feb 10/BIKERUN

bike: 20 minutes
run: 1.75 miles
outdoor temp: 8 degrees/ feels like -7

Finished the Dickinson episode I had been watching on feb 7. In my log for that day I asked: “I wonder if either Emily’s opinion (about marriage as bad for women) or Thoreau’s douchiness will change in the next 10 minutes, which is what I have left in the episode. And, will she be able to stop the railroad from being built in her backyard woods?” Well, Thoreau becomes even more douchey; Emily ends up calling him a dick and then storms out, leaving her copy of Walden behind. And, distraught, she falls asleep on George’s shoulder as they ride home on the train, which suggests she might be softening on him, if not on marriage. Finally, while sitting under her beloved oak tree her dad joins her and agrees to reroute the train tracks around the tree in order to save it. Emily is happy. My question: if the train is still running near the tree, will she want to visit it for solitude anymore? Will it be the same tree once it’s the tree by some noisy, air-polluting tracks? I guess Emily’s willing to compromise.

During my run, I listened to a Spotify playlist I had quickly made the other day. Excellent. It was fun to run much faster (at least a minute per mile faster) and listen to Britney Spear’s “Toxic”, Demi Lovato’s “Sorry not Sorry,” AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck,” and Justin Bieber’s “Beauty and the Beat.” While I ran, I don’t remember thinking about anything.

For the past few days, I’ve been thinking about creating a syllabus, or a few syllabi, out of the experiments on my running log. Right now, I’m thinking about 3 syllabi: 1 intro course, 1 intermediate course, and 1 advanced course all about movement and creativity and exploring how moving bodies influence creative expression in language (written and spoken). Mainly, I want to focus on moving = running and creative expression = poetry, but I’m also interested in walking/hiking, swimming, biking, and lyric essays. These 3 classes all fit within an interdisciplinary study of ethics/moral selfhood and the exploration of how to be an ethical, political, poetical, embodied self. What do I want to do with these syllabi? Not sure, yet. Maybe teach them. But maybe I see them more as imaginary/fictional syllabi that tell my story of running while writing/writing while running for the past 4 years.

Speaking of imaginary classes, I found this poem via twitter this morning. I love it.

What You Missed That Day You Were Absent from Fourth Grade/ Brad Aaron Modlin

Mrs. Nelson explained how to stand still and listen
to the wind, how to find meaning in pumping gas,

how peeling potatoes can be a form of prayer. She took
questions on how not to feel lost in the dark

After lunch she distributed worksheets
that covered ways to remember your grandfather’s

voice. Then the class discussed falling asleep
without feeling you had forgotten to do something else—

something important—and how to believe
the house you wake in is your home. This prompted

Mrs. Nelson to draw a chalkboard diagram detailing
how to chant the Psalms during cigarette breaks,

and how not to squirm for sound when your own thoughts
are all you hear; also, that you have enough.

The English lesson was that I am
is a complete sentence.

And just before the afternoon bell, she made the math equation
look easy. The one that proves that hundreds of questions,

and feeling cold, and all those nights spent looking
for whatever it was you lost, and one person

add up to something.

What a class! The things listed here are impossible to teach, I suppose, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if our education gave more space for them to be considered? What if we took seriously the idea that the goal/purpose of education is to flourish and to learn how to be caring, responsible people in community with others instead of about individual success and competition and being better than anyone else?

a moment of sound

feb 10, 2021/ 3 degrees, feels like -9

I started this recording at the far end of my backyard. As I made my way to the back door up on the deck, I walked through 3 different versions of crusty snow: 1. about 3 inches of deeper, crusty snow, 2. 1 inch of partly shoveled, tamped down crusty snow, and 3. a thin layer of powdery, crusty snow on the surface of the deck. Each version makes a slightly different sound.