june 24/RUN

4 miles
river road trail, north/south
82 degrees / dew point: 63
9:30 am

82 degrees is not fun, and 9:30 is too late to go out in the summer. Even so, I’m glad I went out for a run. A lot of my energy was devoted to enduring the heat, so I’m not sure how much I remember about the run. I will try to make a list of 10 things:

`10 Things I Remember Even Though I Was Hot and Tired and Uncomfortable

  1. Greeting Dave, the Daily Walker
  2. Also greeting Mr. Morning!
  3. the dirt on the trail was loose and sandy and a light tan — so dry!
  4. a man was standing under the lake street bridge looking at his phone
  5. was that his bike on the other side of the porta potty?
  6. chirping chipmunks down in the gorge
  7. several of the benches along the trail were occupied
  8. 2 bikers converging from different directions at the entrance to the greenway bike trail, one much faster than the other — I briefly wondered if they would run into each other
  9. at least twice, I felt sweat dripping off of my elbow. Where was it coming from? My pony tail?
  10. heard near a 3-way stop: funk music from a car stereo

No view of the river, roller skiers, roller bladers, fat tires, big packs of runners training for a race. No eliptigos (I saw one the other day) or rowers.

overheard on the trail

one: one walker, an older man, saying to another: “He doesn’t know about…”. What doesn’t he know about, and (why) is it a problem? This might make a good title for a poem.

two: again, 2 walkers. An older woman to a younger man: “Well, Bob and Anne had heart attacks, but they both seem to be doing okay.” Wow.

Stumbled upon this great poem by the strangley wonderful, CA Conrad.

excerpts from TL;DR/ CA Conrad

*

Find something colorful outside the grocery store. I found bright blue chewing gum smeared on the parking lot.

Get close to it; study the color with a magnifying glass if you have one. Take notes for a poem.

Go in the store, look for the color on a product label. You will find it. Take your time. A perfect match for the blue chewing gum was the blue half-moon marshmallow on a box of cereal.

Take more notes for a poem. What intersections did these two objects with the same color make for you? The gum and half-moon marshmallow were the intersections of temperature and texture for me. Take more notes for a poem.

*

Each evening for a week, go for a walk. Stop 3 times to narrate what you see 360 degrees around you into a recorder on your phone or another device.

Try to list what you see, “A cat crossing a roof, a car playing Lady Gaga parked below, a blue postal box, a LOTTERY sign flashing in gas station window.”

When you see one object on your walk that holds your attention, closely examine it while narrating what it looks like. Where could it have come from?

Go home and sit on the floor inside a dark closet. Listen to your recording. When you reach the part about the object you had carefully scrutinized, do not focus on what you narrated but on why you aimed your attention at the object in the first place. Take notes for a poem.

*

Get a clear drinking glass, a pitcher of water, and a black Magic Marker.

Make a black line on the middle of the drinking glass.

Place your face near the glass on the table. Pour water while carefully listening and watching it hit the mark; do this 3 times.

Pour the water a fourth time with eyes closed, letting your ears remember the mark. You have successfully braided your eyes and ears.

Now sit back, close your eyes, and listen to the most immediate sounds in the building. Let the layers reveal themselves, shifting to what you hear further away, then further.

When you feel you have heard everything, wait. Sit there a little longer, listening for the faintest of traffic in the sky or a faraway rumble. Take notes for a poem.

This poem comes from an entire issue devoted to Attention!

june 23/BIKESWIMBIKE x 2

bike: 8 miles
lake nokomis and back
85 degrees
8:00 am

A slow bike ride through the neighborhood with my 19 year old son, FWA. We talked a lot about “The Walking Dead,” which he is currently watching, and I’ve never seen. From video games to tv shows, I always appreciate his insights when he’s describing them to me.

swim: testing out the water
water temp: 78 degrees

I’m trying to be as chill as I can about FWA agreeing to swim across the lake with me this summer so I don’t overwhelm him, but it makes me so happy to get to share this thing I love with him. He did 5 years of swim team before high school, but he hasn’t been in any water for 6 years. This first time in the lake went pretty well. He has a long way to go to build up the stamina to make it across (600 yards) and back again, but I think he’ll be able to do it. Hooray!

