dec 7/RUN

5.25 miles
bottom of franklin loop and back again
29 degrees/feels like 20
less than 5% ice covered

Another great winter run. Sunny, not too much wind, clear path. Heard some cawing crows before I started. Enjoyed breathing in the cold air. Did not enjoy how that same cold air made my eyes water even with sunglasses on. Encountered lots of other runners. A few fat tires, walkers, dogs. No more squirrels. Heard the nail gun at the house near the trestle that they’ve been working on for months. Smelled some type of food coming from the Longfellow Grill–some brunch thing, I guess. Ran down the franklin hill, passing at least 5 people running up it. Decided to see how far I would get in 25 minutes–to the gate near Annie Young Meadows Park–and then turn around. Ran up the hill until I reached the turnoff for the bridge then walked for 2 minutes. Started running again, slowly gaining on 2 women ahead of me. Finally passed them and then ran much faster than I wanted to stay ahead of them. Mistook 2 trashcans for a group of people. Also thought a bright yellow jacket draped over one of the ancient boulders by the sprawling oak was a person. Good thing I didn’t greet them! On my walk home from the river, greeted Dave, the Daily Walker, just heading out for his walk.

Epistemology
Catherine Barnett

Mostly I’d like to feel a little less, know a little more.
Knots are on the top of my list of what I want to know.
Who was it who taught me to burn the end of the cord
to keep it from fraying?
Not the man who called my life a debacle,
a word whose sound I love.
In a debacle things are unleashed.
Roots of words are like knots I think when I read the dictionary.
I read other books, sure. Recently I learned how trees communicate,
the way they send sugar through their roots to the trees that are ailing.
They don’t use words, but they can be said to love.
They might lean in one direction to leave a little extra light for another tree.
And I admire the way they grow right through fences, nothing
stops them, it’s called inosculation: to unite by openings, to connect
or join so as to become or make continuous, from osculare,
to provide with a mouth, from osculum, little mouth.
Sometimes when I’m alone I go outside with my big little mouth
and speak to the trees as if I were a birch among birches.

Oh, I love this poem! I remember encountering it a few years ago when I was trying to figure out what the term/process is for trees that grow through fences. It came up again this morning on my twitter feed. I’m not sure what I think about the first line: “Mostly I’d like to feel a little less, know a little more.” I’ve been writing a lot about the limits of knowing and the need to feel the force of ideas more. Yet, I like this idea of knowing as becoming familiar with things (knowing knots) and acquiring interesting facts (about preventing fraying, how trees communicate). I’d like to distinguish between knowing as familiarity and knowing as conquering/mastering/fully understanding. I’d also like to put this poem next to another poem I discovered this fall, Learning the Trees, which I posted in my sept 15 log entry. I want to ruminate some more on the difference between learning and knowing and Knowing.

dec 5/RUN

5 miles
bottom of franklin and back again
31 degrees
5-10% ice and snow covered

Another great run! Sun. Almost above freezing. Hardly any wind. Today the river was beautiful. More gray than brown. Shimmering. Still open and flowing. Greeted Dave, the Daily Walker. Admired the occasional tree painted white on one side. Lamented the parts of the walking path–especially where it dips below the road–that are still covered in almost a foot of snow. Noticed how lovely the view was framed by the 1-94 bridge as I neared the bottom of the franklin hill. Checked out the Winchell Trail and, after noticing some footprints in the snow, wondered who walks it this time of year. Ran under a moving train at the trestle! I thought ADM had closed but I guess not. I think this is only the second time I’ve run under a train in the 5+ years I’ve been running here. Liked watching the drips from the train drop down from the trestle. So cool. At the end of my run, stopped at the split rail fence above the ravine. I could almost, but not quite, hear the water trickling/dripping/splashing on the limestone ledge.

Hotel Lullaby
Srikanth Reddy

No matter how often you knock
on the ocean the ocean

just waves. No matter
how often you enter the ocean

the ocean still says
no one’s home. You must leave

her dear Ursula. As I write this
they polish the big

chandelier. Every prism
a sunset in abstract

or bijou foyer depending
on where you stand.

They take it apart every Fall
& call it Spring cleaning.

They bring me my tea.
They ask me my name

& I tell them — Ursula,
I don’t even know

how to miss who you left.
So many cabanas

to choose from tonight
but only one view.

It’s the sea.
What keeps me awake

is the sound of you sleeping
beside me again my dear Ursula,

Ursula, Ursula dear — then
you’re nothing

but waves & I break.

