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. With Frost’s Road Not Taken.

4:16 a.m. Day #774, consecutive (almost) daybreak walks at Cove Island Park. Like in a row.

I’m on I-95 heading North, mixing it up this morning and heading to Calf Pasture Beach.  It’s a big deal for this Plow Horse to shift one step to the left, or shift one step to the right, the plow cutting the same furrow deeper. No chance of surprises when one is going straight, and straight down.

Back to I-95. It’s me, the Truckers, and hopefully not the drunks.  I’m in the speed lane, a giant tandem tractor-trailer to my right, driver has his window open taking in the cool morning breeze.  I glance over. I do everything in my power not to pump my fist in the air with the trucker salute to prompt a blast of his air horn.  Apparently it’s a dying tradition. Jesus, how old are you. And for all I know, it could be mistaken for a proposition. Keep your bloody hands down.

I approach the parking lot, it’s full, and cars line the shoulder.  And this being 4:29 a.m.  Irritated. WTH is this?

I pull up on the sidewalk, shut down the ignition, and watch. High School. Graduation parties. Sunrise. God, how long ago was that for me? OK. This wasn’t meant to be.  Just go home. No, you came this far. Come on. Just take a few shots and then you can go.

I watch kids pour out of their cars. Boomboxes blaring Rap. Peaceful easy feeling. (Not.)

I walk down the street and around the crowd that’s building on the shoreline.  I take one shot. That one above, and head back to the car. Not interested in tangling with some drunk, testosterone raging teen. Just like the smart-a** idiot you were then.

I’m in the car and back on the road, and the mood sinks. Road less taken, turns to be a bust. Let’s go home. Eat half a dozen glazed donuts. That’ll bring some joy for a moment. Palahniuk: “A moment was the most you could ever expect from perfection. You wake up, and that’s enough.And then the mountain of regret torpedos you for the rest of the day. [Read more…]

Walking. In Strawberries.

4:23 a.m., or so.  Yesterday morning.

It’s been 772 consecutive (almost) days on my daybreak walk at Cove Island Park. Like in a row.

And, I’m walking.

This is after moon shots at 1:43 am, 3:35 am, and now – – all posted yesterday in Let us taste the Strawberry MoonWhy, am I still up? Because Christie told me about the Strawberry Moon. And when my WordPress friends tell me to do something, I do it. So I chased her.

Who’s Christie? Mimi from her post last night: “There are people who I have followed (or who have followed me) on WordPress for years. Never met them, never spoke to them, and would likely not recognize them if we passed on the street. And yet, they are my friends…We commiserate in comment sections, check in with each other on email, rail at times, commiserate other times and occasionally marvel at our common ground. Ground that we walk in figurative step, covering invisible miles through the ether, yet as firm under my feet as the street. There is wonder in this.”

There is wonder in this. I’m nodding my head in agreement. Yet another awesome Human who can put into words, what I can’t, and so beautifully.

I walk. Bleary-eyed. Bone tired. Exhaustion fully set in.

I can see her out of the corner of my eye. She’s Giant, my Strawberry Moon, hovering, and whisper quiet as she hangs overhead, illuminating the earth in her warm glow.  All, I’m sure, to protect me from taking a header as I make my way to the North point of the park.

I walk.

I twist my Air Pod snugly into my right ear, and then my left.  I cue up a Chill playlist, randomly selected by another giant fruit, Apple.

I walk. My feet are moving under their own propulsion, on the same track that I have now passed hundreds of times.  “Siri, turn up the volume.”  Henry Green in “Shift” …I feel movements under my skin…” [Read more…]

Walking. For A Thousand Years.

Here we go again. Daybreak walk at Cove Island Park. 760 consecutive (almost) days.  Like in a row.

The narrator @ Audible is pumping “Independent People” into my head, a novel that won the 1955 Nobel Prize for Halldór Laxness.  Not sure what’s up with my fixation on Iceland and Icelanders: Laxness, Ólafur Arnalds, Of Monsters and Men. Something going on here…  Something.

So, I’m walking, and listening to Laxness…

Had the brook lost its charm, then? No, far from it. Clear and joyful it flowed over the shining sand and pebbles, between its banks white with withered grass, its joy eternally new every spring for a thousand years; and it told little stories, in its own little tongue, its own little inflections, while the boy sat on the bank and listened for a thousand years. The boy and eternity, two friends, the sky cloudless and unending.”

Thousand years the brook flowed.  Thousand years, the tide I’m staring out at, receded, and then rolled back in again. Thousand years of nights, twilights, and sunrises…

Laxness continues: “Nothing in life is so beautiful as the night before what is yet to be, the night and its dew.”

