dec 31/RUN

3 miles
trestle turn around
20 degrees/ feels like 10
100% loose snow

It snowed all day yesterday and even though they plowed it once, there was still a lot of loose powder on the path. Not fun to run in this stuff. Still, I enjoyed it. Watched my shadow as she helpfully showed me how my running form looked. Again, I forgot to look at the river. I did see some other walkers and runners and a kid and adult sledding down a hill on the other side. Also encountered a plow which wasn’t actually plowing but just speeding down the path. Heard my feet crunching sharply on the path as the spikes from my yaktrax met the crusty snow on the edge.

Stranger by Night/ David Hirsch

After I lost
my peripheral vision
I started getting sideswiped
by pedestrians cutting
in from of me
almost randomly
like memories
I couldn’t see coming
as I left the building
at twilight
or stepped gingerly
off the curb
or even just crossed
the wet pavement
to the stairs descending
precipitously
into the subway station
and I apologized
to every one
of those strangers
jostling me
in a world that had grown
stranger by night

I feel lucky to have stumbled upon this poem by a poet I like very much on a subject that is very important to me. I have the opposite problem with my vision–my central vision is going while my peripheral will always be there. I see people but their edges are fuzzy (and so are their faces). It’s hard sometimes to see where they end and I begin. This becomes especially overwhelming in crowded places, like the Mall of America which I hate going to but often do to please my daughter. I like the gorge because there are more trees and rocks than people and when I can’t see them or bump into them, I don’t have to apologize.

Rereading this poem a few times, I love how it is all one sentence. I also love how he describes his experience with vision. I’d like to try writing a poem like this one about my own vision problems. He seems to have found an effective way to communicate the strange scariness of it without being too heavy-handed with emotion, which seems hard to do. Sometimes I feel angry or overwhelmed by my inability to see and others’ inability to make more room for people like me.

dec 30/RUN

3.25 miles
trestle turn around
34 degrees/ snow
15 mph wind/ gusts up to 29 mph
100% snow-covered

Happy Winter Running! Even running straight into the wind and the snow didn’t dull my delight for being outside in the wintery white world. Wow! (too much with the rhyme and alliteration?) These days I don’t mind so much about the wind or the snow as long as the path isn’t too rough and uneven. Today I wore my yaktrax and had no problems running on the snow. There were a lot more people out there than I would have expected. I thought I was the only crazy one who goes out in this. Was it because of the holidays? Was able to say good morning to Dave the Daily Walker at the end of my run–I haven’t seen him in a while. I do not remember looking at the river even once–now I do remember looking down at the river when I got to the trestle but I absolutely don’t remember what I saw.

Observations (or thoughts?)

  1. The snow was wet and heavy and made pock-marks on the sidewalk.
  2. The sharp, wet flakes flew straight at my face coating my vest, turning the black material from dull to slick and shiny.
  3. For a few stretches, I pulled the brim of my baseball cap down as far as it could go to block my face from the sharp, prickly snow. I looked down at my feet and imagined the path in front of me.
  4. The path was covered in footprints and a single track–probably from a bike wheel.
  5. With the snow, I couldn’t see where the path ended and the grass began but I could feel it when my foot stepped off. Softer on the grass and springier too.
  6. Heard but didn’t see geese honking overhead as I ran south. I imagined what it would feel like to be flying so high in the icy wet sky, honking with wild abandon.
  7. Running by, I noticed two people standing at the top of the old stone steps. How long did they stay there? Did the climb over the chain and take the steps down to the river? If they did, who/what did they find?

Before heading out for my run, I listened to a Poetry Off the Shelf podcast episode with Matthew Zapruder. In it, he talks about nothingness (which is also a chapter in his book, Why Poetry):

One way I think about nothing is silence and absence. And I think that poems—people want to talk a lot about the difference between poems and song lyrics. You know, are song lyrics poetry, and I think the lyrics in song take place against the information of music. And they’re in dialogue with that information. But poems are in dialogue with silence. And silence and nothingness and absence are so fundamental to the physical experience of writing and reading poems for me. But nothingness also has a conceptual importance for me as a poet, which is that, you know, language—I mean, even the kind of talking that you and I are doing now—it’s so purpose driven. We want to accomplish things with our language and communicate and exchange. And that’s a beautiful thing, and that’s what language—you know, it’s a miraculous tool in that way. But what happens if you remove all that purpose and functionality from language? If you take it away and there’s a kind of absence or nothingness in your purpose of speaking, what then starts to happen? And I think what happens is poems. Because then language has a chance to move around and be intuitive and make connections and reach for the limits of experience in a way that it can’t do when you’re constantly turning it to a purpose.

I really like thinking about language not having a purpose and about a poem giving language the chance to breathe and move around and not be driven by any one aim.

Erstwhile Harbinger Auspices 
BY MATTHEW ZAPRUDER

Erstwhile means long time gone.
A harbinger is sent before to help,
and also a sign of things
to come. Like this blue
stapler I bought at Staples.
Did you know in ancient Rome
priests called augurs studied
the future by carefully watching
whether birds were flying
together or alone, making what
honking or beeping noises
in what directions? It was called
the auspices. The air
was thus a huge announcement.
Today it’s completely
transparent, a vase. Inside it
flowers flower. Thus
a little death scent. I have
no master but always wonder,
what is making my master sad?
Maybe I do not know him.
This morning I made extra coffee
for the beloved and covered
the cup with a saucer. Skeleton
I thought, and stay
very still, whatever it was
will soon pass by and be gone.

I have loved the word harbinger ever since I first encountered it in a vocabulary book in a high school english class. I love how this poem makes me wonder why a blue stapler from Staples is a sign of things to come. I love the idea of air being an announcement and that people called augers studied the honks of birds to determine the future. I love when a word can be both a thing and the action that thing does–flowers flower. And I love that it will take me many readings to begin to make sense of this poem.

dec 29/RUN

5.4 miles
franklin loop
42! degrees/ 98% humidity
0% snow-covered/ 40-50% puddle-covered

A wonderful run on a wet, almost raining day! Wasn’t planning to do the franklin loop but then decided at the last minute, why not, I bet it’s clear on the st. paul side and it was. The river was brown then gray then brown again. Never white. As I crossed the franklin bridge I could see that the path below in the east flats was clear. The path above was too. Lots of puddles, but no ice or snow. Didn’t think about anything I can remember.

