lake nokomis big beach
Another mile swimming just off the big beach around the white buoys! Another almost perfect weather day–no wind, sun, warm, but not too warm, water! I checked online, the water temp is 75, which is plenty warm for me. Today I used my new safety buoy, not for safety, but to hold my phone and keys so I don’t have to leave them in my yellow backpack on the beach while I swim. It’s an inflatable buoy–bright yellow–with a dry pouch inside that you can store stuff in. You hook it to a belt that you wear around your waist. Pretty slick. For 7 years, when I swim, I leave my yellow backpack on the beach and it always makes me a little nervous, especially because it has my phone and my bike lock key. Now, I won’t worry. And, it’s good to have a buoy so that other people in boats can see me.
Right before my swim on Tuesday, as I put my swim cap on in the shallow water, I watched little minnows quickly swimming away from my approaching feet. Such a sweet and delightful thing to witness! What is the collective noun for minnows? A flash of minnows? A flurry of minnows? Looked it up and found some other answers: a swarm, a stream, a school of minnows. The minnows were still there this morning. I can’t remember if they stay all summer; I’ll have to check from them in July and August.
Since I had my phone with me, my distance was more accurate: today the activity app said I swam 1.08 miles, as compared to Tuesday when it said I swam .67 miles. I have decided that, for my purposes, 6 loops = 1 mile. 2 miles swam, 98 to go!
I didn’t see any flashes below me, or shafts of light, but I did encounter a few ducks right before I started, and a few bits of milfoil floating in the water. I noticed how the white buoys disappeared in my central vision, then reappeared in my periphery. I saw a paddle boarder and another swimmer–mostly I sensed another swimmer, hearing their hands occasionally slap the water, glimpsing a quick flash of foaming water in their wake.
I breathed every 5 strokes or five/six/five or three/four/five/three or every six. As I swam every six I thought about a poem I wrote a few years ago, “Submerged,” and how I like stroking more, breathing less in order to spend more time submerged, pretending I’m a fish. Sometimes I thought about my wonderful son FWA and how he graduated from high school last night. Those thoughts made my swim more relaxed. Other times I thought about something else–I can’t remember what, just that it involved worries–and my swim was harder, less free.
Found these two excerpts from Niedecker’s poem, “For Paul” (1950). The first one is about her failing vision: in 1949, she was diagnosed with nystagma (roving eyes). The second one is about June:
You are far away
Since I saw you last, Paul
my sight is weaker . . .
I still see–
it’s the facts are thick–
That June she’s a lush
She marsh wallows, frog bickering
moon pooling, green gripping
In my June 8th log entry, I posted Niedecker’s poem, “Paean to Place.” Love this poem. In an article about Niedecker’s ecopoetics, I found a link to a facsimile of a hand-written version of this poem that she made into a book for a friend. Nice!
Last night at FWA’s graduation, the principal gave an introduction/welcome in which he did a land acknowledgment, recognizing the land/city where the school was built is Dakota land. I wasn’t able to hear exactly what he said because a group of people two rows back wouldn’t shut up–am I the only person who actually wants to listen to (and enjoys) the speeches? Probably. Anyway, I’m not sure of his wording, or if he used the words “stolen” or is versus was Dakota land, but I was glad to hear him say something. Just hours before graduation, I was reading an article about land acknowledgment, its problems and possibilities: WHERE WE STAND: THE UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA AND DAKHÓTA TREATY LANDS
I’m thinking about how to incorporate a deeper recognition and acknowledgment of the history of that land I write about in my bio and through my poems.