Standing Still but Still Standing

This week marks the end of Volume Seven of this blog. Sunday, January 1, 2023, I will begin Volume Eight. It did not go where I had expected it to, though few things in my life, if anything, have gone where I thought they would. I also could not conceive that I’d still be doing this going on eight years. It proves the notion that if you just keep showing up, things happen.

When I started the blog in January of 2016, my father had just died a few months earlier, I was still senior faculty at a college in Virginia Beach, was still senior faculty at a university on the naval base, my mother still lived in a large condominium and my brother lived in Texas. None of those things are true anymore; or, the truths of those things are in the past, as most realities in our life tend to be, eventually.

I thought this site would be a simple escape into nature, and for a while it was. I wrote about geese, about the river and the bay, about the hawks and eagles here at Aerie, and about the wildlife we discovered here at night while looking at the stars. But as the weeks and months progressed, it became more about the nature of things, including and perhaps most significantly, human nature, particularly my own. I recognized a few of my many flaws, proving in some small ways to myself that “Writing to Learn” really does work, noting those times I wrote myself out of a depression or into a corner and back out again.

The changes kept coming, as they are apt to do: I left the college. I left the university (or the university left us, as it shut down because of Covid and never reopened). I lost touch with people I knew well for a very long time understanding finally that sometimes people we thought were friends were really simply colleagues with whom we shared a world. Mostly, I spent more time on the river, along the trails of the Chesapeake region. When I started this blog, President Obama was still in office. As the years moved drudgingly by, someone else came, and now President Biden holds down his temporary quarters. There was no such thing as Covid, we hardly ever used terms like quarantine, masks, social-distancing. Yet as we did, nature became more important, no longer simply a refuge, my escape, but a place to breathe without worry, a place to walk without concern.

Professionally, this blog led to a book, A Third Place: Notes in Nature. Among writers, blogs are somewhat controversial. Some believe it can distract from real writing, absorb your energy from completing more worthy works. I understand the argument. But I’ve always had several layers of writing going on at the same time. There is the serious material I know I want to send to publications, perhaps even in book form, as in the case of my current larger projects including Wait/Loss, Front Row Seat, and Curious Men. Then there is the raw material—the stuff I read in bars with the likes of Tim Seibles—stuff we generally don’t expect to be published and which certainly won’t appear here; stuff we prefer you hear when you’ve been drinking and where recording is strictly prohibited. Other work, too, got done. A reissue of a book about Van Gogh, Blessed Twilight, and The Iron Scar: A Father and Son in Siberia–this year’s book about riding the trans-Siberian railway with my son whose pictures grace the book in a gallery of several dozen of his shots.

But there is the middle work, the journaling, the reflections, the prompts, the thoughts, the spewing of anger at politicians, the rants at society for ignorance and negligence, and the confessions to those I know and those I do not know about so many of my shortcomings, failures, and misunderstandings. Many times what I thought would be a work about nature turned out to include my heart on my sleeve; yeah, I’ve exposed much in these six years and as a result some people pulled back, others gathered closer. This has certainly been a cleansing experience. Nothing wrong with that at all.

But in the end this blog is a place I simply am what I am. I do not know if I’m departing this life tomorrow or in thirty years, but when I do, I’m leaving everything I can out there, exposed. This blog has taught me, is teaching me still, to be who I must, something I wish I had learned decades ago.

It started with one reader—me. Last week the unique readership numbered almost 1500 people, averaging just around 1200 every week. I’m very pleased by that. But make no mistake: I have no illusions that I am changing people’s minds about anything, including my own. I simply found a place to express myself instead of calling you on your cell phone and doing it. You’re welcome. In the end every single blog posting from the start to the finish is for me first.

I have written about dear friends who I thought I’d spend my life with, confidants I counted on to be there and to be there for, but they moved on too soon, like Cole and Joe and Trish and Ed and Bobbie and Dave and too many more to count. I’ve written about artists who I’ve known and whose work made me feel like they knew me, even the ones who I was never fortunate enough to meet, like Vincent van Gogh and Dan Fogelberg, John Denver, Harry Chapin, Mozart, Chopin, Pachelbel, Marley, Nick Drake and so many more whose music plays while I’m typing.

