may 2/RUN

6.2 miles
hidden falls scenic overlook loop
42 degrees

It looks like spring is finally coming (for good?) this week. Not yet, but by Wednesday. I was in Austin, MN for the weekend, and it felt like 34 degrees yesterday morning. 34? Boo. Anyway, today’s run was nice. It felt a little difficult, but I kept going and enjoyed it.

Another Monday, another run to above hidden falls. Maybe this is a new tradition? Today I ran past the overlook to some steps that lead down to the falls. They’ve repaired the road and the bridge. As I ran back, I thought that they should rename the falls the “No Longer Hidden Falls” or the “Falls Formerly Known as Hidden” or something like that because they used to be hidden, but now they’re not at all.

Heard some geese freaking out, a few crows, a black capped chickadee or two. Also, some chainsaws and leaf blowers and kids yelling and laughing at the Minnhaha Academy playground. Water trickling, then flowing down the gorge on the st. paul side. Some wet, crudded-up bike wheels slowly approaching from behind. The thud of my feet striking the ground. A woman talking to someone through her phone as she ran.

Noticed the river as I crossed the ford bridge. Blue, framed with brown branches. A few streaks of foam. A white buoy. A construction worker in a bright yellow vest with a shovel near the bridge above hidden falls. The very steep and open rim of the gorge just before hidden falls, a dirt trail leading off of it into nowhere.

Before I went out for my run, I re-visited “The Trees” by Philip Larkin. I recited it in my head throughout the run: “The trees are coming into leaf/Like something almost being said.” This is a great poem to recite while running. Only one line tripped me up rhythmically: “Yet still the unresting castles thresh”

I don’t remember my thoughts as I ran, other than: how am I going to run for 6 miles?, Am I almost done?, This feels amazing!, Wow, that bluff is steep!

their greenness is a kind of grief

The 4th line of Larkin’s poem is: “Their greenness is a kind of grief.” Before my run, I started reading a book I bought earlier in the year and that I’ve been waiting to read until spring: Green Green Green. It’s not green here in Minneapolis yet, but I’m hoping that if I think hard enough about green — and say green green green over and over– it will appear faster. I started the first chapter, “The Eccho in Green.” She describes how green represents both life, newness, hope, health, vitality almost too an intoxicating level AND death, where to look green is to be pale or ill, out of sorts, nearer to death. Then she discusses William Blake’s poem, “The Ecchoing Green” and how the green in it is not the pastoral but the communal/village green, “where people mix with one another, young and old, playing and slowly fading, ecchoing . Green, as it echoes on the green, is the color of human community” (6).

This idea of the public, in-community land, made me think of a passage I encountered this morning that I’d like to return to many times:

These days, it seems like the highest praise a poem can get is someone tweeting in all caps, “This destroyed me!” I have often wondered why someone would want to be destroyed. Rather than immolating the reader, Keene’s poems keep opening up, rippling dynamically outward, playing back and forth between self and other, scene and setting, softly encouraging you in each line to be more generous with your intimacy. What is most startling about reading Punks is that, perceiving the world through Keene’s eyes, you begin imperceptibly relaxing your own spiritual narrowness and start to notice yourself doing the unthinkable. You start loving others beyond the usual perimeter of your affection. 

Friends and Strangers: John Keene’s poetry of others (via twitter)

The author of this paragraph is writing about a new poetry collection by John Keene, Punks. I like this idea of being openned up and how it enables connections — and expressions of love with/for others. Not sure if this makes sense yet, but I wanted to make note of it so I can reflect on these ideas of green space and openness and expansion instead of narrowing.

Here’s the poem by Blake — and recording of someone reciting it:

The Ecchoing Green/ WILLIAM BLAKE

The sun does arise,
And make happy the skies.
The merry bells ring
To welcome the Spring.
The sky-lark and thrush,
The birds of the bush,
Sing louder around,
To the bells’ cheerful sound. 
While our sports shall be seen
On the Ecchoing Green.

Old John, with white hair 
Does laugh away care,
Sitting under the oak,
Among the old folk, 
They laugh at our play, 
And soon they all say.
‘Such, such were the joys. 
When we all girls & boys, 
In our youth-time were seen, 
On the Ecchoing Green.’

Till the little ones weary
No more can be merry
The sun does descend,
And our sports have an end: 
Round the laps of their mothers, 
Many sisters and brothers,
Like birds in their nest,
Are ready for rest;
And sport no more seen,
On the darkening Green. 

I might memorize this one for tomorrow’s run.