So many wonderful lines in this poem and I love the way a story unfolds the more times I read it. The line about how the ocean just waves is great and so is the one about spring cleaning in the fall but I think my favorite right now is “so many cabanas/ to choose from tonight/but only one view. / It’s the sea.”

dec 4/RUN

3.2 miles
ford bridge and back again
34 degrees
15% snow-covered

Ran to the river and turned right instead of left today, heading towards the falls. So much sun. Encountered several walkers, a few runners. Any bikers? The river was sparkling, much prettier today. The bike path was mostly clear of snow, the walking path was not. Encountered a group of walkers taking up the entire path and refusing to move at all. I actually had to stop moving as they approached me. Finally the guy realized I was there and moved over a little. After I turned around, catching up to them again, I had to call out “excuse me” 2 or 3 times before they moved. Surprisingly, I was not mad at all. I wish I could be this chill about path hoggers all the time.

I just discovered a wonderful book (and project) from Georges Perec, An Attempt at Exhausting a Place. A wonderful inspiration for my running beside the gorge. In his brief introduction he writes:

My intention in the pages that follow was to describe the rest instead: that which is generally not taken not of, that which is not noticed, that which which has no importance: what happens when nothing happens other than the weather, people, cars, and clouds.

what happens when nothing other than the weather, people, cars, and clouds?

Cherry blossoms
Toi Derricotte – 1941-

I went down to
mingle my breath
with the breath
of the cherry blossoms.

There were photographers:
Mothers arranging their
children against
gnarled old trees;
a couple, hugging,
asks a passerby
to snap them
like that,
so that their love
will always be caught
between two friendships:
ours & the friendship
of the cherry trees.

Oh Cherry,
why can’t my poems
be as beautiful?

A young woman in a fur-trimmed
coat sets a card table
with linens, candles,
a picnic basket & wine.
A father tips
a boy’s wheelchair back
so he can gaze
up at a branched
heaven.
All around us
the blossoms
flurry down
whispering,

Be patient
you have an ancient beauty.

Be patient,
you have an ancient beauty.

No cheery blossoms for a long time, but I couldn’t resist posting this beautiful poem and its description of a place and a relationship. Oh Cherry Blossom, why can’t my poems be as beautiful? I love the answer: be patient.

dec 3/RUN

4.5 miles
under the franklin bridge and back
28 degrees
25% snow and ice covered

Winter running! Icy in the neighborhood, but not too bad on the path. Sunny, bright, beautiful. Remembered to look at the river today. Not as pretty as the path. Boring brown. No ice yet. Greeted Dave, the Daily Walker–not just “good morning” but “how are you?” too! Spent a lot of time trying to avoid big icy-snowy chunks, which are almost impossible for me to see with my vision. Also spent time de-fogging my sunglasses. How do people run with sunglasses? I still haven’t figured it out. At the start of the run, encountered a walker with his dogs. I think he called out, “will power!,” which I assumed meant he thought that the only reason I was out here in the winter was because I had a strong will. I wanted to yell out, “This isn’t miserable! I love being out here in this cold!”

additional note: Just remembered about the sun and my shadow. As I ran north, she was behind me and off to the side. Occasionally I could see her out of the corner of my left eye–well, not the actual shadow but the hint of something there almost. I kept thinking someone was about to pass me. I think I looked back to check at least 3 or 4 times. Strange.

This poem! So beautiful and heartbreaking and exciting as a form.

Heartbeats
Melvin Dixon – 1950-1992

Work out. Ten laps.
Chin ups. Look good.

Steam room. Dress warm.
Call home. Fresh air.

Eat right. Rest well.
Sweetheart. Safe sex.

Sore throat. Long flu.
Hard nodes. Beware.

Test blood. Count cells.
Reds thin. Whites low.

Dress warm. Eat well.
Short breath. Fatigue.

Night sweats. Dry cough.
Loose stools. Weight loss.

Get mad. Fight back.
Call home. Rest well.

Don’t cry. Take charge.
No sex. Eat right.

Call home. Talk slow.
Chin up. No air.

Arms wide. Nodes hard.
Cough dry. Hold on.

Mouth wide. Drink this.
Breathe in. Breathe out.

No air. Breathe in.
Breathe in. No air.

Black out. White rooms.
Head hot. Feet cold.

No work. Eat right.
CAT scan. Chin up.

Breathe in. Breathe out.
No air. No air.

Thin blood. Sore lungs.
Mouth dry. Mind gone.

