In 3 and a half months I get to swim across Lake Nokomis three times a week!, but for now I’m at the pool, which is fine. Not as exciting as the lake, but still great to do. I love swimming. I’m hoping to write more about it this summer. Today I decided to swim a mile without stopping. To make it less tedious, I varied my breathing. Here’s how I broke it down: 8 x 200 yds (1st 50, breathe every 3 strokes/2nd, every 4/3rd, every 5; 4th, every 6). What did I think about while I was swimming? Is my knee okay? Why were my goggles leaking? Will they start leaking again? Is my nose plug going to fall off? Is this 550 yards or 600? Am I going to swim the mile or 2 mile race this summer? How long have I been swimming? Would this be more interesting if I could listen to music while I was swimming?
With my knee hurting a little, I decided to do an easy bike ride in the front room this morning. I also managed to take Delia the dog on two walks. The first was early, when over half the sidewalk was covered in a thin layer of ice. The second was later, when most of the sidewalk was covered with deep puddles. Snow melting. Dripping off the eaves and gutters. At the end of the second walk, I sat on my back deck and recorded the dripping:
Listening closely with my headphones, I think I hear at least three different speeds of drips. Yuck! I love the snow. I love when it warms up. But I despise when big mounds of snow melt, dripping off the roof, pooling in the yard, transforming the sidewalk into a lake. I’m sure the path is a mess right now. I wish my knee and I weren’t having a fight so I could go check it out.
mississippi river road path, north/south
A beautiful day for a run by the river. Not too cold with abundant sun. But I should have listened to my body, especially my knee, and not run today. The path was very difficult, with only one narrow strip of bare pavement, and my knee was already a little swollen from hiking through the snow yesterday. It was difficult walking home with a slight limp. I must take a break from running for a few days. It’s probably a good time to take a break with the weather getting warmer then colder. “Thaw, freeze, repeat” is how MPR describes it. Yuck!
Even though I’m (only a little) worried about my knee and whether or not I’m entering another round of subluxations and swelling and even though there’s so much snow on the ground and covering the path and blocking the sidewalks, it’s hard not to think of spring with the warm sun shining on my face and the birds!! chirping. I recorded a little bit of it when I was almost home:
At some point in the year, I might take the birds for granted, hearing them only as background noise, but I couldn’t today. Such a glorious sound!
mississippi river road, north/stone arch bridge
Thursday night we got 5 inches of snow. By Friday the path was already plowed. Minneapolis Parks are awesome! It’s supposed to snow another 5-8 inches this afternoon so I ran this morning while the path was still clear. Another great run. Steady and not too fast. I managed to run the entire steep hill near downtown without stopping to walk! In about a month, I’ll be running it again in a race.
The river was flowing–no ice or snow left. Will it freeze again or will I be seeing rowers on it soon?
Yesterday I finished a draft of a poem I’ve been working on for a few weeks. It’s an homage poem based on Alice Oswald’s beautiful “A Short Story of Falling Water.” Mine is about snow and my current fascination with the crunching noises it makes as I walk and run by the river.
A Short Story of Fallen Snow, audio
A Short Story of Fallen Snow
after Alice Oswald
It is the story of the fallen snow
to turn sharp and slick and force us to slow
it is the wonder of a winter storm
to start out as snowflakes but soon change form
from tiny puffed up pillows that cover the path
to crystals compressed, their size reduced by half
or to a smooth shining surface polished like glass
hidden in plain sight near the edge by the grass
if only you while heading to the river could make
the moment go numb and freeze like a snowflake
to absorb every sound in a blanket of air
releasing when pressed a kind of noisy prayer
then you might learn like snow how to balance
the light of attention against the weight of silence
snow which when cold is so brittle so strong
cracking and crunching a sharp steady song
compacted by cold, yielding to moving feet
compelling you to pause and listen to it creak
which is the story of the fallen snow
whose changing forms makes us slow.
This run felt really great. I didn’t go too fast, but went faster than I thought for how relaxed I felt. I needed this run after having another stressful morning trying to get the girl to go to school. Listened to my running playlist and tried to block out the world. It worked! Almost 60 minutes of somewhere else.
Decided to try out the ford loop before the snow hits again and the path becomes impassable. Even though I enjoyed my run, deciding to do this loop was a big mistake. Tons of super slick ice and rough, clumpy snow made it very treacherous. I slipped several times and landed wrong on my foot at least twice. Still, I did it. Even the steep short hill by Summit! Running across the Lake Street bridge, back to St. Paul was rough–ice and chunky snow.
It’s supposed to start snowing in a few hours. Maybe up to 5 inches. Then another round on Saturday. Possibly double digit totals. Will it actually come? Do I want it to?
