oct 30/RUN

5.1 miles
franklin hill + winches trail
29 degrees

Ran north on the river road until I reached the bottom of the franklin hill. Reversed direction, running back up the hill. Took a set of wooden stairs down to the rusty red leaf-covered Winchell Trail. With reluctance, resorted to walking most of it–too risky to run…so many hidden roots and rocks and ruts! As I carefully hiked the steep rim, more and more of the railroad trestle revealed itself. I’ve never approached it from this angle. Returned to the paved path by the road after climbing another set of stairs right by the rickety, rotting split rail fence. Listened to the sounds around me. Rusty, rustling leaves, rooting rodents. What a racket! Ended my run by the 2 big rocks. Before leaving the river, remembered to stop at the overlook and then the ravine to absorb the roomy view.

Jotting down some notes about my run, I started to see lots of words that started with r. So I made a list and decided to create my entry around them. I didn’t use a dictionary, only words that I could think up on my own.

I don’t think I’ve posted this poem before. Love this idea of fall falling on us.

Fall
Edward Hirsch – 1950-

Fall, falling, fallen. That’s the way the season
Changes its tense in the long-haired maples
That dot the road; the veiny hand-shaped leaves
Redden on their branches (in a fiery competition
With the final remaining cardinals) and then
Begin to sidle and float through the air, at last
Settling into colorful layers carpeting the ground.
At twilight the light, too, is layered in the trees
In a season of odd, dusky congruences—a scarlet tanager
And the odor of burning leaves, a golden retriever
Loping down the center of a wide street and the sun
Setting behind smoke-filled trees in the distance,
A gap opening up in the treetops and a bruised cloud
Blamelessly filling the space with purples. Everything
Changes and moves in the split second between summer’s
Sprawling past and winter’s hard revision, one moment
Pulling out of the station according to schedule,
Another moment arriving on the next platform. It
Happens almost like clockwork: the leaves drift away
From their branches and gather slowly at our feet,
Sliding over our ankles, and the season begins moving
Around us even as its colorful weather moves us,
Even as it pulls us into its dusty, twilit pockets.
And every year there is a brief, startling moment
When we pause in the middle of a long walk home and
Suddenly feel something invisible and weightless
Touching our shoulders, sweeping down from the air:
It is the autumn wind pressing against our bodies;
It is the changing light of fall falling on us.

oct 29/RUN

4 miles
two trails + falls
33 degrees

Sitting here, post-run, writing this log entry, I’m watching the leaves falling like snow off the tall maple tree in my front yard. Very calming. Another nice run where I felt strong. So little green around now, just red and orange and yellow and brown and dull purple. Crossed the road, entered the path and twisted my foot slightly on a stick or an acorn or something hiding in the leaves. Thankfully no injury. Ran south to the falls on the trail next to the road. Encountered some roller skiers–one almost ran into me, some other runners, walkers. Noticed some kids across the parkway at their school playground, lined up, ready to go somewhere or do something, not sure where or what. Made it to the falls and saw (but didn’t hear because I was listening to music) the gushing, spraying water. Wow, Minnehaha Creek is high and rushing so fast towards the river. Looped around the park and headed north again. At the 44th street parking lot, took out my headphones, turned down the hill, and entered the Winchell Trail. Beautiful and dangerous. So many cracks and sticks and nuts hiding under the fallen leaves. Encountered some walkers/hikers and at least 2 other runners. Looked down at the river, when I could. Didn’t trip or fall or twist anything. I enjoy the trail running–wish I could do more of it.

The Cave
BY PAUL TRAN

Someone standing at the mouth had
the idea to enter. To go further

than light or language could
go. As they followed
the idea, light and language followed

like two wolves—panting, hearing themselves
panting. A shapeless scent
in the damp air …

Keep going, the idea said.

Someone kept going. Deeper and deeper, they saw
others had been there. Others had left

objects that couldn’t have found their way
there alone. Ocher-stained shells. Bird bones. Grounded
hematite. On the walls,

as if stepping into history, someone saw
their purpose: cows. Bulls. Bison. Deer. Horses—
some pregnant, some slaughtered.

The wild-
life seemed wild and alive, moving

when someone moved, casting their shadows
on the shadows stretching
in every direction. Keep going,

the idea said again. Go …

Someone continued. They followed the idea so far inside that
outside was another idea.

I love the line breaks in this poem and light and language as 2 panting wolves and an idea as something that talks to us and pushes us to keep going and the Someone who stood at the mouth and entered, then kept going deeper, and the last line about following the idea so far inside that outside was another idea. For over a year, I’ve been thinking about the relationship between inside and outside and how it works for me as I run by the gorge. What is inside and what is outside? And then, what about being beside–not in or out but next to? Two questions I’m ruminating on right now: Why am I resistant to going deeper and deeper in–and is this resistance a bad thing?

oct 28/RUN

5.45 miles
franklin loop
33 degrees/feels like 26

Cold today. Overcast. Fairly calm. Beautiful. The leaves are past their peak. My favorite spot, in the tunnel of trees, on the rim of the gorge, feels so much wider without leaves on any of the trees lining the path. Expansive. Airy. Capacious. Climbing out of the tunnel, still heading north, I could see the river below. With the gray sky, it didn’t sparkle, but it wasn’t dull either.