Observations

people

  1. Encountered an older man and woman on the lake street bridge as I climbed up from the steps. As I started to run again, the man said, “And she’s off!”
  2. Running up behind a woman with a dog on a narrow part of the path. She veered in front of me without looking. Called out to her once, “excuse me” but she didn’t hear me. Had to do it again and freaked her out.
  3. Lots of runners on the minneapolis–any on the st. paul side? I don’t think so.

water

  1. So wet! Lots of drips from the trees.
  2. The sewer pipe in the ravine was rushing, gushing, almost roaring.
  3. Big puddles on the sidewalk. Tried to avoid one but stepped right in it.
  4. Car wheels whooshing over the wet pavement.
  5. Always wondering: is that just water or a sly slick spot?
  6. More gushing, dripping, falling water on the St. Paul side.
  7. Huge puddles on the east river road. Big splashes as the cars drove through them.
  8. Tiny ice chunks flowing down the river towards the falls below the lake street bridge.

After finishing the run and walking back, stopped to record the sounds of water on the street, rushing down the sewer, dripping off the eaves, mixed with all the birds:

Last week, I read a great poetry/craft advice column–The Blunt Instrument–on sentimentality and whether or not it’s bad.

It’s not sentiment or emotion itself that’s bad, it’s misused or overused emotion, and this is what writers, maybe especially poets, need to watch out for: unearned sentiment that feels mawkish, cloying, or cheap. In other words, laying it on too thick, or using emotional tropes to trick the reader into thinking they’re feeling something, when actually they’re just recognizing the outlines of a familiar emotion.

I enjoy her description of how excessive, insincere sentiment, which she names as hokey and corny, is determined:

You can’t define an adjective like “hokey” or “corny” (both of which, by the way, mean “mawkishly sentimental”) by any clear objective standard, but some number of people are going to read it and make the puke face.

Her advice for avoiding the puke face? Read a lot and learn how to judge from a wide range of examples when feeling is corny or genuine.

Her final line offers a great way to sum up sentimentality:

Sentimentality is feeling that’s too sure of being understood. 

dec 28/BIKERUNBIKE

bike: 37 minutes
bike stand, basement
run: 1.3 miles
treadmill, basement
outside: sleet, ice, weather advisory

So glad to have a bike stand for my bike and a treadmill in the basement. The sidewalks, roads, paths are pure ice. Saw a video on twitter of a kid skating on the sidewalk with ice skates. What? Re-watched the Track and Field World Championships while I biked and managed to forget about all of the ideas about writing/creative projects I had swimming around in my head. Too many ideas! Listened to an old playlist while I ran. What a dreary, trapped-in-the-house-kinda-day. Gray, dark, wet. Now it’s raining. At the end of December. Strange.

This morning I watched the wonderful America Ferrera read Denise Levertov’s Sojourns in the Parallel World on Brain Pickings.

SOJOURNS IN THE PARALLEL WORLD
by Denise Levertov

We live our lives of human passions,
cruelties, dreams, concepts,
crimes and the exercise of virtue
in and beside a world devoid
of our preoccupations, free
from apprehension—though affected,
certainly, by our actions. A world
parallel to our own though overlapping.
We call it “Nature”; only reluctantly
admitting ourselves to be “Nature” too.
Whenever we lose track of our own obsessions,
our self-concerns, because we drift for a minute,
an hour even, of pure (almost pure)
response to that insouciant life:
cloud, bird, fox, the flow of light, the dancing
pilgrimage of water, vast stillness
of spellbound ephemerae on a lit windowpane,
animal voices, mineral hum, wind
conversing with rain, ocean with rock, stuttering
of fire to coal—then something tethered
in us, hobbled like a donkey on its patch
of gnawed grass and thistles, breaks free.
No one discovers
just where we’ve been, when we’re caught up again
into our own sphere (where we must
return, indeed, to evolve our destinies)
—but we have changed, a little.

I love the idea of nature not caring about our preoccupations and of living in and beside it and of a moment or an hour in which we can drift and lose track of ourselves as we respond to nature–which is, by the way, what running enables me to do by the gorge for at least a few seconds every time I run. I also love how she describes nature in such simple forms: cloud, bird, fox. With my vision and how it makes objects fuzzy, sometimes all I can recognize is the basic form: person, tree, boulder, river, bird

This valuing of losing track of ourselves is central to my own goals and has me thinking that it is just as or more important than the constant refrain to find ourselves.

What would it look like to center/prioritize losing instead of finding ourselves?

dec 27/ RUN

3.5 miles
trestle turn around
29 degrees
0% snow-covered!

Back home in Minneapolis. Clear paths and sunshine. Feels harder to run in the afternoon today. Ran to the trestle with no headphones, returned with a playlist. Most memorable thing observed: a car honked its horn for at least 15 seconds when a slower car pulled out in front of it. What an asshole (the honker, not the honked-at). Don’t remember much else from the run other than I was tired–probably because I ran the final mile a minute faster than mile 2. Why? Not sure. I think I’m too tired to have any “brilliant” revelations about my run or life or the gorge.

A few nights ago, unable to sleep, I found a great book by a poet I happen to like a lot. So I checked it on my Libby app (this app is awesome): Theodore Roethke/ On Poetry and Craft

dec 26/RUN

3.3 miles
Austin, Mn
34 degrees

Ran 3/4 of a mile to a elementary school then ran the block around it 4 or 5 times. Ran back to Scott’s parent’s house, into the wind. Sorta-sprinted up the final hill. The sidewalk had a lot of slick spots so I ran on the road. Not too bad. Happy to be able to get outside. Felt good to run and breathe coldish, fresh air. Heard lots of water whooshing under car wheels. Also heard some loud crows. Encountered 2 other runners.

dec 25/ RUN

3.2 miles
Austin, MN
42 degrees

Ran in Austin with Scott this afternoon. Warmish. The streets were clear, the sidewalks had lots of puddles and ice and snow built up at the ends. We ran a mile, walked a minute, three times. Then walked another mile.

Observations

  1. Slick, wet pavement. Be-puddled sidewalks.
  2. Running over the crushed up, light brown gravel on the sidewalk where they had been doing sewer work
  3. Wonderfully tacky inflatable nativity scene in front of someone’s house
  4. Big stretches of bare ground–mud, green grass.

dec 24/RUN

5.5 miles
bottom of Franklin hill and back
34 degrees

Didn’t have time to write this entry until the 26th so I don’t remember that much. I do remember it was a good run and I felt strong and happy to be able to run for 50+ minutes outside at the end of December. And I also remember reaching the bottom of the hill and listening to the water in the flats slowly flowing.

dec 23/RUN

3.4 miles
river road, south/north
25 degrees
10% snow-covered, a few ice patches

Ah, winter running! A great morning with a clear path. Only encountered a few runners and walkers.

