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.
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.