For a few weeks now, I’ve been trying to figure out why I find being able (finally) to see the river or the forest floor or further into the gorge so delightful. It’s not a need to know or a fear of the unknown. Something to do with more space and room to breathe, I think. Mulling it over in my head at one point during the run, I thought about how the excess of green in late spring/summer/early fall intoxicates and suffocates, choking out words and ideas that aren’t green. Even as green is my favorite color, I do not like when green takes over everything. Green = busy doing things, producing, connecting, crowds/crowded/crowding out.

Crossed the Franklin bridge and noticed how the trees behind me on the west side glowed. Kept turning back to look, wishing I had reversed the loop today so I could watch them come into view. Felt good and strong and relaxed. No walk breaks. Ran up the hill past the lake st/marshall bridge to take in the view at my favorite spot on the east side then crossed the road to the bridge. Noticed the white bike memorial near the crosswalk and thought about the runner that died here a few years ago: hit by a distracted driver while crossing in the crosswalk. Admired the red, orange and yellow trees lining the west side as I crossed the bridge back to the west side. Crossing the parkway again and entering the trail on the west side, I could smell breakfast at Longfellow Grill. No roller skiers. No Daily Walker or Man in Black or fat tires. No annoying squirrels or honking geese or random coyotes. Just me, running free.

How Wonderful
BY IRVING FELDMAN

How wonderful to be understood,
to just sit here while some kind person
relieves you of the awful burden
of having to explain yourself, of having
to find other words to say what you meant,
or what you think you thought you meant,
and of the worse burden of finding no words,
of being struck dumb . . . because some bright person
has found just the right words for you—and you
have only to sit here and be grateful
for words so quiet so discerning they seem
not words but literate light, in which
your merely lucid blossoming grows lustrous.
How wonderful that is!

And how altogether wonderful it is
not to be understood, not at all, to, well,
just sit here while someone not unkindly
is saying those impossibly wrong things,
or quite possibly they’re the right things
if you are, which you’re not, that someone
—a difference, finally, so indifferent
it would be conceit not to let it pass,
unkindness, really, to spoil someone’s fun.
And so you don’t mind, you welcome the umbrage
of those high murmurings over your head,
having found, after all, you are grateful
—and you understand this, how wonderful!—
that you’ve been led to be quietly yourself,
like a root growing wise in darkness
under the light litter, the falling words.

How wonderful to be able to read this poem early on a Monday morning and then realize, hours later, that it might open up some new understanding in how to both like one thing (for Feldman, to be quietly understood; for me, to be rid of the excess of green) and its (almost?) opposite (to be quietly misunderstood; to love green as my favorite color). Also, how wonderful to end a poem with the idea of being led to be quietly yourself like a root growing in darkness! This line evokes winter–and maybe that’s why I like winter and its darkness and slow, unnoticed growth (or, if not growth, at least continuing to be). I like being led (or left) to be quietly myself.

oct 26/RUN

10K Minneapolis Halloween Race
52:54
40 degrees

Such a great race. Not a PR, but the fastest I’ve run in over 4 years. It felt good and maybe for the first time I crossed the finish line smiling. This has been a goal for years, to enjoy the very last stretch of the race. I didn’t dress up in a costume (although I did wear orange and black) but saw: witches, Super Woman, a huge unicorn, Malificent, Fred Flintstone, some big white animal, a ton of tutus, some woman in a full-length, hoop-skirted ball gown…That’s all I can remember. A beautiful, sunny morning for a run!

oct 25/RUN

3 miles
trestle turn around
40 degrees

Hooray! I got to run again after 2 days off. My right knee doesn’t hurt at all, although my left hip is a little sore. Beautiful beside the gorge. So many intensely yellow leaves on the trees, falling from the sky, on the ground. Saw some forest floor. Greeted the Daily Walker. Noticed a dirt trail leading down to the gorge at 29th street. Stopped and admired the view. Successfully avoided squirrels. Felt relaxed and strong. Could have kept running but I didn’t want to push it. I have a 10k race tomorrow morning. Ended at the overlook at the 35th street parking lot. The few leaves left on the trees were shimmering in the sun and wind.

A Rhyme for Halloween
BY MAURICE KILWEIN GUEVARA

Tonight I light the candles of my eyes in the lee
And swing down this branch full of red leaves.
Yellow moon, skull and spine of the hare,
Arrow me to town on the neck of the air.

