may 6/RUN

5.2 miles
bottom of franklin hill and back
60! degrees

60 degrees this morning with lots of sun and birds and budding trees! As Scott laments (or jokes, or both), this is our one week of spring. Next week summer begins. Greeted Dave the Daily Walker. Counted 3 stones stacked on the big boulder. Noticed the green creeping in below, in the floodplain forest. Running north, the river was blue, south brown. I think I heard some rowers, but never saw them. Greeted the river at the bottom of the franklin hill. It was moving swiftly. Ran, then walked, then ran again back up the hill. Decided to try something different by heading down to the Winchell Trail. This stretch, between franklin and the white sands beach is steep and slanted. I stopped running and walked carefully, as far from the edge as I could.

10 Things I Noticed

  1. running in the neighborhood, nearing the entrance to the river road trail at 36th, I watched as a truck sped through the 3 way stop without even a pause. Glad I wasn’t a few feet closer!
  2. lots of black-capped chickadees calling out, “Fee bee/fee Bee”
  3. I think Mr. Morning! mornied me
  4. the water near the franklin bridge had streaks of foam
  5. a mix of sounds: a dog barking, my feet striking the ground, my breathing — not completely relaxed, but not labored either, a saw buzzing, car wheels whooshing, quiet thoughts in my head echoing
  6. a person on a hoverboard (is that what they’re called?) whizzed past me near the lake street bridge
  7. people sitting on the benches dotting the rim of the gorge
  8. one of the oak trees near the old stone steps was shrugging its limbs at me
  9. a bug — a bee? a fly? — bounced off of my baseball cap
  10. running above the gorge, I noticed some people below me slowly making their way up the steep slope — what did I notice? Not whole people, just a head or a hat or a flash of something that made me think, “people are down there on the steep slope”

I’m working on a blog post about this log to promote my summer class at the Loft. As I ran, I thought about how much the gorge and this habit/practice of running + noticing + writing about it has transformed my life. Almost all of my writing, and much of my joy, has been because of it. It has opened so many doors into other worls, or back into worlds I once inhabited but left, or which I was forced out of. I’ve found poetry and birds and layers of rock and water and a way back to teaching. All of these thoughts came in a quick flash, along with a deep sense of gratitude.

Yesterday I listened to another great VS. podcast episode. This one was with Shira Erlichman. Early on, she said this:

I like in my day to have those boundaries and boundlessness. Like, okay, if I just have five minutes before I go mail a letter down the block, like, what can I squeeze into that time, or if I’m about to meet with a student, and I have 15 minutes, let me go edit a poem, because I’m going to be urgent as hell, while I edit that poem in that boundary, you know?

Then, today as I waited, as I always do, for my teenager to finish getting ready, come downstairs, go out the door, and off to high school, I had the idea of applying Erlichman’s limited minutes to my situation. My minutes — these excruciating minutes, sometimes 5 or 10 or 15 or more — are terrible. Reminding my daughter of the time, threatening her with punishment, attempting to reason never work. Her ability to resist time is impressive and often feels like it’s slowly destroying me. What if I used those minutes to try and write some lines of poetry? This fits with Erlichman’s idea and also with Bernadette Mayer’s suggestion in Please Add to this List to “attempt writing in a state of mind that seems less congenial”.

And here’s a great poem by Maya C. Popa:

Love: “Never the yellow,
hula hooped in black, little engine left running late
into the darkness.”