I walk.

It’s 5:01 a.m., twilight (aka near dark), and I notice the tracks. Tracks running from the shoreline to the top of beach. WTH is that?  I walk to the top, wary of what I’ll find; God knows, it could be a badger from New Hampshire that lost its way — hiding behind the bushes waiting for its next victim. [Read more…]

Walking. With My Oystercatcher.

She was alone. Some form of birdsong, but at a high (very) pitch.  It’s the long beak that caught my attention. What is it? No clue.

It’s tough to get close in the mucky, low tide. Tough to focus in pre-twilight. I take the half-a**ed shot from way back, wary that if I get another 5 yards closer, she’s gone.

I approach.

Today, 757 consecutive (almost) days on my morning walk at Cove Island Park. Like in a row. And I’m clopping in angle deep mud, hoping that I don’t sink to my knees. Don’t you dare bolt on me.

S: “So when did you become a Birder?” That was Wednesday, several days ago —  and it’s like cupping your hands to your mouth and yelling: So when did you become a Birder?…Birder…Birder…Birder….Birder…on repeat, the echoing Upstairs.

What she didn’t say, but it was back there: “So how long is this NEW obsession going to last.”  After 38 odd years, you sort of have each other figured out. 10 years ago, I would counterpunched: “Be nice if you found any sort of obsession to lock onto.” Instead, I smile, all grown up now. It’s really a strange feeling, this controlling yourself thing.  Destabilizing, really, this letting things go. Come on. Not really letting go. Just setting it in short term parking, and waiting, when the pressure is unbearable, and then release. And carnage. [Read more…]

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…]

Walking. In a Flash of White.

Walking.  @ Daybreak.  Cove Island Park.  746 consecutive (almost) days. Like in a row.

Fog. Dense Fog.  (Square alignment with mental state on 4.5 hours of sleep. Yes, we’re back b*tching about insomnia. And we were doing so good.)

No mystical Deer stepping out of the shadows. No Atlantic Gants preening. No Swans-A-Swimming. No Humans. And one Human rapidly losing enthusiasm here.  I adjust the backpack, strap on left shoulder biting. Damn, why so heavy today.

I walk.

The shoreline is layered in fog so dense, air brushes my face with infinitesimal droplets of rain.

My footfall sinks an inch or two into the beach sand.

I walk.

There’s a white flash.  It’s moving too quickly. Auto focus can’t lock in on her, can’t get a clear shot of her in the fog soup.

An Egret.  Legs tucked together tightly, platform diver, wings flapping ever so slowly, all of it keeping her airborne.  Miracle. All of it.

And White. Oh, so white.  Snow white against the all-world gray morning.  A palette no computer can replicate.

Why this white? This so white.

Why not black, or green or fuchsia? Why just egrets this white.  Why not all Birds-of-a-Feather be this white?

And who decided?

And I stand watching. Standing in the same fog. With the same heavy backpack. Yet, all of it is lighter.  Clearer.

Delia Ephron, in her “Left on Tenth: A Second Chance at Life“: “Out of this convoluted, mixed-up thinking, I manage to spin a little hope…I do feel that I was thrust into darkness and given back light. And it opened me up to feeling part of a larger world, I’m not sure why…Like everyone else, I have a time here and it will be over…This gift could be snuffed out at any moment.” 

The image persists… an old black and white photo decaying on its edges…the egret wing flaps…her legs elegantly tucked tight behind her, she flies. Lightly, child. Lightly.

This gift could be snuffed out at any moment.


Note:

  • Photo: Egret, this morning. 5:08 a.m.  Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT.  More Photos from this morning here.
  • Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle.
  • 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.”

Walking. Sunday Morning. DK Saves.

Let’s just get to the punch line of this story. (Oh, btw, it’s 724 consecutive (almost) days on my Daybreak walk at Cove Island Park. Like in a Row.)

There it lay.  At the end of my walk. An Atlantic Horseshoe Crab. Flat on its back. Nothing delicate or beautiful about this alien-looking thing. I’m sure its Mother loved it.

Its Telson was slapping back and forth. (Telson = Tail.  And of course I didn’t know that it was called a Telson. Googled it.) Creature was caught way up on the beach, tide shot out, and here we are. In Deep Shit. And you thought you were having a bad day?

I’m staring at the Telson (and yes, I’m going to keep repeating Telson like some career Marine Biologist)…and I’m wondering if its Telson carries electrical current. Or like a skunk, backs up its ass and spews sulfuric sh*t all over my camera gear.  Or like a Cephalopod, shoots ink all over me, seeping into my skin, and poisons me.