I hear the undertaker make love in the heather;
The candy maker, poor fellow, is under the weather.
Skunk, moose, raccoon, they go to the doors in threes
With a torch in their hands or pleas: “O, please . . .”

Baruch Spinoza and the butcher are drunk:
One is the tail and one is the trunk
Of a beast who dances in circles for beer
And doesn’t think twice to learn how to steer.

Our clock is blind, our clock is dumb.
Its hands are broken, its fingers numb.
No time for the martyr of our fair town
Who wasn’t a witch because she could drown.

Now the dogs of the cemetery are starting to bark
At the vision of her, bobbing up through the dark.
When she opens her mouth to gasp for air,
A moth flies out and lands in her hair.

The apples are thumping, winter is coming.
The lips of the pumpkin soon will be humming.
By the caw of the crow on the first of the year,
Something will die, something appear.

I love this poem. Learned what a lee is: 1. protecting shelter 2. the side or area that is sheltered from the wind. Want to use arrow as verb in my own writing. The rhymes here are a lot of fun and not forced at all. A great Halloween poem.

oct 24/BIKE

30 minutes
bike stand, basement

I have a little bit of stiffness and pain in my right knee so I’m taking a few days off from running. So difficult! It’s beautiful outside, just past peak leaf peepin’ and I’d love to be out by the gorge but my knee doesn’t want to. Biked in the basement instead which was fine but not nearly as fun or inspirational.

Prayer to be Still and Know
Nickole Brown

Lord, let my ears go secret agent, each
a microphone so hot it picks up things
silent, reverbing even the hum of stone
close to its eager, silver grill. Let my ears forget
years trained to human chatter
wired into every room, even those empty
except of me, each broadcast and jingle
tricking me into being less
lonely than I am. Let my ears forget
the clack and rumble, our tambourining and fireworking
distractions, our roar of applause. Let my hands quit
their clapping and rest in a new kind of prayer, one
that doesn’t ask but listens, palms up in my lap.
Like an owl, let me triangulate icy shuffling under snow as
vole, let me not just name the name
when I spot a soundtrack of birdsong
but understand the notes through each syrinx
as a singular missive—begging, flirting, fussing, each
companion call and alarm as sharp with desire and fear
as my own. Prick my ears, Lord. Make them hungry
satellites, have your way with their tiny bones,
teach the drum within that dark to drum
again. Because within the hammering of woodpecker
is a long tongue unwinding like a tape measure from inside
his pileated head, darting dinner from the pine’s soft bark.
And somewhere I know is a spider who births
a filament of silk and flies it to the next branch; somewhere,
a fiddlehead unstrings its violin into the miracle of
fern. And somewhere, a mink not made into a coat
cracks open a mussel’s shell, and with her mouth full
of that gray meat, yawns. Those are your sounds, are they not?
Do not deny it, Lord, do not deny
me. I do not know those songs. Nor do I know the hush
a dandelion’s face makes when it closes, surrenders, then goes
to seed. No, I only know the sound my own breath makes
as I wish and blow that perfect globe away;
I only know the small, satisfactory
popping of roots when I call it weed and yank it
from the yard. There is a language of all
you’ve created. Hear me, please. I just want to be
still enough to hear. Right here, Lord:
I want to be.

I want to spend some more time with this beautiful poem!

oct 22/BIKERUNBIKE

bike: 17 minutes
stand in basement

Windy and rainy and cold outside so I decided to bike in the basement while watching more of the Super League Triathlon. Such a bummer that all of the beautiful leaves will be ripped from the trees by this wind instead of getting to fall gently to the ground.

run: 1.2 miles
treadmill in basement

Decided to run for 10 minutes in-between bike rides. Listened to music and stared ahead at the lightbulb reflecting in the darkened window. Not very inspiring but still felt good to move.

bike: 16 minutes
stand in basement

Not much to add with this bike ride except that I biked for a minute less yet burned 15 more calories. I guess the run in-between helped?

My Invisible Horse and the Speed of Human Decency
Matthew Olzmann

People always tell me, “Don’t put the cart
before the horse,” which is curious
because I don’t have a horse.
Is this some new advancement in public shaming—
repeatedly drawing one’s attention
to that which one is currently not, and never
has been, in possession of?
If ever, I happen to obtain a Clydesdale,
then I’ll align, absolutely, it to its proper position
in relation to the cart, but I can’t
do that because all I have is the cart.
One solitary cart—a little grief wagon that goes
precisely nowhere—along with, apparently, one
invisible horse, which does not pull,
does not haul, does not in any fashion
budge, impel or tow my disaster buggy
up the hill or down the road.
I’m not asking for much. A more tender world
with less hatred strutting the streets.
Perhaps a downtick in state-sanctioned violence
against civilians. Wind through the trees.
Water under the bridge. Kindness.
LOL, says the world. These things take time, says
the Office of Disappointment. Change cannot
be rushed
, says the roundtable of my smartest friends.
Then, together, they say, The cart!
They say, The horse!
They say, Haven’t we told you already?
So my invisible horse remains
standing where it previously stood:
between hotdog stands and hallelujahs,
between the Nasdaq and the moon’s adumbral visage,
between the status quo and The Great Filter,
and I can see that it’s not his fault—being
invisible and not existing—
how he’s the product of both my imagination
and society’s failure of imagination.
Watch how I press my hand against his translucent flank.
How I hold two sugar cubes to his hypothetical mouth.
How I say I want to believe in him,
speaking softly into his missing ear.

