nov 29/RUN

4 miles
river road, north/south
50! degrees

Wow! Warm this afternoon. Ran at 3, about an hour and a half before sunset. The light was very cool. I might want to run again at this time. The best part: running above the gorge, over the river and the Winchell Trail, I was positioned just right so that I cast a shadow onto the water far below. Today my shadow got to swim. At least one of us could. Encountered some high schoolers running with sticks or ski poles or something. I couldn’t tell what they were. After I was done, I took off my visor, forgetting that I also had my bright pink headband on. A few minutes later I remembered and noticed it was gone. I retraced my steps and amazingly, was able to find it in the grass. I can’t believe I realized I had lost it, and I can’t believe I could see it in the grass.

Here’s something I read earlier today, which I love:

from Among the Trees/ Carl Phillips

SOME TREES ARE compasses, and some are flags. If a flag tells you where you are, a compass can potentially tell you how to get there or how to find someplace else. A flag, in marking a spot, seems more definitive, a form of punctuation; a compass implies movement, navigation. I know a man who, whenever he needs to write, or cry, or think—really think—goes to a willow in his local park and hides beneath its draped branches. He goes there so often, you could almost say he’s become part of the willow; he seems a willow himself; he marks a place in my life where I stopped to rest, once, but I couldn’t stay. Then there’s another man, long ago now. His body a forest when seen from the air in a small plane, so that it’s possible to get close enough to see where the oaks give way to poplar trees, or where, if you follow the pines far enough, they’ll open out to a field across which you can see the ocean. I couldn’t have found my way here without him.

I love the idea of trees as flags and compasses, and I love his description of the man who retreats to the willow. One of my favorite poems by Phillips features a willow, “And Swept All Visible Signs Away.” In it, could Phillips be referencing the willow man?

Here’s something else I read yesterday on twitter. I want to think some more about the differences between an eruption and a scattering:

when most people say their mind has been blown I think they mean like a volcano erupting but when I say it I mean my brain is a plucked dandelion someone’s scattered with their breath

@toddedilliard

nov 28/RUN

5.6 miles
minnehaha regional park and back*
27 degrees / feels like 20

*south on river road trail to the falls/ up the steps and over the bridge past John Stevens House/ turn around at 3 miles and the entrance to the trail that leads to a steep set of many steps down to the mississippi / back by the falls/ north on the river road trail

A cold wind this morning making it harder to breathe. Sunny, uncrowded, clear trails. Another nice run. Still thinking about ghosts. Thought about possessing, dispossessing, repossessing and then this reminder popped into my head: you can’t ever truly own (or possess, as in own, control, take over) something. The river gorge, for example, can be maintained, managed, exploited but it always exceeds that control. It spills over, invades, resists, refuses to be tamed.

10 Things I Noticed

  1. At the start of my run, before the sky had fully cleared, heading south, the sun was illuminating the river. The water was all silvery white with a few dark spots, caused by the reflection of a tree or a building
  2. All the trees are bare, nothing blocking the view to the Winchell Trail and the river below
  3. My shadow was clearly visible in front of me, not the faint hint of a shadow, but a full, almost solid form
  4. The falls: water still rushing over the rocks, but also big columns of ice falling down too
  5. After running under the ford bridge, I noticed — not for the first time — a dirt trail that winds through the small woods between ford parkway above and west river parkway below. For much of the year, this trail is hidden behind leaves
  6. The dinging of the train bells at the 50th street station on the other side of Hiawatha — not real bells, but a recording. A hollow, fake sound
  7. Voices from runners approaching. It took a long time for me to tell if they were coming from in front of or behind me
  8. The sidewalk/walking path that winds above the gorge between the Veteran’s Home and the dog park often undulates — up up doooowwwwnnn
  9. Running parallel to someone below on the Winchell trail, hearing the leaves rustle as they ran through them
  10. At the end of my run: the clicking and clacking of a roller skier’s poles

Finally, after getting this book in July of 2020, I’m reading Victoria Chang’s amazing Obit. Here’s one that mentions a shadow:

Victoria Chang–died unknowingly on
June 24, 2009 on the I-405 freeway.
Born in the Motor City, it is fitting
she died on a freeway. When her
mother called about her father’s heart
attack, she was living an indented
life, a swallow that didn’t dip. This
was not her first death. All her deaths
had creases except this one. It didn’t
matter that her mother was wrong (it
was a stroke) but that Victoria Chang
had to ask whether she should drive to
see the frontal lobe. When her mother
said yes, Victoria Chang had the
feeling of not wanting to. Someone
heard that feeling. Because he did
not die but all of his words did. At the
hospital, Victoria Change cried when
her father no longer made sense. This
was before she understood the cruelty
of his disease. It would be the last time
she cried in front of it. She switched
places with her shadow because
suffering changes shape and happens
secretly.

nov 26/RUN

5.5 miles
bottom of franklin hill + extra
33 degrees

The air felt colder than 33. Maybe because of the wind? A good run. My old apple watch is dying (ver 2), and it shut down at the third mile so I don’t know my exact distance. I’m pretty sure I ran about 5.5 miles.

Not too crowded. A little faster. I listened to an old playlist. I don’t remember much. All the trees are bare. The water had icy foam at its edges, near the shore. There are some flowers — still not sure if they are real or plastic — at the trestle. Running by it last week, I thought they were in a vase. Stopping there today, I realized they were put in the remains of a post. Once, part of metal railing on ledge under the trestle, now an uncapped cylinder sticking out of ledge, the only bit left of the railing. Noticed several white sewer/run-off pipes popping out of the side of the gorge. Also noticed the start of the Winchell Trail on the north side. A biker sped past me as I ran, then walked, up the Franklin hill. They were going fast!

Here’s a delightful poem that I just found twitter. I might like to memorize this so I can have it when I need it:

The Orange / Wendy Cope

At lunchtime I bought a huge orange—
The size of it made us all laugh.
I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave—
They got quarters and I had a half.

And that orange, it made me so happy,
As ordinary things often do
Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park.
This is peace and contentment. It’s new.

The rest of the day was quite easy.
I did all the jobs on my list
And enjoyed them and had some time over.
I love you. I’m glad I exist.

nov 23/RUN

4.8 miles
Veteran’s Home Loop
32 degrees

Listened to a playlist this morning and didn’t think about much. Sunny, a little windy, cold — not that cold, but cold-feeling in November when temps so far have almost always been above freezing. By January, I’ll probably describe 32 as warm. Lots of walkers, a few runners. No bikers or roller skiers. No squirrels either. Running over the double-bridge at 44th, I thought about it differently today. On Saturday, Scott and I hiked down in the ravine by this bridge and looked at it from below. A very different perspective. Lots of graffiti on top and a gaping maw underneath. We saw a few icicles hanging of the bottom, and heard some seeping in the limestone. Will there be ice columns in a few months?