I’ve written about my son. About my dad. But still, mostly about nature both human and natural, always from my perspective, never anyone else’s. The advantage of a blog is we’re like street corner preachers standing on a milk carton flapping our sentiments to the wind, and some people hang out and nod, others hang out and get pissed off, but most just walk on by. That’s fine. I’d walk by too. I’ve never had a guest blogger. I’ve never skipped a week except when traveling, and even then I believe I scheduled some writing. I’m proud of this blog. It makes me feel like I’m being constructive when I should be raking leaves.

And if I haven’t written about some people, it’s because I didn’t want to, don’t want to, and never will want to. If I’ve learned anything at all, it’s reflective of the sentiment of that Long Island philosopher William Joel, to “do what’s good for you, or you’re not good for anybody.” Something else I learned way too late in life.

But a few other things I’ve learned in these now 450 posts:

Heron get frightened easily. Geese change course if they see humans. Hawks are hyper-focused on food and if you walk by one while they’re eyeing down a squirrel, they couldn’t give a rat’s ass you’re nearby.

Standing at this river and watching rockets lift from over at Wallops Island raises the hair on the back of my neck, as does standing in the yard and seeing the stars.

Bare trees in winter are as beautiful as the colors of fall and the buds of spring.

I’m stronger than I thought I was but nowhere near as smart as people think I am. My strength is creativity not intelligence, and my true abilities lie in expression, whether through writing, photography, and at one time music. I suck at finances, am shaky with quantum physics, and I do not know how to build an erector set.

Some of my posts never made it to publication because they were too honest, too scathing, and not fair. Some never made it to publication because as soon as I finished, I thought they could do better than A View, and they have, including pieces which went on to the Washington Post, The Sun, and the Chronicle of Higher Education, among others. Other entries just sucked so I deleted them.

I learned that people prefer to laugh hard or cry exhaustively rather than the simple, boring rants or blogs about education. I learned that everyone can relate to nature, wishes they spent more time in nature, feels more relaxed in nature.

I’ve learned that I prefer to be hit over the head by someone about how they feel about things rather than some slow reveal of the truth. And I’ve discovered that time spent with people who make you feel better about yourself is all there is left in life. There is no legacy, there is no endowment more valuable than that—to spend time with people who you love and who love you and who aren’t afraid to be truthful about that, no matter what, who are able to remain quiet without worry of that quietness.

This blog will continue with its bloated pretentiousness and condescending rants, but hopefully as well, readers will be more likely to notice the sun on the bottom edge of a cloud, the call of geese or the strong woosh of an egret’s wings. Too, I hope they are encouraged to reflect more often about how swift life is, and how we all know the simple truth is when we leave this world, we’re going to wish we had been more open with others, move loving, more honest with how we feel without concern of hurting or being hurt. And we will wish we had seen more sunsets. It is that simple.

The view from this wilderness is fragile and fast, and beautiful, and it is the same view as those reading in Mumbai, in London, in Brooklyn, Cincinnati, Mexico City, and Barcelona. The View from this Wilderness is not dependent upon coordinates. I’ve learned, too, that we need to help more people without them asking, and we need to let more people know we love them without worrying about their response. The old Japanese saying remains true: “Just because the message is not received doesn’t mean it is not worth sending.”

All artists like to know that people hear and appreciate us, but that’s not why an artist paints or a writer writes.

We write to remind ourselves that we miss too many sunsets, sunrises. We walk by too many flowers just beginning to open, and too many quiet lakes. We pass by too many mornings without opening the curtains and too many evenings without stepping outside. We move too swiftly through life, worrying more about grace than gratitude, more about lofty ambitions than love. And we believe everyone else does to, and we want to say so for them.

If you’d like to follow this blog and have not yet done so, click the “follow” button in the bottom right and enter your email. You’ll always only receive blog entries; nothing else. If you’d like to make a donation to help with spreading the words through social media, please feel free to do so by

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or Zelle: Bobkunzinger@yahoo.com .

If you’d like to respond to individual posts, please do in the notes section after each entry.

If you’d like to go for a walk, drop me a line–I’ll be outside waiting.

Those of us here at A View from this Wilderness (that’d be just me) wish everyone a Happy New Year.

“Love when you can

Cry when you have to

Be who you must

That’s a part of the plan.”

–Dan Fogelberg

To Change is to be New

aerie one

I’ve not been well the past day or two. I’m feeling much better but it certainly gave me the time to rest and absorb the world around me without distraction.