Stamford Daily reports: “Idiot found dead on Cove Island Beach trying to save Horseshoe Crab. Good News though, his death wasn’t for naught. It was notable that he was found flat on his back, like the Horseshoe Crab he was trying to save – – his mouth wide open, teeth blackened with Cephalopod ink, with his arms straight up in the air, because no matter what, the camera gear needed to remain undamaged.

Per NatGeo, Horseshoe Crabs have been around for 450 million years. And here I am, Human, around an eye twitch of that time, trying to assess the probability of being electrocuted or poisoned.  I could have pulled out my smartphone and Googled it to be sure…but this gives you a full measure of this man…not a lot of depth, prefers to let the mystery of life and its currents drag him along to the finish. And ‘hopefully’ that Finish isn’t this morning.

So, there I am. Staring down on Horsey.  His limbs and Telson desperately seeking salvation. [Read more…]

Walking. With Apophenia.

56° F. Heavy fog.

Daybreak walk at Cove Island Park.  723 consecutive (almost) days. Like in a row.

I’ve finished Amy Liptrot’s book “The Instant.”  A book where I wasn’t feeling it, not feeling it, nothing here, time to put this down, wait now, here’s a line, and now two, and then down the chute we go on the luge track.  Reminds me of a tweet by Tracie Collier after reading “Bomb Shelter” by Mary Laura Philpott: “She writes in a way that makes me want to hurl my laptop over a cliff.”

Back to Liptrot.  Who knew that I had Apophenia. Well, hold on. It’s not even clear that I’m adept at Apophenia. I’m probably better assessed by a psychologist (if I had one), as a lame, half-assed Apopheniac.  But we digress.  Here’s Liptrot:

Apophenia is the tendency to find patterns. It can be a disorder but, for me, finding patterns is sustaining. Unbidden, certain objects glow with relevance. I find the moon everywhere. This heart-shaped box contains not just a few shells but all the weeks and conversations and regrets of a friendship. We are meaning-making machines. I use all these little personal myths and totems to hold myself together: things to search for when I’m faced with overwhelming choice and freedom.

I use all these little totems to (try to) hold myself together. Yep. About right.

I’ve turned right at the Park, walking counterclockwise. Noting that I’m walking counterclockwise. Again. Did you know that you always walk counterclockwise around the park?  723 days, and you walk in the same direction every time.

I keep walking.

Have you ever seen anyone else walking clockwise in the park?  Come to think of it I have not.  Not one time? Not one time. Maybe because you are a half-assed Apopheniac.

I stop walking. [Read more…]

Walking. Could it be this moment…Could it be…?

55° F.

Soft breeze, a kiss on the cheek. Clouds heavy, but quiet.

Here we are (again), on our daybreak walk at Cove Island Park.  722 consecutive (almost) days. Like in a row.

We’re semi-functioning on 4 hours sleep, maxI can’t sleep.  Near-Dead Man Walking.

I’m at the highest point on the Island, overlooking the expanse of the Sound.

And there it was.

Lori’s Large word: ethereal…So delicate. So light. Lightly Child, Lightly.

“…a light that could be a feeling…”

And the beat of those wings, thrumming inside of me.

“…a sound could be a color”

I’m frozen, eyes locked on the wings…Get the damn camera up Man, get it up!

“…and that heaven could be…this moment…”

Now!

You’re going to remember this…


Notes:

  • Photo: DK @ Cove Island Park, 5:42 a.m. May 12, 2022. More photos from this morning here.
  • Quote: “I hadn’t known that a light could be a feeling and a sound could be a color and a kiss could be both a question and an answer. And that heaven could be the ocean or a person or this moment or something else entirely.” —  Megan MirandaFracture. (Walker Childrens; January 17, 2012) 

Gökotta

Gökotta (n., Swed.)

“a dawn picnic to hear the first birdsong”; the act of rising in the early morning to watch the birds or to go outside to appreciate nature.


Notes:

  • Photo: DK – (Wet) Baby Blue Jay.  6:50 a.m., May 7, 2022. 50° F & Rain
  • Quote: Thank you The Hammock Papers

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 a Trifecta.

718 days. Almost consecutive. Like in a row.  Morning walk @ Cove Island Park @ Daybreak.

Ritual is all we have. It’s what keeps us from the abyss.”  It’s Jillian Horton’s thought from “We Are All Perfectly Fine,” and there’s zero doubt that she wrote it thinking of me.

Perfectly Fine? Definitely not.

