june 30/RUNBIKESWIMBIKE

2.5 miles
2 trails
73 degrees
9:30 am

Was planning to swim with FWA at the lake, but when that didn’t work out, I went for a quick run. Too warm. I listened to a playlist on the upper, paved path, and the gorge on the lower, dirt trail.

a distinctive sound

When I reached the Winchell Trail, I took my headphones out and stopped to walk for a minute. I could hear the strong buzz or hum of bugs — cicadas? isn’t it too early for them? Whatever the bugs were, I imagined hundreds (thousands?) of tiny wings flapping fast, making this not very pleasing sound. I wondered how long it would last as I kept walking. In a few minutes it faded, replaced by the whooshing of car wheels from above. Hearing this sound reminds me of the poem Babel by Kimberly Johnson:

Babel/ Kimberly Johnson

My God, it’s loud down here, so loud the air
is rattled. Who with the hissing of trees,
the insect chatter, can fix devotion

on holy things, the electrical bugs
so loud the air is stunned, windy the leaves’
applause redoubled by the clapping wings

of magpies? Who with their whispered psalm
can outvoice their huckster cackle, the trees
blustered to howls while the tesla bees

whine loudly to the shocked air? O who
can think of heaven in such squall, shrill wind
of trees, magpie wings, and throats in fracas,

the bluebottle static, the air stupid
with the shrieks of devils,— of angels,—
who in such squall can think of anything

but heaven?

The bluebottle (flies) static. I don’t think I was hearing flies, but it did sound like a sort of static.

bike: 11 miles
lake nokomis and back + extra
90 degrees
5:00 pm (there) / 6:15 pm (back)

Do I remember anything about my bike, other than it was hot and very windy. So windy, and right in my face, both ways! The only other thing I remember is feeling comfortable and not nervous about whether or not I could see. Either my brain has adjusted by tweaking the visual, or it has adjusted by making me feel less anxious about not totally seeing everything. It’s probably a bit of both. Oh, one more thing: the sky looked a bit ominous — some spots of dark gray. At some point, it started raining, barely.

swim: 2 loops
lake nokomis open swim
90 degrees
5:20 pm

It wasn’t too choppy in the water. Hooray! I didn’t have any problem sighting, or any problems keeping swimming when I couldn’t sight the buoys, which was most of the time. It’s getting harder to see color, I think. I rarely saw the orange or lime green until it was right in front of me. The final green buoy was lined up right in front of 3 white sailboats. I saw a few silver flashes below me — fish? Some wetsuit ran into me. I don’t think it was my fault, because I was keep my straight line, but who knows?

june 29/RUN

5k
river road trail, north/south
69 degrees
9:00 am

A birthday run with Scott. Beautiful out by the gorge. Greeted Dave, the daily walker as we ran through the Welcoming Oaks. Too busy talking about something to remember to notice running through the tunnel of trees or past the old stone steps or even under the lake street bridge. Running with Scott was great, but it was hard to notice much. Can I remember 10 things I noticed? I’ll try:

10 Things I Noticed

  1. a roller skier and their poles singing, click click click click
  2. a man talking on a bluetooth phone with his arm extended across the path pointing — at what?
  3. some blue jays whispering their screeches
  4. a few narrow streaks of blue river through the thick thatch of green
  5. faint voices of rowers talking below near the boathouse
  6. a runner on the path, accompanied by a young girl on a bike
  7. no memorial flowers at the trestle today
  8. the sweet rot of the sewer near the ravine
  9. the cracks in the asphalt just past the trestle bridge, remembering the peace sign spraypainted at this spot last summer
  10. the satisfying crunch of the sandy gravel under my feet as I ran on the side of the trail up to the greenway

Whew! I did it. The last 3 took some time to remember.

june 28/BIKESWIMBIKE

bike: 8 miles
lake nokomis and back
70 degrees
9:00 am

Biked over to the lake with both of my kids. I don’t think we’ve done that in 10 years. Very nice. At the lake, we were passed by 2 kids on electric bikes. So many more electric bikes on the trails these days (which doesn’t bother me). A bird (moving too fast for me to tell what it was) flew right in front of me, across the path. Also: the irritating screech of a blue jay.