Almost forgot: Turkeys! 5 or 6 of them huddled in the grass on the side of the road.

Yesterday, after struggling with a way into a poem for my haunting series, I finally found it. Very glad that I persisted. Whether or not my poem is any good, I’m very pleased with how much I’m learning and how I’m starting to be able to do more showing and less telling–or at least much less theorizing. I love how poetry is helping me to shift how I think and write.

from Haunts Haunting Haunted / Sara Lynne Puotinen (draft)

viii.

Signs — Maps
Monuments
Markers
claims on the
land a
possessing
with loud
You are heres
that ring
out proper
names placed
in firm ground
meanwhile
softer forms
quiet
submissions
of proof
whisper You
aren’t here
alone
: tamped
down grass
a gutted
fence with
chain links pried
open
stones stacked on
boulders
a black glove
draped on
a tree branch
faint paths
criss-crossing
the woods
graffiti
more than
evidence
these slight
signs do not
declare
but call you
to join
the endless
work of
noticing
making
room for what
remains
outside the
Known the
official
story

Robert Bly died yesterday here in Minneapolis. Here’s a poem of his that someone posted:

Gratitude to Old Teachers / Robert Bly

When we strike or stroll across the frozen lake,
We place our feet where they have never been.
We walk upon the unwalked. But we are uneasy.
Who is down there but our old teachers?
Water that once could take no human weight—
We were students then—holds up our feet,
And goes on ahead of us for a mile.
Beneath us the teachers, and around us the stillness.

nov 21/RUN

4.5 miles
franklin loop
38 degrees
wind: 25mph

Ran with Scott on a blustery, dark morning. It was not gloomy, but dark, with a veil over the sun. Strange and beautiful with the bare trees, brown gorge, blue river. Greeted Dave, the Daily Walker and few other runners.

10 Things I Noticed

  1. Extremely windy crossing the franklin bridge, pushing us around, kicking up dirt that got in my eyes
  2. After exiting the bridge, a wind gust from behind pushed us on the path. A wild ride!
  3. The trail below, in the east flats, is finally visible
  4. Last week, or sometime not too long ago, I mentioned a missing fence panel. Today, there was caution tape marking it off
  5. The white line they were painting on the road earlier in the week was straight and bright
  6. Running on the east side, looking over at the west and the bright, glowing white of the white sands beach
  7. Crossing lake street bridge: small waves on the water — straight lines parallel to the shore — making it easy to determine the direction of the wind
  8. A small pack of runners approaching us
  9. The scraping of a ski pole on the asphalt from a roller skier in a bright orange vest
  10. A passing runner, tethered to a dog

Here’s an essay? a prose poem? by Mary Ruefle from her collection, My Private Property:

Observations on the Ground/ Mary Ruefle

The planet seen from extremely close up is called the ground. The ground can be made loose by the human hand, or by using a small tool held in the human hand, such as a spade, or an even larger tool, such as a shovel, or a variety of machines commonly called heavy equipment. We bury our dead in the ground. Roughly half the dead are buried in boxes and half the dead are buried without boxes. A burying box is an emblem of respect for the dead. We are the only species to so envelop our dead. An earlier, more minimal, way to envelop the dead was to wrap them in cloth.

Besides burying the dead in the ground, we bury our garbage, also called trash. Man-made mountains of garbage are pushed together using heavy equipment and then pushed down into the ground. The site of this burial is called a landfill. The site of the dead buried in boxes is called a cemetery. In both cases the ground is being filled. A dead body in a box can be lowered into the ground using heavy equipment, but we do not consider it trash. When the dead are not in boxes and there is a man-made mountain of them we do use heavy equipment to bury them together, like trash. It is estimated that everywhere we walk we are walking on a piece of trash and the hard, insoluble remains of the dead. Whatever the case, the dead and the garbage are together in the ground where we cannot see them, for we do not relish the sight or smell of them. If we did not go about our burying, we would be in danger of being overcome.

Also buried in the ground are seeds, which we want to see when they emerge from the ground in their later form–that is, as plants. Plants rising from the ground are essential to life. To bury a seed it to plant it. When a seed is planted and not seen again, those who buried it are made sad. The anticipated plant of wished-upon seed has not materialized. It is dead, and remains buried. Heavy equipment is used to plant large expanses of ground with seed. When a whole field of shivering grain rises from the earth, there is a growing sense of happiness among those who buried the seeds. Happiness is also present when a tree emerges, or a tree that will bear fruit, or leafy green, edible plants that were formerly planted. When flowers arise from the ground, colorful and shapely in an astonishing variety of ways, the living are made especially happy. Not only are flowers admired for their outward beauty of form, but their scents are capable of overcoming us and therefore prized. Nothing, it seems, makes the living as happy as a flower. Flowers are among the most anticipated things on earth. For this reason, we separate the flower from the ground and present it to another to hold or to look at. After a while, the flower that has been separated from the ground dies, and we throw it in the trash. Flowers are often planted where the dead are buried in boxes, but these flowers are never cut. That would be horrible. Whoever did such a thing would be considered a thief. Those flowers belong to the dead.

nov 19/RUN

6 miles
ford loop
29 degrees / feels like 25
wind: 18 mph

No snow yet. Bare pavement. Still time to enjoy running the ford loop before the snow accumulates. Many of the trails on the east side aren’t cleared that well, and neither is the bridge. Usually, I don’t run the ford or franklin loops in the winter. I wasn’t too cold, but the wind was tough. Pushing me around.