It occurred to me on my porch while staring at the surrounding woods, that at some point less than one hundred years ago none of those trees were there. The land has beautiful eighty foot oaks, some maples, tall thin pines and various other hardwoods including black walnut trees, which I am told can provide the ingredient necessary in the liqueur, Wild Spiced Nocino.

The branches protect birds as diverse as red-tailed hawks, downy woodpeckers, and countless chickadees, and they are habitat to other wildlife including one flying squirrel we spotted a few years ago when his tree fell. The squirrel was fine and found a new home in a white oak.

But a hundred years ago this was just land, sandy land, edged by the running Rappahannock River and backed by equally treeless farmland. A century before that these nearby plantations provided food for the region at the expense of slavery, and some slave descendants remain, selling vegetables at food carts out on the main road, or working the bay as watermen, telling stories about how the Chesapeake is just about farmed clean every season by crabbers at the mouth or the headwaters leaving nothing left for those working the midland shoals.

This area hasn’t changed much in one hundred years.

It is like this everywhere, the coming and going of things. In Manhattan a few hundred years before the wild construction on bedrock, coyote and deer were common. It was hilly (Manhattan means land of hills), and where the United Nations stands once stood grand oaks. The Lower West side was a sandy beach, and ecologists say if left to do what it wanted, most of the upper west side would be covered in trees and vines, shrubbery and wildflowers inside twenty years.

I can’t imagine what my house would look like if left untouched. When I don’t mow the lawn for a few weeks it looks like a refuge for timber wolves.

But these trees weren’t here a century ago and I sat on my porch and wondered if there had been other trees or if this land was barren. A few hundred years ago it was used by the Powhatans as hunting grounds.

This happens to me everywhere I lived; I like to imagine what was on that spot one hundred, two hundred, a millennium earlier. The house I rented in Pennsylvania was used as a hospital during the civil war. Before that it was a farm. Now it is a Real Estate office. The maples which lined the road and shaded the living room are gone. Someone planted new ones but it will be decades before they mature. My house in Massachusetts was a fish market a century earlier. Purpose moves on with time. Maybe that’s why I’m so mesmerized by the Prague hotel I always stay at. It was the same building seven hundred years ago that it is now. But here on my porch I realize this house is the only place in my life I’ve lived for twenty-six years, and I was curious if five times that score of years ago I could sit on this spot and see right out on the water, or were there trees then as well, different ones which died or were timbered to make room for crops.

The house is made from western pine forested on land which I assume is either now empty of trees or filled with young pines waiting to become log homes. What will be left a hundred years from now? Will someone sit on this same porch and look right out toward the bay once these oaks have long fallen? I know this house, this land, is a “hotel at best” as Jackson Browne despondently points out. “We’re here as a guest.”

Wow. Wrote myself into some sad corner there. Thanks Jackson.

I know nothing is as permanent as nature, despite the constant changes. It simply isn’t going anywhere. We are. So I like to remember that a century ago farmers sat here and talked about the bounty in the soil, or talked to 19th century watermen about the changing tides. And I like to realize that a hundred years before that the nearby swampland, now home to so many osprey and egrets, was a major route for runaway slaves. They’d have been safe in these woods, if there were woods then.

I like to do that because it reminds me a hundred years from now perhaps I will have left some sort of evidence of my passing through; even if just in the cultivation of language, the farming of words.

So I sit on the porch and listen to the wind through the leaves. It is now; it is right here, now. Sometimes at night we stand in the driveway with the telescope and study Saturn, or contemplate the craters on the moon—both here long before us and in some comforting way, long after we’re gone.

In spring and fall the bay breezes bring music even Vivaldi would envy, and I’ll listen to his Four Seasons, written nearly four hundred years ago, and listen to the wind through the leaves of these majestic, young trees reaching eighty feet high, and be completely, perfectly in the moment.

Despite the warming trends, the extreme tendencies of weather, the fragile ecosystem which sustains life, nature is still the only place I have found that really doesn’t change. It never has. Ice ages and dust bowls will alter it, but eventually some seed will take root.

aerie two

A Note About A View from this Wilderness

At a recent seminar I attended online about maintaining blogs and building your audience, they suggested creating “memberships”; commitments from readers with a monthly fee of some sort. I didn’t like that idea, and neither did the others attending except a top tier blogger with an audience of over 100K.

Another suggestion is advertising or support links, such as an Amazon link where if you buy something from Amazon by clicking through my page, I’d get a penny or something like that. Plus, the blog would then have ads all over it. I didn’t like that either. Neither did many others except the top tier blogger with 100K followers.

