to minnehaha falls and back again
67 degrees/91% humidity/dewpoint 61
Ran early this morning. 6 am and already 67 degrees. Today, 90. Tomorrow, 95. Sunday, 97. I do not like running in the heat. This morning it was okay, especially since I was only running 4 miles. When I got to the river, I turned right instead of my usual left and headed towards the falls. A few minutes after me, Scott went out for a run too, but turned left at the river. My path was clear but his was blocked by a big tree, split in two during the heavy winds and thunderstorm last night. Listened to my running playlist so I didn’t hear birds or rushing water or snapping branches. I have no memory of what I thought about while I ran other than mundane running thoughts like: “I feel like I’m running fairly fast but I bet I’m running slow. I shouldn’t look because then I will just feel bad.” or “I need to make sure to focus on using my left leg so I can build up the muscles in it.” or “I don’t know if this rhythmic breathing works for me.” What else do I remember about my run? Running right by the falls and enjoying the coolness of the spray from the gushing water on my face and arms. Happily drinking water from the fountain that has finally been turned on. Feeling soaked from sweat even before the end of the first mile. No bikes. No roller skiers or roller bladers or dogs or bugs. One squirrel that almost darted in front of me but then wisely turned around. Several pairs of runners, one trio. A woman stretching her calves on the concrete ledge where Longfellow’s “The Song of Hiawatha” is etched.
Again, everything was green. A lush, post-rain green that glows and overwhelms and spills out over the path from below and above. Late May is very early for that shaggy, scruffy, weedy, much too green feeling. I usually don’t feel that until July or August. I love the green, but I’m ambiguous about weeds. In theory, I appreciate their unruly resilience but, even so, I struggle to see beyond their disruptive excess–blocking my view of the river, covering the path, housing too many bugs. Here are 2 poems for reflecting further on this ambiguity, one that I encountered today, the other I read last fall:
Long Live the Weeds/Theodore Roethke
Long live the weeds that overwhelm
My narrow vegetable realm!—
The bitter rock, the barren soil
That force the son of man to toil;
All things unholy, marked by curse,
The ugly of the universe.
The rough, the wicked, and the wild
That keep the spirit undefiled.
With these I match my little wit
And earn the right to stand or sit,
Hope, look, create, or drink and die:
These shape the creature that is I.
Rogue seedlings flank
the front bank.
Aspen roots lift
from the driveway’s face.
I can hear
like a crackle
I watch a frantic
strip them clean.
Weeds choke the garden,
thorns and buffelgrass.
Wild blackberries seethe.
I scrub green moss.
Still it spreads its stain
across the deck, and
falls into cracks where
green sprouts flare up.
I fight against surrender but
the trees call to me
as they creep forward.
The forest wants to take us back.