swim: 500 yards
lake nokomis, big beach
75 degrees
10:00 am

FWA and I had another swim session. Slowly, he’s building up his endurance. Today he did a full loop around the white buoys, which was probably at least (?) 20 minutes of either swimming or treading water — no wall to lean on or tiled floor to step down on. He’s not ready to swim across the lake yet, but he will be. So exciting! The water was much calmer than it has been, hardly any waves. I mentioned that to FWA and he said, “it’s still pretty wavy to me.” I remember how rough the water felt when I was first starting to do open water swim. Noticed at least one kayak just off the white buoys. Two little boys were playing in the water. One of them kept ending every sentence with a “bruh.” His friend called out, “Stop swearing at me!” Little kids at the lake are entertaining, especially when you can observe them from a distance.

Read this tweet the other day. I might want to read this entire book:

I like this idea of asking a place/landscape, “Who are you? How do I say your name?”

june 27/RUNSWIM

4.35 miles
minnehaha falls and back
60 degrees
7:30 am

A cooler morning, an earlier start, better conditions for running. Not sure how much that helped, parts of the run still felt hard, but it was nice not to be sweating as much. Ran south on the river road trail to the falls. Stopped at my favorite spot — the overlook near the former fountain with Longfellow’s poem etched on the benches surrounding it — and put in my headphones. Listened to music on the way back. Mostly ran, but stopped a few times to walk.

10 Things I Noticed

  1. a recumbant bike
  2. a roller skier
  3. a tall-ish woman in black walking — I think I’ve encountered her in past summers, walking this same route
  4. the dirt trail was tightly packed with very dry earth between Becketwood and 38th
  5. the dirt trail was loose, sandy dust between 38th and 36th
  6. the river was completely hidden behind a veil of green
  7. 2 hikers with backpacks and hiking poles, emerging from the short stretch of trail that dips below the road right after the double bridge
  8. the falls were rushing over the limestone ledge, but were less visible, tucked in behind all of the green leaves
  9. no surreys or bikes-for-rent at the falls yet. When do they put them out?
  10. bikers on the dirt path: first, a young kid with a walking adult, next, a mountain biker

Don’t remember how I found it, but I’m very glad I did: an interview between poets Ross Gay and Tess Taylor discussing the connections between gardens and poetry. Here’s something from it I’d like to remember:

TAYLOR: It’s funny, too, because poems remind us that we live in breath, which also reminds us that we live in bodies. Poems are about breath. Poems are about sharing breaths, sharing little beautiful musical measures of breath.

GAY: That’s exactly right. Like, poems are made of breath. So poems are bodily in themselves. And when we read them to other people, they become part of other people’s bodies. Or when we read other people’s lives, the way they’ve constructed a poem, we’re breathing them.

Here’s What Makes Poetry and Gardens a Perfect Pair

little beautiful musical measures of breath. Nice.

swim: 2 loops (4 little loops)
cedar lake
84 degrees
6:00 pm

First swim at Cedar Lake! Calm, not too cold, water. Blue skies, a few clouds. Barely any problems sighting the buoys and staying on course. A great swim!

june 26/SWIM

3 loops
65 degrees
wind: 20 mph
9:45 am

Another windy swim this morning. Nice it was cooler too, I decided to wear my wetsuit. Excellent choice. It helped a lot with all the chop heading back from the little beach to the big beach.

