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
- Sibilant sounds coming up from the ravine where Shadow Falls is located — possibly wind, but most likely falling water
- 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?
- The memorial plastic flowers leaning on the railing on the st. paul side are slowly falling apart
- 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
- 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
- A small plaque on a random rock that I didn’t stop to read
- 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?
- 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
- My aching toe! The toe box of my new shoe is rubbing against my big toe. It hurt whenever I ran downhill
- 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
- 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
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).