I’m very glad I gave this poem a chance and kept reading. At first, I wasn’t sure, but when the narrator starts imagining his invisible horse, I was intrigued. And when he offers up the fabulous line: “with less hatred strutting the streets” I was all in.

oct 21/BIKERUN

bike: 15 minutes
basement stand

I’m calling it. No more biking outside this year. Brought my bike inside this morning and put it on the stand in the basement. Rode it for 15 minutes while watching Super League Triathlon in Malta–love these races!

run: 3 miles
trestle turn around
54 degrees
humidity: 85%

I could write about the many leaves that had fallen in the wind and rain and were littering the path or how it felt like it was still raining with all the water dropping from the trees or the strange quality of the light–dark at first, a light slowly spreading, then sunshine–or seeing the forest floor a few times or turning around at the trestle and racing the cars crawling their way through the four way stop or actually enjoying running into the stiff wind, a big grin on my face or stopping, at the end, to study the ravine and being able to clearly see the wrought iron fence. I could, but all I really want to mention are the two turkeys I saw crossing Edmond Boulevard as I walked home through my neighborhood. The one in front was running fast, bobbing its head, while the second, smaller one tried to keep up. Did you know that turkeys could run fast? I didn’t. As I watched them run away I thought that seeing them run so quickly, with their graceful legs and awkward heads, was all I needed today. How cool!

Found this poem/essay this morning via twitter. I like the form of the Venn Diagram.

When the Light Betrays Us Twice/Marisa Crane

oct 20/RUN

2.8 miles
trestle turn around
69 degrees

Crossed the road and entered the path right after two runners going only slightly slower than me. Sped up to pass them and then ran too fast for the rest of the time. Lots of people out, taking in the intense yellow leaves. Beautiful. Ended the run then walked down the gravel path just past the overlook to the spot above the ravine. Noticed the river and listened to the water trickling out of the sewer pipe and then down a small stream to a limestone ledge. Just beneath the ledge the dripping water had carved out a cave. And just beneath that was another sewer pipe, stretching along the forest floor to the river. At one time, this pipe had been buried, covered in dirt, but erosion had exposed it–how long ago?

oct 16/RUN

4.5 miles
Franklin Bridge turn around
45 degrees

45 degrees is a great temperature to run in. Lots of yellow leaves. More red appearing now too. My favorite spot above the gorge is thinning out a bit more. No forest floor yet, but soon. Everywhere, I can see something. At one point I wondered, which will come first: the snow, closing the walking path or bare leaves, revealing the view? Saw a spazzy squirrel cross in front of the runner just ahead. Unlike me, he didn’t flinch or stutter step when this happened. No Daily Walker or roller skiers or fat tires or geese. Once I thought I saw a duck by the side of the path but it was just some fallen branches. This was a very good run–I felt strong and joyful and in harmony with my knees and lower left back. We all love October running.

When I stopped running, I walked to the overlook and climbed up on the wall, trying to see the river. Still partially blocked by leaves, but not for long! Also checked out the ravine, walking along the edge, peering down through the planks in the split rail fence into maple basswood forest. Even when the leaves are gone, there won’t be much to see. You have to climb down the broken wooden steps or hike down the crushed limestone path to see and hear it. Two small falls, one made from concrete, the other stone, drip (almost dribble) down to the forest floor and an old sewer pipe you can walk on. Lots of erosion here. Before the snow hits, I’d like to hike down into this ravine and explore it.

Practice
Ellen Bryant Voigt

To weep unbidden, to wake
at night in order to weep, to wait
for the whisker on the face of the clock
to twitch again, moving
the dumb day forward—

is this merely practice?
Some believe in heaven,
some in rest. We’ll float,
you said. Afterward
we’ll float between two worlds—

five bronze beetles
stacked like spoons in one
peony blossom, drugged by lust:
if I came back as a bird
I’d remember that—

until everyone we love
is safe is what you said.

