Walking. In place inaccessible to unbelief.

5:05 am. I peek at the weather app: 27° F, feels like 15° F, wind gusts up to 32 mph.

Camus: “In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.”

Hmmmmmm, not feelin’ it.

Everyone in the house sleeps, snuggled under their comforters. Wally snores peacefully. I slide my hand onto his belly, and it moves up and down with his inhale and exhale. What joy this creature has brought, this little ball of life.

I get out of bed. Sigh. Thick wool socks. Smart Wool, long underwear. Hoodie. Snow pants. Lined Boots. Come on Arctic blast, hit me, give me your best shot.

I walk.

Not a soul in the park. No runners. No walkers. No dredgers, who are off for the long weekend. And here I am, 985 consecutive (almost) days on this daybreak walk at Cove Island Park. Like in a row.

Surprised, I am, at the ebbs and flows. 12 years here at this blogging thing, and it’s ebbing, a low tide that ebbs 1 day, and ebbs 2 days and ebbs 3 days, followed by a shoulder shrug. Time with Wally. Time with book. Time with Netflix. [Read more…]

Lightly Child, Lightly.

Not far from the city I had a secret refuge, a small cove that I liked to visit at the kindling of the morning star. At that hour there was nothing more translucent under heaven than the shallow sea between the rocks. The seabed was everywhere visible and the water, blue as an eye, grew lighter the closer you got to the surface, until it turned green, then vanished—and I breathed it in.
It was there that the god found me.

– Sjón, The Whispering Muse


Notes:

  • Quote: Thank you Sawsan for sharing. 942 consecutive (almost) days in a row on this morning walk in my almost “secret refuge, a small cove that I liked to visit at the kindling of the morning star.” These words magic, capture it.
  • DK Photo @ Daybreak. 6:14 am. 48° F. December 8, 2022. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT.  More pictures from this morning’s walk here.
  • 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.”

Lightly Child, Lightly.

It sometimes sweeps through him in quick glimpses like an illumination and yes, yes, then he’s filled with a kind of happiness and he thinks that there might be a place somewhere… what if everything could be like that? … He thinks about a place like that, which is obviously no place, he thinks, he falls into a kind of sleep that isn’t like sleep but more a bodily movement where he’s not moving… everything’s heavy and hard and there’s a place in the big heaviness that’s an unbelievably gentle shining light, like faith, yes, like a promise.

Jon Fosse, The Other Name: Septology I-II.


Notes:D

  • DK Photo @ Daybreak. 67° F, with light rain. 6 am. November 12, 2022. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT.
  • 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.”

Lightly Child, Lightly.

I saw a man once, I waved to him and he did not wave back; I felt very self-conscious, partly because of how often I was walking this road. I walked until I got to the small cove we had driven past the first day we came here that had thrilled me so quietly; it still gave me a quiet sense of awe… And then I would walk back again.

— Elizabeth Strout, Lucy by the Sea: A Novel (Random House, September 20, 2022)

Notes:

  • Elizabeth Strout’s words spoke to me, this 905th consecutive day (almost, like in a row) on my morning walk at Cove Island Park.
  • Photos from yesterday’s morning walk @ Cove Island Park. More photos from yesterday’s walk here.
  • 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.”

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

At the end of our final conversation, I asked — hoping to give her some relief from talking about the project of performance and the burdens of age — what’s delighting her right now, what ideas or wishes or artworks are keeping her company mentally. Her voice changed. “Gosh. I’m quite — ” she stopped. “Tired.” The tone of her voice shifted so suddenly, twisted to the forlorn so dramatically, that I grew alarmed. But she was just having trouble conjuring an answer to the question. It had been a long day, and now it was 11 o’clock: She was tired. What was on her mind? Learning to surf. The journalism of Anne Applebaum. Growing things in her garden. A slim novel called “Assembly,” by Natasha Brown. She paused. “You know what I’d love to do, too? I’d love to go for a really, really long walk.”

“How long?”

“Not one of those where I’m going to buy a pack of cigarettes and never come back — ” and we were laughing again. “Not that kind of walk.”

The thing about a long walk is it’s an experience of process, of being in the corridor between the place you started and the place you will eventually be. “It’s like that moment of suspension in dance when you don’t know whether the dancer is taking off or about to land,” Blanchett said. She gestured with her body, as if she were going to take wing and hover. “That moment, that intake of breath before the words come out or the music comes out.” She smiled. “I want to be there. I want to be permanently there.”

— Jordan Kisner, The Elusive Power of Cate Blanchett (NY Times Magazine, October 11, 2022)

Tuesday Morning Walk

The sky is a soft blue and I begin the walk…winding down to the center of my everything.

