Cooler this morning. Listened to a playlist running above, some rowers running below. Noticed that the dirt path at the beginning of the lower trail is more old asphalt than I realized. How long ago did they stop paving this trail? Could see the river sparkling serenely beneath me. Heard the rowers. Encountered some walkers who had no idea I was there. When I called out, “excuse me,” one of them dramatically flinched. Never know how to handle these situations. Sometimes I find it funny, their frantic gestures. Other times, it’s annoying that they’re blocking the whole path and I can’t get past them without startling them. Encountered another walker, an older woman with hiking poles, listening loudly to a speech. The women speaking was calling out, “we’re not the problem, we’re the solution!” What is she referring to? Who is the we? What is the problem and what is the solution?
Cliffhanger update: the leaning tree trunk near the 38th street steps seems to be leaning more. I almost had to duck as I ran under it. Is it lower, or am I just forgetting how lean-y it already was? Will it lean even more or fall or be removed soon?
Ended my run right past the small clearing in the tunnel of trees. I’m stuck in my writing about it. Is it because it’s more magical in the early spring before the trees have filled in? When I look at it now, it’s still a clearing but it doesn’t make me feel dizzy or like I’m floating as I run past it. Maybe I should look at earlier entries about it?
A Kind of Meadow
BY CARL PHILLIPS
by trees at its far ending,
as is the way in moral tales:
whether trees as trees actually,
for their shadow and what
inside of it
hides, threatens, calls to;
or as ever-wavering conscience,
cloaked now, and called Chorus;
or, between these, whatever
falls upon the rippling and measurable,
but none to measure it, thin
fabric of this stands for.
A kind of meadow, and then
trees—many, assembled, a wood
therefore. Through the wood
path, emblematic of Much
Trespass: Halt. Who goes there?
A kind of meadow, where it ends
begin trees, from whose twinning
of late light and the already underway
darkness you were expecting perhaps
the stag to step forward, to make
of its twelve-pointed antlers
the branching foreground to a backdrop
or you wanted the usual
bird to break cover at that angle
at which wings catch entirely
what light’s left,
so that for once the bird isn’t miracle
at all, but the simplicity of patience
and a good hand assembling: first
the thin bones, now in careful
rows the feathers, like fretwork,
now the brush, for the laying-on
of sheen…. As is always the way,
you tell yourself, in
until you have gone there,
and gone there, “into the
field,” vowing Only until
there’s nothing more
I want—thinking it, wrongly,
a thing attainable, any real end
to wanting, and that it is close, and that
it is likely, how will you not
this time catch hold of it: flashing,
flesh at once
lit and lightless, a way
out, the one dappled way, back—
I like how this poem demands many readings, some of them out loud, for me to begin to understand it. I have not yet read it enough. So far, here’s what I’m drawn to: trees and moral tales; trees as hiding/threatening/calling to; trees as Chorus; the double-meaning of stands (represents + a group of trees); the worn path as emblem; trees whose twinning of late light and the already underway darkness.
bike: 8.5 miles
swim: 1.5 miles
Today’s open swim was so crowded! Hundreds of swimmers. Too hard to see them all in the sun. So I only swam 2 loops and an extra mini loop off the big beach. The water was choppy but I didn’t care. Couldn’t see much but I kept swimming. I felt strong for most of the swim until suddenly my right shoulder hurt. Now, a few hours later, I am very tired. Swimming in the lake is the best. What joy to still be able to see enough to swim and bike!