trestle turn around
Ran in the early afternoon today. Warm enough for shorts and a short-sleeved shirt. Spring! Already feeling too warm. I remember where I was when I stopped to look at the river — just past the railroad trestle, down the recently replaced steps — but I don’t remember what it looked like, other than blue and calm. Heard lots of birds, my feet striking the ground in a dull thud, a funky baseline spilling out of a car window, a few fragments of conversation — one of them had something to do with the weather? — and a dog collar clanging.
After looking at the river, I kept walking on the dirt path below the paved one. I felt almost, but not quite, removed from everything, but still part of it too. Beside it. I thought again about how stepping only a few feet off of the main trail enables you to have some space, to feel left alone. This space beside below next to everything else is not outside, or even on the threshold. Is it on the front stoop, or the front yard? Not sure what it is exactly or even that it needs a fixed name. An image: a dirt trail beneath my feet, mostly dry with a few muddy spots, perched on a steep edge. To the right: a few tree branches, open air, the river down below. To my left: a small hill with wood railing at the top. An occasional voice traveling down, evidence of the paved path above.
This morning, I read a wonderful interview with Jorie Graham on Lithub. It’s from 2018 and about her book, Fast. This title made me think of its opposite. In her interview with David Naimon for Tinhouse, Graham said a few times, “Pay attention! Slow down!” I kept thinking about what slow might mean for me. Not just moving slower, but moving less efficiently or productively. Moving without purpose or a fixed goal. Moving with ease (and without haste) through open space, not crammed with appointments or tasks or destinations.
It is exciting to find great poets with amazing poems and wonderful advice and reflections on how to be. I really like Jorie Graham. Looking through another one of her collections, Erosion, I found this great poem:
Still Life with Window and Fish / Jorie Graham (recording)
Down here this morning in my white kitchen
along the slim body
of the light,
the narrow body that would otherwise
say forever the same thing,
the beautiful interruptions, the things of this world, twigs
and power lines, eaves and ranking
all over my walls.
Even the windowpanes are rich.
The whole world outside
wants to come into here,
to angle into
the simpler shapes of rooms, to be broken and rebroken
against the sure co-ordinates
The whole world outside….
I know it’s better, whole, outside, the world—whole
trees, whole groves–but I
love it in here where it blurs, and nothing starts or
ends, but all is
waving, and colorless,
Here is a fish-spine on the sea of my bone china
plate. Here is a a fish-spine on the sea of my hand,
flickering, all its freight
here is the reason for motion washed
in kitchen light, fanning, gliding
upstream in the smoke of twigs, the rake
against the shed outside, the swaying birdcage
and its missing
tenant. If I should die
before you do,
you can find me anywhere
in this floral, featureless,
surf. We are too restless
I want to do something with that last line, I think. Something about my own restlessness.