bike: 8.5
lake nokomis and back
94 degrees
4:45 pm (there) / 6:30 (back)

Biked to open swim club. So hot! I really felt the heat on the way over. I can’t remember anything but feeling hot and happy that I could see well enough to bike. On the way back, I didn’t feel as hot, but I still don’t remember much about the bike ride. It’s hard for me to be open to noticing while I’m biking. I have to devote so much energy to staying alert and concentrating on the path. It can be tiring.

swim: 2 very choppy loops
lake nokomis open swim
94 degrees
5:30 pm

So choppy today. Very big swells and waves. Lots of breathing to one side. In the middle of my first loop, feeling very tired from the waves which seemed to want to drag me under, I remember thinking, “I’m only doing 1 loop today.” But, rounding the final buoy and swimming parallel to the big beach, I decided I could try one more.

I was going to do a list of 10 things I noticed, but instead here’s one image that I want to remember: finishing up my swim, standing in the shallow water and recovering from my effort, I heard so much noise from the beach and the swimming area — not individual voices as much a din of voices. A loud roar. I wonder what the decibal level of the beach was tonight? This loud noise was a sharp contrast to the absence of sound out in the middle of the lake. Out there, all I could hear was the sloshing of water.

june 22/RUN

5.35 miles
franklin hill
71 degrees
8:30 am

A little cooler today. I opened the windows and let in some fresh air before I went out for my run. Ran north on the river road trail. Was thinking about taking the Franklin loop, but then I saw a roller skier at the top of the hill and decided to go to the bottom of the hill and back up it again. I was imagining that I’d meet the roller skier again on the hill somewhere. Halfway down I realized they weren’t coming. I was a little disappointed because I never got to hear the clicking and the clacking of their poles. Oh well, they got me to run down this hill, closer to the river, so it worked out. When I reached the bottom of the hill, I decided to turn around and walk back up it. Then I pulled out my phone and made note of something I just heard: the voice of a male coxswain! Rowers! A few miles earlier, I had heard the female coxswain instructing some rowers. 2 groups of rowers and a roller skier. So many of my favorite things to encounter!

a new experiment

Speaking into my phone at the bottom of the hill gave me an idea for an experiment that I might want to try again. Run to the bottom of the hill. Turn around and as you walk back up it, pay attention. What do you notice? How many different sounds can you hear? What do you see? Speak some of your observations into your phone. Here’s my recording for today:

june 22nd

transcript, a series of recordings:

one: June 22nd again. Walking up from the bottom of the franklin hill. First interruption was the coxswain’s voice, a female voice, giving instructions, first calmly, and then more enthusiastically, trying to pump them up for a hard effort. And then, later, running down the franklin hill, getting to the I-94 bridge, underneath it, hearing another coxswain, this time a male voice, talking to rowers. I could hear the smooth, soft entering of the oars. Nothing awkward or clunky about this one, but it might have been that I was too far away, and there were too many noises. [this is a reference to a description from a few weeks ago of the awkward sound oars breaking the surface of the water.]

two: 2 sounds mixing together. First, the soft rustling of the wind through the trees, almost a shimmering. And then a bike passing and the whirr of the wheel, sounding just like the wind.

three: Listening to the wind some more, it sounds somewhat like a waterfall or water trickling down gently, or a soft shower.

four: I can hear the grit under my shoes as I walk, especially under the Franklin Bridge where it’s amplified. Also, rustling off to the side in the bushes — a squirrel or a bird or a chipmunk or something else? [the rhythmic footsteps of a runner passing] A runner passing me. I like watching their feet rhythmically moving. It’s mesmerizing to watch, especially when it’s a good steady runner like this one. Just the bottom of their feet, their shoes are black, and to me, as they get farther away it just looks like a black ball, a circle, that’s bouncing from side to side. Maybe with my fuzzy vision I can’t even tell that there’s a shoe or a leg connected to it. It just looks like a black ball bouncing back and forth, steady, which is quite impressive because they’re running up a decent hill.

five: [the sound of chirping birds]

After I almost reached the top of the hill, I put in my headphones and listened to a shuffle of Taylor Swift’s Lover. First up: “ME!”. This song helped me lock into a fast, steady cadence. I ran faster for most of the way back — stopping for a few quick breaks. I remember waving to Mr. Morning! and passing a few runners. Oh — and I heard the female coxswain’s voice again. I pulled out a headphone and listened for a few seconds.

fill in the blank

About a mile and a half into my run, I overheard one woman walker say to another: “I mean, I wasn’t arrogant or anything, I just said ______.” I was past them before I could hear what she said. What did she say? I’ll never know, but I can imagine. This reminds me of a poem I wrote last fall:

vii.