—  Leila Mottley, Nightcrawling: A Novel (Knopf, June 7, 2022)


Notes:

  • Photo: DK, July 23, 2022. 5:30 a.m. Stamford, CT.
  • DK Rating: Highly Recommended. Amazon Top Books of 2022.  Selected as an Oprah’s Book Club pick. NY Times Editor’s Choice Top 10 Books of the Week. NY Times Book Review here.

Walking. Being A Little More Human.

Monday. 4:48 a.m. Why so early? There is some logic, disturbing as it may seem to some, to catch twilight, or daybreak, or first light or whatever you may want to call it — I have to leave the house precisely 60 minutes from Sunrise. And since Sunrise changes every day, and I have no clue why, my rise-and-go changes daily. For this machine is wound as tight as a Swiss Clock. Precisely (Mostly.) Daily. (Generally.)

So back to the walk. 747 consecutive days on this daybreak walk at Cove Island Park. Like in a row. (Almost.)

64° F, feels like 62° F. This is from the Dark Sky App. No bloody chance in hell it’s even close. Wind gusting up to 20 mph. It feels like a brisk 49°. And thank the lightening bolt premonition before I left the house — I put on a windbreaker or this would have been a damn short walk this morning. And be damed, if I’m still not cold.

So, back to the walk. It’s 4:50 a.m. and I’m getting out of the car. There’s only one other car in the parking lot. What sort of other lunatic is up at this hour? In case of a future need, this may be a match for bone marrow transplant, or white cell transplant, there’s gotta be some bone-to-bone connection here.

I sling the straps of my backpack over my shoulders, synch down the straps, lock the car, and walk.

And walk.

And there he is. The owner of the other car. He’s approaching. He’s carrying a white cleaning caddy in his right hand. Two toilet brushes, cleaning supplies, rags. The white of the caddy, is as white as my egrets. It illuminates the darkness.

[Read more…]

Saturday Morning

I love going on walks by myself. No pressure to keep up conversation. And there is something about movement that helps me think. To charge an idea with the body’s inertia. To carry a feeling through the distance and watch it grow.

—  Ocean Vuong, The Weight of Our Living: On Hope, Fire Escapes, and Visible Desperation (therumpus.net, August 24, 2014)


Photo: Daybreak. 5:49 a.m., April 30, 2022. 41° F. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT. More photos from this morning here.

Walking. With One (Good) Wing Creatures.

5:15 a.m. I’m out the door.  Dark Sky is calling for rain. Let’s see.

It’s been ~675 mornings, almost consecutive. Like in a row. I’m on my daybreak walk @ Cove Island Park.

It’s not all glorious Swans and pirouettes.

There she is. Up top. The Gull. She? He? Sorry, with no disrespect intended to whatever it is, I’m old school. Or just old. I don’t know its pronoun, and we’re going with She.

I wasn’t paying attention. Not downward anyway.  And typically, the wildlife clears out-of-the-way when Darth Vader approaches. A 6’1″ human, black hoodie, black jacket, black sweat pants, black gloves, black toque (pronounced tuuuk), and a matching black backpack.  Darth, who recently had foot surgery, happens to be dragging his right leg, with his Sorel boot scraping the asphalt behind him.  So all winged creatures give Darth wide berth.
[Read more…]

Walking. Quiet with Highsmith.

6:00 a.m. Forget the preamble. Take my word for it. It’s cold.

I twist in my ear buds and cue up Patricia Highsmith’s 1000 page diary on Audible. I’m 900 pages in, the home stretch.  It’s late August, she’s living in France: “My French house is like my life and body. The garden represents work, very hard work, never perfect, never finished, and I find there is hardly one day a year when I can say, ‘It all looks nice.’

I think about this for a moment, nodding, in full agreement with the metaphor, and work.

I sit in the car, building up the energy to step out in the cold. And she continues, and has me twisting on a follow-on post: “Work is the only thing of importance or joy in life. Trouble begins when one pauses to consider what one has done.”  I noodle on both ends of this sandwich and get out of the car.  Too deep, too early in the morning.

I walk. Shuffling in my Sorel boots, counterclockwise around the park. The Connecticut-Chinook at my back.

The curtain is preparing to rise at 7:10.

It’s Quiet.

This has to have been a transforming practice – almost two years of quietness,” a friend on FB posits.

I stand looking out over the horizon. The blues. The oranges. The yellows. And all of it blending and shimmering on the water. A Rothko-looking exhibit.

And then I’m back to Highsmith in the 1970’s: “With greater universal education, there is paradoxically greater stupidity. One gets further from the land and nature, instead of being in harmony with it, as were our less educated forebears. We now read about pills and take them—and are afraid to give an honest belch.”

Transformation & Quiet & Harmony.

Hmmmm. 

You know DK, you may have gotten this Thing right.