Six months? Three weeks?
Can’t eat. No air.

Today? Tonight?
It waits. For me.

Sweet heart. Don’t stop.
Breathe in. Breathe out.

dec 2/RUN

3.25 miles
us bank stadium

Scott and I ran inside the stadium for the first time this season. The Minnesota Distance Running Association no longer manages it so it was a little more expensive and lot more fiddly–purchasing tickets, taking 2 separate elevators. I strongly dislike elevators. Maybe because of the change or the increase in price, there weren’t that many people there. We had a nice run. Not sure how many times I’ll do it this season but it’s always cool to get to run inside the stadium, especially in the evening. Not much I remember about the run except the music: every song sounded like Selena Gomez…excerpt the brief respite when they played Lizzo.

December
David Baker

Instead, there is an hour, a moment,
a slight fading of the light like a loss of power

in the neighborhood. Then it’s dark. You can’t see
the trees any more, the old snow, the dog that barks

from the door of his shed because it’s night now
and time to be fed. Is he huddled now, over his paws?

—And one Canada goose so low in passing
above the barn you still hear the shadow.

This weekend I heard a lot of geese over head. Too high in the sky to hear their shadows passing, but I did hear their honks. Such beautiful, haunting sounds! This season, my favorite. I really like this poem and what it captures. and how it de-privileges vision–hearing the dog bark, the shadow of the goose, feeling (when unable to see) the tree, the old snow.

dec 1/RUN

4.3 miles
top of franklin hill and back
30 degrees/snow
75% snow-covered

What a run!! Snow was falling gently–sometimes annoyingly in my face but, who cares? The paths weren’t slick and icy. Geese were honking overhead. Pretty sure I didn’t look at the river once. Too busy admiring the snow. Almost missed the Daily Walker but he called out to me. He was walking with his wife. Cool. Felt strong and happy and relaxed. Don’t remember thinking about anything except for when I should turn around. Towards the end of my run saw a dog and its 2 humans about to cross the road. The humans were wearing snow shoes. Winter goal: to try out snow shoes. I’ve wanted to do this ever since I met fast Eddie at the Y and he told me about racing 10Ks in snow shoes. Today is a wonderful start to winter running season!

Let It Be Forgotten
Sara Teasdale – 1884-1933

Let it be forgotten, as a flower is forgotten,
Forgotten as a fire that once was singing gold,
Let it be forgotten for ever and ever,
Time is a kind friend, he will make us old.

If anyone asks, say it was forgotten
Long and long ago,
As a flower, as a fire, as a hushed footfall
In a long forgotten snow.

I love this poem. I want to memorize it and then recite it like a little prayer.

nov 30/BIKERUN

bike: 12 minutes
stand, basement

run: 2 miles
treadmill, basement

Was supposed to do a 10K race this morning but it was snowing and sleeting and Scott and I wimped out. Being in the basement is better than nothing, but I couldn’t do this all winter. Not very inspiring.

nov 29/BIKERUN

bike: 20 minutes
stand, basement

run: 1 mile
treadmill, basement

Icy sidewalks and waiting too long to decide to workout means I’m in the basement again today. Supposed to do a 10K tomorrow but we’re also supposed to get more snow and ice and lots of wind. Even if they don’t cancel it, Scott and I most likely won’t be doing it. Bummer.

nov 28/RUN

3.2 miles
lake harriet
25 degrees

Ran around Lake Harriet with Scott on Thanksgiving day. Some ice and snow but hardly any wind. Not too cold. The water is still open–no ice skating yet. Lots of people walking and running. A few bikers, some fat tires. Driving over to the lake on the parkway, it looked like a winter wonderland with all of the snow-covered trees.

Tonight for dessert, I am making an apple crumble. It is baking in the oven and smells delicious as I write this entry. Looked up “apple” at the poetry foundation site and found this wonderful celebration of all things A:

The Letter A
BY DARREN SARDELLI

The letter A is awesome!
It simply is the best.
Without an A, you could not get
an A+ on a test.
You’d never see an acrobat
or eat an apple pie.
You couldn’t be an astronaut
or kiss your aunt goodbye.
An antelope would not exist.
An ape would be unknown.
You’d never hear a person
say “Afraid” or “All Alone”.
The A’s in avocado
would completely disappear
and certain words would be forgot
like “ankle”, “arm”, and “ear”.