I and some of my favorite bloggers like Sarah Leamy of Wanderlust, thought a straight forward donation page would be best. This apparently is standard among bloggers everywhere. Some people who will read what is essentially the equivalent of several books a year might not mind donating $5 or $10 a year for our time and to help defray the minimal costs (website address is really the big one, and the program upgrade to keep advertising OFF the page–irony at its best). I know some very successful writers who don’t agree with the concept of a blog because it takes your energy and material away from books and articles you could be getting paid for from a large market. I disagree in that many of my blogs have lead to articles I never would have written without the weekly–often two or three times a week–dedication to A View. In fact, this blog was the impetus for my book A Third Place: Notes in Nature

I started this blog shortly after the death of my father. My first entry was about sitting in a chair of his and looking out my window at nature. From there it has grown, and A View from this Wilderness has roughly 1000 unique viewers per post, and A View is fast approaching 500 posts in the course of seven years.

So, I’ve put up a donation page in a nod to artists everywhere who produce work for the sole purpose of producing work for others.

Thanks for your consideration in donating. Total disclosure: A View is not going anywhere and will always be free, but a donation would truly help.

I have put up a donation page for those who would like to help me defray the cost of the blog. The blog will remain free to all and I hope more and more continue to follow by clicking the follow button in the bottom right corner, continue to read, and continue to share. But if anyone can donate it will be greatly appreciated. I am suggesting $10 a year (more is always welcome). This amount will only be repeated if you want it to, and no information is saved, ever. It is simply to assist in the minimal costs of the blog. Currently, A View has more than a thousand unique readers and averages more than 100 shares per blog.

Can you help? Click on the words “ABOUT A VIEW” below:

A View from this Wilderness

I have written blogs on A View from this Wilderness for six full years. This week, Volume Six is complete, and in just a few days I will begin Volume Seven. It did not go where I had expected it to, though few things in my life, if anything, have gone where I thought they would.

When I started the blog in January of 2016, my father had just died a few months earlier, I was still senior faculty at a college in Virginia Beach, was still senior faculty at a university on the naval base, my mother still lived in a large condominium and my brother lived in Texas. None of those things are true anymore; or, the truths of those things are in the past, as most realities in our life tend to be, eventually.

I thought this site would be a simple escape into nature, and for a while it was. I wrote about geese, about the river and the bay, about the hawks and eagles here at Aerie, and about the wildlife we discovered here at night while looking at the stars. But as the weeks and months progressed, it became more about the nature of things, including and perhaps most significantly, human nature, particularly my own.

I left the college. I left the university (or the university left us, as it shut down because of Covid and never reopened). I lost touch with people I knew well for a very long time, and spent more time on the river, along the trails of the Chesapeake region. When I started this blog, we didn’t yet believe then candidate djt would win the election, we didn’t understand the animal-like attack on the Fourth Estate, and most certainly we didn’t yet know Covid; we didn’t anticipate quarantine, masks, distancing, and so much illness and death. And as we did, nature became more important, no longer simply a refuge, that escape, but a place to breathe without worry, a place to walk without concern.

Professionally, this blog led to a book, A Third Place: Notes in Nature. Among writers, blogs are somewhat controversial. Some believe it can distract from real writing, absorb your energy from completing more worthy works. I understand the argument. But I’ve always had several layers of writing going on at the same time. There is the serious material I know I want to send to publications, perhaps even in book form, as in the case of Siberia, Africa, and another project just underway; slivers of material from these topics sometimes end up in this blog, but rarely. Then there is the raw material—the stuff I read in bars with the likes of Tim Seibles—stuff we generally don’t expect to be published and which certainly won’t appear here; stuff we prefer you hear when you’ve been drinking and where recording is strictly prohibited.

But there is the middle work, the journaling, the reflections, the prompts, the thoughts, the spewing of anger at politicians, the rants at society for ignorance and negligence, and the confessions to those I know and those I do not know about so many of my shortcomings, failures, and misunderstandings. Many times what I thought would be a work about nature turned out to include my heart on my sleeve; yeah, I’ve exposed much in these six years and as a result some people pulled back, others gathered closer. This has certainly been a cleansing experience.

But in the end this blog is a place I simply am what I am. I do not know if I’m departing this life tomorrow or in thirty years, but when I do, I’m leaving everything I can out there, exposed. This blog has taught me, is teaching me still, to be who I must, something I wish I had learned decades ago.