 


Note: (1) DK @ Daybreak. 6:36 to 6:50 am, January 27, 2022. 12° F, feels like 9° F. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT. More of this morning photos here. (2) Rothko was described by Sawsan!

Walking. Who but an imbecile?

5:00 a.m.  Glance at weather app. 10° F, feels like Hell frozen over. Wind gusts up to 30 mph.  Every ligament and nerve ending in the body is screaming, No! Stay under the covers.

But Duty calls. That magnetic pull. To what, for what, God only knows. But it pulls.

I’m sitting in the car at Cove Island Park, and, yes, the heater blows on my feet.

I twist in my ear buds and cue up Patricia Highsmith’s 1000 page diary on Audible. I’m 800 pages in and she grumbles: “Who but an imbecile would have chosen such a hard way?

I step out.  A wind gust greets my start. Both eye balls gush water in defense. And they keep draining. Must be another one of these old age blessings, sh*t leaking oil from all orifices.

Bela called it. “It can be below zero, and I can go out in crocs if it’s dry…But if there’s moisture in the air, you can never warm up below 30F.” Yep, Bela. Here we stand.  Frigid wind (Chinook the Albertan’s call it, except wet) blowing off Long Island Sound, and it’s ripping right through my North Face gear. I’m coated with 3 layers from head to toe, except for the face which is exposed. Face-lift, no charge, God-Styling.

I walk.

I take the loop with the wind at my back. (I’m not a total imbecile.) [Read more…]

Walking. With Agnes.

“You can walk. This is a gift. You can breathe and you can think and you can navigate a long room and sit with an old woman and ask questions about what life and art really mean. This is what they really mean: They are happening right now. They are happening to you and those in this world right now. And life and the arts and the people to whom they are happening are gifts to you, family for you. Embrace them. Listen to them. Navigate the long room to get to them and ask questions and listen and argue and create.

“There is so much beauty to see and to feel. Right now.

“Walk! Move your arms! Breathe!

“Get out and get to the life that is happening.”

Agnes de Mille, from an Interview with James Grissom in 1989 titled: “Agnes de Mille: Get to the Life”. She was 85 at the time of the interview.


Notes:

Monday Morning – Daybreak Walk (17 sec)


Thank you Beth.

Walking. With Franzen.

6:45 a.m. – ish this morning. I’m walking Cove Island Beach. I reach the breakwall, and pause. It’s hard not to look out into this and not feel Small. The gentle breeze off the ocean. The lapping of the waves on the shoreline. The cloud formations. The warmth in early October. The thin strip of sunlight on the horizon.

Mark Oliver EverettSometimes that beauty is too much for me to handle. Do you know that feeling? When something is just too beautiful? When someone says something or writes something or plays something that moves you to the point of tears, maybe even changes you. 

And this beauty, the landscape in front, and the words from Audible being pumped into my head from Jonathan Franzen’s new novel, Crossroads, made me feel exactly that: Just too beautiful. [Read more…]

Walking. Great Point & Hallowed Ground.

Friday, September 17th, the streak was broken.

I hadn’t known the numerical significance of it at the time — I was only regretting that the day would eventually come.  So, when I ran the math this morning, it was startling.

Start date May, 5, 2020. End date September 17, 2021. 500 days. 500 consecutive days of morning walks at Cove Island Park. Like in a Row. 

500 days of Anything is Something.

A joke, sad, and tiresome that it is, swirls around the house that I get anxiety attacks when I’m outside of a 50 mile radius of home. So, between the breaking of the 500 day chain, and the Road Trip outside of the comfort zone, we were swimming against unease.

Eric (Son) drove. Susan was the co-Pilot.  And I sat in the back, quiet, moping, thumbing through my iPad.

Fast forward. To our last morning in Nantucket. Steve & Andrew (Rachel’s future Father-in-Law and Fiancé) drove me out to Great Point in Nantucket. To get to Great Point, it was 15 minutes on the road followed by a 30 minute drive on the beach. [Read more…]

Walking. With Someday & Soon.

479 consecutive days. Like in a Row.  Walking, at Cove Island Park.

~ 20 minutes before sunrise, and I’m walking the shoreline. It twitches. The surface stirs. Their bellies, silver flashes, mica flickering in twilight.

I look overhead. No gulls, no egrets, no herons. Enjoy your quiet time little people, while it lasts.

I keep walking. Multiple schools swirl ahead of me.

The Twilight Zone.

I walk.

Pages of James Tate Hill’s new memoir, Blind Man’s Bluff, turn. “It’s that meaning can rest in the smallest details, in every moment and gesture and line of dialogue.” 

The middle aged Chinese woman runner. Hardy girl that she is, running every morning straight through the winter months. She no longer runs on Weed Avenue, the main artery to the Park.  She ducks in and out of the side streets.  Fearing assault? Retribution for the Chinese Virus?

