Early morning run

Early morning run. The sound of my running shoes as they mingle with the frozen snow the only sound. My breath forming a cloud as it leaves my nose and mouth seem to hang in the air before dissipating.

The temperature is 15 degrees. The wind-chill dropped the temperature to a “real feel” of 0.

I rounded a turn and headed east. A gust of wind blown directly into my face stealing my breath but at the same time reminding me I am alive.

For others, life has been fleeting. They have entered and left this earth bothered by the trauma of one kind or another; alcoholism, drug addiction, and other issues, often beyond their control. I now look for the magic in each moment. At times this is a difficult task despite the magic being directly in front of me. I have allowed myself to be distracted and not witnessed the gifts which may be hidden from my view.

As I grow older, I look for these moments and cherish the good health which, at this point has been bestowed upon me. My mother, like her mother, have suffered fromsunset macular degeneration. I am sure this “gift” will be lurking around the corner for me like a receding hairline. Until that time arrives and as long as my vision remains intact, I will continue to enjoy reading, making photographs and witnessing the beauty, which, despite being in plain sight, remains hidden from view for many.


Am I Living the Life I want to Live?

I woke this morning after a fitful night of sleep. I slept poorly and I am guessing because of the cold which has been my companion since late Thursday. Running these last few weeks has been almost nonexistent save for the one run I have added to each week. There has been little desire to run and even a smaller desire to rise at 4 AM.
This is typical for me this time of year. The weather becomes increasingly colder and the days shorter. January brings us to the “middle” of winter. I am happy to see winter beginning to come to an end. The days begin to grow increasingly longer as the amount of daylight steadily increases. This visual representation of lengthening days is often enough to help improve my mood. The hope of spring in the air, literally and figuratively. Since I began writing this entry more than a week has gone by. There has been a desire to write but little time. The weather has dramatically changed and the unseasonable temperatures grew colder and brought with them snow. Last Sunday, the last day I ran, the air temperature dropped to a low of negative 16. The photo shows what happens to one when one decides to exercise in those elements.
Frozen selfie
This time of year for me is normally a time of quiet introspection but even that has been decreased. I have found the time which I have spent writing in my journal has even decreased. My goal has always been to write every day. Often a week or more has gone by between journal pages. Today, the temperatures are approximately 10-degrees colder than yesterday when we reached a high of 51. The majority of the snow has melted and despite the colder temperatures, I needed to go outside. This is where I feel more at ease and more calm. My domain has never been inside. Inside is where I must be to accomplish the tasks associated with my job.
When I woke I reviewed the photos which had been added to my Instagram stream since I last checked at 3:00 AM. Many photos caught my eye but one also grabbed hold of my emotions like a lasso thrown around the neck of a bucking bronco.
This caption accompanied the photo:
“I’ve often imagined that trees keep their favorite humans as pets, since their lifespans are much longer than ours. Much the same way we keep cats and dogs. They watch over us, love us, and after we pass they mourn us. They adopt new humans after we’ve gone. Like ants scrambling madly in an ant farm, we don’t fully recognize their ownership or their care. Science is slowly discovering the sentient qualities of trees, but some of us have been sharing these friendships for centuries.”
—Vanessa “Runs” Rodriguez 
I was and continue to be drawn to this photo. I find myself staring at it as I gaze at the previously blank wall across from my cluttered desk. I find myself staring at times when I have allowed my day to become unbalanced. Poor food intake, plus poor sleep, plus allowing myself to overwork is what often leads to this imbalance.
Yesterday I drove home from my office in Niagara Falls and to the west, my right eye caught the bright orange glare of the setting sun. Another mile down the road I pulled into a parking lot which runs parallel to the upper Niagara River. I backed the Element into a parking space which offered an unobstructed view of this beautiful sight. I rolled down the window and listened to the beautiful sounds which gently enveloped my ears. A gentle breeze caused the naked branches of trees to harmoniously rub together while a family of geese sounded their approach as their beautiful wings allowed them to gently touchdown in the still unfrozen water. A smile crossed my lips and within a few minutes, the memories and stress of the day were washed away.
When I look at or rather stare at Vanessa’s photo, I see the beauty of these elegant trees, her gentle touch on the bark of these gentle giants and the path which has been worn on the surface of this beautiful forest. My thoughts drift to my time spent in the woods behind my house, or the trails which I am privileged to run and snowshoe enjoying the solitude provided by the relative absence of the rest of society. I think of my time spent in the Adirondacks where this same solitude passionately grips me.
Are you living the life you want to live? Are any of us living the life we want to live? Do we realize there is a space to live the life of which I fear many of us dream but never attempt beyond the expectations of family, ourselves and society in general?
These expectations are dangerous and for the majority of us they are never fully revealed. We live our life in a dreamlike state agreeable to be “weekend warriors” while we may harbor dreams of something more; more freedom. We are tied to a paycheck and their belief that we need to make more money. We fail to realize this need to make more money comes with more responsibility which takes away the one thing which none of us are guaranteed, more time. I recall hearing this fear on a daily basis. “Be glad you have a job. It may not be the job you want but it’s a paycheck.”
It is becoming uncomfortable to sit outside any longer. I ask you to ask yourself if you are living the life of which you dream or are you living a life which you believe you must live and hope there will be time later to live.