10 Things I Noticed

  1. A single black glove on the branch of a bare tree near the side of the trail between the lake street and ford bridges
  2. A plaque on the ground near a bench. I didn’t stop to read it. The plaque looked older than the one I stopped to read last week — that one was from 2008
  3. The wind on the lake street bridge was strong, coming from the side
  4. Far below the lake street bridge: one person, dressed in black, walking the winchell trail right next to the water, another person, not dressed in black, running the trail
  5. My shadow, very faint in front of me, overcast today
  6. The ravine between shadow falls and the monument was completely visible. It looked much wider than it was deep
  7. A city truck hugging the side of the road blowing leaves on the trail. They stopped to let me pass
  8. Another runner ahead of me in black running tights and a bright yellow shirt (or was it a jacket?) with a fanny pack or runner’s belt poking out of the back
  9. Reaching the ford bridge: the huge amount of land that was the ford plant and had been fenced off, was now wide open with trucks everywhere. They’re building houses, condos, businesses, new streets, a new park
  10. The big slab of white in the middle of the river that Scott and I have been wondering about for the last week or so is still there. We determined that it might be a sandbar. Looks like it to me

One of my favorite poetry people, Ilya Kaminsky, posted a great question the other day on twitter. What’s the difference between wonder and astonishment? Here’s the thread. And here are a few of my favorite explanations:

I don’t think anyone is ever filled with astonishment, nor does astonishment invite you in. It’s a presence that leaves you reeling. A prolonged buffet that can make you laugh, or gasp, or scrabble to have thoughts again. Perhaps it’s the assertive version of wonder.

While wonder invites, in a way hard to resist. Can you breathe enough breath? Can you travel enough to glimpse a further side? Can you ever be outside of wonder? Or do you just close your eyes?

@MathJonesPoet

I associate wonder with quiet–when an interior reality mingles with exterior reality (whatever reality means) and for me wonder is often a perhaps, a what if… astonishment is a shock, a jolting awake — it can be delightful or violent or terrifying or a mixture of all three

@motleybookshop

“Wonder” feels closer to something constructed for me, like someone looking back at memories and applying emotion through the passing of time, which can result in something disingenuous or forced. “Astonishment” feels closer to something that happens in the moment—present tense.

@jdsctt

in wonder is a mystery unknown that cannot be known is tenderness,a lingering,a touch of an aetherial wing

state of being&a verb veiled&filled with how,a why a when, a could it be .. astonishment is awe&hit by coup de foudre open mouth&open eye

@purpezwaan

wonder is a continuous state, astonishment strikes then disappears

@nataliejedson

Wonder is a slow freight train going slow over a bridge, & between the cars you see peeks of snowy mountains. (Peeks of peaks?) Astonishment is when you’re on the train, & you round the corner & see the ruins of an old old building, & all the ghosts are visible, present.

@AlyssandraTobin

Wonder puts you in the thing and you become a part of it, maybe reciprocal in a way, astonishment is always outside of you.

@vickymharris

For me, I feel wonder in my gut, it has a shock quality. I process astonishment with my eyes, my eyebrows raise, my mouth opens, akin to awe.

@yoursbc

Some general ideas: wonder is a slow glow, astonishment is a quick flash. Wonder is a way of being, an approach that opens us up. Astonishment temporarily shuts us down, stops us; it is unsustainable as a state. We wonder, astonishment happens to us through shock, surprise. Wonder = curiosity, astonishment = surprise, shock, bewilderment. Wonder deepens time, astonishment freezes it. Wonder is warm, astonishment is burning hot. Wonder starts everything, astonishment ends everything.

nov 17/RUN

5.35 miles
franklin loop
39 degrees / feels like 32
wind: 15 mph / 28 mph gusts

Blustery but bright with a warming sun. My left knee has been stiff at the end of my runs for the past few weeks (months?) and my left foot hurt at the beginning — the result of my new shoes and the strange redesign that is too tight on my toe. Who cares?! It was a great run. Mid to late November when all the leaves are gone and the sun can reach every corner of the forest is my favorite time to run. My love for it is heightened by the knowledge that soon snow will come and these lower trails will be un-runnable until March or April.

Starting sometime last week, I began a series of poems on haunting and haunted. I’ve been using my runs to help me figure out some of the lines. Today, again, it worked. I went out for my run wanting to work on this unfinished line: what is a ghost but… About a mile and a half in, I came up with some ideas: a part of the past we carry with us visible to anyone who notices. I also came up with an ending, connected to these lines: I am both haunting and haunted. I’m very pleased with how helpful my runs have been for my writing lately.

10 Things I Noticed

  1. Running on the east side, near the U, the knocking of a woodpecker somewhere on a wooden kiosk. Was it on the top of the roof? Inside or outside? I stopped to look, but couldn’t tell
  2. Shadows, 1: running above the floodplain forest, the sun was shining down casting shadows everywhere
  3. Shadows, 2: Following my sharp, defined shadow right in front of me
  4. Crossing the franklin bridge: the river was blue and slightly rough from the wind
  5. A city/park/state truck repainting the white line for the bike lane
  6. A city worker halfway up the bridge steps, painting the railing
  7. 2 orange cones and some tape blocking the entrance to the steps
  8. A pile of dead leaves pushed by wind up against the bridge railing
  9. Someone stopped at the overlook on the bridge
  10. Looking down from the lake street bridge at the rowing club: a little cove, dark blue water, a white dock, a line of stone slabs in the river

Here’s a pome that feels very right for today and my thoughts about knees and carrying history with us:

In Passing/ MATTHEW SHENODA

There is something inside
each of us
that scurries toward the past
in our bodies a rooted history
perhaps in the balls of our feet
a microscopic yearning
that floats inside that sphere
yearning in a language we’ve forgotten.

History is too in our knees
in the ball that pops
& twists as we journey.

And for those of us blessed to be old
& for those of us blessed to be young
it lives inside the tiny ball of skin
deep inside the belly button
tickles recollections from our tongues
stories of stories from then—

history lives in circles & spheres

floating

always suspended

waiting for release.

nov 15/RUN

4.75 miles
Veteran’s Home Loop
32 degrees / feels like 26

Colder today. Traces of snow on the ground. Most of the trees bare. Alone on the trail for much of it. Wonderful. Working on a poem about feeling like a ghost, mostly because of my vision — fuzzy, out of focus, disconnected. Thought about that every so often during the run. Stopped on the grounds of the Veteran’s home to record an idea about not feeling fizzy but flat, or a flat fizz? Not so much light but weighted/heavy with distance and separation and invisible layers. Almost protected, wrapped. But…do I feel heavy or something else? Weightless but not light or heavy because in my untethered state, lightness or heaviness aren’t felt so they can’t be used for reference. I am a hovering ghost who is not heavy or light but hidden, unnoticed, lacking substance, insubstantial. Thinking about this more, it might seem like being unnoticed or disconnected is bad/unfortunate/a bummer. Occasionally it is, but mostly I like the freedom it gives me, the chance to observe without being bothered or judged or distracted. Plus, this feeling of being on but not on the path, insulated, is trippy and cool, strange, surreal.