The first stanza of this beautiful poem! To weep, to wake, to wait for the whisker on the face of the clock to move the dumb day forward. Five bronze beetles stacked like spoons is pretty pleasing too. Also, floating between two worlds is nice. I’ve been thinking about that a lot with the gorge and a line from the gorge management plan about how the west river parkway road/trail is the transition between two worlds: the longfellow neighborhood and the gorge. How can I write about this in a poem?

oct 15/RUN

5 miles
river road, south/falls/minnehaha creek path/longfellow gardens/falls/river road, north
43 degrees

Decided to turn right instead of left when I reached the river. Listened to a playlist as I ran towards the falls. Kept going up the mustache bridge to the creek path to check out if the grove of trees right before the duck bridge was glowing golden. Not yet. Ran under the mustache bridge. Looked for the statue of Longfellow in the field but couldn’t find him. Must have been hiding behind the tall grass. Ran back through the falls and north on the river road. Overcast and cool. Great weather for a run. Felt strong and happy to be admiring one bright orange tree and a ravine filled with lemon yellow trees near the double bridge. At the end of the run, checked out the ravine. More leaves gone, more chances to study the slope and the trees and the fallen tree trunks.

Ways Things Vanish
BY TODD DILLARD

Up sleeves, into ears,
mouse holes, magpie nests,
around corners, through doors,
up stairs, eaten by shadows,
eaten by toddlers, eaten by dogs
by crows by hogs by vultures,
into boardrooms, into boats,
into cultures, into space,
into bullet holes,
sometimes a whole boy
will just fall into one,
leaving a mountain of air
which we call a country,
its flag a trackless gaze,
its anthem a mother
doing the hard work
of turning a name
into a question.

oct 14/RUN

5.5 miles
franklin loop
40 degrees

Such wonderful weather! Sunny. Calm. Not too much wind. No headphones today. Started with gloves on. By mile 2, gloves off, sleeves pushed up. Wore my vest, which made it too hot. Don’t remember much about the first few miles. No Daily Walker, no fat tires. A few runners, some walkers, annoying squirrels. The river looked gorgeous from the franklin bridge. It was fun running under the golden leafed trees on the east side. What did I think about? I can’t remember. All I can recall is counting to 4 to keep steady. 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Glanced down at the east river flats but couldn’t see the paved path. Ran a little extra up the hill past the stairs leading up the lake street bridge so I could see my favorite part of this route where there are no trees and you get an open view of the river and the west side. Ran over the bridge, through the tunnel of trees–a little more light, a little less leaves, and stopped running near the overlook and right before the welcoming oaks. The view from the overlook is getting better every day. As I walked through the Welcoming Oaks, I looked up at the golden leaves and the stretching branches. Crunched through the fallen leaves in the grass. Such a satisfying sound. Ended at the ravine. Every day more leaves fall and more of the ravine is visible. Noticed how two planks on the split rail fence had separated as the branches of the trees from below pushed against them.

Finally looked up the word “gloaming,” which I’ve encountered in a lot of poems. It’s a poetic word for dusk/twilight. Not sure if I’ll using it in a poem but I like how it sounds. Also looked up vista and found something interesting: “Vista is generally used today for broad sweeping views of the kind you might see from a mountaintop. But the word originally meant an avenue-like view, narrowed by a line of trees on either side. And vista has also long been used (like view and outlook) to mean a mental scan of the future—as if you were riding down a long grand avenue and what you could see a mile or so ahead of you was where you’d be in the very near future.”

Daughter
Jon Pineda

Let us take the river
path near Fall Hill.

There we will negotiate
an outcrop with its silvered
initials & other bits of graffiti,

all the way to the broken edge
that overlooks the bend,
& hold hands until

we can no longer tell
where the river ends.

oct 12/RUN

2 miles
river road, north/south
34 degrees
Snow!

Of course I had to get out and run in the snow. A bit blustery but not too bad. The snow is not sticking to the path or the road but it is staying on the trees. Down below the road, the snow makes some of the trees glow white. Greeted the Daily Walker. Today he’s wearing 2 shirts and gloves, still no jacket. Ran above the lake street bridge and then turned around. Lots of walkers, a few runners. At the end of the run, stopped and looked down at the ravine. Lots of leaves gone, the wrought iron fence below almost visible. No view of the river here.

oct 11/RUN

2.8 miles
trestle turn around
39 degrees

Earlier this morning, flurries in the air and then some strange sleet snow combination. Nothing stuck. The ground is too warm. Still, winter is coming! Greeted the Daily Walker–does he like winter as much as I do? He might. He’s very hard core, wearing a short sleeve shirt with gloves. Listened loudly to my playlist. Wore some gloves that I removed after mile 1. Saw lots of squirrels. Orange and yellow leaves are everywhere, mostly still in the trees but more and more on the ground. The view above the ravine is much clearer today.

Thinking about map poetry today and how to use the map in my project to tell a story about my run. Read through a very interesting presentation on the topic: Map Poetry So many maps I could make! A map of gorge smells or the best places to see the river or trees that gossip and greet or every pothole and crack and fissure and dip and curve to watch out for when you have low vision…I’ll have to think about this for awhile.

