nest. What is she doing? Strap on your zoom lens and let’s see what she’s poking at.

I turn off the ignition, and get out of the car.

Camera, super zoom lens affixed, I walk back out to the fence and zoom in on the target…

[Read more…]

Walking. With Abby.

360 consecutive days.  Like in a row. Morning walk @ Daybreak.

Sun rises at 5:52 a.m, twilight is ~ 50 to 60 minutes earlier. You can do the math. Early.

I’m on I-95 N.  I shift in my seat and an electric current fires from lower back, through hip, down the leg and sizzles all the way down to the toes.

I’m back in Physical Therapy.  PT, is what the cool people call it. Diagnosis? Not pulled hamstring, but lower back (again). Two weeks in, better, but far from rehabbed.

I ease out of the car, and my conversation with my new Therapist flashes back.

“Where’s Abby?”

“Abby?” [Read more…]

Walking. With very faint, very human(s).

Michael Ondaatje: “Trust me, this will take time but there is order here, very faint, very human.”

5:55 a.m. 340 consecutive days. Like in a row. Morning walk. This morning, Calf Pasture Beach, Norwalk. Dark Sky: 48° F. 96% cloud cover.

I walk.

6:01 a.m. Up ahead. Tall, lanky, young and solo. Hat pulled down over his ears. Shoulders sagging, heavy step. Not looking at skyline, head bowed. I stretch my gait to trace his steps, shoes sink in wet sand at low tide, my step, shoe size, almost a match. Ember from his cigarette glows in twilight, he flicks it away, and tucks both hands deep into his pockets. Mary Oliver: “When one is alone and lonely, the body gladly lingers in the wind or the rain…anything that touches.

6:13 a.m. Runner, unmasked, aggressively approaching in my lane on sidewalk. Shouting something, lips moving, but inaudible through my AirPods. “Did you get the sunrise on Wednesday?” He’s like inside of 3 feet, well inside of my personal space. And, it’s Saturday, like 3 days later, it’s near 100% overcast this morning, and I’ve never seen him before in my life. Have I somehow lost a day, or two? And, what was that, that hit my chin, spittle from his mouth, rain droplet or gull deposit?

He continues. “It was amazing!” I nod, smile back. He keeps running. It was amazing.

6:15 a.m. Two on the beach, shoeless, covered in a blanket. Giggling. Waving wands, soap bubbles rising, drifting then disappear. They dip the wands and repeat, giggling.

6:18 a.m. A familiar fellow walker is taking a shot of something in the tree. I look up to see a squirrel gnawing at a red apple, cheeks full. I keep walking, turn back, and see him toss another apple to his bushy friend.

6:20 a.m. Walker. Tall galoshes. Masked. With Goggles. Alien. I try to make eye contact — what kind of human is armoured up like this? She avoids eye contact and continues down the pier.

I walk.

[Read more…]

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