Eavesdrop
on the words
scattered
by wind and
careless
voices. Not
concerned
with manners,
no need
to be nice.
Feel the
disconnect
between
you, the path,
other
people. Free,
off the
hook, unseen,
able
to listen
in, to
overhear
and not
be judged, to
invent
dialogue,
give it
another
ending,
turn it all
into
a better
story.

june 21/RUNBIKESWIMBIKE

run: 2.25 miles
river road trail, north/south
73 degrees
humidity: 87% / dew point: 73!
7:45 am

I ran north on the river road to the top of the hill just past the lake street bridge. Stopped for a minute, then turned around and headed back. Sunny, but with lots of shade. Forgot to look at the river.

73 for the dew point? That’s bad, or “extremely uncomfortable,” according to Runner’s World. Yes, it was. Do I remember anything other than being uncomfortably warm?

10 Things I Noticed

  1. rower’s voices from down below!
  2. 3 stones stacked on the boulder
  3. a man fully covered in black sweatpants and a black jacket, with a white towel around his neck. Aren’t you hot, I thought as I passed him
  4. dark in the tunnel of trees, difficult to see if other people were there
  5. the pedestrian part of the double-bridge between 33rd and 32nd streets is overgrown with vines and bushes and leaves. Makes it harder to see if someone’s coming the other way, and narrower, making it harder to pass. Thankfully, no collisions today
  6. the small stretch of dirt trail that I take as the path nears the lake street bridge is wet — I think there was a brief, strong storm last night, or was that a dream?
  7. a group of 3 fast bikers riding on the road, a cautious car following behind
  8. a darting squirrel
  9. a flash of movement of the leaves beside the trail – was the flash from the sun hitting the leaves just right, or a critter — a bird or chipmunk or squirrel?
  10. later in my run, encountered Mr. black sweatsuit with white towel again. He said a soft, “morning,” and I nodded my head as a reply

Wow. Finding 10 things today took some thinking and remembering and getting past my overriding feelings of heat and discomfort. Such a great exercise in noticing!

Oh — I almost completely forgot: I also chanted in triple berries. Lots of strawberry/blueberry/raspberry and gooseberry/blackberry/red berry to keep my feet striking steadily. Added in a few mystery/history/mystery, which didn’t quite work, and butterscotch/chocolate sauce/caramel, and please don’t stop. Now I wish I had done more of them. I love the triple berry chants.

At the end of my walk, I listened to my first lecture for the class I’m teaching. I’m asking the students to listen to it on their first walk or run outside. I’m doing this partly because I’d like to make outside be the classroom space as much as possible, and partly because I think listening while moving can help you hear/process the words differently than when you’re inside, sitting still. One thought about the lecture: will my voice put them to sleep?

Mostly I don’t use headphones, but I do like to listen to podcasts or music sometimes. It’s strange how ideas or stories I’ve heard while running get imprinted on where I was on the trail. Even now, years later, as I run below the lake street bridge, I often think of the first season of Serial. Running from downtown to the Bohemian Flats, I think about an episode of “On Being” with Eula Biss. Listening to music or podcasts while moving might seem like a distraction from giving attention to a place, and it can be. But it can also be a chance to create a map of a place, connecting ideas that matter to you with locations that you move through regularly. Does that make sense?

Many people have strong opinions about whether or not you should be listening to anything while you’re moving. Although I do move much more without headphones, I like wearing them too. In my first year of doing this running project, I wrote a series of four acrostic poems exploring this no headphones/playlist debate: Playlist/No Headphones, some reflections

note: I’m typing this paragraph an hour later. When I was writing about headphones and listening, I thought there was something else I wanted to say, but it had drifted from my mind. It came back, in the midst of thinking about podcasts.