10 Things to Remember

  1. opaque water, couldn’t see anything below or in front of me beneath the surface
  2. water was mostly smooth between the big beach and the 3rd orange buoy
  3. water was choppiest bettween the 2 lime green buoys
  4. “saw” the flash of the silver bottom of the lifeguard boat — a few times I was certain I was seeing the boat, other times I wondered if the flash came from a flash off the windshield of car on the street
  5. someone swimming breaststroke came too close, and in the wrong direction. I felt their fingers lightly graze my toe
  6. there was a lot of spray coming off of me as I collided with the waves. I almost stopped to see it better, but decided to keep going
  7. hardly ever saw the orange of the orange buoy, mostly just a hulking shape or a void surrounded by a “normal” view — there was no buoy, just an empty space that disrupted the expanse of sky and trees. Strange
  8. at least 3 or 4 planes flying above. For a moment, I imagined someone/thing at the bottom of the lake looking up and seeing me floating above in the same way I looked up and saw the plane/air shark floating in the sky — a cool thought
  9. breathing every 3 instead of 5, because of the chop. For a bit, I chanted triple berries in a much slower cadence than when I run: straw / berr / y / rasp / berr / y / black / berr / y
  10. ended the swim by encountering a little girl who was swimming out near the orange buoys. I’m not sure if she could touch, but she was a good swimmer. She quietly called out, “oh, it’s deep. help!” When I looked up with alarm, she giggled mischieviously. I heard her mom call out, “Rosie! Come closer!” As I left the water, I asked the mom, “Do you have a daughter named Rosie?” When she said yes, I added: “I have one too, and they seem a lot alike.” Rosies have a lot of spirit, which can be exhausting, but always worth it

How lucky we are That you can’t sell A poem / Gregory Orr

(from Concerning the Book that is the Body of the Beloved

How lucky we are
That you can’t sell
A poem, that it has
No value. Might
As well
Give it away.

That poem you love,
That saved your life,
Wasn’t it given to you?

june 24/RUN

4 miles
river road trail, north/south
82 degrees / dew point: 63
9:30 am

82 degrees is not fun, and 9:30 is too late to go out in the summer. Even so, I’m glad I went out for a run. A lot of my energy was devoted to enduring the heat, so I’m not sure how much I remember about the run. I will try to make a list of 10 things:

`10 Things I Remember Even Though I Was Hot and Tired and Uncomfortable

  1. Greeting Dave, the Daily Walker
  2. Also greeting Mr. Morning!
  3. the dirt on the trail was loose and sandy and a light tan — so dry!
  4. a man was standing under the lake street bridge looking at his phone
  5. was that his bike on the other side of the porta potty?
  6. chirping chipmunks down in the gorge
  7. several of the benches along the trail were occupied
  8. 2 bikers converging from different directions at the entrance to the greenway bike trail, one much faster than the other — I briefly wondered if they would run into each other
  9. at least twice, I felt sweat dripping off of my elbow. Where was it coming from? My pony tail?
  10. heard near a 3-way stop: funk music from a car stereo

No view of the river, roller skiers, roller bladers, fat tires, big packs of runners training for a race. No eliptigos (I saw one the other day) or rowers.

overheard on the trail

one: one walker, an older man, saying to another: “He doesn’t know about…”. What doesn’t he know about, and (why) is it a problem? This might make a good title for a poem.

two: again, 2 walkers. An older woman to a younger man: “Well, Bob and Anne had heart attacks, but they both seem to be doing okay.” Wow.

Stumbled upon this great poem by the strangley wonderful, CA Conrad.

excerpts from TL;DR/ CA Conrad

*

Find something colorful outside the grocery store. I found bright blue chewing gum smeared on the parking lot.

Get close to it; study the color with a magnifying glass if you have one. Take notes for a poem.

Go in the store, look for the color on a product label. You will find it. Take your time. A perfect match for the blue chewing gum was the blue half-moon marshmallow on a box of cereal.

Take more notes for a poem. What intersections did these two objects with the same color make for you? The gum and half-moon marshmallow were the intersections of temperature and texture for me. Take more notes for a poem.

*

Each evening for a week, go for a walk. Stop 3 times to narrate what you see 360 degrees around you into a recorder on your phone or another device.

Try to list what you see, “A cat crossing a roof, a car playing Lady Gaga parked below, a blue postal box, a LOTTERY sign flashing in gas station window.”

When you see one object on your walk that holds your attention, closely examine it while narrating what it looks like. Where could it have come from?