The Veteran Retiree. No sign of him in months. Visiting his grandchildren? Ill? Hospitalized?

Runner with Spandex and wired, Over-The-Ear headphones. He rolls on. Wired. With Over-the-Ear headphones. With Spandex. Luminescent disco blue. [Read more…]

Walking. With Degenerate Guardian Angel.

5:10 a.m. Morning Walk @ Cove Island Park.  471 consecutive days. Like in a Row.

77° F.  Light rain, high winds.  This climate change morphs into heavy rain with moderate winds.

Cloud cover 323%. Humidity, 933%.

I’m ready to fire, camera lens fogs up from the humidity. Hood cover can’t protect the lens from rain riding on wind gusts. I decided not to haul the backpack this morning. No rag to wipe the lens. Irritated.

I walk.

It’s dark. Up ahead, near a park bench, illuminated by the street lamp, there’s an empty take-out food carton on the bench, plastic forks, plastic knives, and napkins strewn on the grass. Highly Irritated.

Mind drifts back to Tuesday.  Man fishing at the point. He casts out into the Cove, his lure breaks the stillness of the water.

“Any luck?”

“No, but that’s OK. It’s just so peaceful and beautiful standing here, I can’t imagine being anywhere else at this moment.”

Gray hair, mid 70’s. He smiles, his white, straight teeth light up the morning. He stands looking at me. Me at him. He’s a kind looking man, a gentle man.

He reels in his line, and starts to pack up.

“I need to clean up a bit.”

“Clean up?” I ask.

He’s bending down to pick up trash discarded among the rocks along the shoreline.  An empty Perrier glass bottle. A fast food styrofoam container. Discarded cigarette box.

“It’s really disrespectful,” he says.

I had another stream of expletives for it but this man, so peaceful looking, possibly a man of clergy, didn’t deserve that, so I just nodded in agreement.

Dale’s post comes to mind. And then a vision of a degenerate Guardian Angel follows behind that. And there I float. Fifty feet above the shoreline.  Guardian Angel Garbage Vigilante. I’m holding a two-foot long, piece of rebar. I hover along with the wind currents, looking down, seeking an offender.  It doesn’t take long to find a defacator. I tap him (it’s always a him) on the shoulder, pointing back to his plastic cup. He looks up at me, and gives me the finger. I tap him on the shoulder again, asking “please”. He sniffs and keeps walking. I cock the rebar back (because I always carry rebar), it whistles through the air and crashes down across his left knuckles. He falls, writhing in the sand, reaching for his plastic cup.

“I did say please.”


Photo: DK @ Daybreak. 6:31 am, August 17, 2021. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT.

Walking. With Billy Summers. (2)

77° F.  5:05 a.m. Morning Walk @ Cove Island Park.  466 consecutive days. Like in a Row.

Another sh*t night of no-to-restless sleep. Another, like in a row. I’m tired. I look up ‘irascible’ when I get home, because that’s a word that Lori would use. I am Irascible. I-R-A-S-C-I-B-L-E. Oxford defines it as quick-tempered. Yes, with a capital “I”.

I pull into the parking lot. ‘My’ parking spot is taken. I park in the same spot each morning. There has to be 300 open spots, and someone had to choose mine. ‘Mine.’

I get out of the car, grab my camera gear from the back seat, and walk. It’s twilight, aka near dark. I fail to see the curb next to the car.  My right toe slams into the concrete curb. I somehow manage not to take a header. F*cking curb. What is that doing here!*!$ The rest of the morning, my right toe tingles.

I note that there’s an unusually large number of cars at daybreak. And a large number of middle aged women mingling in front of the gate. [Don’t start slinging unfriendly fire at me Followers —  I said ‘large number’, not ‘Large.’]  They are blocking the first entrance to the park, requiring me to walk 50 feet down the line to the second entry.  I mean really? Do you all need to congregate in front of the gate chitter-chattering at 5:10 a.m. What could there possibly be so important to talk about. 

My rhythm is disrupted. I have a routine here, people. 466 days of it. And here you come with your, what, yoga group? Meditation sutras?  Keep clear.

Air is thick, heavy. I need to wear long pants and a long sweat shirt as armor from the gnats and mosquitos. It’s 5:25 a.m, it’s hot and I haven’t even gotten started. Leather straps from the backpack bite into my shoulder.  Camera straps pinch my neck. And that swish swish of the backpack pulls on the straps which dig and then cut skin. Latin: Irascibillis.

The scene reminds me of a line in Stephen King’s new book which is being pumped by Audible into my airpods: Billy Summers: “When things go wrong, they don’t waste time.” [Read more…]

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…]

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…]

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