Saturday, October 06, 2007

day +46

Last night as I watched the Yankees-Indians game, I downloaded some of the latest images from NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day. Here are some of my favorites:

Unusual Cratering on Saturn's Moon, Dione

Three Galaxies and a Comet

Six Rainbows Across Norway

Old Faithful Below a Yellowstone Sky

Mercury's Transit-An Unusual Spot on the Sun

Jupiter, Vesta, and the Milky Way

Dust Sculptures in the Rosette Nebula

Dark Sky Over Death Valley

Late this morning, I traversed two more bridges: the Madison Avenue and Macombs Dam Bridges. I started off walking south along the Grand Concourse for about 20 blocks until I reached the Madison Avenue Bridge, which I crossed over into Harlem where I walked for about another 17 blocks north along Adam Clayton Powell Blvd (7th Avenue) until I got to West 155th at which I point I continued east across the Macombs Dam Bridge back into Bronx. Of the bridges spanning the Harlem River that I have crossed, I found the Macombs Dam Bridge to be most interesting so far. There is a small garden nearby the bridge that offers great views of Yankee Stadium and the Harlem River.

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By crossing these two bridges today, the only other bridge that remains relatively nearby to where I live is the Willis Avenue Bridge. The Triborough Bridge, which connects the boroughs of the Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens, is significantly farther away but it's doable. After the Willis Avenue Bridge, I will go for the Triborough Bridge.

It's been quite fun crossing the Harlem River at different points these past few weeks and enjoying the different vistas that each bridge offers. Although all these bridges are right in my backyard, I failed to realize the simple joy that comes from walking back and forth across their spans until now as I have been so used to traveling across them via bus, car or avoiding them all together when I take the subway. Moreover, these small bridges lie in the shadows of the city's larger and more famous icons, such as the Brooklyn, Manhattan, and 59th Street Bridges.

As I walked across the Madison Avenue Bridge enjoying the warm, clear weather and the view from atop the river, I was reminded of what Rolf Potts said in Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel:

If travel truly is in the journey and not the destination, if travel really is an attitude of awareness and openness to new things, then any moment can be considered travel. "Objects which are usually the motives of our travels are often overlooked and neglected if they lie under our eyes," wrote Pliny the Younger nearly two thousand years ago. With this in mind, it's important to remember that your vagabonding attitude is not something you can turn on and off when it's convenient. Rather, it's an ongoing, organic process that can be applied even as you unpack your bags and readjust to home. After all, hitting the road to get travel out of your system rarely works, so the best remedy upon returning home is to make travel a part of your system. . . .

Explore your hometown as if it were a foreign land, and take an interest in your neighbors as if they were exotic tribesmen. Keep things real, and keep on learning. Be creative, and get into adventures. Earn your freedom all over again and don't set limits. Keep things simple, and let your spirit grow.

A few days ago, I finally used the three Barnes & Nobles gift certificates that Annamma, the inpatient transplant social worker, gave me while I was in Sloan-Kettering receiving my transplant. The gift certificates totaling a value of $150.00 came as a total surprise to my mom and me. There is an organization that sponsors this very generous program, but I shamefully don't remember it's name. Nevertheless, not knowing how long the certificates are good for, I decided to use them this week. These are the books that I purchased.

Are We Alone? Philosophical Implications for the Discovery of Extraterrestrial Life
by Paul Davies

Coming of Age in the Milky Way Galaxy by Timothy Ferris

The Blue Planet: An Introduction to Earth System Science, 2nd Edition

A Buyer's and User's Guide to Astronomical Telescopes and Binoculars
by James Mullaney

Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan

The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God by Carl Sagan

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bronx is Burning:
1977, Baseball, Politics, and the Battle for the Soul of a City

by Jonathan Mahler

Finally, tomorrow morning my friend, Tammer 'The Hammer' Ramini, will run in the Lasalle Bank Chicago Marathon as a member of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training. He will be running in memory of his cousin, Sammy Hassan, whose life was cut short by leukemia and in honor of an 11-year old leukemia survivor, Shelby Kay Batley, as well as yours truly.

Thanks to all those who have donated to his inspiring effort. If you haven't, you can still donate here. Let's wish Tammer and the other members of the LLS' Team in Training a fun and successful marathon run tomorrow! Go get'em them Tammer!!


Comment Blogger Michelle J said...

Hi Duane,

Very cool books! I hope you enjoy them all.

I had the opportunity to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and back! It is 3455.5 feet. It was lovely seeing the runners, walkers, and bikers! I love the pics you took of your walking across the bridges. Like i said before, you are quite the motivator.

Hope your feeling good!

Love Michelle

11:00 PM  
Comment Anonymous Anonymous said...

like the photos as always of your walks.
the books look very interesting. so nice they gave you the B and N certs.
glad the weather has been pleasant for your adventures.

see you this week at some point.


10:38 AM  

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