bike: 25 minutes
bike stand, basement
run: 2 miles
treadmill, basement
outside: wind advisory, icy paths

The combination of too many days running on uneven paths and a wind advisory meant I ran and biked in the basement today. I’m fine with it. I still don’t like the treadmill for long distances, but it’s okay for a mile or two. Watched a super league triathlon race while I biked, listened to a playlist while I ran. The coolest thing I remember: running, staring straight ahead and just above the blank tv screen, I noticed the reflection of the single lightbulb in the dark window. A small bright circular light. I imagined it was the moon, hovering above Lake Superior, which I remember seeing a few years ago when I was at a resort on the North Shore. Very cool. I was so mesmerized by the image that I almost ran into the front of the treadmill. Who knew the basement could be so beautiful and inspiring?

Yesterday, wandering around the internet, I discovered Steve Healey’s 10 Mississippi–a book of poetry about the Mississippi River. He’s based in Minneapolis, which is really cool. I need to buy this collection from 2010.

2 Mississippi/ Steve Healey

Standing next to the river, I recorded the sound
of the river in an attempt to represent that sound
more accurately than my earlier description of it,
which compared the river sound to someone
saying “shhhh.” I rewound the tape and played it back,
and the recording also sounded like someone saying
“shhhh,” but then I remembered that I was listening
to both the recording of the river and the river itself,
and I could not with absolute certainty distinguish
one from the other. It sounded like the two sounds
synchronized into one “shhhh,” but at times they
seemed to separate, as if telling each other to be quiet,
like accomplices committing a crime. Or they may
have both been telling me to be quiet, despite the fact
that I was producing no sound, or so I thought.
Retreating swiftly and quietly to the privacy
of my own home, a safe distance from the river itself,
I listened again to the recording of the river sound.
This time it sounded like a perfectly preserved memory
of the river, a solitary “shhhh” moving inexorably
toward the Gulf of Mexico, and just as I felt liberated
from the burden of having to remember the river
through my own mental activity, the recording stopped,
precisely at the moment when I had turned off
the tape recorder. Then I remembered that the river
itself was elsewhere, continuing its perfect sound
forever, and that I would never be able to represent
that continuousness accurately. I remembered,
however, that I could take a length of magnetic tape
on which that river was recorded and splice the ends
together to form a loop which I could then play
continuously. The sound could keep going “shhhh”
all the way to the Gulf of Mexico, telling all the cars
and condos to be quiet. It’s worth remembering,
however, that a river is not a person, and that a person
saying “shhhh” eventually needs to stop making
that sound, either to inhale or die. There would be no
other choice, unless of course I recorded myself
saying “shhhh” and played a loop of that recording
continuously, in which case I’d no longer need
to remember myself. I’d be immortal
in the privacy of my own sound.