Love the reading of this poem. Also love Ours Poetica.

oct 10/RUN

6.2 miles
ford loop
55 degrees

What a run! Such beautiful fall colors! Lots of orange, especially the tree near the double bridge in the 44th street parking lot. A light, glowing orange. Lots of yellow too. At the last minute, decided to do the ford loop–maybe it was because I could see how beautiful it was on the St. Paul side as I ran south on the west river parkway. After crossing over the bridge and heading north on the east river parkway, a man stopped to warn me that there was a coyote just ahead in someone’s yard. Luckily, I didn’t encounter it. But I did almost run into the spazziest squirrel I have ever seen. I surprised it and in its panic to run away it did a back flip. Yes, a back flip. The St. Paul side was amazing–sheltered from the wind and glowing in yellows and oranges with a few slashes of red. I think the gray, overcast sky made it look even better than sun would have. Ran up the short, steep summit hill and noticed the entrance to shadow falls park at the top. Almost wanted to stop and check it out, but it would have been way too muddy and slippery. Crossed back over to Minneapolis on the Lake Street bridge. Greeted the Daily Walker. Noticed how the trees above the ravine are becoming increasingly bare–leaves were falling as I ran by. This run is one of my favorite ones of the entire year.

Earlier this morning, encountered these wise words from Maggie Smith on twitter:

Think of the white space in poems—the breaks between stanzas; the part of the page untouched by language, an open field. How can you make room for white space in this day? In each day? Slow down, pause for breath, allow for silence, then continue. Keep moving.

Maggie Smith

As I work on the final haibun for my running route map project, I’ve been thinking about how important empty space is for breathing and how much that connects with open fields and open, leaf-less views. The green of spring and summer is sometimes too crowded/suffocating for me. I want fresh, clear, open air and open, uncluttered, far-reaching views. If I write a tightly packed prose poem about this idea, am I undercutting the value of white space? Should I try another form for this poem? Yes!

oct 9/RUN

5 miles
Franklin Hill turn around
59 degrees

Windy but who cares when it’s this nice outside? Sunny. Not too warm. Saw my shadow. Felt like I was in a dream, floating above the path. Noticed lots of yellow, a few splashes of orange and red. Heard some people talking below the path by the railroad trestle. Tried to figure out when the Winchell Trail ended near Franklin but couldn’t. Still too many leaves blocking my view. Greeted the Daily Walker. Encountered a fat tire. A few squirrels almost darted out in front of me. Ran from the bottom of the hill to just under Franklin Bridge. Walked for a few minutes. Started running again as someone was passing me who was just slightly faster. Followed her for the rest of the run, slowly falling further behind. Hit 5 miles in the tunnel of trees and stopped running. Walked past the overlook and saw the leaves shimmering in the breeze. Such a beautiful sight. Studied the ravine and noticed how it is gradually become more visible. Standing on the edge, staring hard, I can almost see the railing of the fence below. The sun was cutting through the leaves, shining brightly. Still trying to figure out how to write my final haibun about this ravine. Don’t have the story quite yet.

Vow
BY DIANA KHOI NGUYEN

It will be windy for a while until it isn’t. The waves will shoal. A red-legged cormorant will trace her double along glassy water, forgetting they are hungry. The sea will play this motif over and over, but there will be no preparing for it otherwise. Water will quiver in driftwood. Sound preceding absence, a white dog trailing a smaller one: ghost and noon shadow, two motes disappearing into surf. And when the low tide comes lapping and clear, the curled fronds of seaweed will furl and splay, their algal sisters brushing strands against sands where littleneck clams feed underwater. Light rain will fall and one cannot help but lean into the uncertainty of the sea. Bow: a knot of two loops, two loose ends, our bodies on either side of this shore where we will dip our hands to feel what can’t be seen. Horseshoe crabs whose blue blood rich in copper will reach for cover, hinged between clouds and sea. It will never be enough, the bull kelp like a whip coiling in tender hands, hands who know to take or be taken, but take nothing with them: I will marry you.
I will marry you. So we can owe what we own to every beautiful thing.

Love this poem, especially how it sounds: strands/sands/clams Such beautiful details leading to an explanation of the title at the end.