Without the A, you couldn’t aim
an arrow in the air.
You wouldn’t ask for apricots
or almonds at a fair.
Aruba and Australia
would be missing from a map.
You’d never use an ATM,
an apron, or an app.
The arctic fox and aardvark
would be absent from the zoo,
and vowels, as you know them,
would be E, I, O, and U.
There wouldn’t be an A chord
on the instruments you play.
Let’s appreciate, admire,
and applaud the letter A!

nov 27/SHOVELBIKERUN

shovel: 35 minutes
about 8 inches of wet snow
deck/front sidewalk

The first serious snow of the season. I think this stuff is going to stay. No more running down below on my favorite part of the trail unless I get some snow shoes.

bike: 15 minutes
bike stand, basement

At the end of November, I will have filled all 3 of my rings on my apple watch for 6 months straight. Since shoveling didn’t burn enough calories, I had to add in some biking and a little bit of running on the treadmill.

run: about a mile
treadmill, basement

Listened to my playlist and ran a little. I don’t mind running for a short time on the treadmill but I’m not sure if I could run for a long time. Maybe I should try it once this winter?

nov 26/RUN

5.25 miles
franklin loop
36 degrees

What a great run! So beautiful and brown and calm outside. Tonight the first winter storm arrives and tomorrow the gorge will be white, most likely until March or April. I have loved this late fall running when the temperature is in the 30s and the paths are bare. And I will love winter running and the crunching snow, the impossibly beautiful branches painted white. Felt strong and relaxed. Ended my run at the overlook to check out the wider view then hiked down the gravel trail to the ravine. Lots of water coming out of the sewer pipe, making its way to the river. At the first ledge, the water was dribbling, sounding like the shower when I’m outside of the bathroom. At the second ledge, the water was moving more swiftly, sounding like when I’m inside the bathroom, under the shower. Really cool. As I was running, then later walking, I kept thinking about how this was probably the last bare day of the year. I will miss the way the blueish gray water complements the rich brown forest and the sweet smell of mulching leaves and the view above the rim of the gorge on the path that winds through the tunnel of trees (and doesn’t get plowed in the winter).

Four-Word Lines
May Swenson – 1913-1989

Your eyes are just
like bees, and I
feel like a flower.
Their brown power makes
a breeze go over
my skin. When your
lashes ride down and
rise like brown bees’
legs, your pronged gaze
makes my eyes gauze.
I wish we were
in some shade and
no swarm of other
eyes to know that
I’m a flower breathing
bare, laid open to
your bees’ warm stare.
I’d let you wade
in me and seize
with your eager brown
bees’ power a sweet
glistening at my core.

nov 25/RUN

4 miles
trestle turn around + extra
42 degrees/ 16 mph wind

Listened to my playlist. Sunny. Saw my shadow a few times but she didn’t lead me–I bet she was avoiding the awful wind. Ran into the wind most of the time as I headed north. Don’t remember admiring the river that much but did notice the railroad trestle. So easy to see now that the leaves are all gone! Briefly mistook a trash can for a person. Felt too warm. Took off my outer layer at the half way point.

A pretty good run, even with the wind. Allowed me to forget about kids playing video games too much, refrigerators needing to be defrosted but hopefully not replaced, snow storms messing up Thanksgiving plans, a wonderful dog demanding too much attention.

November
Lucy Larcom

Who said November’s face was grim?
Who said her voice was harsh and sad?
I heard her sing in wood paths dim,
I met her on the shore, so glad,
So smiling, I could kiss her feet!
There never was a month so sweet.

October’s splendid robes, that hid
The beauty of the white-limbed trees,
Have dropped in tatters; yet amid
Those perfect forms the gazer sees
A proud wood-monarch here and there
Garments of wine-dipped crimson wear.

In precious flakes the autumnal gold
Is clinging to the forest’s fringe:
Yon bare twig to the sun will hold
Each separate leaf, to show the tinge
Of glorious rose-light reddening through
Its jewels, beautiful as few.

Where short-lived wild-flowers bloomed and died
The slanting sunbeams fall across
Vine-broideries, woven from side to side
Above mosaics of tinted moss.
So does the Eternal Artist’s skill
Hide beauty under beauty still.

And, if no note of bee or bird
Through the rapt stillness of the woods
Or the sea’s murmurous trance be heard,
A Presence in these solitudes
Upon the spirit seems to press
The dew of God’s dear silences.

And if, out of some inner heaven,
With soft relenting comes a day
Whereto the heart of June is given, —
All subtle scents and spicery
Through forest crypts and arches steal,
With power unnumbered hurts to heal.

