run: 1.1 miles
Did a quick 10 minute warm-up before going for my swim. 8:30 and already crowded trails. I heard at least one mourning dove. Favorite thing: hearing and feeling my feet shuffling on the sand on the edge of the trail.
swim: 1 mile/ 6 loops
lake nokomis big beach
Another mile beside the white buoys at the big beach. Such a wonderful swim. I don’t remember seeing any minnows at the edge of the water. No ducks either. Instead, milfoil. During my first loop a strand of it wrapped around my shoulders and face and I had to stop and fling it off. Then, a few loops later, I felt something on my thigh. At first I thought it was just the water being pushed by my arm. Then I reached down and pulled out another milfoil strand. I imagined the lake was attacking me, then decided it was embracing me.
When I started, there was a fitness class in the water and I heard the instructor calling out, “Lift those knees!” I saw some kayakers, paddle boarders, another swimmer. I noticed a steady processional of planes in the air above me.
I used my new bright yellow buoy. It works very well. As usual, I wore a nose plug which doesn’t bother me at all. White rimmed open water goggles, a bright blue latex swim cap, a purple-patterned on black TYR suit.
The sun was bright on the water. I definitely don’t have photophobia, a possible symptom of cone dystrophy, because the brightness didn’t bother me at all. Looking out at the water, so shiny and reflective, I briefly wondered how will I see the big orange buoys next week when I swim across the lake.
At one point when I was swimming, I thought about the origins of Lake Nokomis and when it got it’s current name. Looked it up (wikipedia): It used to be called Lake Amelia, most likely named for the daughter or wife of Captain George Gooding who came with the first troops in 1819. When the Minneapolis Park Board purchased the land in 1908 and in 1910 renamed it Nokomis, after (of course) Longfellow’s poem.
See a map of then Minneapolis Park Board Director Theodore Wirth’s ambitious plans for the lake in 1913
from EXAQUA [Oh, that’s what I was]/ Jan-Henry Gray
Oh, that’s what I was originally thinking of with the notion of swimming or orbiting that you mentioned: a giant essay that interrupts (or cleaves?) into the book. To cleave is to separate and to bring together. To yoke. To it: I’m thinking of this essay I want to write as… Essay as Ocean. Not necessarily in a geographic, landscapey way but weirder, queer, dense, full of strange currents with different temperatures, something immersive, at times panicky, the feeling of losing oxygen but delighted by the sight of strange objects that litter the ocean floor. An oasis of sight. Geography textbooks and all of that richly descriptive language. How can anyone read about the unseen formation of volcanoes or the glacial creation of lakes and not feel connected to the Earth—capital E? Essay as a vast, limitless, edgeless, impossible-to-keep-in-one’s-head-all-at-once phenomenon. Essay as a way of breaking up the rest of the poems that surround it. I wanted to offer a break, a reprieve. Freedom from forms.
I love this poem and I want to spend some time with it. I was just telling STA about how great swimming is for disorienting you, distorting your senses. Immersive, panicky, delightful, strange. And the line, “How can anyone read about the/unseen formation of volcanoes or the glacial creation of lakes and not feel connected/ to the Earth–capirtal E?”