When I listen to podcasts, I always wear headphones, not broadcasting them to anyone else on the trail. For the most part, I prefer that others listen with headphones too. Yet, even as I write this, I’m reminded of how hearing someone’s irritating TEDtalk inspired a poem, and how I find some delight in hearing a song blasting from a bike speaker, especially if it’s accompanied by the Doppler effect.

Found this Ann Carson poem on twitter this morning:

Could I/ Ann Carson

If you are not the free person you want to be, you must find a place to tell the truth about that. To tell how things go for you. Candor is like a skein being produced inside the belly day after day, it has to get itself woven out somewhere. You could whisper down a well. You could write a letter and keep it in a drawer. You could inscribe a curse on a ribbon of lead and bury it in the ground to be unread for thousands of years. The point is not to find a reader, the point is the telling itself. Consider a person standing alone in a room. The house is silent. She is looking down at a piece of paper. Nothing else exists. All her veins go down into this paper. She takes her pen and writes on it some marks no one else will ever see, she bestows on it a kind of surplus, she tops it off with a gesture as private and accurate as her own name.

(added this later in the day):

bike: 8.5 miles
lake nokomis and back
87 degrees
4:30 pm (there) / 6:00 (back)

Biked without any problems. 2 distinctive memories, one of the way to the lake, one on the way back.

to the lake: Coasting down the hill between the double bridge and Locks and Dam No. 1, in the hot sun, I passed someone pushing a canoe on wheels. It looked awkward and like they were struggling. I tried to imagine the scenario where you would be pushing a canoe at this spot.

from the lake: Biking under the echo bridge, I heard 2 flutes playing a duet under the bridge, on the other side. It sounded very nice. I imagined calling out, “that sounds great” or “you’re awesome” but I didn’t.

This is the first time I’ve witnessed a canoe being pushed on the paved path or 2 flutes playing a duet under a bridge.

swim: 2 loops
87 degrees
windy

So much wind again. I’m getting used to it. I stayed on course. There was one point where I oriented myself in relation to another swimmer who was off course, so I got a little too close to the buoy, but otherwise, no problem. Again, I seem to swim straight towards the buoys even when I don’t see them, or think I see them. My googles leaked a little, and when I got out of the water there was a film over my eyes. Everything looked like it was fogged up, even thought I wasn’t wearing glasses.

One memorable thing: Rounding the last green buoy, parallel to the big beach, I suddenly hit something hard with my hand. Huh? A green plastic bucket. As I flinched and lifted my head out of the water in surprise, I heard a woman laugh. Was she laughing at me? I doubt it. How did the bucket make it out this far?

I breathed every 5 strokes and had fun punching the water when it was extra choppy. Noticed a few planes and clouds above. An occasional flash below, and nothing else but brown, opaque water. Oh — a menancing sailboat, off to my left side. The first one this year!

addendum, june 22: I remembered 2 more memorable things that I don’t want to forget. One while I was swimming, the other while biking.

swimming: I kept seeing another swimmer out of the corner of my eye, but when I looked back again, they were gone. It was strange, because it happened more than once and felt very real, like they were there, and then they weren’t. Maybe it was the yellow buoy tethered to my waist?

biking: Biking back home on the river road trail, I passed a runner, running smoothly and quickly, snapping their fingers repeatedly. Why where they snapping? Not sure. In all the times I’ve passed a runner while biking (or while running), I don’t think I’ve ever heard them snapping!

june 19/BIKESWIMBIKE

bike: 8.5 miles
lake nokomis and back
80 degrees
9:00 am (there) / 10:40 am (back)

My first bike ride to the lake by myself this year. Everything was a bit fuzzy, but I wasn’t scared to bike and I didn’t have any problems almost running into things or hitting a big pothole. Hooray! I’m always grateful to still be able to bike. My most distinctive memory of the ride was on the way there, right after I entered the Minnehaha Creek path, past what we (me, my husband, and our kids who named it 10 or 12 years ago) call the duck bridge. A very irritating sound. A person walking with ski poles, scraping then clicking them on the asphalt with every foot strike. Ssscrape. Click. Ssscrape. Click. Over and over. I wondered if the runner right ahead of this walker couldn’t wait to get away from the sound.

swim: 2 very choppy loops
lake nokomis
80 degrees (air) / 75 degrees (water)
9:30 am

