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…]

Walking @ Daybreak. 365 days, in 7 1/2 minutes.

I took up photography as a hobby on May 5, 2020 as a reason to get out of the house during COVID.  I was first inspired by a Canada Goose nesting along the roadside, and waiting for her younguns to hatch each time I passed in the mornings.

The morning routine started with short runs, with an iPhone in hand.

That migrated to long walks with a Canon Powershot in a fanny pack.

And then the runs, and the walks gave way to a car ride to the Park with a backpack filled with my gear.

This montage includes one photo at daybreak (or close to it) each morning.

365 consecutive mornings, like in a row.

16 years we’ve lived in this house, in this neighborhood, in this area, and I had no idea that such beauty was just outside my door.

So, here’s my show. 7 1/2 minutes of a photo a day for a year.

And here’s to all of you, cheering me on every morning.

Enjoy!

 

 

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. Not. And Ranting.

Where does one start?

Let’s start with 327 consecutive days. Like in a row. Formerly described as the morning walk @ daybreak to Cove Island Park.

It’s time to inject some integrity into this getting-long-in-the-tooth story. This morning walk has degenerated into a morning drive to the Park. There I am this morning, sitting in the car in front of the gate at the park, heater blowing, warming my feet — I can’t, I just can’t open the door and get out. So, rather than getting out, I leave and drive to the next site on DK’s Marvelous Adventure in search of the sunrise from a location where I can roll down the window and not get my sorry a** out of the car. Wow, DK. You’re so awesome.

Or we can commiserate over the free fall in weight gain, or better stated, the pile up of 8 lbs in 30 days. Root cause? If one would take inventory of the snacking between calls and meetings, you would say: “It’s just not possible.” And I’m here to tell you, if you put your mind to it, an addict can accomplish anything.

We’ve pivoted to Welch’s Mixed Fruit Snacks. The Honeycrisp apples sit on the wicker tray on the island in the kitchen. The plump, juicy, seedless red grapes rest in the bowl in the fridge. Next to the grapes, fresh cut cantaloupe in the tupperware dish. And the horse with its blinders can’t see any of it. With the heartbeat elevated, a few feet away from The Fix, a giant Costco size box of Fruit Snacks. I grab two handfuls and run back to my office to jump on another call. My hands trembling, saliva building up in anticipation… I rip open the package and drain its contents. Pause for a second. And then bite down to let the saliva-sugar-corn syrup puree coat my tongue, throat and then slide down to the tummy. Oh, the few seconds of relief…with the sugar fix in, the momentary silence… all intoxicating. I get after another package. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. You see where this is going.

Or we can chat about yesterday’s bi-annual physical with my G.P.

[Read more…]

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