Observations

  1. The cloud-covered sun, glowing quietly beneath the grayish white
  2. Wide, open white sky blending in with the white gorge, seeming endless and airy and like I was floating
  3. 2 walkers/hikers below me on the stretch of the Winchell Trail that hugs the steep slope of the gorge, between 42nd and 44th. Noticing them first when their bright blue jacket entered my peripheral vision
  4. The sudden, unexpected crunch of snow under my foot as I stepped down on a clump of snow that I hadn’t seen
  5. A little old lady with ski poles (the same little old lady? not sure) walking near the double bridge
  6. Tiny clumps of snow littered the path on the side closest to the street–how did that happen? Little pellets of white

dec 22/RUN

4.2 miles
to the falls and back
33! degrees
25% snow-covered

Ran south again this morning. Beautiful! Above freezing! Only wore one shirt and a vest today. Trying out a new thing where I post 5 observations (see/hear/feel/smell).

At least 6 Observations on My Run

  1. (Heard) Kids having fun, yelling near the savanna.
  2. (Saw) Runner running below on the Winchell Trail near 42nd. Shuffling along, steadily climbing up the snowy path.
  3. (Heard) Booming roar of the rushing water at the falls, Low rumbling roar of a plane overhead, High-pitched, frantic roar of a car engine, speeding on the parkway.
  4. (Saw) The ancient boulder by the bench (mentioned yesterday) partly buried in snow.
  5. (Saw) A snowy view of the other side of the gorge through the bare trees.
  6. (Heard) A biker on the road spitting.
  7. (Saw) A small gray car almost running the stop sign at Godfrey and 46th.
  8. (Saw) A runner’s red quilted vest–not bright red.
  9. (Saw) The curve of the wrought iron fence below the path, bending around the ravine near 42nd.
  10. (Saw) Snow trapped in a small pothole on the path that’s been getting bigger ever year.
  11. (Heard) The slushy crunch of my feet striking the snow on the path.
  12. (Saw) A dropped glove–black, thick–on the edge of the sidewalk.

Felt good again today. Enjoyed running south to the falls and stopping to admire them for a few seconds. Almost forgot–encountered a runner I’ve been seeing a lot on the weekends. Usually I see him running much father north. Does he usually run this far or has he changed his route too because of the snow? Thought briefly about asking him how far he usually runs but didn’t. Will I see him again next weekend, shuffling along in his black sweatpants and hooded sweatshirt?

I don’t think I have posted this poem before although I know I have admired it.

Choices/ TESS GALLAGHER

I go to the mountain side
of the house to cut saplings,
and clear a view to snow
on the mountain. But when I look up,
saw in hand, I see a nest clutched in
the uppermost branches.
I don’t cut that one.
I don’t cut the others either.
Suddenly, in every tree,   
an unseen nest
where a mountain   
would be.

dec 21/RUN

4.2 miles
to the falls and back
25 degrees
50% snow-covered

Ran south instead of north this morning. Much better conditions on the trail. I ran on bare pavement for much of it. Hooray! The sun was shining and the wind wasn’t too bad. A wonderful morning for a run. If it had been just a little clearer on the paths, I might have called today (near?) perfect conditions. Much easier to notice the river running this way. It’s because there’s not much other than steep slopes between the bluff and the river in this stretch. Nearing Locks and Dam #1, I could see shimmering river near the Ford Bridge. Open water! Beautiful. Ran through Minnehaha Regional Park and stopped for a few seconds to admire the rushing falls. Not frozen over yet.

Encountered lots of runners and walkers. 2 fat tires. I passed one runner on the way up to the double bridge. I could hear them behind me. At first growing more distant, then closer. They were speeding up. For a few minutes, I tried to speed up too but just past 38th street I gave up. I slowed down so they could pass and so I could stop hearing the crunching of their feet stalking me. Maybe someday I won’t be bothered by people following me but today was not that day.

This morning I read a great essay, The Art of Finding by Linda Gregg. She writes:

I am astonished in my teaching to find how many poets are nearly blind to the physical world. They have ideas, memories, and feelings, but when they write their poems they often see them as similes. To break this habit, I have my students keep a journal in which they must write, very briefly, six things they have seen each day—not beautiful or remarkable things, just things. This seemingly simple task usually is hard for them. At the beginning, they typically “see” things in one of three ways: artistically, deliberately, or not at all. Those who see artistically instantly decorate their descriptions, turning them into something poetic: the winter trees immediately become “old men with snow on their shoulders,” or the lake looks like a “giant eye.” The ones who see deliberately go on and on describing a brass lamp by the bed with painful exactness. And the ones who see only what is forced on their attention: the grandmother in a bikini riding on a skateboard, or a bloody car wreck. But with practice, they begin to see carelessly and learn a kind of active passivity until after a month nearly all of them have learned to be available to seeing—and the physical world pours in. Their journals fill up with lovely things like, “the mirror with nothing reflected in it.” This way of seeing is important, even vital to the poet, since it is crucial that a poet see when she or he is not looking—just as she must write when she is not writing. To write just because the poet wants to write is natural, but to learn to see is a blessing. The art of finding in poetry is the art of marrying the sacred to the world, the invisible to the human.

To see carelessly and to learn an active passivity. I remember writing/thinking about active/passive seeing a few years ago on this running log. I’ll have to find where. I think running lets you do this because you can’t actively think/theorize about the landscape as you’re running. You’re too busy running. The details get absorbed passively while you’re doing something else.

I like her idea of writing down 6 things you notice each day. I might try that on my run for a month. I already do this on the log but more informally.

6 Things I Observed On My Run Today

  1. Saw shining, open river water through the trees
  2. Heard then saw a Minneapolis Parks plow approaching me on the path, then veering off onto the road
  3. Heard but didn’t see some kids yelling at the park, about to sled down a steep hill
  4. Saw a person walking through the snow on a part of the Winchell Trail that climbs up closer to the road then back down again
  5. Heard then saw 2 people with a dog below me on the Winchell Trail. Almost sounded like they were skiing as they shuffled along but how could that be?
  6. Noticed how one of the ancient boulders on the path–the one near a bench–had a mound of snow on top of it

This was difficult. Maybe because I’d already written a bunch of observations earlier in this log? I think I’ll trying doing this through January.

White-Eyes
BY MARY OLIVER

In winter 
    all the singing is in 
         the tops of the trees 
             where the wind-bird 

with its white eyes 
    shoves and pushes 
         among the branches. 
             Like any of us 

he wants to go to sleep, 
    but he’s restless— 
         he has an idea, 
             and slowly it unfolds 

from under his beating wings 
    as long as he stays awake. 
         But his big, round music, after all, 
             is too breathy to last. 

So, it’s over. 
    In the pine-crown 
         he makes his nest, 
             he’s done all he can. 