Ah January…

This is the month when I struggle the most. Despite this knowledge and what I call above average preparation, it still seems to sneak up on me.
I woke this morning to the sound of my alarm. I showered and went to the chiropractor. One of two private patients attended their appointment and I went to Tim Hortons for coffee with Scrooge. Then a trip to have an oil change and a tire rotation.
I sat in the waiting room waiting for my car to be complete, I feel tired, like my head is in the clouds. Sitting in waiting for my car to be done, I think only of going home and taking a nap. I gave out the window in disappointment; the skies are thick and grey, snow is falling and I’m already beginning to think of my busy schedule next week. An app is definitely in order with some TV, a glass of wine and my Kindle.
The maintenance to my car is complete. I know this because the salesman said he has called my name several times. I pay for the work, get into in my car and drive home. The roads are slippery with a new coating of new snow. The sadness I felt as I drove increasing as I approached home. Much as a horse sensing the nearby stable begins to pick up its gate in anticipation of reaching home and solitude.
When I reach the safety of my driveway and back my car into it’s space, I remove my jacket and place it on its hook next to my office. I retreated to my bedroom, turn on the TV and pull out the pile of mail which has been haunting me throughout the week. This is a daunting task which I attempt to put off once again so I close my eyes for a few minutes but neither sleep nor the drowsy state before sleep find me.
The day progressed and darkness descended. Surprisingly, my mood began to lift. Darkness for me during this time of year becomes something of a friend. It allows me not to see the grey skies with their low-hanging clouds. The same clouds which form an impenetrable barrier against the Sun and blankets the northeast for much of the winter that even the briefest appearances of the Sun are cause for celebration.

As pen touches paper, my thoughts pour from the nib much like the rain which is falling outside. The weather forecast is predicting 4 to 8 inches of new snow beginning Tuesday night. With this news sadness begins to find me once again. I reach for my fountain pen and write in my journal in the attempt to relieve the stress which has been building.

I hope that through the night the rain will cease, my alarm will gently wake me and I can sleep on my running shoes and allow the solitude of a long run to bring back the balance in my life.
This next week will be a week away from running. After forcing a run “to get in more miles” I hurt something in my right leg. I will also use this time to relax and write and allow the remainder of the winter to wash over me like the cold winds which blow over the snow.

A spring snow…

The night was restful.

The wind stopped blowing sometime during the night, the rhythmic sound which helped lull me to sleep now absent.

The vague appearance of sunlight as it filtered through the still closed blinds.

I turned on the radio and listened to the weatherman announce the temperature. 34-degrees.

I stood hesitantly and with cautious fingers I parted the still closed blinds. My eyes fixated on the white tint covering the lawn…it had snowed last night, just enough to ensure we recall Mother Nature’s influence in our lives.

Did I mention it is April 20th?



Wordless Wednesday

This is a serendipitous photo taken during my most recent trip to the Adirondack’s.
As a lover of sunlight, especially sunrises and sunsets, this photo speaks volumes to me.
I hope you derive as much peace from this photo as I do.
If you would like to purchase a print, message me via the comment section.


Sunday Sun

The weather today was spectacular after getting off to a 2-degree start. The sun shone brightly this morning. The sky was a magnificent blue. As the sun rose it reflected across the new snow and sparkled as it reflected off the frost which coated every available surface. 


I arrived at Goat Island to enjoy the sunshine. The photo shoot scheduled for the same time had been cancelled due to illness. I arrived prepared with snacks for the squirrels but instead of making an appearance they appeared to make themselves scarce. 

I find places such as this interesting. There is an invisible switch which is tripped as I get closer to my destination. Once I turned onto the island, I reached for and turned off the car’s radio.

As I pulled into a parking space I opened a window. I checked the temperature. It had grown 30-degrees warmer than this morning. I leaned my head against the headrest and listened to the birds singling in the nearby trees. I reached for my journal and uncapped my favorite fountain pen. The thoughts flowed as easily as the ink from the finely tuned nib. 

My writing was interrupted by the continuous singing of the birds, chickadees I think. I stopped writing and watched as the birds gently landed on the outstretched palm of a man. He feeds them, sunflower seeds no doubt. As they land and accept the offering they sing the praises of the stranger, thanking him for the snack.

Off in the distance the sound of the Niagara River, it’s peaceful flow growing more argumentative as it passes over the boulders in the upper rapids, nearing the brink of the falls where it will make its final steep descent on its journey toward Lake Ontario.


Broken Silence

I woke this morning to what I have come to call an “Adirondack morning.”

The temperature was three-degrees. Six-inches of new snow had fallen lightly throughout the night. It was a light, dry snow; one that coated everything which it touched.

Outside, as I stood looking toward the east, I watched and waited for the sun to rise. At first the edge of the horizon was painted with dull reds and purples. As my anticipation rose, so did the sun. The colors began to change and now included orange and yellow; their intensity growing. The same colors painted the tips of the trees. As the sun continued its upward crawl the intensifying colors began to drip downward now coloring the length of those same trees. The crystals of snow covering nearby branches glistened like diamonds; the entire area now bathed in the warm glow of the rising sun.

Minutes later, as the sun continued its climb, as if on cue, clouds began to change the color of the sky from blue to grey. The warm colors receding as if they had been washed away like a gentle rain were now being replaced by a blanket of grey. As the clouds continued their growth, the diamonds on the surface of the snow began to lose its luster and now appeared to be just a blanket of white covering everything.

As time continued to pass, I returned to my duties of clearing the walk. The sound of my snow shovel scraping the ground the only other noise to be heard. As I rejoiced in the rhythmic sound made by the shovel, the silence was broken by the roar of a snow thrower coming to life. As that unwelcome sound increased, my desire to retreat back into my house also increased; needing to escape the previous tranquility.