Ides of March
My father had a fatal stroke on March 15, 1995 at the age of 75.
I turned 75 last birthday.
Heredity mixed with irony scares the shit out of me.
As a young man, I pictured myself growing old like William Holden in Network – with or without Faye Dunaway.
Now, I look in the mirror, and couldn’t pick that guy out of a fucking lineup.
Smokin' cigarettes and watchin' Captain Kangaroo.
Now don't tell me, I've nothin' to do.
Check the news every morning to see how much farther the world has descended into lunacy since yesterday. Rarely read beyond the headlines. Don’t watch TV news.
No clue how I keep scoring nine out of eleven on the weekly New York Times news quiz.
Head out in the car in the afternoon. Listen to my playlist. Heavy on Simon with and without Garfunkel, Dylan. Beatles, Springsteen. Certain lyrics always register.
Screen door slams, Mary’s dress waves
Like a vision she dances across the porch as the radio plays.
Drive down a road I call Hawk Alley. Resident redtails occasionally permit me to pull alongside, roll down the window and get off a shot or six before they take off.
First stop: Small park off Lake Ontario, Rarely run into other humans. Perfect. Spent countless hours here alone with a great blue heron last summer.
Last stop: Sun starting to go down. Rattray Marsh Conservation Area. Hunting big game: coyotes, deer, fox, pileated woodpeckers.
Nights in the cave.
Edit photos. Text the best to my three daughters. Share it on Instagram the next day.
Look for something to watch on TV. No baseball yet.
Scroll through movies saved on DVR. Need the comfort of an actor I like, playing a character I like, in a good story.
I WANNA BE THAT GUY
Brad Pitt in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
I WANNA KNOW THAT WOMAN
Jessica Chastain in Molly’s Game.
End up watching Bogart and Bacall in Dark Passage.
Thank you, TCM.
And, with apologies to Paul Simon, not everything looks worse in black and white.
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First day of spring: For the birds
What am I doing here? An American enduring his forty-eighth endless winter in the Great White North. Each more torturous than the last.
For me, today should be called the venal equinox. Spring’s promise of warmth a con. Probably be freezing my ass off until May. Maybe June.
There is still a mini-Matterhorn of dirty snow in front of my townhouse in suburban Toronto. Still ice and slush on the trails in the marsh where I walk most days looking for wildlife to photograph.
You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.
Flashback to last weekend. Temperature minus-something Celsius. Serious snow squalls stinging my eyes.
What am I doing here?
Thrilled to spot a pied-billed grebe swimming in the creek that runs through the marsh.
Rare bird for me. First photo op.
Click madly with my Nikon while scolding the grebe for being as nuts as I am.
Why didn’t you spend another month down south? You don’t have to be here.
Next day the creek was frozen.
Too many birds seem to be taking global warming literally. So many robins now stay year round.
You can’t be the harbinger of spring when you never leave.
You have wings! Go south!
Which brings me to the great blue heron pictured at the top of this piece. Shocking to see it here on January 31st.
Could have been fishing in the Everglades instead of walking in the snow off Lake Ontario in the dead of winter.
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Writing stories since the Sixties.
Now adding pictures.