I don’t know the name of this bird, 
    I only imagine his glittering beak 
         tucked in a white wing 
             while the clouds— 

which he has summoned 
    from the north— 
         which he has taught 
             to be mild, and silent— 

thicken, and begin to fall 
    into the world below 
         like stars, or the feathers 
               of some unimaginable bird 

that loves us, 
    that is asleep now, and silent— 
         that has turned itself 
             into snow.

dec 20/RUN

4.3 miles
top of franklin hill turn around
31 degrees
75% snow-covered

Great weather, (still) rotten path. Lots of loose, ankle twisting snow. At least it’s a little better than Tuesday–a bare strip of pavement for most of the way! Even with the rough path, felt good and strong and happy. Looked down at the river and thought about how un-riverlike it looks right now. Just a broad, flat plain of white. As usual, don’t remember much from the run. One thing: the squirrel that darted across traffic and then the path ahead of me. Not sure why it seemed strange–maybe I thought the squirrel was a leaf blowing in the wind? Put my headphones in on the trip back south and felt great. Greeted the Dave, the Daily Walker and then charged up the final hill–the biking path near the road on the other side of the split rail fence, retaining wall, and the walking path that winds through the tunnel of trees. Maybe I should write about this part of the path?

note: For the past 2 weeks, I’ve been reading through and summarizing the last year on this blog. First, I put all the poems I’ve posted on one page (in year 3). Then I started systematically reading through each month online and in my physical notebook and picking out bits I want to keep–I’m on July right now–and creating pages for each month. Yesterday, I finalized a redesign of the site inspired by how I’ve been using lots of colored pencils in my notebook. It’s good coding practice–I customized it myself with my basic css knowledge.

What Big Eyes You Have
Heather Christle

Only today did I notice the abyss
in abysmal and only because my mind
was generating rhymes for dismal,
and it made of the two a pair,
to which much later it joined
baptismal, as—I think—a joke.
I decided to do nothing with
the rhymes, treating them as one does
the unfortunately frequent appearance
of the “crafts” adults require children
to fashion from pipe cleaners
and plastic beads. One is not permitted
to simply throw them away,
but can designate a drawer
that serves as a kind of trash can
never emptied. I suppose one day
it will be full, and then I will know
it is time to set my child free.
The difficulty is my mind leaks
and so it will never fill, despite
the clumps of language I drop in,
and this means my mind can never
be abandoned in the woods
with a kiss and a wave
and a little red kerchief
tied under its chin.

Wow. I can’t decide which I love more, this poem–with its trash can drawer half filled with clumps of language–or her explanation of it on poets.org .

This is one of many poems I wrote in a short period of time early last year, when I stepped away from writing The Crying Book-—my first work of nonfiction—to return to my home form. I was seeking all sorts of wisdom from Merriam-Webster, trying to understand what layers there are to the words I think and speak, finding shiny edges I hadn’t known before: new to me, but long-known to the words themselves. Then, as one does, I followed the words into a figurative space, where they invited me to get lost. I’m never able to get quite as lost as I want to, but with each poem I get a little closer.

what layers there are to the words, what shiny new edges
words leading to a figurative space, inviting her to get lost

dec 19/BIKERUN

bike: 22 minutes
basement, bike stand
run: 1.2 miles
basement, treadmill

Mostly biked today. Giving my legs a rest from running hard last night on the us bank stadium concrete. Watched a Superleague Triathlon race on the bike, listened to a playlist on the treadmill. Wore a pair of ridiculously patterned leggings that I bought for my daughter a few years ago that she has never worn. Wow–blue and white tie-dyed with bright blue patches on the back of the knees.

We Are Monica (Acrostic)/ Victoria Chang

What if it were true? That in the
End, no matter what dress we look for,
All we have in our closets are blue ones?
Remember the surface area of the body?
Each one inch square can be bruised blue.
Maybe we know how to betray cloth, its
Old downy fibers are really our skin,
Nightmare after nightmare, it grows back,
It desires to be touched, and nerved, and
Caught. Maybe it is meant to be put on
And taken off, then put on and taken off.

*

What happened to the blue girl who
Entered into the meadow, the one we
Accused, then asked how it felt,
Rubbing our ears against her mouth for
Everything she would give, for what didn’t
Matter—did his hand touch you there
Or there, did he control or tendril?
Nothing, she was to us, but how
I would still look if she rose one night,
Covet the night, listen for their lies,
And take joy in hearing her cries.

*

Who are we to say who belongs on
Earth? We hate the cold mornings
And the warm mornings. What we
Require we never get. We have the hots for
Everything. We aspire to be aspirers.
Maybe we were meant to fancy everything,
Or at least think each vowel in a word
Needs to exist. How many ways can we
Inch forward? We can walk towards, even
Crawl towards with no legs. But even then, we
Are still dependent on dirt and its filth.

*

Why did we spend our lives looking
Everywhere for what we have now, if
All we want is travel? The red leaves,
Regioning off our yards, not the responsible
Envelopes that stay on the trees, but
Maple leaves, the ones that giddily
Opt to follow rain, those opportunists,
Never accepting stasis. Maybe we all
Itch for twice, life. Watch a new
Checker who opens a line at a store,
And how fast we leave each other to get there.

*

We are done for then, or are we just
Erratic, like a tack, constantly moved
Around from paper to paper. A tack never
Reflects, a tack doesn’t die for truth,
Expressing crisis at every new job.
Maybe we are all like tacks, one side sharp,
One side dark. And maybe we are all
Narrow, only truly visible in the night,
In the line of a troubled light.
Could our fingerprints exist because
We know we can’t be trusted?

*

What if, in the end, the want for
Everything, a drink of water, a mother,
A new face, is not a waste, or even
Rare, but what keeps us alive?
East me then, I say to the wind, song me,
Move me where you will, to edge, to roots.
O compass in my mouth, take me to
Noon, the summer, and send the warmth
Into my veins. I will follow it, let it
Carry me through the squares in the screen,
And let me not get stuck.

*

When we are done looking for the
Ex-wife, the ex-lover, the ex-girlfriend,
And finished looking through telescopes, we
Remember how we used to look into
Each round hole for something larger,
Meant to test our vision, not turn it
Onto our hearts and mine its every
Nook, see the heart’s shape as love,
Its arteries as desire. Call me half-hearted,
Cull me from the cold, turn me back to
August, those nights I studied the celestial.

*

Why is writing about her odd?
Evening comes constantly and poets
Ask too much of the moon, too much of
Reeds that always seem to sway.
Everything I know is in a house,
Measured by hands of men that nailed
Over the reeds and tried to roof me from
Night and its eye. This is what
I know but will never understand, this
Capsule, body, this thing that loves others
And lies to us, that doesn’t last.