oct 8/RUN

3.25 miles
two trails + extra
58 degrees

A few nice days before rain then possibly snow! on Saturday and Sunday. I like winter, but this is a little early even for me. No headphones today. A great morning for a run. Wore my awesomely bright yellow 10 mile shirt from last year’s race. A walker called out, “have you recovered from the 10 mile yet?” (the annual 10 mile race was on Sunday–I didn’t run it) and I called back and then wondered for several minutes if I unintentionally sounded rude, “this is from last year’s race.” The river was shining. Noticed a glowing yellow tree–the yellow that still has a hint of green. Felt good and strong. Ran all the way past the ford bridge so that I could check out the fall colors framed by the bridge as I ran back north–this used to be one of my favorite fall views when we lived at the old house. Then, even though it was only a minute later, forgot to look up as I ran back under the bridge. Tried to spy, but couldn’t find, any wild turkeys. No eagles or hawks, just a few squirrels and dogs. Once I reached the 44th street parking lot, ran down on the Winchell Trail. Heard water spilling out at the first drain pipe, but forgot to listen at the second one. Heard the kids playing at the school. Glanced out at the beautiful blue river from the wrought iron fence. Discovered that finally, after months, they have removed the leaning tree. No more stories to tell about the yarn hanging from it or questions to ask about when it might fall completely or be removed. Instead of taking the steps at 38th, kept running on the Winchell Trail. Ran into some mud at the bottom where the parks department had cleared out some wildflowers. Ran up to the mesa and stopped. Studied the ravine as I walked back up the trail to the parking lot and thought about how this ravine can never be seen from above, even when the leaves are gone and the view is clear. The only way to really see it is to hike down in it…there might be something there to write about with being inside/outside…

Reading Ann Lauterbach’s Spell right now and found this small poem that includes so many words that I’m thinking about right now. Not sure if I understand it or like it, but felt like I should post it here today.

Nominal/ann lauterbach

Through the bare branch, a flutter.

I thought a flag was an immense wing.

Sky sliced through with long clouds.

The city is an avalanche; all torn down.

I have a bridge in mind; a river.

River, clouds, sky, wing, branch.

Flag. City. Avalanche. Bridge. Mind.

oct 7/RUN

5.3 miles
franklin loop
52 degrees

Sunny. Calm. At first, rumbling trucks, annoying, overly precocious kids. Soon silence. Saw a squirrel and possibly a rat. Heard crows. Orange, yellow, red in the gorge. Still too much green–a glut of green. Got sneak peeks of the river through the thinning trees. Crossing over the franklin bridge glimpsed blue river. Smooth, barely a ripple. Ran under the shade of some cool trees on the east side. I always think of this as St. Paul, but it’s not until just before Meeker Dam. Here, it’s Minneapolis–Prospect Park. Lots of dogs and their owners. A women walk-running or run-walking or walking but trying to run or running but trying to walk–some combination I can’t quite describe. Heard the water that was seeping through the limestone gorge trickling down to the river–is this a strange sentence? too awkwardly written? Felt really great 4.5 miles in. Relaxed. Not too tough. After stopping, walked to the overlook near the welcoming oaks, climbed on the wall and looked out at the gorge. Still too hard to see past the green. I’ll try to remember to stop and check the progress of the view after my runs. Someday soon, I’ll see the river and then the other side.

Walked over to the split rail fence above the ravine and the sewer pipe that freezes in the winter and creates an icy tunnel, then drips blueish greenish water as it melts. The Winchell Trail winds around this ravine, over a steel grate and beside a wrought iron fence that once displayed dozen of keys with social justice-y messages until they were ripped out–by who and why? I wish I could remember the messages. A few: Be nice. We are One. Resist Fear. From up above, at the end of my run, I cannot see the ravine or the sewer or the keys. Sometimes I smell the sewer or hear someone talking below me, but I can’t see anything but green until the leaves fall in late October, early November. This is my favorite time at the gorge. I love being able to see deep into the gorge when its bare bones are exposed, its secrets revealed. I love the color palate of rich browns, pale blues, dull grays, rusted reds. I love the smell of mulching leaves, the sharp, crisp air, the paths that aren’t yet covered with snow but with crunching, crackling leaves.

One Heart/yi-young lee

Look at the birds. Even flying
is born

out of nothing. The first sky
is inside you, open

at either end of day.
The work of wings
was always freedom, fastening
one heart to every falling thing.

oct 5/RUN

3.5 miles
top of franklin hill and back
52 degrees

Rainy in the morning so our 10K race was cancelled. Ran after the rain, in the afternoon. First mile, then last 1/2 mile with Scott. The rest by myself, partly with no headphones, partly listening to a playlist. Don’t remember much but seeing streaks of fall colors and lots of cars driving on the parkway. Why so many cars?

oct 4/RUN

3 miles
trestle turn around
50 degrees

Felt colder than 50, especially when I was wearing shorts. No sun, a little wind. The tunnel of trees is thinning but still too green. Was able to see the river through the trees in many more places now that leaves are falling. Smelled the sewer as I ran above the ravine. If I can smell it up here, how bad is it down below? Counted to 4. Over and over again. Felt relaxed. Still trying to figure out my writing/route project. I feel like I need one more poem about this ravine which hides below the first split rail fence I encounter right after entering the trail at 36th street. Yes, I like this idea of it being the first and last thing that I run above before leaving the river.

oct 3/RUN

3 miles
trestle turn around
48 degrees

Ran with Scott in the afternoon. Still wore shorts, but it’s getting colder. A great run. Relaxed, not too fast. Getting ready for the 10k race on Saturday. Haven’t raced a 10k in almost a year. Noticed more leaves have fallen from the trees. The Welcoming Oaks are now a goldengrove unleaving. When did that happen? Everything is changing too fast.

