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…]

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!

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

There is Something about being out and about and walking @ Daybreak as light snow falls.

And in a city of ~130,000, not a single set of tracks on any of the footpaths.

Just fresh fallen snow, silence, and me.

The snow has quietness in it; no songs, no smells, no shouts or traffic. When I speak my own voice shocks me.” (Anne Sexton, All My Pretty Ones.)


DK @ Daybreak. 6:32 am, January 24, 2022. 25° F, feels like 15° F. Light Snow. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT. More shots from this morning’s walk here.

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:

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