I checked the weather earlier in the day and knew it was going to be very windy. And it was. 25-30 mph gusts, I think. It’s hard for me to tell, but this felt like one of the choppier swims I’ve done ever. And I did a lot of choppy swims last year. I wasn’t scared, just tired out by it. My chest burned a little as I tried to get oxygen to it. Hard to think about much else, other than: where’s the buoy? is that the buoy? breathe away from the wave. is my neck getting too sore? am I almost to the big beach? Nearing the final green buoy, at a part that was extra choppy, a big wave washed over me as I tried to breathe. I didn’t inhale any of the water, I guess because I’m a strong, experienced swimmer, but I imagined if I had, how that might have been very bad. And when I say imagined, I mean I literally imagined the scenario, or a vague, dreamy approximation of it, in my head. Swallowing the water, panicking, flailing, drowning. I wasn’t feeling this, but almost watching it like a movie. I often daydream alternate scenarios in my head right after something has happened. Everybody does, right?

10 Things I Noticed

  1. the orange buoys, at least 2 of the 3, were in a neat row, cutting diagonally across the lake
  2. the bottom of the overturned lifeguard boat at the little beach was hard to spot through the waves — no sparkling silver streak to follow
  3. water visibility: I could see my hands in front of me and the bubbles they made with each stroke, but not much else
  4. the final green buoy was drifting in the wind, the rope attached to a weight that anchored it was close to the surface, I barely cleared it as I rounded the buoy
  5. my bright yellow buoy, tethered to my waist, was pushed into me by the wind several times
  6. a few female voices near the orange buoy closest to the little beach, a few swimmers resting and comparing notes before heading back to the big beach
  7. the water felt heavier or slower or like some part of it was trying to drag me down, harder to float
  8. off to the side, I noticed another swimmer swmming very far from the buoys — was this on purpose, or were they way off course?
  9. no vines wrapping around my head or big branches floating in front of me
  10. one seagull flying towards me

Overheard, right before starting, near the lifeguard stand:

Swimmer One: I see you’re wearing the wrong colored cap. The lifeguards will make you get out if your cap’s not the right color.
Swimmer Two: I know. I talked to a lifeguard about it. It’s okay.
Swimmer One: Okay. My daughter’s a lifeguard and she’s always saying how awful it is to make someone have to get out because their cap is wrong. You might have to get out on the opposite side and then walk around.

Was there anymore to this exchange? Was the second swimmer irritated by the first swimmer? Why did she have on the wrong colored cap? Was she confronted by a lifeguard in the water? That would be very irritating to be a lifeguard having to confront someone about the wrong colored cap. I don’t like disciplining people or enforcing rules.

This swim and bike was wonderful, and made me feel so relaxed and happy after I was done. Lake Nokomis swimming is the best.

I found this poem via twitter this morning. So great, so perfect for one of the weeks of my summer class!

Calling Things What They Are/ Ada Limón

I pass the feeder and yell, Grackle party! And then an hour later I yell, Mourning dove afterparty! (I call the feeder the party and the seed on the ground the afterparty.) I am getting so good at watching that I’ve even dug out the binoculars an old poet gave me back when I was young and heading to the Cape with so much future ahead of me it was like my own ocean. I yell, Tufted titmouse! and Lucas laughs and says, Thought so. But he is humoring me, he didn’t think so at all. My father does this same thing. Shouts out at the feeder announcing the party attendees. He throws out a whole peanut or two to the Steller’s jay who visits on a low oak branch in the morning. To think there was a time I thought birds were kind of boring. Brown bird. Gray bird. Black bird. Blah blah blah bird. Then, I started to learn their names by the ocean and the person I was dating said, That’s the problem with you, Limón, you’re all fauna and no flora. And I began to learn the names of trees. I like to call things as they are. Before, the only thing I was interested in was love, how it grips you, how it terrifies you, how it annihilates you, and resuscitates you. I didn’t know then that it wasn’t even love that I was interested in, but my own suffering. I thought suffering kept things interesting. How funny that I called it love and the whole time it was pain.

june 18/RUN

3.2 miles
trestle turn around
72 degrees
9:30 am

I need to start getting up earlier for these runs. It’s too hot by 9:30. Sunny and windy. Lots of shade, which is one reason to love the green, even if it does block my view of the river. Did one of my most regular routes: the trestle turn around. Saw and greeted Mr. Morning!, then later, on my walk with Delia the dog, Dave the Daily Walker. I remember thinking about something, and wanting to remember it — 2 things actually — but now I can’t remember them. I almost stopped to record them into my phone, but I didn’t. Maybe if I keep typing, I’ll remember them?

