jan 9/RUN

5 miles
franklin hill turn around
29 degrees/ feels like 20
50% ice and snow-covered

Love these outdoor runs when the path is not completely ice-covered and I get to run for almost an hour! Just past the welcoming oaks stopped for a minute to let the parks mini-truck drive by on the path. Noticed later that they had put some dirt down on the path. Hooray! Hopefully that will make it easier to run on. For much of the run north, felt like I was in a dream, floating along on the path.

What I remember about today? The River

Wasn’t sure how long I would run but decided to go all the way to the bottom of the Franklin hill to get a closer look at the river and all the ice on it. So desolate and other-worldly looking! Studded with chunks of ice and thick water that wasn’t moving or barely moving. Moving at a glacial pace? Thought about this phrase and how (sadly, disturbingly) it’s losing its potency as a metaphor now that glaciers are melting (and melting so much faster than expected).

Did a quick google search and found this article: Slang is changing at a glacial pace

The thick water reminded me of simple syrup–clear but thick and barely flowing. Or maybe like a partly melted slushie? Still very cold and a little frozen but more liquid than ice. I’ll have to keep looking closer at the river to see when/if it completely freezes over.

After turning around at the bottom of the Franklin hill, I ran back up the hill, stopping at 3 miles for a minute to turn on a playlist. Encountered several dogs and their humans, some walking, some running. Greeted Dave, the Daily Walker. After I finished running, stopped at the split rail fence above the ravine to stretch. With the temperature almost at freezing, the water dripping out of the sewer pipe smelled rotten.

dead metaphors

Yesterday I posted something about metaphors, their (sometimes) entrenched political meanings, and how they can limit instead of expand our imagination. Today, I’m thinking about metaphors again as I read the “Slang is Changing” article I mentioned above.

During the Little Ice Age, which stretched from the 14th to the 19th century, the median Northern Hemisphere winter was significantly colder than it is today. Glaciers more often advanced than retreated, sometimes wiping out communities as they moved. Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem ‘Mont Blanc’ (1817) captures the menacing aura that adhered to those frozen rivers of ice:

… The glaciers creep
Like snakes that watch their prey, from their far fountains,
Slow rolling on …
in scorn of mortal power

Shelley saw glaciers as predatory, immortal forces, eternal beings, before whose might mere humans quaked. But global warming has flipped that perception. We are now more likely to view glaciers as casualties of humanity’s outsize, planet-altering powers.

In “Politics and the English Language” (1946), Orwell laid out six rules for writers, the first of which declares: “Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.” An inert metaphor such as “hotbed of radicalism” conveys very little: We can no longer feel the blazing temperature between the bed sheets, just as—prior to public awareness of global warming—we’d stopped noticing the icy fossil poetry in “glacial pace.”

We speak routinely of carbon footprints, of wiping species off the face of the Earth, and of greenhouse gases, but we no longer see the feet, the hands, and the backyard sheds. As consciousness of climate change has grown, a new class of dead metaphors has entered the English language. We speak routinely of carbon footprints, of wiping species off the face of the Earth, and of greenhouse gases, but we no longer see the feet, the hands, the faces and the backyard sheds that were once vivid when those phrases were newly coined.