march 3/RUN

4.25 miles
minnehaha falls and back
19 degrees / feels like 10
5% ice-covered

Sunnier today. Remembered to notice the sky. High above me, a clear, soft blue; nearer, mostly wispy clouds. Not much wind, not too cold. The river continues to open, ripped seams everywhere. I felt good as I ran. Tried chanting in triples (strawberry/blueberry/raspberry), but it didn’t last long. Devoted some attention to feeling my feet strike the ground, my legs lift off.

Before my run, I felt weighed down. Is it because my mom’s 80th birthday would have been this Saturday if she hadn’t died in 2009? Or because winter doesn’t want to leave? Or Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine? Or the University of Wyoming voting to end funding for the Gender and Women’s Studies Department? The climate crisis deniers? Whatever it was (and will continue to be), it lifted as I ran.

10 Things I Noticed

  1. lots of crows
  2. on the way back from the falls, after I put my headphones in, a cardinal’s trill fit very nicely with Cee Lo Green’s singing in “Crazy”
  3. a few walkers done below on the Winchell Trail
  4. primary noise: cars’ whooshing wheels on the river road
  5. a crew was out, in front of Minnehaha Academy, sawing down some tree limbs. The chainsaw started as an irritating whine, then a bzzzz
  6. laughing and yelling kids out on the school playground
  7. the snow on the hill in the oak savanna is melting fast — I saw some bare patches
  8. the falls: still frozen, all the trails and the stairs are covered in crusty, icy snow
  9. conversation overhead: something like, “and that’s what your dad was doing…”
  10. all the puddles from yesterday were solid and slick ice today

Right now, I’m trying to put together a course proposal for a summer class on moving and being outside and noticing wonder. It’s fun and frustrating and very exciting. Just north of the 44th street parking lot, I began thinking about whether I should use the word habit or ritual. I like ritual, but writing rituals seem to have a specific meaning. When I think of rituals, I often think of things done to prepare you for writing/creating — sitting in this chair, drinking this tea, listening to this music, wearing this shawl, etc. While being outside and moving can do that, it does more too. The act of regularly being outside and moving not only prepares you to be more creative, but can be the repeated practice of being creative. Does that make any sense? When I have time, I think I’ll do some more thinking through the differences between habit and ritual, especially how it is understood within poetry.

Found this poem in the march issue of Poetry:

Peripheral/ Hannah Emmerson

Yes I prefer the peripheral
because it limits the vision.

It does focus my attention.
Direct looking just is too

much killing of the moment.
Looking oblique littles

the moment into many
helpful moments.

Moment moment moment
moment keep in the moment.

My first reaction to this poem is resistance: I don’t agree with the idea that the peripheral limits vision. It alters it, changes how we see, but doesn’t limit it. Instead, it expands and softens. Is this reaction fair? I’ll sit with it for a while, then return to this poem. When I finally begin work on my peripheral project, I’ll add it to my list of resources.