10 Things I Noticed

  1. Entering Minnehaha Regional Park, nearing the falls: the grass was white with snow, the trail was dry and dark gray, the trees light green. A jarring contrast. Spearmint or peppermint popped into my head
  2. Rushing gushing falls churning white foam
  3. Above the falls on the other side of the creek: Big Feet — what FWA, RJP, and I call the tall statue of  Gunner Wennenberg, a Swedish composer, poet, and politician (I looked up on june 27, 2021)
  4. A crow aggressively cawing on someone’s lawn
  5. The oak savanna exposed, no more leaves, the winchell trail below the mesa clearly visible outlined by the light dusting of snow
  6. The river: brown, flat, not looking cold but not warm either
  7. The sidewalk on the high bridge that leads to the Veteran’s Home was snow-covered and slick, icy
  8. Running on the double bridge, around a ravine, the light dusting of white on the deep brown, mulch-covered hill looked like powder sugar
  9. Reaching the 44th street parking lot: yelling laughing kids at the minnehaha academy playground across the road
  10. After my run, walking Delia the dog around the neighborhood, one block over: a huge tree still fully dressed in light green (with a hint of yellow) leaves. Will they turn and fall, or stay all winter?

Still reading Maggie Smith’s Goldenrod. Here’s another poem from it that I really like:

How Dark the Beginning/ Maggie Smith

All we ever talk of is light—
let there be light, there was light then,
good light—but what I consider
dawn is darker than all that.
So many hours between the day
receding and what we recognize
as morning, the sun cresting
like a wave that won’t break
over us—as if light were protective,
as if no hearts were flayed,
no bodies broken on a day
like today. In any film,
the sunrise tells us everything
will be all right. Danger wouldn’t
dare show up now, dragging
its shadow across the screen.
We talk so much of light, please
let me speak on behalf
of the good dark. Let us
talk more of how dark
the beginning of a day is.

Yes. The dark is not always bad. And, while we’re at it, let’s talk some about the “bad” light: too bright, dazzling, disorienting, burning too hot, deceiving, overwhelming/overstimulating. Can I make this poem fit with the November theme of lifting the veil? Maybe lifting the veil, coming out from the dark and into the light, isn’t always good? Or, maybe a veil can be lifted when we stay in the dark?

nov 13/RUN

3.75 miles
marshall loop
32 degrees

Just at freezing, but the feels like temp was in the 20s. I was not cold, but too warm after a few minutes. Next time, I should lose a layer, or maybe the vest? Overcast, not too much wind. Admired the floodplain forest, bare branches with a deep yellowish brown floor. Crossed the river at lake street. Don’t remember the water, but I do remember the 3 people on the shore, near the bridge, with big white garbage bags — volunteers cleaning up? Forgot to look over at shadow falls, or listen for the water that only falls after it’s rained.

Thought about my series of poems on haunting/haunted. The one I’m working on is about all the people who frequent/haunt the trail. I’m calling them, The Regulars. Trying to figure out where and how the Dakota people fit into this idea of the regulars. At first, I thought about using we and thinking very loosely about that “we”– not a community of regulars, but a gathering of people past, present, and future who all frequent/inhabit a space — but this felt wrong, not giving enough room for recognizing who can and can’t inhabit this space and who was forced off of this land. It seems too soon (or ever possible?) to claim a we and it flattens out the differences between how and why the gorge is haunted. I’m not sure how to address this, but I want to devote more time to it and feeling uncomfortable about it—maybe this discomfort and my uncertainty about it is something my poems should circle/orbit around as I struggle to find better words and an understanding?

Here’s a wonderful poem I encountered this morning that connects more broadly to the treatment of indigenous peoples by white settlers and the US government:

Passive Voice/ LAURA DA’

I use a trick to teach students
how to avoid passive voice.

Circle the verbs.
Imagine inserting “by zombies”
after each one.

Have the words been claimed
by the flesh-hungry undead?
If so, passive voice.

I wonder if these
sixth graders will recollect,
on summer vacation,
as they stretch their legs
on the way home
from Yellowstone or Yosemite
and the byway’s historical marker
beckons them to the
site of an Indian village—

Where trouble was brewing.
Where, after further hostilities, the army was directed to enter. 
Where the village was razed after the skirmish occurred.
Where most were women and children.

Riveted bramble of passive verbs
etched in wood—
stripped hands
breaking up from the dry ground
to pinch the meat
of their young red tongues.

nov 12/RUN

5 miles
bottom of franklin hill and back
35 degrees
wet snow flurries!

It begins! Cold air, layers, snow. Winter is almost here. Everything was already wet when I started, then, at some point, it started sleeting or snowing or something in-between. I didn’t care; I had a hood and a water resistant vest. Greeted Dave the Daily Walker and a new regular who I don’t have a name for yet. No distinguishing features that my fuzzy eyes can see–an older man, not too tall or short, not too big or small, white. All I remember is his enthusiasm and the joyful ways he waves or greets me with a “morning.” Am I even sure it’s the same person every time?

When I got to the bottom of the franklin hill I stopped to dictate a line for the poem I’m working on. Yesterday I struggled to get through a section on bells and ghosts. Early this morning, I had a breakthrough but still needed to work on the last line. I figured a run would help, and it did. Hooray for running and its ability to get me unstuck!

After that, I put in a playlist and listened to music for the rest of my run, which made me run about 1 minute per mile faster. I felt like I was flying. Free and fast and untethered.

10 Things I Noticed

  1. The color palatte of the day: light gray, dark brown, spicy mustard yellow, slate blue, light green
  2. Running down the franklin hill noticed that half of the tree line was bare, half was a light green
  3. Running through the tunnel of trees, looking down on the floodplain forest: here you can’t see the river, only an endless stretch of forest floor and bare trees
  4. Almost to the the bottom of the hill, a snow/rain drop fell straight into my eye — ouch
  5. Some geese honking, sounding agitated
  6. A chirping whistling bird, sounding like spring, a woman stopped on the path, craning her neck, looking for the source of these sounds (at least, that’s what I imagine she was doing)
  7. Flashing lights from a parks or city vehicle, glowing brighter in the gloom
  8. The vase of flowers still perched on the ledge below the railroad trestle
  9. A bright white paper towel or plastic bag laying on the path, just past the franklin bridge
  10. A very fast runner that I saw twice in shorts and a bright orange long-sleeved shirt

This poem! So many lines that I love:

In the Meantime/ Max Garland

The river rose wildly every seventh spring
or so, and down the hatch went the town,
just a floating hat box or two, a cradle,
a cellar door like an ark to float us back
into the story of how we drown but never
for good, or long. How the ornate numbers
of the bank clock filled with flood, how
we scraped minute by minute the mud
from the hours and days until the gears
of time started to catch and count again.
Calamity is how the story goes, how
we built the books of the Bible. Not
the one for church, but the one the gods
of weather inscribed into our shoulder
blades and jawbones to grant them grit
enough to work the dumb flour of day
into bread and breath again. The world
has a habit of ending, every grandmother
and father knew well enough never to say,
so deeply was it stained into the brick
and mind. We live in the meantime
is how I remember the length of twilight
and late summer cicadas grinding the air
into what seemed like unholy racket to us,
but for them was the world’s only music.

nov 10/RUN

5.25 miles
franklin loop
44 degrees

Still lots of yellow in the gorge, but leaves are falling fast. Wind, rain, and the possibility of snow flurries this weekend. Overcast, windy, less humid. I ran north to franklin, over the bridge, south on the east side of the river until reaching another bridge, back over to the west side, then home.

10 Things I Noticed

  1. The view down to the floodplain forest was clear; I could see the forest floor, or at least all the yellow leaves on the floor
  2. The view up to the road from the tunnel of trees was clear too; no hiding below the road until spring
  3. The river from the franklin bridge: cold, dark blue, the railroad trestle in the distance
  4. Running under the railroad trestle, I heard some voices, laughing. Looked down: at least 2 people walking up the limestone slab steps on the Winchell Trail
  5. Running under the railroad trestle, 2: a memorial for someone who died–a biker hit by a car? In addition to the hanging white bike, which is always there, a vase of flowers placed on the ledge
  6. Nearing the old stone steps, hearing the yippy bark of a dog slightly below, the sound moving up slowly — was the dog climbing the steps? Yes. When I reached them, there they were: black, tiny, skittering around
  7. The spray of water that hit me as I started my run–not sure what it was from. It happened as I ran by a neighbor’s house, where a loud machine that looked like a pump, attached to a hose, was set up. Was it an exploding sprinkler? Would I have been able to avoid this if I could see better?
  8. A shorter, older woman with white hair, slightly hunched, walking fast
  9. A taller, younger woman with a pony tail and jutting elbows, also walking fast
  10. After my run was finished, walking the last few blocks: wind chimes!

A great run. I’m working on a long, sequence poem about haunts, haunting, and haunted, and I had a few good thoughts, like the idea of haunting (frequenting, traveling on, slightly floating above) the path/trail as being (happily) out of touch. Disconnected. I thought about the image of a phone being off the hook and eavesdropping, to listen in, overhear, catch bits of someone else’s conversation. Everything an opportunity to be curious and imagine/guess what’s being said without needing to connect that imagination to reality. To fly, float, have freedom, be freed from concerns, worries, the need to be productive.

Yesterday, working on this poem, which is in the form of 3 syllable/2 syllable lines, I thought about Lorine Niedecker and the short, stubby form of her poems. I think she’s an inspiration. Here’s a bit from one of her longer poems, Wintergreen Ridge. (note: in addition to having short lines, this poem travels across the page, broken up into 3 lines, the first with no indentation, the second with one indent, the third with two, on repeat throughout the poem. Mary Oliver does something like this too. Did she take inspiration from Niedecker? Anyway, I’m being lazy or rushed, so I’m not doing the fiddly, extra formatting required (lots of  s) for spacing it.

Wintergreen Ridge/Lorine Niedecker

Life is natural
in the evolution
of matter

Nothing supra-rock
about it
simply

butterflies

***

(autumn?)

Sometimes it’s a pleasure
to grieve
or dump

the leaves most brilliant
as do trees
when they’ve no need

of an overload
of cellulose
for a cool while

Nobody, nothing
ever gave me
greater thing

than time
unless light
and silence

which if intense
makes sound
Unaffected

by man

I love Niedecker and her condensing ways!

nov 8/RUN

6 miles
ford loop
50 degrees

Another nice, late fall run. My cold is almost gone. Sun, not too much wind, lower humidity. I have decided that the ford loop is my favorite fall loop for 2021.

10+ Things I Noticed

  1. Sibilant sounds coming up from the ravine where Shadow Falls is located — possibly wind, but most likely falling water
  2. On the lake street bridge: a trail and some sort of disruption of the water. In my periphery, it always looked like something was there, but when I turned to use my central vision, nothing. Dead cones or faulty peripheral vision?
  3. The memorial plastic flowers leaning on the railing on the st. paul side are slowly falling apart
  4. The view down into the ravine by shadow falls is much clearer than before: a veil lifted. Looking down from the trail above, the gorge isn’t deep but wide and strangely shaped
  5. Also from the view above the ravine: the direction of the sun cast my shadow down in the ravine. As I ran above, she ran below next to the trickling water
  6. A small plaque on a random rock that I didn’t stop to read
  7. The tangy smell of decomposing leaves. Sometimes this smell is sweet, or almost too sweet, but today it was sharp and not quite salty — sour?
  8. At the last parking lot before reaching the ford bridge: an information sign with the history of the forming of the gorge. Some accounts claim the river warren arrived to carve the gorge starting 10,000 years, some 12,000 years, this sign: 13,000 years
  9. My aching toe! The toe box of my new shoe is rubbing against my big toe. It hurt whenever I ran downhill
  10. Crossing the ford bridge: small ripples on the very dark blue water caused by the wind, making a pattern I could see, a texture I could almost feel
  11. The stretch of the sky covered with a ripped veil of clouds

Thinking more about #5, my shadow down in the ravine. As I watched it below me, I thought about ghosts and shadows and faint traces of things not quite here. I imagined the shadow as a different version of me, having the chance to run below in the ravine. And I thought (again, because I’m sure I’ve thought this before) about these quick moments or flashes of something else — shadows, faint trails, breaks in the trees, a disembodied sound coming from somewhere un-locatable — as opportunities, possibilities, evidence of other ways of being or doing. Are these things real? That’s not the point. They’re suggestions or indications, other options.

Before I went out for my run, I skimmed through Mary Oliver’s The Leaf and the Cloud. I was trying to get myself primed for thinking about veils and lifting them. I settled on this bit at the end of a section titled, “Work”:

I will sing for the veil that never lifts.
I will sing for the veil that begins, once in a lifetime,
maybe, to lift.
I will sing for the rent in the veil.
I will sing for what is in front of the veil, the
floating light.
I will sing for what is behind the veil—
light, light, and more light.