I round the turn into the parking lot. It’s empty. I mean Empty. Not a single parked car. Not a single soul lurking around.

My park. My time. Mine.

I walk.

45° F with 10 mph winds blowing from the NW, keeping this Spring’s Here thing real.

Inhale.

Blossoms.

“…as if a rose were flung into the room, all hue and scent” (Szymborska).

And then, came the Trifecta.

(The first being here, alive, standing in this spot, at this moment.)

The second, Luna peaks out from behind the clouds.  And drops her beam down on Long Island Sound.

And the third, at this exact moment, turning up randomly on my iTunes playlist of 3000+ odd tunes —  My Anthem. Van Morrison, So Quiet in Here.

Where we can be what we want to be
Oh this must be what paradise is like
This must be what paradise is like
Baby it’s so quiet in here, so peaceful in here
So quiet in here, so peaceful in here
So quiet in here, so peaceful in here
So quiet in here, you can hear, it’s so quiet

I raise my camera, focus on the train of her gown, and take the shot.

I’m going to remember this.


Notes:

  • DK Photo. Moonlight @ Daybreak. 5:15 am, April 23, 2022. 45° 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. 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…]

Walking. Tilting towards Spring.

5:50 a.m.

Dark Sky read out: 40° F. 82% cloud cover.  

40° F? Come again? I close app, and re-open.

40° F? This is after two days of high’s in the 50’s. This being Feb 12. Not even mid-Feb.

I sit on the stoop, and lace up my boots.

Something ineffable has tilted toward spring. There’s a promise of warmth beneath the cold, a releasing of winter’s grip on the land. You can feel it.” (Katrina Kenison)

Sun rises, temperature warms rapidly.

The park begins to fill. [Read more…]

T.G.I.F.: You inhale the soft cool night

7/15/44 [New York.] You have to enjoy the weather always. Walking home from Sixty-First Street on Second Avenue, eleven beautiful black blocks. (The moon is not, the lights are, you are, your feet with the spring in them, this is youth, now!) You inhale the soft cool night, you gaze on the lighted bar doorways fondly. Your shoes, for once, are comfortable. Your head is filled with a number of things… with the youth’s grudging appreciation of the splendid night, and with the consciousness of health, future, potency. Breathe deep! Your lungs are still functioning perfectly, your thighs do not shake too much, your calves are resilient, your toes eager. Every muscle is obedient (taut for an instant, then couchantly relaxed), every dream will come true.

 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: Mike Kononov via unsplash

And…Her.

7/ 3/ 54. I keep myself going with various kinds of dope: books, written and read, dreams, hopes, crossword puzzles, the sentimentality of friendships, and real friendships, and simply routine.

 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

 


Notes:

  • Photos: DK @ Daybreak. 6:45 am, Feb 8, 2022. 36° F, feels like 29° F, Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT. More photos from this morning here.
  • Related Swan Posts: Swan1

Walking. Swan-ful.

6:10 a.m.

Dark. 12° F, feels like Nasty.  Wind cuts through all the layers. Shiver.

I’m driving down Weed Avenue, eyes scan The Cove.

When she’s here, even in the blackest of Nights, there’s no missing that White Coat, those 25,000 feathers, that Beacon.

Sadness, I need your black White wing.” (PN*)

I drive on, now 500 yards from the park.

There!

I pull off the highway, grab the camera, and approach.

I offer her a soft, short whistle.

She pops her head up, “Hey there Mister, All Good Here.”

Then, she tucks her head back under her wing, and back to sleep.

I pause watching her for a moment, and then glance up at Polaris, shimmering overhead.

Yes, O.K. All good here too.

This World can keep on, keep spinning on its axis.

 


Notes:

Walking. Swan-less.

5:35 a.m.

Dark. Wet. Rain. 43° F. I pan through the hour by hour Weather Channel Forecast:

5 am: “Light rain.”
6 am: “Light rain.”
7 am: “Light rain.”
8 am: “Light rain.”

and so on, hourly until 7 pm.

“Wintry mix likely for the next several hours.”

I sit up in bed. No chance, you are going out in that.  

Mind drifts to my Swan. She’s out there. Rain, raining down on her coat.

I google ‘swans’ to find Biology of Swans. “Swans have about 25,000 feathers on their body – the vast majority of these are tiny, little feathers situated round the head and neck.” 

Somehow this puts me at ease. For a moment.

25,000 feathers must keep her warm, as she dives to feed in the frigid waters of The Cove. She can’t be cold. She can’t be hungry. 25,000 feathers.

I pull the covers up, and close my eyes. Damn it. I need to get to The Cove. [Read more…]

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