It started with one reader—me. Last week the unique readership numbered almost 1100 people, averaging just around a grand every week. I’m very pleased by that. But make no mistake: I have no illusions that I am changing people’s minds about anything, including my own. I simply found a place to express myself instead of calling you and doing it. You’re welcome. In the end every single blog posting is from the start to the finish, first for me.

I have written about dear friends who I thought I’d spend my life with, confidants I counted on to be there and to be there for, but they moved on too soon, like Cole and Joe and Trish and Ed and Bobbie and Dave and too many more to count. I’ve written about artists who I’ve known and whose work made me feel like they knew me, even the ones who I was never fortunate enough to meet, like Vincent van Gogh and Dan Fogelberg, John Denver, Harry Chapin, Mozart, Chopin, Marley, Nick Drake and so many more whose music plays while I’m typing. Also, I’ve written here about Cole and Eton and Gosha and Slava and Tim and the other Tim.  

I’ve written about my son. About my dad. But still, mostly about nature both human and natural, from my perspective, never anyone else’s. The advantage of a blog is we’re like street corner preachers standing on a milk carton flapping our sentiments to the wind, and some people hang out and nod, others hang out and get pissed off, but most just walk on by. That’s fine. I’d walk by too.  

And if I haven’t written about some people, it’s because I didn’t want to, don’t want to, and never will want to. If I’ve learned anything at all, it’s reflective of the sentiment of that Long Island philosopher William Joel, to “do what’s good for you, or you’re not good for anybody.” Something else I learned way late in life.

But a few other things I’ve learned in these now 370 posts:

Heron get frightened easily. Geese change course if they see humans. Hawks are hyper-focused on food and if you walk by one while they’re eyeing down a squirrel, they couldn’t give a rat’s ass you’re nearby.

Standing at this river and watching rockets lift from over at Wallops Island raises the hair on the back of my neck, as does standing in the yard and seeing the stars.

Bare trees in winter are as beautiful as the colors of fall and the buds of spring.

I’m stronger than I thought I was but nowhere near as smart as people think I am. My strength is creativity not intelligence, and my true abilities lie in expression, whether through writing, photography, and at one time music.

Some of my posts never made it to publication because they were too honest, too scathing, and not fair. Some never made it to publication because as soon as I finished, I thought they could do better than A View, and they have, including places like the Washington Post. Other entries just sucked so I deleted them.

I learned that people prefer to laugh hard or cry exhaustively over simple education or rants.

I’ve learned that I prefer to be hit over the head by someone about how they feel about things rather than some slow reveal of the truth. And I’ve discovered that time spent with people who make you feel better about yourself is all there is left in life. There is no legacy, there is no endowment more valuable than that—to spend time with people who you love and who love you and who aren’t afraid to be truthful about that, no matter what.

This blog will continue with its bloated pretentiousness and condescending rants, but hopefully, as well, readers will more likely notice the sun on the bottom edge of a cloud, the call of geese or the strong woosh of an egret’s wings. Too, I hope they notice the beauty in human nature, and how swift life is, and how we all know the simple truth is when we leave this world, we’re going to wish we had been more open with others, move loving, more honest with how we feel without concern of hurting or being hurt.

The view from this wilderness is fragile and fast, and beautiful, and it is the same view as those reading in Mumbai, in London, in Brooklyn, Cincinnati, Mexico City, and New South Wales. The View from this Wilderness is not dependent upon coordinates. Everyone has the same view no matter where they are; and if everyone stands in the same spot, every single view is unique. We need to help more people without them asking, and we need to let more people know we love them without worrying about their response. The old Japanese saying remains true: “Just because the message is not received doesn’t mean it is not worth sending.” And we all like to know that people hear and appreciate us, but that’s not why an artist paints or a writer writes.

We write to remind ourselves that we miss too many sunsets, sunrises. We walk by too many flowers just beginning to open, and too many quiet lakes. We pass by too many mornings without opening the curtains and too many evenings without stepping outside.

We move too swiftly through life, worrying more about grace than gratitude, more about lofty ambitions than love.

Those of us here at A View from this Wilderness (that’d be just me) wish everyone a Happy New Year.

“Love when you can

Cry when you have to

Be who you must

That’s a part of the plan.”