I love acrostic poems with (not so) hidden messages. I’d like to spend some more time with this poem to read it closely.

dec 17/RUN

3.25 miles
trestle turn around
21 degrees/ feels like 11
100% soft, uneven snow

The path was difficult again today. Soft, uneven, slippery snow. Really working those legs. Not too cold. Forgot to look at the river but did notice the floodplain forest. Encountered several other runners, at least 2 fat tires. Greeted Dave, the Daily Walker. At the halfway point stopped to put in my headphones and listen to a playlist. It made the return run much easier. After crossing under the lake street bridge smelled some foot from longfellow grill up above–almost smelled like pizza. A pizza egg scramble maybe? Ran a lot faster for the last half mile.

excerpts from Summer’s Bounty/ May Swenson

berries of Straw
berries of Goose
berries of Huck
berries of Dew

berries of Boisen
berries of Black
berries of Rasp
berries of Blue

melons of Water
melons of Musk
cherries of Pie
cherries of Choke

nuts of Pea
nuts of Wal
nuts of Pecan
nuts of Grape

beans of Jumping
beans of Jelly
beans of Green
beans of Soy

glories of Morning
rooms of Mush
days of Dog
puppies of Hush

I found this poem in the collected works of May Swenson which I checked out of the library a few weeks ago. She really likes to play with how the poem looks on the page, which is cool. Summer’s Bounty reminds me of some of the rhythm chants I do while running–strawberry/blueberry/blackberry. I especially like berries of Goose, beans of green, rooms of Mush and days of Dog.

dec 16/ RUN

4 miles
top of Franklin hill turn around
22 degrees/ feels like 15
99% snow covered

Warmer air. Great temperature for a run. The path was almost completely covered with soft, loose snow. So difficult! A great workout for my legs. Hopefully the path will be more packed or clear soon. Can that be my Christmas present? Greeted Dave the Daily Walker. Was passed–actually briefly swallowed up–by a trot of male runners–a cross country team? Looked at the river a lot. Completely snow covered. If you didn’t know, you might not think it was a river, just a big white field. When I started I wondered how I could keep going–so slick, not slippery but difficult to move in–but by the end, I felt much better. Still happy to stop at 4 miles.

Love this beautiful poem and the final line! I copied it down in my notebook last March and rediscovered it this morning when I was reviewing my notes.

Rapture/ Linda Hogan

Who knows the mysteries of the poppies
when you look across the red fields,
or hear the sound of long thunder,
then the saving rain.
Everything beautiful,
the solitude of the single body
or sometimes, too, when the body is kissed
on the lips or hands or eyelids tender.
Oh for the pleasure of living in a body.
It may be, it may one day be
this is a world haunted by happiness,
where people finally are loved
in the light of leaves,
the feel of bird wings passing by.
Here it might be that no one wants power.
They don’t want more.
And so they are in the forest,
old trees,
or those small but grand.
And when you sleep, rapture, beauty,
may seek you out.
Listen. There is
secret joy,
sweet dreams you may never forget.
How worthy the being
in the human body. If,
when you are there, you see women
wading on the water
and clouds in the valley,
the smell of rain,
or a lotus blossom rises out of round green leaves,
remember there is always something
besides our own misery.

remember there is always something
besides our own misery

What if this final line was changed to beside our own misery? Reminds me of Ross Gay and his book of delights. He talks about how our experiences of joy are always in tandem with suffering and can be linked with others to create beautiful communities.

dec 15/RUN

3.2 miles
trestle turn around
5 degrees/ feels like -3
100% snow-covered

The cold didn’t bother me at all. The path, however, was rough. Very uneven. Will it be like this all winter? I hope not. Decided not to wear my yaktrax. A mistake? Maybe. Sunny. Bright. Not too much wind. Several runners and walkers. Encountered 3 fat tires by the trestle. Admired the floodplain forest but don’t recall seeing the river even once. I suppose that’s partly because I’m running on the biking path, which is closer to the road, farther from the rim of the gorge. Listened to the crunching snow and my zipper pull hitting my jacket.

dec 14/RUN

3.25 miles
trestle turn around
15 degrees/feels like 0
100% snow-covered

Wasn’t planning to run this morning but when I went outside to shovel and felt how calm and beautiful it was, I had to go to the gorge. Wore my yaktrax which helped a lot, I’m sure. Still difficult in the soft, shifting snow. No bare pavement, hardly any spots where the snow was packed down. Everything was bright and so white, I had trouble seeing the path and where it was more packed. I don’t think I looked at the river once. Encountered small groups of runners and then a water station set up near the lake street bridge. Must be an organized run. Saw a few fat tires, some walkers. One guy was running with snowshoes or a snowboard or something in his hands. Felt strong–my form seems to get better in the snow. Not sure why. It is always so much easier running in the winter.

layers: 2 pairs of tights, green shirt, orange sweatshirt, black vest, gloves, buff, hat. Not too cold or too warm. Just right.

Saw this marathon writing plan on twitter this morning–I recall seeing earlier this year or last year too. I’d like to modify it to combine running and writing. Sidenote: I wish you could still download images off of twitter.

The Body
BY MARIANNE BORUCH

has its little hobbies. The lung
likes its air best after supper,
goes deeper there to trade up
for oxygen, give everything else
away. (And before supper, yes,
during too, but there’s
something about evening, that
slow breath of the day noticed: oh good,
still coming, still going … ) As for
bones—femur, spine,
the tribe of them in there—they harden
with use. The body would like
a small mile or two. Thank you.
It would like it on a bike
or a run. Or in the water. Blue.
And food. A habit that involves
a larger circumference where a garden’s
involved, beer is brewed, cows
wake the farmer with their fullness,
a field surrenders its wheat, and wheat
understands I will be crushed
into flour and starry-dust
the whole room, the baker
sweating, opening a window
to acknowledge such remarkable
confetti. And the brain,
locked in its strange
dual citizenship, idles there in the body,
neatly terraced and landscaped.
Or left to ruin, such a brain,
wild roses growing
next to the sea. The body is
gracious about that. Oh, their
scent sometimes. Their
tangle. In truth, in secret,
the first thing
in morning the eye longs to see.

“the brain,/ locked in its strange/ dual citizenship, idles there in the body”

dec 13/RUN

5.2 miles
franklin hill turn around
15 degrees/ feels like 8
100% snow-covered

Another great winter run! Beautiful cold air. Not crisp though–how cold does it have to be to have crisp, cold freezing-the-snot-in-your-nose air? The paths were slick and soft. Maybe next time I should wear my yak trax? Saw the Daily Walker early on. Who else? I can’t remember. A few walkers, several fat tires, a couple runners? Mostly it seemed silent except for the crunching snow, the construction noise, and the low steady buzz of the far off traffic. Heard some voices down below in the gorge–what were they doing? Stumbled over a few snowy ice chunks but didn’t fall or hurt myself. Spotted the dark trail of open water surrounded by the white river. Ran under a heavy gray sky ready to unzip from the weight of impending snow. Right after I finished, the light snow showers started. During the run, my left knee was a little sore and after, my left hip. Probably my IT band reminding me that she’s here and needs to be stretched more.