I’ve been writing poem fragments every morning when I wake up about winter. Here’s one that I wrote shortly after we didn’t get the snow that was predicted:
early forecasts had predicted
5-8 inches of snow
sub zero temps
lots of wind
it’s 20 degrees colder than yesterday and
I can hear the wind blow but
where’s that snow?
a no show as usual
I should be relieved and
I am but still
I wouldn’t mind watching
some big fluffy flakes floating
down from the sky
delivering little crystal bursts of joy
or at least distraction
as I sit on the couch
waiting for a girl to get ready
to go to school
8 degrees/feels like -3
mississippi river road path, north/south
Bright blue sky. Blinding sun. Cold air. Slippery path. Fogged-up glasses. Crunchy path. I was struck by how the 2 crunching sounds of my feet highlighted the differences between walking and running. When I was walking, the slower, steadier crunch lasted longer, as my foot went from the initial heel strike to the final toe-off. How many bones came into contact with the crunchy snow? When I was running, that second crunch was quicker, with less grinding. I’d like to capture some sound of me running on crunching snow, but that seems hard.
Reading The Snow Poems by AR Amons which is, disappointingly, not all about snow. But, there are some snow poems, like this one:
here a month of snow,
mere January than
nothing. it is
the winter-deep, the
leave it unwritten,
as snow unwrites
mississippi river road path, north/south
We got about an inch of wet snow yesterday/last night so the path was covered…and crunchy. Mostly fine to run on, although a few spots were softer, causing my foot to sink down. A beautiful morning. Grayish-white. Calm. Quiet. Not much wind, not much noise. Tried to catch up to the runner ahead of me after I turned around but couldn’t. Was she going fast, or was I going slow–or were we going the same pace so I couldn’t gain any distance on her? Saw the Daily Walker twice! Both times, from behind, so I didn’t get to say “good morning” to him.
Recorded the sound of my crunching feet on the sidewalk, after I finished my run:
2 distinct sounds. One, a steady grinding, like gears with small teeth turning rhythmically, constantly, The Other, one quick thrust, like a small shovel being thrust into sand or small pebbles. I think that the sounds trade off between my moving feet. But how? I need to go out and walk in the snow some more to figure it out!
Discovered a few great lines in Snow in America:
‘In prose,’ the Mexican poet Octavio Paz writes, ‘the word tends to be identified with one of its possible meanings at the expense of others…the poet, on the other hand, never assaults the ambiguity of the word.’ Poetry is to snow what prose is to rain, says Howard Nemerov, because ‘it flew instead of fell.’
mississippi river road path, south/north
Decided to fit in a quick run since it is so warm today and will be so cold/icy/snowy tomorrow. It was windy and wet but not too bad. I managed to avoid most of the big puddles.
Bright, sunny, above freezing day the cold and gloom
Returns having only briefly hidden
Under the promise of spring’s early
Retracted revoked replaced with more cold—-O how I
Yearn for warmer air!
Very slippery. Almost fell a few times on the way to the river. Ran to the falls, on the creek path, then over to Lake Nokomis. I haven’t run this route since late July, right before my injury. It’s funny how it feels longer than running north on the path. The creek was all open water. The lake was covered with snow but on the bridge I could see slushy, almost open water. As I ran by the little beach, I imagined the summer and swimming across the lake.
I’ve been thinking about snow and ice lately. Hardly any snow on the path today, but lots of ice. Patches of black ice–clear, almost hidden, blending into the path. Patches of thick opaque ice, with an ugly yellowish greenish tint. Strips of jagged ice, the result of snow melting, puddling on the path then refreezing at night. Slick spots under the dusting of snow that happened a few hours before I ran that was mostly melted in the almost above freezing air.
Ran a quick 2 miles at the track. People I saw at the y:
A woman, about my build, my hair color, my age, wearing an orange tank top similar to one that I wear. Scott almost called out to her, thinking she was me.
A short runner in a bright blue shirt, running much faster than me but only running a lap. Is it wrong that I felt some satisfaction when I passed them, still running, while they were walking?
A couple I’ve seen for years, both at the y and on the Mississippi River Road near the lock and dam by the falls, running and jump roping and pulling sleds or lifting heavy weights. Today one of them was pushing a sled by the wall, while the other was doing some leg exercises, then they both walked around the track carrying huge weights above their heads. One time, last summer, I saw them jump roping! up a steep hill.
An impatient woman in the locker room who became even more impatient waiting for one of two pool lanes–the others were filled with older women in an aquablast class–to open up.
The track wasn’t too crowded. The run wasn’t that memorable. Oh–I thought I packed a pair of socks, but actually only packed one, so I ran without socks. No blisters…yet.