10 Things I Noticed

  1. above the tunnel of trees: light green, dark green, green air. Felt like I was flying above the trees
  2. before the tunnel: 3 stones stacked on the ancient boulder. I wonder, are they same stones every time — they fall off and someone picks them up and stacks them again?
  3. 2 runners with a running stroller, a kid in it crying, one of the adults saying, “we’ll be home soon”
  4. voices drifting up from the Winchell Trail right by the railroad trestle
  5. the smell of pot by the ravine
  6. a few others bits of conversation — I think I was able to hear a word or two, but I can’t remember the words now
  7. starting out my run in the neighborhood, hearing some talking, not able to identify any words. I knew they were words, but no idea what the words were. I was reminded of these lines from a Jane Hirshfield poem I encountered a few weeks ago: “An almost readable language./ Like the radio heard while traveling in a foreign country—/You know that something important has happened, but not what.”
  8. the whooshing of car wheels mixing with the wind
  9. yes! I just remembered one thing I’d forgotten! a car blasting “Renegade” by Styx as I neared the double bridge just north of the old stone steps and longfellow flats
  10. surfaces: west dirt, dry dusty dirt, concrete, asphalt, grass

Back to “Renegade.” I started singing along in my head after the car passed:

The jig is up
the news is out
they finally found me

A renegade
who had it made
in ???? county

I couldn’t remember the last line, no matter how hard I tried, I decided I would look it up when I got back from my run. Here’s what I found:

The jig is up, the news is out
They’ve finally found me
The renegade who had it made
Retrieved for a bounty
Nevermore to go astray
This will be the end today of the wanted man

Wow, not sure I ever knew exactly what Dennis DeYoung sang there. Retrieved for a bounty? Nice.

Found these little poems from Charles Simic in a recent New Yorker:

A Tree of Dignified Appearance/ Charles Simic

Fed up with its noisy leaves
And its chirping little birds,
Plus that young woodpecker
Drilling himself a new home.

For Rent/ Charles Simic

A large clean room
With plenty of sunlight
And one cockroach
To tell your troubles to.

june 17/SWIMRUN

swim: 2 loops
lake nokomis
75 degrees
9:30 am

What a wonderful morning for a swim! Sunny and not too windy. The orange buoys were backlit so it was almost impossible to see them. Disorienting. I had to stop a few times to make sure I was headed in the right direction. I didn’t panic.

My thoughts wandered from a few complaints from my body, my left hip hurts, my hands are turning numb, my back is sore, to lyrics from Soundheim’s “Here’s to the Ladies Who Lunch” — Here’s to the ladies who lunch and the dinosaurs surviving the crunch and I’ll drink to that — to there’s a dragonly!, to blue empty sky with only one cloud, to is that a buoy or a boat?, to I’m all alone out here (and it’s wonderful), to it’s so much less windy today! I was tired when I was finished. I only did 2 loops (about 1.5 miles), but this is only my third swim since last September, so I’m okay with that.

Getting out of the water and drying off in the sun, I felt the slight breeze and the warm sun and thought: What a life! or This is the life!, I can’t quite remember. The point: I love swimming at lake nokomis and being by the water and feeling the warmth of worked muscles.

A few other things I just remembered: minnows near thes shore, parting for my feet; opaque water — could I even see my hand in front of me? not sure…it was brownish green down below, blue above

run: 2.9 miles
2 trails
82! degrees
3:40 pm

Hot, so hot! Bright sun with a little shade. Listened to a playlist on the upper trail, the gorge below. Difficult to relax and notice anything but heat and the sweat dripping down my back. I’m going to try:

10 Things I Noticed

  1. in the parking lot above the oak savanna: 2 adults standing on the edge of the walking path doing some weird dance — it almost looked like tai chi — were they doing some tiktok dance?
  2. someone on an old school skateboard
  3. lots of bikes, zooming past me, too close
  4. a niceride or some other rental bike parked in the middle of the part of the Winchell Trail right before some old stone steps up to the 44th st parking lot
  5. the sewer pipe at 42nd was flowing
  6. voices above me on the paved trail
  7. some cool, shaded spots on the winchell trail
  8. hardly any bugs, except for the one that flew in my mouth that I had to spit out. Yuck!
  9. climbing the small hill near winchell, I noticed a runner on the paved path. I wonder if she was hot as I was?
  10. the sewer pipe at the ravine between 36t st parking lot and the overlook was trickling steadily, making it sound cooler

june 16/RUNSWIM

4 miles
marshall loop
74 degrees
wind: 20 mph / gusts: 26 mph
9:30 am

Sunny, warm, windy! Very windy. Luckily, I never seemed to be running straight into it. My visor stayed on, even when I crossed the bridge! I used to really dislike the wind, now it doesn’t bother me that much when I’m running. I like the sounds it makes. Today it russshhhed through the gorge, shaking the trees. I was going to write that it roared, but it had more of a shshshsh sound than an oar sound. No rowers on the river (I don’t blame them in this wind). No roller skiers or geese or blue jays.

10 Things I Noticed

  1. river, 1: white sparkles on the surface
  2. river, 2: more brown than blue
  3. river, 3: empty
  4. the crane on the east side is still there. I wondered where they were working. Later, as I reached the turnoff from cretin to the east river road I saw a “road work ahead” sign and thought that the crane might be near summit avenue
  5. the wind was at my back as I crossed over the bridge to the east side of the river
  6. smell: bacon, or pork of some kind, coming from the BBQ place next to Blacks
  7. was able to run mostly in the shade, some full, some dappled
  8. everything is green
  9. a man sitting in the back of a truck, waiting to begin work on the road or the sidewalk or something that they have blocked off at this intersection
  10. people over at the St. Thomas track, running laps

2.5 miles in, I stopped to walk up the steps to the lake street bridge and record a few thoughts I was having about my class and this running/writing project. The recording is not very good, too much wind and traffic, so I’ll only include the transcript of part of it:

In the middle of a windy run, and I was thinking that this project is so many things at once. It’s a compex mess of layers of things I’m trying to achieve, things I’m experimenting with, and the fundamental thing that keeps it all together is to have this little structure, this little bit of discipline: I go out and move for roughly the same amount of time and then I write about it. And in the log I have just a little bit of structure so that it gives, maybe not an anchor but, a tether to the world and to some purpose and intent.

I had a few more thoughts but I’m not including them here. When I spoke them into my phone, they sounded great, but listening back, they don’t quite make sense.

swim: 2 loops / 1.5 miles
lake nokomis
wind: 20 mph
5:30 pm

Windy again. Swimming from the big beach to the little beach wasn’t too bad, although a few of the swells behind me made it difficult to get in a stroke, or to breathe. From the little beach back to the big beach was harder. But, it didn’t bother me, in fact I loved it. The main thing I remember about the swim was how amazed I am in my ability to trust the flash that I see, maybe only once or twice, and that doesn’t look like anything but a smudge — to trust my belief that that flash is the buoy and that that is the right way to swim to stay on course. Even when I didn’t think I could see where the buoys were, I swam straight towards them and stayed on course. Wow. I love open swimming, and I’m so grateful that I can continue to do it. In other good news, my other nose plug stayed on while I swam, and I am not stuffed up at all. Hooray!

june 15/RUN

2 miles
dogwood coffee run
73 degrees
8:30 am

Ran with Scott. North on the river road to the trestle, then left and up to the greenwood trail, through Brackett Park, and over to Dogwood Coffee on lake street for an iced latte. Overcast. It was supposed to rain all day, but something shifted and it’s missing Minneapolis. Nice. Without the sun, everything was a deep, dark green. I remember noticing how green and mysterious and calm it was in the tunnel of trees. I think I heard some rowers down below, or maybe it was a few hikers? I don’t recall ever seeing the river, or much of what Scott and I talked about, other than complaining about some changes to apple pay that make it impossible to transfer money to our 16 year old. Heard some blue jays and thought, again, about how I used to think “crow” everytime I heard their screeching.