Go home and sit on the floor inside a dark closet. Listen to your recording. When you reach the part about the object you had carefully scrutinized, do not focus on what you narrated but on why you aimed your attention at the object in the first place. Take notes for a poem.

*

Get a clear drinking glass, a pitcher of water, and a black Magic Marker.

Make a black line on the middle of the drinking glass.

Place your face near the glass on the table. Pour water while carefully listening and watching it hit the mark; do this 3 times.

Pour the water a fourth time with eyes closed, letting your ears remember the mark. You have successfully braided your eyes and ears.

Now sit back, close your eyes, and listen to the most immediate sounds in the building. Let the layers reveal themselves, shifting to what you hear further away, then further.

When you feel you have heard everything, wait. Sit there a little longer, listening for the faintest of traffic in the sky or a faraway rumble. Take notes for a poem.

This poem comes from an entire issue devoted to Attention!

june 23/BIKESWIMBIKE x 2

bike: 8 miles
lake nokomis and back
85 degrees
8:00 am

A slow bike ride through the neighborhood with my 19 year old son, FWA. We talked a lot about “The Walking Dead,” which he is currently watching, and I’ve never seen. From video games to tv shows, I always appreciate his insights when he’s describing them to me.

swim: testing out the water
water temp: 78 degrees

I’m trying to be as chill as I can about FWA agreeing to swim across the lake with me this summer so I don’t overwhelm him, but it makes me so happy to get to share this thing I love with him. He did 5 years of swim team before high school, but he hasn’t been in any water for 6 years. This first time in the lake went pretty well. He has a long way to go to build up the stamina to make it across (600 yards) and back again, but I think he’ll be able to do it. Hooray!

bike: 8.5
lake nokomis and back
94 degrees
4:45 pm (there) / 6:30 (back)

Biked to open swim club. So hot! I really felt the heat on the way over. I can’t remember anything but feeling hot and happy that I could see well enough to bike. On the way back, I didn’t feel as hot, but I still don’t remember much about the bike ride. It’s hard for me to be open to noticing while I’m biking. I have to devote so much energy to staying alert and concentrating on the path. It can be tiring.

swim: 2 very choppy loops
lake nokomis open swim
94 degrees
5:30 pm

So choppy today. Very big swells and waves. Lots of breathing to one side. In the middle of my first loop, feeling very tired from the waves which seemed to want to drag me under, I remember thinking, “I’m only doing 1 loop today.” But, rounding the final buoy and swimming parallel to the big beach, I decided I could try one more.

I was going to do a list of 10 things I noticed, but instead here’s one image that I want to remember: finishing up my swim, standing in the shallow water and recovering from my effort, I heard so much noise from the beach and the swimming area — not individual voices as much a din of voices. A loud roar. I wonder what the decibal level of the beach was tonight? This loud noise was a sharp contrast to the absence of sound out in the middle of the lake. Out there, all I could hear was the sloshing of water.

june 22/RUN

5.35 miles
franklin hill
71 degrees
8:30 am

A little cooler today. I opened the windows and let in some fresh air before I went out for my run. Ran north on the river road trail. Was thinking about taking the Franklin loop, but then I saw a roller skier at the top of the hill and decided to go to the bottom of the hill and back up it again. I was imagining that I’d meet the roller skier again on the hill somewhere. Halfway down I realized they weren’t coming. I was a little disappointed because I never got to hear the clicking and the clacking of their poles. Oh well, they got me to run down this hill, closer to the river, so it worked out. When I reached the bottom of the hill, I decided to turn around and walk back up it. Then I pulled out my phone and made note of something I just heard: the voice of a male coxswain! Rowers! A few miles earlier, I had heard the female coxswain instructing some rowers. 2 groups of rowers and a roller skier. So many of my favorite things to encounter!

