march 12/RUN

5.25 miles
bottom of franklin hill and back
7 degrees / feels like 0

It’s supposed to be getting warmer, starting today and into next week, but it was cold this morning. Sunny, not too much wind, but cold. No frozen fingers or toes, but I felt the burn of cold air, especially after I was done. A harder run. As I’ve heard some runners say, the wheels came off in the second half. I wondered why and then I remembered I didn’t have any water this morning, just coffee. That might have been a big part of the problem. I stopped to walk at least twice, on the walking path, closer to the river but also covered in uneven snow. I noticed the river had a thin sheet of ice on it again. That should melt this afternoon or tomorrow.

Heard some black capped chickadees and the fee bee song, some cardinals too. Encountered two large (10+ runners) groups on the trails — the first one, just as I entered the river road trail, the second, not too long after the lake street bridge. The first group was all men, the second all women with 2 dogs. Right before I reached them, the women stopped to walk. After I passed them, I could hear cackling and an occasional sharp ruff. For some time, they seemed close, then they disappeared. Near the end, I saw some sledders about to go down the Edmund hill. I wonder how crusty and hard that snow is?

Practiced reciting (almost always in my head) some lines from Emily Dickinson and Richard Siken. First, from Siken, the opening words of his great poem, “Love Song of the Square Root of Negative One”:

I am the wind
and the wind is

All the leaves trem
ble but I am

(in the actual poem, the line is broken like this: “I am the wind and the wind is invisible, all the leaves/tremble but I am invisible”)

I like reciting this when I’m running into the wind. Then, I returned to ED’s “Life is but life/and breath but breath/Bliss is but bliss/and breath, but breath.” Yesterday I had chanted it with slightly wrong words: “Life is but life/death is but death…” It was difficult to train my brain out of reciting it that way. I played around with different ways of saying it, including:

Life but life
Death but death
Bliss but bliss
Breath but breath

Death is but death
and Bliss but bliss
Breath is but breath
and Life but life

Just thought about this as I was writing this entry:

Life is but death
and breath but bliss
Death is but life
and bliss but breath

Here’s a recording I made after I finished my run and was walking back. You can really hear the wind!

Dickinson chant after run / 12 march

Speaking of the wind, here’s a poem I found yesterday from Alice Oswald that I love (like all her poetry):

PLEA TO THE WIND/ Alice Oswald

Describe the Wind,
Say something marked by discomfort
That wanders many cities and harbours,
Not knowing the language.
Be much travelled.
Start with nothing but the hair blown sideways
And say:
                                With Rain.
Say: Downdraught.

Unglue the fog from the woods from the waist up
And speak disparagingly of leaves.
Be an old man blowing a shell.
Blow over the glumness of a girl
Looking up at the air in her red hood
And say:
Then come down glittering
With a pair of ducks to rooftop.

Go on. Be North-easterly.
Be enough chill to ripple a pool.
Be a rumour of  winter.
Whip the green cloth off the hills
And keep on quietly
Lifting the skirts of women not wanting to be startled
And pushing the clouds like towers of clean linen
Till you get to the
                      On seas.

Ignore it.

Say Snow.

Say Ditto.

Wait for five days
In which everything fades except aging.

Then try to describe being followed by heavy rain.
Describe voices and silverings,
From December to March.

Describe everything leaning.
Bring a tray of cool air to the back door.
Speak increasingly rustlingly.
Say something winged
On the branch of the heart.
Because you know these things.
You are both Breath
                And Breath
And your mouth mentions me
Just at the point where I end. 

So much in this poem to discuss, but what jumped out at me right away was: “Describe everything leaning”. For the past few days, but especially yesterday, I’ve been noticing the bare trees and how some of them lean in one direction, both their trunks and their branches. Usually leaning towards, sometimes away. These leanings can look menacing or graceful, threatening or like surrender. I love straight trees, but i think I love leaning ones more. It would be a fun exercise to go out for a run with the task, “describe everything leaning.” I think I’ll do that tomorrow!