Always Having Fun with Medical Terms: I T Band Again

  • Impossible Tangrams
  • Interested Termites
  • Indistinguishable Twins
  • Indifferent Theses
  • Infamous Tattletales
  • Imprecise Tailors
  • Incanting Taylors
  • Impeded Traffic
  • Impeachable Tyrants
  • Icicle Tinsel
  • Invigorated Triathletes
  • Insatiable Tricksters
  • Ill-fitting T-shirts

Wow. Is IT the best acronym ever? Maybe.

excerpts from October
Louise Glück


1.
Is it winter again, is it cold again,
didn’t Frank just slip on the ice,
didn’t he heal, weren’t the spring seeds planted
didn’t the night end,
didn’t the melting ice
flood the narrow gutters
wasn’t my body
rescued, wasn’t it safe
didn’t the scar form, invisible
above the injury
terror and cold,
didn’t they just end, wasn’t the back garden
harrowed and planted—
I remember how the earth felt, red and dense,
in stiff rows, weren’t the seeds planted,
didn’t vines climb the south wall
I can’t hear your voice
for the wind’s cries, whistling over the bare ground
I no longer care
what sound it makes
when was I silenced, when did it first seem
pointless to describe that sound
what it sounds like can’t change what it is—
didn’t the night end, wasn’t the earth
safe when it was planted
didn’t we plant the seeds,
weren’t we necessary to the earth,
the vines, were they harvested?

6.
The brightness of the day becomes
the brightness of the night;
the fire becomes the mirror.
My friend the earth is bitter; I think
sunlight has failed her.
Bitter or weary, it is hard to say.
Between herself and the sun,
something has ended.
She wants, now, to be left alone;
I think we must give up
turning to her for affirmation.
Above the fields,
above the roofs of the village houses,
the brilliance that made all life possible
becomes the cold stars.
Lie still and watch:
they give nothing but ask nothing.
From within the earth’s
bitter disgrace, coldness and barrenness
my friend the moon rises:
she is beautiful tonight, but when is she not beautiful?

dec 11/RUN

4.5 miles
top of franklin hill and back again
2 degrees/ feels like -5
100% snow-covered

Now this is winter running! Colder “real” temp than yesterday but felt much warmer. Sunny, hardly any wind. Greeted Dave the Daily Walker. He called out, “what a great day!” (was that it? now I can’t remember, but something like that.) He’s hard core–no coat, just several layers.

things I remember

  • hearing a few geese
  • focusing a lot on following the packed down part of the path
  • noticing how less irritating my steps were when running versus walking–no grinding, quick, sharp crunches
  • at first, noticing how the river was almost completely iced over
  • later, just before I turned around, noticing how there was a black trail of open water in the middle
  • feeling so quiet and peaceful–in the long gaps between cars, it was wonderfully silent.
  • seeing 2 other people–Dave, the Daily Walker at the beginning and another walker almost at the end
  • wondering what people driving by thought of me out here running in the cold
  • mistaking a dead leaf fluttering on the snow for a mouse
  • taking note of two big stones stacked on top of the big boulder by the sprawling oak–those rocks won’t blow away or tip over!
  • slipping slightly on the path a few times

layers: less today than yesterday! one green shirt, one pink jacket, one gray jacket, two pairs of tights, two pairs of socks, a hood, a buff, a hat, gloves, mittens

Outside the Window the Whole World is Humming/ Devin Kelly

“I am happy for the smallest of moments The first desire is to bottle them The second is to believe they will last forever Isn’t it better that nothing does” Really like the title of this poem and the idea/process of writing it.

dec 10/RUN

3.25 miles
trestle turn around
4 degrees/feels like -12
100% snow-covered

Yes, -12 feels cold but today felt even colder than that. Tried out some hand warmers in my gloves. I guess they worked. It snowed so little yesterday that they didn’t bother to plow–at least an inch of snow covering the path, one narrow-ish strip of it packed down. The wind was in my face heading north, which wasn’t fun, but then at my back heading south, which was. Only the crazy-for-winter fools were out here today. I encountered one fat tire and one other runner besides me. We had the path to ourselves–one of the big advantages of winter running. Noticed that the river is icing over. The path was snow-covered but not icy or slippery. I could hear it crunchy delightfully over the noise of my audio book.

Layers: I was almost too warm at one point. Felt bulky in my 2 pairs of gloves + 2 shirts + vest + jacket + 2 pairs of tights + 2 pairs of socks + buff + hat + sunglasses.

Happy Birthday Emily Dickinson!

It’s all I have to bring today (26)
Emily Dickinson – 1830-1886

It’s all I have to bring today—
This, and my heart beside—
This, and my heart, and all the fields—
And all the meadows wide—
Be sure you count—should I forget
Some one the sum could tell—
This, and my heart, and all the Bees
Which in the Clover dwell.

Today I brought my heart, and my legs, and my lungs, and the crunching snow, and the river, and the bright white solitude of an almost empty path.

dec 9/RUN

2 miles
treadmill, basement

Was planning to run at the US Bank Stadium with Scott but ended staying home and running on the treadmill. Tomorrow it gets cold. 0 degrees. Not sure what the feels like temp will be. Guess I’ll see when I got out in it for a run.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers – (314)
BY EMILY DICKINSON

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.

dec 8/RUN

3.1 miles
trestle turn around
32 degrees
5% ice and snow covered

Ran straight into the wind on the way north. Met up with Scott just past the trestle and ran south with the wind at our backs. Was able to introduce Scott to Dave the Daily Walker. Heard some geese. Admired the river, looking like it was on fire, bursting through the bare trees. Gray sky, humid air. Counted to 4. Had to wipe my eyes repeatedly–very annoying. Walking back through our neighborhood, pointed out a small circular hole in the street to Scott. Not big enough to mess up a car or a bike but maybe a foot? After asking why there wasn’t a cone over it, Scott noticed that there had been a cone but it was jammed down into the hole. Wow. Who does that?

one more thing: After posting this entry, I remembered something else about my run. As I started, I noticed my ponytail brushing up against the back of my jacket. I don’t recall noticing it for the entire run. Did I just get used to it, or did it stop brushing my jacket?