This is the world, and this is the work of the world.

These are the lines that I read on the window of neighbor’s house that inspired to find this book and to devote a month to Mary Oliver.

Rent: to rend, or tear, split violently, break apart, wrest, pierce

One of the reasons I love late fall, after the leaves have fallen and before the snow comes, is because it is when I have the best view of the river, the gorge, the other side. The veil of leaves and excessive greenery has temporarily lifted. For a few years, I’ve been trying to understand why I like it so much, especially when it seems to be a time of sadness and loss and dread for so many other people. I think this lifting of the veil is a useful way for me to think about it: a better view, more space, a chance to breathe and stretch and connect with things usually hidden, covered, concealed. I like the idea of lifting much better than renting/rending. This lifting is not violent or destructive.

One (boring?) thing I’ve been noticing that I never see when the trees are choked with leaves: cars parked at parking lots on the other side of the river. Today I noticed a white car, glimmering in the sunlight, positioned amongst a line of bare tree trunks. Why do I find this interesting? Maybe because it helps to orient me in relation to the other side or because it’s evidence that more than trees are over there (usually a view of the other side seems the same: tree after tree after tree, and nothing else).

nov 7/RUN

3.15 miles
turkey hollow
50 degrees
humidity: 81%

Shorts weather. Overcast, everything a brassy yellow with brown and gray. A nice run in my new shoes. Cold update: almost gone. Just a thin layer of crud lining the throat, lungs, in the nose. Slighter harder to breathe when running.

Went to Gustavus Adolphus College for FWA’s first fall band concert yesterday. Very cool. I love that he’s attending the same school Scott and I did. It’s so great to go back and remember where my life began. Before the concert we walked around the arboretum/prairie, to a big sculpture of a bison on a small hill. As we walked the mowed grass trail, we saw a “river of birds” above our heads (love this phrase, river of birds, which is how a friend from band that we saw at the concert described it). Thousands of birds flying above us, their wings flapping like thunder. I think they might be starlings or swallows? An amazing thing to witness — the whole sky filled, looking like static. A few times, right above our heads, the birds would split up, with a mass of them flying left of us, another mass flying right.

At some point during my run, I began counting in 3s and doing triple berry chants: strawberry/blueberry/raspberry — raspberry/blackberry/gooseberry. I added in mystery and later: ri/ver/road ri/ver/gorge run/ning/path thir/ty/eighth (for 38th street steps) tres/tle/bridge. I stuck mostly with the meter: stressed/unstressed/unstressed. I should remember what meter this is, but I always forget: is it iambic or anapest. I started chanting those two: an/a/pest — i/am/bic Sometimes An/a/pest, sometimes an/a/Pest I/am/bic i/am/Bic

Just looked it up:

anapest = unstressed unstressed stressed
iambic = stressed unstressed
dactyl = stressed unstressed unstressed

So, it was dactyls, not iambic or anapest. I KNOW I’ve written about this a few years ago, and I’ve reviewed it many times. Will I ever remember? I think I should print it out and put it under the glass on my desk, so I can look at it all the time.

Anyway, as I was thinking about meter and form, I decided that I’d like to use triples — with dactyls and anapests — as the meter (or form?) for another poem about haunting, with the theme of a faint trail, the trace, the worn dirt as path and evidence of others, the residue/remains as offering (poem, an alleluia on the page, Mary Oliver).

Here’s a poem that fits with this idea of what remains (or refuses to die/leave?, that persists, offers up something unexpected or not quite locatable):

Perennials/ Maggie Smith

Let us praise the ghost gardens
of Gary, Detroit, Toledo—abandoned
lots where perennials wake
in competent dirt & frame the absence
of a house. You can hear
the sound of wind, which isn’t
wind at all, but leaves touching.
Wind itself can’t speak. It needs another
fo chime against, knock around.
Again & again the wind finds its tongue,
but its tongue lives outside
of its rusted mouth. Forget the wind.
Let us instead praise meadow & ruin,
weeds & wildflowers seeding
years later. Let us praise the girl
who lives in what they call
a transitional neighborhood—
another way of saying not dead?
Or risen from it? Before running
full-speed through the sprinkler’s arc,
she tells her mother, who kneels
in the garden: Pretend I’m racing
someone else. Pretend I’m winning.

nov 6/RUN

3.1 miles
marshall loop
46 degrees

Ran with Scott up the Marshall hill and around Shadow Falls on the east side of the river. Stopped a little short. Warmer this morning. Still humid. We both greeted Dave the Daily Walker. I felt over-dressed a few minutes in. Tried out my new Saucony’s: black with light pink soles. Very nice. I’ve wanted black shoes for a couple of years now.

10 Things I Noticed

  1. River, 1: Running over the lake street bridge, the water was a few different shades of blue: dark blue near the bridge, then gradually lightening as it moved downstream
  2. River, 2: The white heat of water through a break in the trees. Mostly woods, with one sliver of the river
  3. River, 3: Sparkly, shiny, a cylinder of light traveling from one shore to the other
  4. Passing by a full black garbage bag on the bridge
  5. The clicking and clacking of roller skier approaching from behind
  6. At least 3 different small packs of runners on the east side of the river
  7. No rowers, no geese, no crows
  8. My shadow, off the side, her pony-tail swishing
  9. Passing lots of walkers on the bridge without worrying about covid
  10. Leaving the house, about the start the run, admiring our front tree on full display: brighter than gold

Yesterday, I started working on a poem (or a series of poems?) based on my October focus on ghosts and haunting. I’ve decided to use my rhythmic breathing pattern as the form: couplets with 1 three syllable line and 1 two syllable line (3/2). Here’s a bit that I like about going over the same trail, again and again that doesn’t fit in my current poem (and maybe doesn’t quite work?):

retread. Thread
needle

after need-
le stitch

stitch after
stitch use

the pattern
follow

directions
stay straight

but not quite
keeping

track losing
your place

untethered
let loose

nov 4/RUN

4.75 miles
Veteran’s Home Loop*
35 degrees
humidity: 84%

*a new loop: south on the river road trail to Minnehaha Regional Park, up the steps and over the falls. Follow the trail along the fence, past the John Stevens House. Take the bridge to the grounds of the Veteran’s Home. Go through a parking lot, up some steps, to the trail near the edge that leads down to Locks and Dam Number One. Rejoin the river road trail heading north until you reach the parking lot with the entrance to the Winchell Trail. Take the Winchell trail north to the Oak Savanna.