Through yonder rended veil of green,
That used to shut the sky from me,
New glimpses of vast blue are seen;
I never guessed that so much sea
Bordered my little plot of ground,
And held me clasped so close around.

This is the month of sunrise skies
Intense with molten mist and flame;
Out of the purple deeps arrive
Colors no painter yet could name:
Gold-lilies and the cardinal-flower
Were pale against this gorgeous hour.

Still lovelier when athwart the east
The level beam of sunset falls:
The tints of wild-flowers long deceased
Glow then upon the horizon walls;
Shades of the rose and violet
Close to their dear world lingering yet.

What idleness, to moan and fret
For any season fair, gone by!
Life’s secret is not guessed at yet;
Veil under veil its wonders lie.
Through grief and loss made glorious
The soul of past joy lives in us.

More welcome than voluptous gales
This keen, crisp air, as conscience clear:
November breathes no flattering tales;—
The plain truth-teller of the year,
Who wins her heart, and he alone,
Knows she has sweetness all her own.

Yes! Lucy gets how wonderful November is.

nov 24/RUN

4 miles
marshall hill
40 degrees

Listened to a playlist. Noticed the shimmering water on the river and in the ravine. What a beautiful view of the gorge from the lake street bridge! Encountered a roller skier, bikers, dogs, a trot of runners. Felt strong and capable and happy.

nov 23/RUN

4 miles
trestle turn around + extra
32 degrees

I think I got my layers right today: 1 shirt, vest, pair of running tights. Not too hot or too cold. My shadow led me as we ran north. Do I remember anything else from my run? Encountered a roller skier. Lots of runners. I think 2 of them were in shorts. At least 1 bike. Dogs, walkers. Heard a saw buzzing across the parkway. Counted to 4 as I ran. Ended at the overlook. Today was one of those runs that felt great and also like nothing–time stopped, I was just there at the gorge moving.

Speaking of runners in shorts: last night as we (Scott, me, our son) drove back from a concert on the river road, we saw a runner running in complete darkness with shorts and no shirt on. The temperature was 25/feels like around 15. What the hell? He didn’t have anything with him–no sweatshirt to put on if he got cold. I hope he made it home okay.

Like Coins, November
BY ELIZABETH KLISE VON ZERNECK

We drove past late fall fields as flat and cold
as sheets of tin and, in the distance, trees

were tossed like coins against the sky. Stunned gold
and bronze, oaks, maples stood in twos and threes:

some copper bright, a few dull brown and, now
and then, the shock of one so steeled with frost

it glittered like a dime. The autumn boughs
and blackened branches wore a somber gloss

that whispered tails to me, not heads. I read
memorial columns in their trunks; their leaves

spelled UNUM, cent; and yours, the only head . . .
in penny profile, Lincoln-like (one sleeve,

one eye) but even it was turning tails
as russet leaves lay spent across the trails.

What a cool idea to think about November trees as looking like coins. Love: “the shock of one so steeled with frost/it glittered like a dime.” and “blackened branches work a somber gloss/that whispered tails to me, not heads.”

nov 22/RUN

4 miles
minnehaha falls loop
23 degrees/feels like 14

What a wonderful run! Love the cold air and the sun and the clear view through the trees to the river. Ran south today to the falls. Was greeted by the Daily Walker who was heading north on the path. Heard some kids playing at their school playground. Noticed someone ahead of me turning down to the Winchell Trail at 42nd. They were wearing a heavy coat and shorts. Shorts when it feels like 14 degrees doesn’t surprise anymore, having lived here in Minnesota for the last 16 years. Approaching the falls, I could hear the water still roaring. The sound of it mixed with car traffic and a leaf blower. The water is very high at the top. I wonder when it will freeze. Running back north, I passed another runner. For about a minute I could hear their footsteps behind me. Didn’t see any roller skiers today or fat tires.

Checked out May Swenson’s poetry collection, Nature, from the library the other day and found this poem:

View to the North
May Swenson

As you grow older, its gets colder.
You see through things.
I’m looking through the trees,

their torn and thinning leaves,
to where chill blue water
is roughened by wind.

Day by day the scene opens,
enlarges, rips of space
appear where full branches

used to snug the view.
Soon it will be wide, stripped,
entirely unobstructed:

I’ll see right through
the twining waves, to
the white horizon, to the place

where the North begins.
Magnificent! I’ll be thinking
while my eyeballs freeze.