‘I think my first feeling was . . .’


I write this as I prepare for bed at 7:30 p.m. I am sacrificing a few moments of sleep to share a few very random thoughts. They are part of what feels like a rough outline to a much better post and I don’t want to lose the thread.

Perhaps it is the years of working in the news, but I find no real purpose for putting down thoughts if I am not going to share them — no matter how big or small, mundane or embarrassing.

I’m feeling contemplative. I am not sure why. I’ve taken to doing small, odd things with intension recently and am trying to unearth the impulse and where it came from.

For example, most mornings at work, but not all, for the past couple of weeks, I have stood with my iPhone out on this small third floor balcony.  I sneak off up there a few minutes before sunrise because it has a very nice view south toward the skyline of Cincinnati.

rise

You can’t see the actual sun rising; only glints of light reflecting off of glass and clouds. One morning I randomly decided to record about 4 minutes of video on Hyperlapse, a time-lapse film app on my phone. The app condenses the video down to about a 40 second silent clip. I now try taping sunrises every morning. There is this rhythm to the sunrises as they get earlier and early. The bustle of traffic and runners on the road increase as the day brightens.

Here is the first video I took on May 14:

I’ve begun uploading these unlisted videos to my YouTube account. I’m toying with the idea of stitching them together into a single video after I’ve collected a few more. What are enough videos, I am not sure. I don’t really know the point either.

Beyond that, I am running and stretching religiously. I seldom used to do the latter, but now I use my GPS watch’s stopwatch function and time myself doing post run routines. Again, time and focusing on how my muscles feel after a run centers me about as much as the runs themselves.

I’m also working on a side project there too. I’ve collected all the metadata from maps of my runs and am compiling those routes into a single Google map. I’m limited to ten layers on the map, but I already find it is fascinating to see where I run. It’s a lot of the same damn places without realizing it.

The mapping on a single map has convinced to change-up routines. There is more of the world out there. I plan to post my Google run route map once I sit down and find the time to compile.

I’ve also employed some more mundane routines and rules, such as leaving no dirty dish in the sink before bed and making my bed in the morning. Again, odd, but oddly comforting at the same time.

And then there are the small joys.

I spoke with a 97-year-old World War II veteran who still goes to work everyday. He remembers more in his long and storied life than I can ever hope to. I turned our talk into a story and I’m not ashamed to say I’m proud of it. I want to make a habit of doing that type of story telling and plan to. The man also left me with a lot to think about.

And finally, I’m still listening to podcast. My most recent was the Radiolab piece on Dr. Oliver Sacks. Perhaps that is what sent me on my totally contemplative mood. Dr. Sacks died of liver cancer recently. He was a spectacular physician and amazing person to listen to, which I have done during many past Radiolab podcasts where he was interviewed. I also need to read a few of his book.

I wish WordPress was a little more iframe embed friendly. I would have love to provided a way to stream the episode with one of Dr. Sacks last interviews here. Instead there is the link below. Listen. It’s well worth the time and better illustrates Dr. Sacks the man than I ever could.

The quote that is the title of this blog post is from Dr. Sacks explaining his emotions after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer:

“I think my first feeling was one of overwhelming sadness.There are all sorts of things I won’t see or I won’t do. One or two people have written me and consoled me, ‘Well, we all die.’ But fuck it, it’s not like we all die, it’s like you have four months.”

http://www.radiolab.org/audio/m3u/453314/

Coming dangerously close to sounding glib or too self-centered, maybe this post was a reminder to savor the little things and those sunrises.