A good run. Cold update: It lingers. Still stuffed up, but continuing to feel better. A little harder to run because of the crud in my throat + a few raggedy coughs. Another sunny day with not much wind. So humid. I want my cold, crisp air!

10 Things I Noticed

  1. A haze in the air from the sun illuminating the humidity. Running above the oak savanna, everything was even softer, out of focus than (my) usual, filtered through the damp air
  2. Still above the Oak Savanna: I can see more of the mesa now that more leaves have left
  3. The river was glowing white with sunlight
  4. Not too many people on the trails — hardly any walkers or runner or bikers. Just 2 roller skiers
  5. Stopped at the spot on the Winchell Trail where the man had been using a hacksaw last week to check what he had done. Nothing, as far as I could tell
  6. At its start, just after the slabbed steps, the Winchell Trail, which had been covered in leaves last week, was clear. Minneapolis Parks must have cleared out the leaves sometime this week
  7. The bridge over to the Veteran’s Home, high above the trail below — the trail that follows the creek after it has fallen all the way to the Mississippi River — has a chainlink fence that makes it difficult to see below, especially when the sun is shining directly on it
  8. Running on the edge of the bluff, I heard the roaring of the water as it rushed over the dam at Locks and Dam Number One, then I saw it: a wall of white water
  9. A turkey crossing! Near turkey hollow, I encountered at least 5 turkeys, almost all the way across the road
  10. At the end of my run in the Oak Savanna, I heard a bird crying out. I stopped to locate it: a white-ish bird in a small nest in a nearby tree. I can’t remember the sound it made and have no idea what kind of bird it is — was it the mother, protecting her young? Do any birds nest in the fall?

Just looked it up and yes, some birds do nest in the fall. I didn’t know that. I’m thinking it might have been a mourning dove. They nest in the spring, but can lay eggs as late as October. Wow.

Prints/Tracks/Traces

The poem of the day on poetry foundation reminded me of part of a poem I read last month and then wrote about in a document titled, “October’s Apparitions.” I like the multiple meanings of the title. Prints, as in photographs, but also fingerprints. I thought about prints as tracks too — not yet a trail, but evidence of someone or something else there before you.

Prints/ Joseph Bruchac

Seeing photos
of ancestors
a century past

is like looking
at your own
fingerprints—

circles 
and lines
you can’t 
recognize

until someone else
with a stranger’s eye
looks close and says
that’s you.

Here’s the part of the poem that I posted/wrote about in October:

from Seven Types of Shadow / U A Fanthorpe

We carry our human ghosts around with us.
As we grow we face the mirrors, and see
The specter of a great-aunt, a vague look
Known only from sepia snapshots. The hands we’re used to —
Yes, these — their contours came by way of a long retinue
Of dust. We are photofits of the past,
And the future eyes us sideways as we eye ourselves.
We are the ghosts of great-aunts and grand-nephews.
We are ghosts of what is dead and not yet born. 

And here is what I wrote on oct 15th:

Who, from my family, do I look like? What characteristics of others do I have? Whose nose? I don’t know/remember too many of my relatives, so it’s difficult to imagine who I might look like…[pause to look at pictures of relatives] I couldn’t find much resemblance. I’m not sure who from the past is like me, but my daughter is like me in her posture — she swims like me, she walks like me, she has my shoulders and non-existent eyebrows. I like the idea of the traces of others within us — what we pass on, the gestures and the expressions — there is love in the passing on, even if or when there’s not much connection or love in the relationships. We are ghosts of what is dead and not yet born. I like this idea of all these different times mingling together.

Interesting…reduced to body parts — ghosts as that which we inherited…makes me think of the cone dystrophy — whose bad vision did I inherit? How many others have had it? And which side of the family? My sister has mentioned a grandmother who was blind—did she have cone dystrophy, or was it something else? Thinking about first talking with the doctor and the idea of how it skips generations, jumping around in families so you don’t know where it came from — a ghost not attached to anyone, unknown. So much unknown…

The comfort of a known ghost. To look at someone and see yourself in them or them in you. To know they are the ghost you are passing on. What do you do with not knowing? Is it necessary to know? Do you want to find out? What do you do about you kids? 

pages document/ oct 15, 2021

Re-reading this, I’m thinking more about how invisible, or at least very difficult to see, cone dystrophy is. It’s rare and has such a wide range of symptoms, presenting differently even in the same families. And, it skips generations and moves around families: a great-aunt might have it, but not a grandparent or parent. I’m not sure when it was first discovered — even now in 2021, so much is not known about it and the diagnosis of it falls under the vague, blanket term, “cone dystrophy,” which stands in for all sorts of cone-related vision problems. If it existed in families a generation or two ago, it was very likely it was not discovered. No understanding or diagnosis. No treatment. No prints (no evidence revealed in photos or through a doctor’s diagnosis). Instead, only faint tracks or trails: a story about someone having bad vision when they got older, knitting even though they couldn’t see what they were doing. My dad’s family, poor and living in rural upper peninsula Michigan, and before that, rural Finland, most likely had very little or no access to an ophthalmologist that would look for or understand cone dystrophy.

Cone dystrophy is inherited, most likely an autosomal recessive inheritance (AR). If I understand it correctly, I have a 50% chance of passing it on to my kids, but they only carry it if both Scott and I have it, and they only have a 25% chance of being affected by it (and, even if they are affected by it, their symptoms might be very mild or hard to detect). [source: Cone/Cone-rod dystrophy for patients] My experience of it, with most of my cones in my central vision gone and a good chance of becoming legally blind, is rare. So, I’m not too worried about my kids. Instead, I am fascinated by where it came from and the strange, unlikely path it has taken to get to me. What ghosts have passed it on unknowingly? To this I’ll add: I’m not sure if I need to know who it is from, or get an accurate map of how it’s traveled; I am more interested in the idea that it’s hard to track and what it means to live with unknown/unnamed ghosts.

Taking this idea of what our ghosts pass on to us in a different direction, I’m reminded of something I read in Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth a few years ago about the diseases we carry in us unknowingly, maybe from birth, maybe not:

Franny’s father, Fix, says, “People are scared of the wrong things… We go around thinking that what’s going to get us is waiting on the other side of the door: it’s outside, it’s in the closet, but it isn’t like that. . . For the vast majority of the people on this planet, the thing that’s going to kill them is already on the inside.” 

