bike: 15 minutes
bike stand, basement
run: 1.35 miles
treadmill, basement
10 degrees outside / feels like -6

Biked and ran inside, partly because it felt like 6 below, partly because it’s snowing and there was already a few inches of loosely packed snow on the road, but mostly because I ran outside yesterday and Sunday. Watched a year wrap-up video for the awesome triathlete, Lucy Charles-Barclay while I biked. My left knee did the weird thing it sometimes did this summer after a few minutes of biking: it hurt–a somewhat sharp, hot pain, making it harder to do a fully rotation of the pedal. Stiff, out of place, not displaced, but feeling like it was rubbing or doing something not quite right. I stopped, and when I started again, it was better. Strange. I thought biking was supposed to help, not hurt.

Listened to the first three songs on Taylor Swift’s Reputation. The third song, “I Did Something Bad,” had a good beat for my cadence. After running a little more than a mile and getting my heart rate up to 160, I took out my phone and recorded myself reciting a poem I just wrote for my haunts sequence. I was curious how the 3/2 syllable count would sound.

I go to the gorge / 160 bpm

Yesterday, I recorded myself reciting my haunts poems. Scott’s going to use my recording to make a video of the poems. In discussing how this might look, I mentioned the trails by the gorge, and the trails I’m making with my words, somewhat resemble a palimpsest. I wondered if there was any way to visually represent that in the video. We’re still trying to figure it out. Inspired by this, I decided to make palimpsests the theme for this month. Here’s a poem that fits with this theme:

Palimpsest/ Jared Carter – 1939-

The walk that led out through the apple trees –
the narrow, crumbling path of brick embossed
among the clumps of grass, the scattered leaves –

has vanished now. Each spring the peonies
come back, to drape their heavy bolls across
the walk that led out through the apple trees,

as if to show the way – until the breeze
dismantles them, and petals drift and toss
among the clumps of grass. The scattered leaves

half fill a plaited basket left to freeze
and thaw, and gradually darken into moss.
The walk that led out through the apple trees

has disappeared – unless, down on your knees,
searching beneath the vines that twist and cross
among the clumps of grass, the scattered leaves,

you scrape, and find – simplest of mysteries,
forgotten all this time, but not quite lost –
the walk that led out through the apple trees
among the clumps of grass, the scattered leaves.

Here’s a definition of a palimpsest:

A palimpsest is “a parchment or other writing surface on which the original text has been effaced or partially erased, and then overwritten by another; a manuscript in which later writing has been superimposed on earlier (effaced) writing.” In other words, a palimpsest is a “multi-layered record.”


I first encountered the word, palimpsest, back in October, when I read an essay by Wendell Berry:

comings and goings of people, the erasure of time already in process even as the marks of passage are put down. There are the ritual marks of neighborhood — roads, paths between houses. There are the domestic paths from house to barns and outbuildings and gardens, farm roads threading the pasture gates. There are the wanderings of hunters and searchers after lost stock, and the speculative or meditative or inquisitive ‘walking around’ of farmers on wet days and Sundays. There is the sprawling geometry of the rounds of implements in fields, and the passing and returning scratches of plows across croplands. Often these have filled an interval, an opening, between the retreat of the forest from the virgin ground and the forest’s return to ground that has been worn out and give up. In the woods here one often finds cairns of stones picked up out of furrows, gullies left by bad framing, forgotten roads, stone chimneys of houses long rotted away or burned.

A Native Hill / Wendell Berry