What Would Root
BY KATIE FARRIS

Walking through a cathedral of oak trees
and bristlecone pines, scolded by squirrels
in their priestly black, their white collars
wagging with the force of their scolding, I
was struck, simultaneously, in both eyes,
by some sort of flying detritus—pollen or seeds—
and stopped to lean against a rock
to scrub it (I thought) away. It was May,

it was May, it was May, and the air was sweet
with pine and Island Mountain lilac. The squirrels,
I mentioned them already, etc, and the lizards
ran down the spines of rocks like a bad feeling. I
could see everything: red-headed hummingbirds
dipped their beaks into the little red hoods of penstemon,
and I, a redhead, could hear everything: a red-crested
woodpecker, who was not offended I did not know his name.

And I could see everything: it was all green, really;
even the red was anti-green, and though my eyes
ached from everything-seeing, I could taste the granite
in the spring (oh yes, I drank water from the ground; I
was wild, even then, though the squirrels scolded
me and tried to convince me I was not). Soon I crested
a rise; the land spread itself greenly for me and I
wished I had seed to toss into that green, just to see

what would root. My right eye would not close to this
view; why would it; but when I reached up to touch it, I
felt that there was a twig emerging, and another from my
other eye; that they were a part of my body I could not doubt;
they were living and enervated and jutting out. I
sat down, feeling the hairs on the back of my neck,
understanding for the first time they were not hairs, but roots.
I could see everything; it was all green; the twigs in my eyes

tasted sunlight with my mouth; the roots drew the salt
from my sweat into their vacuum, and I was no longer hungry:
my metamorphosis had rendered me perfectly self-sufficient. I
could see everything; the roots in my skull shifted and I
lay down beneath my own branches. I had to wiggle a bit to
find a place to lay my head; the rock was very hard,
and I needed softer ground—yes, a place for the top
of my head to come off, to nuzzle into the earth, to drink.

Wow! I love this green poem. So good. So green. So wild. So wonderful to imagine rooting in a field. Love this line: “even the red was anti-green” I want to spend more time with this poem and add it to my collection of green poems.

dec 7/RUN

5.25 miles
bottom of franklin loop and back again
29 degrees/feels like 20
less than 5% ice covered

Another great winter run. Sunny, not too much wind, clear path. Heard some cawing crows before I started. Enjoyed breathing in the cold air. Did not enjoy how that same cold air made my eyes water even with sunglasses on. Encountered lots of other runners. A few fat tires, walkers, dogs. No more squirrels. Heard the nail gun at the house near the trestle that they’ve been working on for months. Smelled some type of food coming from the Longfellow Grill–some brunch thing, I guess. Ran down the franklin hill, passing at least 5 people running up it. Decided to see how far I would get in 25 minutes–to the gate near Annie Young Meadows Park–and then turn around. Ran up the hill until I reached the turnoff for the bridge then walked for 2 minutes. Started running again, slowly gaining on 2 women ahead of me. Finally passed them and then ran much faster than I wanted to stay ahead of them. Mistook 2 trashcans for a group of people. Also thought a bright yellow jacket draped over one of the ancient boulders by the sprawling oak was a person. Good thing I didn’t greet them! On my walk home from the river, greeted Dave, the Daily Walker, just heading out for his walk.

Epistemology
Catherine Barnett

Mostly I’d like to feel a little less, know a little more.
Knots are on the top of my list of what I want to know.
Who was it who taught me to burn the end of the cord
to keep it from fraying?
Not the man who called my life a debacle,
a word whose sound I love.
In a debacle things are unleashed.
Roots of words are like knots I think when I read the dictionary.
I read other books, sure. Recently I learned how trees communicate,
the way they send sugar through their roots to the trees that are ailing.
They don’t use words, but they can be said to love.
They might lean in one direction to leave a little extra light for another tree.
And I admire the way they grow right through fences, nothing
stops them, it’s called inosculation: to unite by openings, to connect
or join so as to become or make continuous, from osculare,
to provide with a mouth, from osculum, little mouth.
Sometimes when I’m alone I go outside with my big little mouth
and speak to the trees as if I were a birch among birches.

Oh, I love this poem! I remember encountering it a few years ago when I was trying to figure out what the term/process is for trees that grow through fences. It came up again this morning on my twitter feed. I’m not sure what I think about the first line: “Mostly I’d like to feel a little less, know a little more.” I’ve been writing a lot about the limits of knowing and the need to feel the force of ideas more. Yet, I like this idea of knowing as becoming familiar with things (knowing knots) and acquiring interesting facts (about preventing fraying, how trees communicate). I’d like to distinguish between knowing as familiarity and knowing as conquering/mastering/fully understanding. I’d also like to put this poem next to another poem I discovered this fall, Learning the Trees, which I posted in my sept 15 log entry. I want to ruminate some more on the difference between learning and knowing and Knowing.

dec 5/RUN

5 miles
bottom of franklin and back again
31 degrees
5-10% ice and snow covered

Another great run! Sun. Almost above freezing. Hardly any wind. Today the river was beautiful. More gray than brown. Shimmering. Still open and flowing. Greeted Dave, the Daily Walker. Admired the occasional tree painted white on one side. Lamented the parts of the walking path–especially where it dips below the road–that are still covered in almost a foot of snow. Noticed how lovely the view was framed by the 1-94 bridge as I neared the bottom of the franklin hill. Checked out the Winchell Trail and, after noticing some footprints in the snow, wondered who walks it this time of year. Ran under a moving train at the trestle! I thought ADM had closed but I guess not. I think this is only the second time I’ve run under a train in the 5+ years I’ve been running here. Liked watching the drips from the train drop down from the trestle. So cool. At the end of my run, stopped at the split rail fence above the ravine. I could almost, but not quite, hear the water trickling/dripping/splashing on the limestone ledge.

Hotel Lullaby
Srikanth Reddy

No matter how often you knock
on the ocean the ocean

just waves. No matter
how often you enter the ocean

the ocean still says
no one’s home. You must leave

her dear Ursula. As I write this
they polish the big

chandelier. Every prism
a sunset in abstract

or bijou foyer depending
on where you stand.

They take it apart every Fall
& call it Spring cleaning.

They bring me my tea.
They ask me my name

& I tell them — Ursula,
I don’t even know

how to miss who you left.
So many cabanas

to choose from tonight
but only one view.

It’s the sea.
What keeps me awake

is the sound of you sleeping
beside me again my dear Ursula,

Ursula, Ursula dear — then
you’re nothing

but waves & I break.