Sitting here, trying to remember things that happened, or that I thought about, on the run, I’m…not amazed or suprised…struck by how much I don’t remember, how lost I was for those minutes. I don’t mind getting lost. Sometimes I wish it would happen more.

Things I Don’t Remember

  1. the river
  2. if there were any stones stacked on the ancient boulder
  3. the welcoming oaks
  4. above the rowing club
  5. if anyone was sitting on a bench

Writing the list above, I suddenly remembered something, which might explain why I don’t remember noticing the welcoming oaks because I think it was near them that this happened: a chipmunk darted in front of both of us and we had to jump to avoid stepping on it. Dumb chipmunk! I’m glad that neither of us injured our feet or ankles or knees trying to avoid it. Of course, the chipmunk was fine. I recounted the story to Scott of when RJP and I had been biking to Fort Snelling and a chipmunk darted across the trail and ran right into my wheel. It was stunned or dead, I’m not sure which one.

Thinking about Simone Weil for my class this morning. I like this paraphrasing of her in a lithub article:

To attend means not to seek, but to wait; not to concentrate, but instead to dilate our minds. We do not gain insights, Weil claims, by going in search of them, but instead by waiting for them.

Thinking about being open, patient, willing to wait, letting go, trying to relax.

june 14/SWIM

1 loop (about .75 miles/1320 yds)
lake nokomis
95 degrees
5:30 pm

Open swim! Open swim! Hooray for the first open swim! It was hot and crowded and very windy. And wonderful, even though my nose plug fell off during my swim across to the little beach. I developed an allergy 6 or 7 years ago and have been wearing a nose plug ever since. I’ve often wondered if I still really needed it. Yep. Stuffed up nose last night. Oh well, I survived and now I know: always wear a nose plug.

10 Things I Noticed

  1. the water was mostly smooth swimming from the big beach to the little beach
  2. lots of silver streaks or flashes below me: big fish, I think
  3. breathed every 5, except for in the choppiest parts
  4. only got quick flashes of orange and green buoys
  5. from the little beach back to the big beach the water was very choppy, lots of waves
  6. when I stopped to get my bearing, or to adjust my goggles, I could hear the loud din from the big beach — so many people!
  7. I hardly ever encountered any other swimmers out in the lake, although I know there were many more people swimming with me
  8. glimpse 1: a swimmer, not too far from me, between the first and second buoys. All I could see was the bright yellow swim buoy tethered to their waist
  9. glimpse 2: 2 women treading water near the 3rd orange buoy/little beach — at least, I think there were 2 of them. I couldn’t see them, just heard their voices. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, just that they were talking. I think it might have been about how difficult the swimming was today
  10. I passed by several lifeguards on kayaks — a few of them moved back to give me space, one of them seemed to paddle alongside me for a few strokes

A great first swim. I couldn’t sight the buoys very well, and couldn’t really see that I was going the right way. I just knew I was. Maybe because my eyes were giving my brain visual data that I wasn’t consciously aware of. Maybe because I use other modes than seeing to navigate. And maybe because my body has memorized this route, having done so many loops, every summer since 2013.

Swimming Laps/ Arthur Sze

Swimming backstroke toward the far end of a pool in sunlight—

yellow !ares in the nearby aspens—

in the predawn sky, Mars and Venus glimmered—

how is it a glimmering moment coalesces, and the rest slides like !our through a sieve?—

how is it these glimmerings become constellations in a predawn sky?—

reaching the wall, I turn and push off swimming freestyle—

how is it we bobbed in water beyond the breaking surf, and I taste that salt in my mouth now?—

how is it, dishevelled, breathless, we drew each other up into !ame?

how is it that !ame burns steadily within?—
reaching the wall, I turn and push off swimming sidestroke—

with each scissors kick, I know time’s shears—

this is not predawn to a battle when the air dips to a windless calm—

let each day be lived risking feeling loving alive to ivy reddening along the fence—

reaching the wall, I turn and push off swimming breaststroke—

how is it I see below then above a horizon line?—

how is it I didn’t sputter, slosh, end up staring at a Geiger counter clock mounted on a barroom wall?—

I who have no answers #nd glimmering shards—

reaching the wall, I pause, climb out of the pool, start a new day—