Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

I’ll take it.

April 1, 2011

It was dark during most of my morning walk. As I returned across the parking lot beyond the courtyard, the light percolating up through the grey dawn had gathered enough strength to dispel the ambient anxieties of nighttime walking. I was no longer making my way warily through an indistinct landscape. It was day.

At about that moment when I relaxed into daytime walking mode, I realized that I was glad to be up. I use the word “realized” because the mental state of gladness was secondary to the physical sensation that had just crept over me. My satisfaction at having already finished a walk while most folks were still in bed was a construct that could not have stood except in the space cleared by my body’s mere rejoicing.

The feeling was familiar, but surprising. I used to get it all the time, but during the last few months I’ve been… what’s the word for “lost” that includes gladness? I was glad to be lost. I was glad not to be getting up. I was glad not to be exercising. I was glad to have an excuse.

I slashed my knee open, right down to the joint capsule. Had to have the damned thing in a brace, fully extended, for two weeks. What an excuse, eh? I moped, I started eating, and I didn’t do the upper-body exercises that I could have done. This is what always happens. No matter how much I prepare for it, the same thing always seems to happen. I guess it won’t stop happening until I stop wanting excuses for it to happen.

I saw that truth a few weeks ago, so I finally decided to give OA a try. I’ve gone to two meetings so far. It’s hard, but it’s a good hard. That doesn’t surprise me. What surprises me is that I’ve encountered a… person… there. Let’s call this person “X”. I have such a strong negative reaction to X that I don’t think I can keep going back to that particular group.

I won’t go into details, at least not here. Suffice it to say that, after two encounters with X, I don’t think there’s a fight-or-flight response system in my being left untriggered. Picture big red buttons, flashing fire truck lights, nails on chalkboard, cat fur being rubbed the wrong way, and grainy black-and-white films of World War II runways with klaxons moaning their way up to a yowl that makes you plug your ears.

To say that X has personality traits that I abhor is an understatement. I gauge my success as a human being by the degree to which I suppress the voices to which X seems to give full throat. X embodies everything I’ve spent a good fifteen years striving not to be.

But X is not the point right now, and I thank my lucky stars for Grace being around to help me see that. I talked through my feelings with her, and she said that I’m not responding to X, but rather to the memories that X triggers. At first I rejected this notion, because I felt that my emotions came from my anger at seeing X wallow in a behavior pattern that I’ve worked so hard never to indulge in. But then she pointed out that there’s a reason why I vowed never to indulge in those behaviors: at some point I felt trapped by someone who behaved in those same ways. Once she said that, I realized that I’d come to the emotional core of my reaction.

Oh, and then there’s the milk.

See, we ran out of milk yesterday. And it turned out that Grace was scheduled to go to work early today. So, since I intended to get milk for her morning coffee, I wanted see if I could get an early morning walk out of the deal. I set my alarm, and the secondary alarm in the kitchen, for 5:30, hoping against hope that I’d actually follow through. And what do you know? I did!

I don’t know why I got out on a walk this morning. Maybe I’ve simply been away long enough, and I’m ready to stop accepting excuses and come back. Maybe seeing X deepened my resolve to be the person I want to be. Maybe the emotional catharsis of winding my way through my feelings about X released some energy. Maybe it was the milk what done it.

I don’t know what caused it, but it felt good. I’ll take it.


Walk in the Marshlands Conservancy

January 1, 2011

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Well, we got a bit of exercise by walking around the Marshlands Conservancy. We also had the pleasure of watching the birds at the feeder behind the building there. We saw chickadees, tufted titmice, a bluejay, and two different species of woodpeckers. One of those last was a Pileated woodpecker — the first one I’ve seen in years.

First walk in the Marshlands Conservancy

November 18, 2010
From First walk in the Marshlands Conservancy – November 18, 2010
From First walk in the Marshlands Conservancy – November 18, 2010

This morning’s walk covered a good eight eight miles: The walk from my apartment to the Marshlands Conservancy is about three miles, and I’m sure I walked for at least two miles while exploring its trails. It’s quite a pleasant piece of property, and I’m sure I’ll be spending a lot of time walking its beaches, woods and meadows.