So many wonderful lines in this poem and I love the way a story unfolds the more times I read it. The line about how the ocean just waves is great and so is the one about spring cleaning in the fall but I think my favorite right now is “so many cabanas/ to choose from tonight/but only one view. / It’s the sea.”

dec 4/RUN

3.2 miles
ford bridge and back again
34 degrees
15% snow-covered

Ran to the river and turned right instead of left today, heading towards the falls. So much sun. Encountered several walkers, a few runners. Any bikers? The river was sparkling, much prettier today. The bike path was mostly clear of snow, the walking path was not. Encountered a group of walkers taking up the entire path and refusing to move at all. I actually had to stop moving as they approached me. Finally the guy realized I was there and moved over a little. After I turned around, catching up to them again, I had to call out “excuse me” 2 or 3 times before they moved. Surprisingly, I was not mad at all. I wish I could be this chill about path hoggers all the time.

I just discovered a wonderful book (and project) from Georges Perec, An Attempt at Exhausting a Place. A wonderful inspiration for my running beside the gorge. In his brief introduction he writes:

My intention in the pages that follow was to describe the rest instead: that which is generally not taken not of, that which is not noticed, that which which has no importance: what happens when nothing happens other than the weather, people, cars, and clouds.

what happens when nothing other than the weather, people, cars, and clouds?

Cherry blossoms
Toi Derricotte – 1941-

I went down to
mingle my breath
with the breath
of the cherry blossoms.

There were photographers:
Mothers arranging their
children against
gnarled old trees;
a couple, hugging,
asks a passerby
to snap them
like that,
so that their love
will always be caught
between two friendships:
ours & the friendship
of the cherry trees.

Oh Cherry,
why can’t my poems
be as beautiful?

A young woman in a fur-trimmed
coat sets a card table
with linens, candles,
a picnic basket & wine.
A father tips
a boy’s wheelchair back
so he can gaze
up at a branched
heaven.
All around us
the blossoms
flurry down
whispering,

Be patient
you have an ancient beauty.

Be patient,
you have an ancient beauty.

No cheery blossoms for a long time, but I couldn’t resist posting this beautiful poem and its description of a place and a relationship. Oh Cherry Blossom, why can’t my poems be as beautiful? I love the answer: be patient.

dec 3/RUN

4.5 miles
under the franklin bridge and back
28 degrees
25% snow and ice covered

Winter running! Icy in the neighborhood, but not too bad on the path. Sunny, bright, beautiful. Remembered to look at the river today. Not as pretty as the path. Boring brown. No ice yet. Greeted Dave, the Daily Walker–not just “good morning” but “how are you?” too! Spent a lot of time trying to avoid big icy-snowy chunks, which are almost impossible for me to see with my vision. Also spent time de-fogging my sunglasses. How do people run with sunglasses? I still haven’t figured it out. At the start of the run, encountered a walker with his dogs. I think he called out, “will power!,” which I assumed meant he thought that the only reason I was out here in the winter was because I had a strong will. I wanted to yell out, “This isn’t miserable! I love being out here in this cold!”

additional note: Just remembered about the sun and my shadow. As I ran north, she was behind me and off to the side. Occasionally I could see her out of the corner of my left eye–well, not the actual shadow but the hint of something there almost. I kept thinking someone was about to pass me. I think I looked back to check at least 3 or 4 times. Strange.

This poem! So beautiful and heartbreaking and exciting as a form.

Heartbeats
Melvin Dixon – 1950-1992

Work out. Ten laps.
Chin ups. Look good.

Steam room. Dress warm.
Call home. Fresh air.

Eat right. Rest well.
Sweetheart. Safe sex.

Sore throat. Long flu.
Hard nodes. Beware.

Test blood. Count cells.
Reds thin. Whites low.

Dress warm. Eat well.
Short breath. Fatigue.

Night sweats. Dry cough.
Loose stools. Weight loss.

Get mad. Fight back.
Call home. Rest well.

Don’t cry. Take charge.
No sex. Eat right.

Call home. Talk slow.
Chin up. No air.

Arms wide. Nodes hard.
Cough dry. Hold on.

Mouth wide. Drink this.
Breathe in. Breathe out.

No air. Breathe in.
Breathe in. No air.

Black out. White rooms.
Head hot. Feet cold.

No work. Eat right.
CAT scan. Chin up.

Breathe in. Breathe out.
No air. No air.

Thin blood. Sore lungs.
Mouth dry. Mind gone.

Six months? Three weeks?
Can’t eat. No air.

Today? Tonight?
It waits. For me.

Sweet heart. Don’t stop.
Breathe in. Breathe out.

dec 2/RUN

3.25 miles
us bank stadium

Scott and I ran inside the stadium for the first time this season. The Minnesota Distance Running Association no longer manages it so it was a little more expensive and lot more fiddly–purchasing tickets, taking 2 separate elevators. I strongly dislike elevators. Maybe because of the change or the increase in price, there weren’t that many people there. We had a nice run. Not sure how many times I’ll do it this season but it’s always cool to get to run inside the stadium, especially in the evening. Not much I remember about the run except the music: every song sounded like Selena Gomez…excerpt the brief respite when they played Lizzo.

December
David Baker

Instead, there is an hour, a moment,
a slight fading of the light like a loss of power

in the neighborhood. Then it’s dark. You can’t see
the trees any more, the old snow, the dog that barks

from the door of his shed because it’s night now
and time to be fed. Is he huddled now, over his paws?

—And one Canada goose so low in passing
above the barn you still hear the shadow.

This weekend I heard a lot of geese over head. Too high in the sky to hear their shadows passing, but I did hear their honks. Such beautiful, haunting sounds! This season, my favorite. I really like this poem and what it captures. and how it de-privileges vision–hearing the dog bark, the shadow of the goose, feeling (when unable to see) the tree, the old snow.

dec 1/RUN

4.3 miles
top of franklin hill and back
30 degrees/snow
75% snow-covered

What a run!! Snow was falling gently–sometimes annoyingly in my face but, who cares? The paths weren’t slick and icy. Geese were honking overhead. Pretty sure I didn’t look at the river once. Too busy admiring the snow. Almost missed the Daily Walker but he called out to me. He was walking with his wife. Cool. Felt strong and happy and relaxed. Don’t remember thinking about anything except for when I should turn around. Towards the end of my run saw a dog and its 2 humans about to cross the road. The humans were wearing snow shoes. Winter goal: to try out snow shoes. I’ve wanted to do this ever since I met fast Eddie at the Y and he told me about racing 10Ks in snow shoes. Today is a wonderful start to winter running season!

Let It Be Forgotten
Sara Teasdale – 1884-1933

Let it be forgotten, as a flower is forgotten,
Forgotten as a fire that once was singing gold,
Let it be forgotten for ever and ever,
Time is a kind friend, he will make us old.

If anyone asks, say it was forgotten
Long and long ago,
As a flower, as a fire, as a hushed footfall
In a long forgotten snow.

I love this poem. I want to memorize it and then recite it like a little prayer.