bike: 25 minutes
run: 2.4 miles
3 degrees / feels like -10
about 5 inches of snow
Brr. I thought about running outside (I almost always do), but the feels like temperature is -10 and the paths are covered in snow, which is probably hiding ice, so I went to the basement. Tomorrow it will be as cold as today, but I’ll go anyway.
Finished the rest of the Dickinson episode I was watching where Emily and her family take a “daycation” (Lavinia’s words) to an insane asylum. Emily’s dad does not commit her in order to become a trustee. Emily’s mom wants to stay, but isn’t allowed, so when they return home, she announces that she will be going upstairs to sleep. Confused and concerned, Lavinia asks, “For a short nap?” The elder Emily answers, “No. Wake me up when the war is over.” Meanwhile, Henry (a free Black man who used to work for the Dickinsons, abolitionist, married to Betty, who traveled South to fight for the Union) is teaching a group of free Black soldiers, or almost soldiers if the white men in charge would give them the rank and better uniforms and weapons and the pay they deserve, to read. Emily’s mentor, Higginson, is the main white man in charge and, although his intentions seem good, he patronizes and bullshits them. It’s an interesting juxtaposition: Higginson as both Emily’s mentor and a well-meaning but clueless white savior/liberal.
As the Dickinsons are leaving the asylum, Emily recites this poem (in her usual way on this show: voice-over, with the cursive words scrolling fleetingly across the screen):
A little Madness in the Spring (1356) / Emily Dickinson
A little Madness in the Spring
Is wholesome even for the King,
But God be with the Clown –
Who ponders this tremendous scene –
This whole Experiment of Green –
As if it were his own!
As I ran, I listened to Taylor Swift’s Reputation again. I tried to avoid looking at my watch, so the time would pass faster, or without notice. It mostly worked; it is still much harder to run for more than 20 minutes on the treadmill. Much easier outside. I didn’t think about anything as I ran — did I? I don’t plan to run on the treadmill much beyond February. I should try to experiment with ways to find delight, or be curious, or to track how words move as I do before March happens.
And here’s another poem that isn’t really about anything else I’ve mentioned here yet, but I wanted to remember it, especially the lines about the bird:
The Husband’s Answers/ Rebecca Hazelton
The images don’t explain a story. They are a counterpoint.
It’s understandable to mistake them for metaphor, but still, a mistake.
The trouble comes from thinking. I could stop there. The trouble comes from thinking an image is a story.
This is how painting began. Little glimpses into little worlds. Little glimpses into the faces of the divine.
But we know that the gods don’t really look like us.
Yes, all Western art.
I can’t speak to that.
Berger says the image, disconnected from a fixed location, proliferates, and changes through new context, strange juxtapositions, reframing.
What they do to us, yes. The stories they tell us, and how we accept those stories.
He is less interested in the stories we bring.
If I show you an image of a bird flying, you might think freedom, or graceful, or wings. You might remember your mother pointing to the sky, naming the bird starling, heron, crow. But all of that is yours.
The bird is just the bird, flying, following the magnetic fields of the earth home.
I did not say the trouble was a bad thing. I only said that it was trouble.