Ann Patchett/ Commonwealth

Does this make sense? Will it be useful to future Sara?

I began working on the tracks/prints part of this entry before my run. The last thing I thought about before I left flowed from it: What are the connections between my vision loss and running by the gorge? Some of it is directly related; I’m gathering words, images, metaphors about my vision while I run. Some of it is more a matter of them happening at the same time.

nov 3/RUN

5.25 miles
franklin loop
34 degrees
humidity: 70%

A bright, sunny late fall day. Not gray but golden. I over-dressed; tricked by a feels like temperature that was below freezing. One shirt too many. Ran north on the west river road, over the franklin bridge, south on the east river road, then over the lake street bridge. Breathing was more difficult today, mainly because I have entered a new phase of my cold: the stuffed-up, crudded-up phase. It bothers me, but not too much. I’m happy to be past the last phase, which made me anxious: the feeling of something sitting in my throat, always almost about to turn into cement in my chest. It never did, but throughout the day I imagined a future of not breathing, ventilators, the ICU. Ridiculous, of course. The fear of covid has really messed me up. I used to be an “easy” sick person — at least, I think I was? — but now, I’m a bit of a wimp about it all. Always looking to the future, worrying what my sickness could become.

10 Things I Noticed

  1. 4 stones stacked on the ancient boulder
  2. A view of the glowing white river through the bare trees near the floodplain forest
  3. Near Meeker Dam, on the St. Paul side: a mix of bare limbs, with yellow and green leaves
  4. So many views through the trees lining the bluffs: a smear of yellow or red, then open space with trails winding down to the river
  5. A little kid near the trail with an adult. The adult saying something about having a good run. The kid calling out at least 3 times, “Bye” “Bye” “Bye”
  6. An enthusiastic and friendly walker: “Good morning!” or was it just “Morning”? I’ve noticed that usually others say “morning” to me. I always respond, “Good morning.” Is it a regional difference? A east coast or southern thing to say both words, or is it just me?
  7. On the St. Paul side, somewhere up the hill just past Meeker Dam, someone has removed one of the black iron fence panels. The spot where it’s missing doesn’t lead anywhere. It’s been this way for a few weeks. Who did it and why? Will it be replaced sometime soon?
  8. Starting my run, heading north, the air was calm, everything quiet, until a car came by blasting music quickly distorted by the doppler effect. Instead of bothering me, this disruption enabled me to notice and appreciate how quiet it was when the car was no longer there
  9. The faintest trace of my shadow in front of me as I ran north at the beginning of my run
  10. Honking geese — only 2 or 3 honks + 1 chickadee calling out, “chick-a-dee-dee-dee”

Here’s the last bit of a poem that I posted on this log in November of 2019:

from November/ Lucy Larcom

This is the month of sunrise skies  
      Intense with molten mist and flame;  
Out of the purple deeps arrive  
      Colors no painter yet could name: 
Gold-lilies and the cardinal-flower  
Were pale against this gorgeous hour.  

Still lovelier when athwart the east 
      The level beam of sunset falls:
The tints of wild-flowers long deceased  
       Glow then upon the horizon walls;  
Shades of the rose and violet
Close to their dear world lingering yet.  

What idleness, to moan and fret  
       For any season fair, gone by!  
Life’s secret is not guessed at yet; 
       Veil under veil its wonders lie.  
Through grief and loss made glorious  
The soul of past joy lives in us.  

More welcome than voluptous gales  
       This keen, crisp air, as conscience clear:  
November breathes no flattering tales;—  
       The plain truth-teller of the year,  
Who wins her heart, and he alone,  
Knows she has sweetness all her own.

Love the idea of “veil under veil its wonders lie” with the description of November as “the plain truth-teller of the year”

nov 1/RUN

4.25 miles
marshal loop + extra*
36 degrees/ feels like 30

*the extra was running back from st. paul over the other side of the bridge, which dumps out on the west river road at the top of a hill, instead of its bottom

Last week when FWA was home from college, he had a cold. Not covid, but a cold. He gave it to RJP, who had it late last week, who then gave it to me this weekend. The cycle for all of us seems to be the same: 1. a scratchy throat which blooms into a sore throat over night; 2. sore throat, some fatigue, then feeling fine except for the sore throat; 3. a little more fatigue and lots of mucous (sniffing, clearing throat, coughing); and 4. losing your voice. Today, I’m in stage 3. Felt tired and unmotivated this morning, but decided that is was too nice of a morning not to go run. Besides, I always feel better when I’m running, especially when I’m sick. Strange as it seems to me, when I’m sick, which isn’t that often, I always forget about it when I’m running. I’m surprised that having a cold isn’t stressing me out. It feels very different than my usual stuffed up/sinus infections, and makes me wonder how much those are triggered by anxiety. The body is a freaky, strange thing.

I ran north on the river road to the lake street bridge. Then over it and up the marshall hill. Right on Cretin, back over to the river, down the hill above shadow falls, under the lake street bridge, up the stairs on the far side, over the bridge and back to minneapolis. Down the hill, up the other side, beside the old stone steps, through the tunnel of tree, past the ravine.

10 Things I Noticed

  1. The Welcoming Oaks were bare
  2. 3 stones stacked on the ancient boulder
  3. More leaves have fallen in the floodplain forest. Almost a view to the river
  4. The river looked cold and slate blue, clear, from the bridge
  5. The sky was overcast and gray, which makes everything even fuzzier with my vision
  6. Between 32nd and lake street, the Winchell Trail, far below the river road trail, was visible. No more leaves concealing it and generating more mystery
  7. Running above shadow falls, I saw a truck on the other side of the ravine now that limbs are bare, which enabled me to see how the trail and road curve sharply around the wide gulch made by the river jutting in
  8. The railroad trestle, from the other side of lake street bridge
  9. A runner in an orange sweatshirt and orange stocking cap, running smoothly with a steady, high cadence, looking relaxed
  10. The wind rushing by my covered ears on the bridge

I love October, and I love November almost as much. I am not sad about the falling leaves and the coming snow. I’m excited about what it brings: winter running, better views, bare branches, mysteries solved, fresher air. Here’s a poem I post almost every year. This year, I want to take 5 minutes to memorize it (finally):

Fall, leaves, fall/ EMILY BRONTË

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.

This poem is the first for my November theme: lifting the veil. I plan to explore poems and ideas about this liminal time when the leaves are gone, and the snow has not yet arrived.