–Dan Fogelberg

In Dreams Awake

Tonight a fox wandered along the edge of the driveway for a while, and when I went out about half an hour later, an opossum was foraging in the leaves and ran up a tree and played dead on a branch. It was kind of cute, actually, the way he just sat there probably thinking, “He can’t see me. I’m not going to move, and he can’t see me.”

Above him was a three-quarter moon, and Saturn, and Jupiter, and stars whose names I’ll never know. It’s a clear night here, upper thirties, and still, perfectly still. I sat at a table on the porch, cold, yes, but okay, and heard an owl out toward the river, and a dog somewhere. I always loved how sound travels at night, especially near water. Probably more so in an area like here where neighbors are few and far between and horse farms and plowed corn and soybean fields carpet the county from here to the Chesapeake.

One of my favorite movie scenes—in that I can relate to it I suppose—is in Thelma and Louise when they’re driving out west and a variety of shots shows Geena Davis looking at the desert, at the road, at the sun in the distance, and she turns to Susan Sarandon and says, “I’m really awake. Do you feel awake? You know, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so awake in my life.” Of course they just blew up an oil tanker, so there’s that.

But I’ve been fortunate enough to feel that way more than a few times in my life. Awake. It happens here pretty often.

From my porch I really can’t see more than trees until later in winter, but when I look north on a clear night, I can imagine the vast ocean silence stretching from here to Long Island where I picture childhood friends sitting in their living rooms watching television or just talking. Some are gone now, but some still live there, just a few miles from our old neighborhood. I’ll look south and see just over the curve of the earth, in some sort of simultaneous now, friends having drinks in Florida, and others in Georgia at their computers, writing, another near the gulf sitting on his back porch listening to a ballgame.

Mom’s asleep two hours away, my brother’s playing golf just fifty miles southwest of here, my sister five hours north is perhaps babysitting her grandson, all in their pulsating lives, right now.

Brian’s (the PA one) is having wine. Sean (the NY one) is at a movie shoot of some sort. Another Brian (FL) is doing an online reading talking about writing and dealing with loss; Sean (the Syracuse one) is somewhere in the world walking his dog; KL is trying to figure out why she’s not more German than she thought. My son is taking photos of water. The lives in my life are all present, and thinking of them reminds me I am present as well, as if they are proof, just as the geese gliding over right now are proof, or the tightness of my skin from the cool is also proof.

Someone is being born, others are dying, some are getting drunk and about to make a bad decision, someone else in some corner café drinking caffeine is about to have a great idea. Right now.

Awake.

We spend so much of our lives on autopilot. I won’t flood this folly with carpe diem quotes, except to say too many of us learn too late that life is swift, and that there is a difference between “a life” and “alive.”   We drift downstream with the current, caught up in conversations with others about the minutia, the meaningless. This isn’t to imply we shouldn’t have those interactions and focuses; it is simply a matter of balance, and there is no proof that this world is anywhere near in balance.

I’m not daft. I know I’m not pointing out anything anyone hasn’t thought of or doesn’t know. But step outside. Seriously, step away from the phone, the laptop, the television, the kids, the parents, the rest of everything that is and step outside and see what else is, and be present, be quiet.

I stood tonight and thought about where I was standing and how I got there; those times—and there have been more than a few—I thought I’d not make it through the night. Other times I didn’t want the night to end—and, thankfully, there were more than a few of those, too.

This is it. This is what keeps me going. Searching for moments of clarity, that awakeness. It can come on a mountain hike, sculling the river, or sitting quietly on the patio near the firepit on a cold night, sipping red wine, talking about the, well, the minutia, like the stars, the distant sounds, some light from a plane high above headed north, headed somewhere else. Being awake is spending time with someone with whom you don’t have to think about anything. Being awake is spending time alone and you don’t have to worry and anticipate or regret or second-guess. Being awake is akin to air; it is akin to water.

An owl just hooted here at Aerie somewhere behind me. And I can hear the diesel engine on a workboat, this late. On nights like this I swear I can hear clear across to Cape Charles on the Eastern Shore, and up toward Tangier, and up toward Montauk.

Colder weather is coming. It’s clear tonight, but clouds are moving in. Changes, constant turns and spins of expectations and wonder. Whenever I am in this state of mind, I remind myself it will inevitably change; as will the frequent moments of self-doubt. It gives me something to look forward to in moments of weakness, and, moreover, it reminds me to hold tight to the moments of such sharp clarity when I can almost feel like I understand my place among things.