Spring and Fall
BY GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS

to a young child

Márgarét, áre you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! ás the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

oct 2/RUN

1.6 miles
river road, north/south
50 degrees

A short run in the afternoon. Pretty sure I listened to a playlist, but I can’t remember now, writing this days later. Ran up from under the lake street bridge, around the rim above the rowing club, then turned around and headed back. It’s getting cooler outside. Looking more like fall too. Yellows and oranges and reds.

Rabbits and Fire
BY ALBERTO RÍOS

Everything’s been said
But one last thing about the desert,
And it’s awful: During brush fires in the Sonoran desert,
Brush fires that happen before the monsoon and in the great,
Deep, wide, and smothering heat of the hottest months,
The longest months,
The hypnotic, immeasurable lulls of August and July—
During these summer fires, jackrabbits—
Jackrabbits and everything else
That lives in the brush of the rolling hills,
But jackrabbits especially—
Jackrabbits can get caught in the flames,
No matter how fast and big and strong and sleek they are.
And when they’re caught,
Cornered in and against the thick
Trunks and thin spines of the cactus,
When they can’t back up any more,
When they can’t move, the flame—
It touches them,
And their fur catches fire.
Of course, they run away from the flame,
Finding movement even when there is none to be found,
Jumping big and high over the wave of fire, or backing
Even harder through the impenetrable
Tangle of hardened saguaro
And prickly pear and cholla and barrel,
But whichever way they find,
What happens is what happens: They catch fire
And then bring the fire with them when they run.
They don’t know they’re on fire at first,
Running so fast as to make the fire
Shoot like rocket engines and smoke behind them,
But then the rabbits tire
And the fire catches up,
Stuck onto them like the needles of the cactus,
Which at first must be what they think they feel on their skins.
They’ve felt this before, every rabbit.
But this time the feeling keeps on.
And of course, they ignite the brush and dried weeds
All over again, making more fire, all around them.
I’m sorry for the rabbits.
And I’m sorry for us
To know this.

Such a sad and beautiful poem. What a storyteller Ríos is!

oct 1/RUN

5 miles
franklin loop
52 degrees/rain

Wasn’t sure how long I was going to run when I left the house. Somewhere between the railroad trestle and the turn-off to franklin, decided to do the 5 mile loop. When I started the run, it was misting, then it stopped, then after I crossed over to the east river road, it started raining. Not drizzling, but raining. Still in my counting to 4 phase, I composed another mindless chant: I am running/in the cool rain/it feels so good/on my warm skin I didn’t mind the rain. A lot of the time I could hardly tell that it was raining. It felt good running. Encountered a few walkers–any other runners? Yes, at least one, near the franklin bridge. Watched the river as I ran over the bridge. Was able to get a few quick glimpses of the east flats now that the leaves are falling.

October (excerpts)
BY MAY SWENSON

2

Knuckles of the rain
on the roof,
chuckles into the drain-
pipe, spatters on
the leaves that litter
the grass. Melancholy
morning, the tide full
in the bay, an overflowing
bowl. At least, no wind,
no roughness in the sky,
its gray face bedraggled
by its tears.

4

I sit with braided fingers
and closed eyes
in a span of late sunlight.
The spokes are closing.
It is fall: warm milk of light,
though from an aging breast.
I do not mean to pray.
The posture for thanks or
supplication is the same
as for weariness or relief.
But I am glad for the luck
of light. Surely it is godly,
that it makes all things
begin, and appear, and become
actual to each other.
Light that’s sucked into
the eye, warming the brain
with wires of color.
Light that hatched life
out of the cold egg of earth.

7

Now and then, a red leaf riding
the slow flow of gray water.
From the bridge, see far into
the woods, now that limbs are bare,
ground thick-littered. See,
along the scarcely gliding stream,
the blanched, diminished, ragged
swamp and woods the sun still
spills into. Stand still, stare
hard into bramble and tangle,
past leaning broken trunks,
sprawled roots exposed. Will
something move?—some vision
come to outline? Yes, there—
deep in—a dark bird hangs
in the thicket, stretches a wing.
Reversing his perch, he says one
“Chuck.” His shoulder-patch
that should be red looks gray.
This old redwing has decided to
stay, this year, not join the
strenuous migration. Better here,
in the familiar, to fade.

The more I read through these lines, the more I love them. Knuckles, chuckles, spatters, leaves that litter, melancholy morning. The simplicity of: it is fall. The luck of light that makes all things actual to each other–but is that true? Hatching life out of the egg of the earth. The gentle commands in this last stanza: see, stand still, stare hard.