mississippi river road path, north/south
Yes! A good run. Felt strong and fast even though I wasn’t going that fast. Listened to headphones and tried to tune out everything. Enjoyed the 10 mph wind keeping me cool. I think I saw the man in black and I think it’s the same guy that I passed twice last week on the other side of the river. No longer in black (black pants, black jacket, black hood) but in dark shorts and a light colored shirt. I don’t remember much else from the run except for noticing the river a few times. Oh–and wanting to stop 2 tenths of a mile early because I was tired. I could feel myself almost stopping but then I didn’t. I kept running up the hill and made it to the top and my goal. A small victory.
Read an article about the poetry of place and encountered this line:
The achievement of oneness with nature in poems (and in life, for that matter) is more often than not, fake. Much more convincing is an honest failure.The Poetry of Place
In running, I try to lose myself, to become one with the path or the wind or the river. It never works, usually because my body aches somewhere or I start worrying about something. But I do have flashes of forgetting, when I am just breathing and being. These flashes are hard to describe even as I’ve tried. I don’t think I’d like to be that untethered or lost all the time. And I’m not sure I’d call the lack of oneness a failure.
Field Guide to the Chaparral
Leah Naomi Green
The fire beetle only mates
when the chaparral is burning,
and the water beetle
will only mate in the rain.
In the monastery’s kitchen, the nuns
don’t believe me when I tell them how old I am,
that you were married before.
The woman you find attractive
does not believe me when I look at her kindly.
There are candescent people in the world.
It will only be love
that I love you with.
When we get home,
there will be our kitchen, the dishes undone.
There will be our bedroom.
What is it you eventually recognized
in my face that allowed you to believe me?
Beauty that did not come from you—
remember how it did not come from you?
As white sage does not come from the moon
but is found by it and lit.
The Buddhists say
that the front of the paper
cannot exist without the back.
Because there is a there,
there is a here. Chaparral,
the density of growth,
and the tattered chaps
the mappers wore
through it because they had to,
to keep walking without
being hurt. It is OK if we hurt
Chaparral needs fire.
(The pinecones would not open
otherwise.) Love needs lover,
whose last lover was flood.
The first time I read this poem, I didn’t know if I liked it, but now I know I do. I found it when I was looking for field guides and poetry. (I’m exploring forms for my running route poems/essays.) I love how she weaves in the insects and the chaparral. Speaking of field guides, I found some cool projects to do with younger kids–you can create a field guide of your local park or your backyard. Identifying the birds or trees or types of flowers. I wish my kids were 7 or 8 years younger. I’d create some field guides with them this summer. Maybe I’ll see if RJP’s up for it even though she’s 13 and too cool for stuff like that.