…and another hike in Ward Pound Ridge

October 22, 2010
From Leaves and other views in Ward Pound Ridge Reservation – October 22, 2010
From Leaves and other views in Ward Pound Ridge Reservation – October 22, 2010
From Leaves and other views in Ward Pound Ridge Reservation – October 22, 2010
From Leaves and other views in Ward Pound Ridge Reservation – October 22, 2010

I got out for another strenuous, nine-mile hike in Ward Pound Ridge Reservation today. I know it was a nine-mile hike because today, unlike yesterday, I remembered to put fresh batteries in my GPS! To see a map of my route with a slideshow, see EveryTrail. Click the links above if you just want to see more pictures.

Another hike in Ward Pound Ridge

October 21, 2010

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After stumbling a bit yesterday with my dieting, I was determined to get in a serious hike today. So I drove to Ward Pound Ridge for another strenuous hike. My feet are still a bit sore from all the hiking I’ve been doing lately, but darned if that pack doesn’t feel lighter than it did a few months ago. Yay for fall, and yay for getting in shape!

Ups and Downs of Acadia

October 7, 2010

Here are some of the fun things that happened to me yesterday.

  • I cracked the face of my cell phone so that now it’s even more useless than it was.
  • I lost my glasses when the gale-force wind on Sargent Mountain whipped them off my head.
  • I got soaked and cold while looking for the glasses. I managed to recover one lens. I finally gave up and got the hell off the mountain because I had one hour of light left.
  • When I was about three tenths of a mile from the peak, I found that the wind had also whipped the map from my pocket.
  • While stumbling half-blind over rocks, I leaning hard against a boulder and put a cosmetic but very disheartening crack in the face of the new GPS in my pocket.
  • The plug part of my cell phone charger is dead, presumably from water getting inside. I can now only charge it via USB.

In short, I pretty much broke everything but my ass. And it’s a bloody miracle I didn’t break that.

So now I’m driving around (as little as possible!) with one lens held up to my eye. This morning I parked at the edge of Bar Harbor, found the one optometrist in town, and then went to Morning Glory Bakery to use their Wi-Fi. I found my optometrist in Manhattan and called them. They are faxing my records to the optometrist here, though it probably won’t do any good. Thankfully Grace is flying in tomorrow morning, otherwise I’d be in more of a pickle than I am.

Anyway, you can follow all my hikes on Wait until you see the crazy zigzag of my path on Sargent Mountain from when I was looking for my glasses during the Day 10 hike.

Long hike in Ward Pound Ridge Reservation

September 23, 2010

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The more I hike in Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, the more I like it. Every time I bushwhack, I find a dramatic new rock outcropping. Today I got lost a few times because I forgot to bring a map with me, but I had some images of the map on my phone that brought me back on track. So my forgetfulness was all to the good, since it resulted in me taking a longer hike in which I explored new trails!

The shots I took of the spider with her teeming offspring, and the black snake, will have to wait until I have time to winnow the hundreds that I took. In the meantime, here are my cell phone shots. Enjoy!

Up and at ’em.

September 23, 2010

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Here was my reaction upon walking by the bog at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation at about 8:25 this morning.


This was the most spectacular array of glistening, dew-heavy spider webs I’ve ever seen. I feel so, so lucky and happy and grateful to have been in the right place at the right time to see this sight. It makes me want to come back tomorrow.

These are just the shots I took with my cell phone. Wait until you see the shots I got with my real cameras!

Now THAT’S a reason to get up and exercise!

September 22, 2010

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Once I saw these pictures, I had to do a retroactive post to share them. Just look at that light flourescing the undersides of the clouds in the dim morning blue! There’s a reason to get up before the sunrise!

YouTube Workout

September 19, 2010

Grace and I had a long, strenuous and rewarding hike in Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. I’d already taken quite a few still images on previous visits, so I thought I’d shoot some video to share the experience of the hike. Several times I hurried to reach an interesting feature of the trail within ten minutes so that I could include it in a single video on YouTube. This resulted in a much more strenuous hike. I was soaked with sweat by the time we were done.

After our final climb, up the notch just north of Leatherman’s Cave, we stopped for a sit-down at the overlook. I set down my pack, turned around, and saw a huge wasp on the trunk of a tree. The last video shows her industriously working what is presumably her ovipositor in and out of the tree.