a new experiment

Speaking into my phone at the bottom of the hill gave me an idea for an experiment that I might want to try again. Run to the bottom of the hill. Turn around and as you walk back up it, pay attention. What do you notice? How many different sounds can you hear? What do you see? Speak some of your observations into your phone. Here’s my recording for today:

june 22nd

transcript, a series of recordings:

one: June 22nd again. Walking up from the bottom of the franklin hill. First interruption was the coxswain’s voice, a female voice, giving instructions, first calmly, and then more enthusiastically, trying to pump them up for a hard effort. And then, later, running down the franklin hill, getting to the I-94 bridge, underneath it, hearing another coxswain, this time a male voice, talking to rowers. I could hear the smooth, soft entering of the oars. Nothing awkward or clunky about this one, but it might have been that I was too far away, and there were too many noises. [this is a reference to a description from a few weeks ago of the awkward sound oars breaking the surface of the water.]

two: 2 sounds mixing together. First, the soft rustling of the wind through the trees, almost a shimmering. And then a bike passing and the whirr of the wheel, sounding just like the wind.

three: Listening to the wind some more, it sounds somewhat like a waterfall or water trickling down gently, or a soft shower.

four: I can hear the grit under my shoes as I walk, especially under the Franklin Bridge where it’s amplified. Also, rustling off to the side in the bushes — a squirrel or a bird or a chipmunk or something else? [the rhythmic footsteps of a runner passing] A runner passing me. I like watching their feet rhythmically moving. It’s mesmerizing to watch, especially when it’s a good steady runner like this one. Just the bottom of their feet, their shoes are black, and to me, as they get farther away it just looks like a black ball, a circle, that’s bouncing from side to side. Maybe with my fuzzy vision I can’t even tell that there’s a shoe or a leg connected to it. It just looks like a black ball bouncing back and forth, steady, which is quite impressive because they’re running up a decent hill.

five: [the sound of chirping birds]

After I almost reached the top of the hill, I put in my headphones and listened to a shuffle of Taylor Swift’s Lover. First up: “ME!”. This song helped me lock into a fast, steady cadence. I ran faster for most of the way back — stopping for a few quick breaks. I remember waving to Mr. Morning! and passing a few runners. Oh — and I heard the female coxswain’s voice again. I pulled out a headphone and listened for a few seconds.

fill in the blank

About a mile and a half into my run, I overheard one woman walker say to another: “I mean, I wasn’t arrogant or anything, I just said ______.” I was past them before I could hear what she said. What did she say? I’ll never know, but I can imagine. This reminds me of a poem I wrote last fall:

vii.

Eavesdrop
on the words
scattered
by wind and
careless
voices. Not
concerned
with manners,
no need
to be nice.
Feel the
disconnect
between
you, the path,
other
people. Free,
off the
hook, unseen,
able
to listen
in, to
overhear
and not
be judged, to
invent
dialogue,
give it
another
ending,
turn it all
into
a better
story.

june 21/RUNBIKESWIMBIKE

run: 2.25 miles
river road trail, north/south
73 degrees
humidity: 87% / dew point: 73!
7:45 am

I ran north on the river road to the top of the hill just past the lake street bridge. Stopped for a minute, then turned around and headed back. Sunny, but with lots of shade. Forgot to look at the river.

73 for the dew point? That’s bad, or “extremely uncomfortable,” according to Runner’s World. Yes, it was. Do I remember anything other than being uncomfortably warm?

10 Things I Noticed

  1. rower’s voices from down below!
  2. 3 stones stacked on the boulder
  3. a man fully covered in black sweatpants and a black jacket, with a white towel around his neck. Aren’t you hot, I thought as I passed him
  4. dark in the tunnel of trees, difficult to see if other people were there
  5. the pedestrian part of the double-bridge between 33rd and 32nd streets is overgrown with vines and bushes and leaves. Makes it harder to see if someone’s coming the other way, and narrower, making it harder to pass. Thankfully, no collisions today
  6. the small stretch of dirt trail that I take as the path nears the lake street bridge is wet — I think there was a brief, strong storm last night, or was that a dream?
  7. a group of 3 fast bikers riding on the road, a cautious car following behind
  8. a darting squirrel
  9. a flash of movement of the leaves beside the trail – was the flash from the sun hitting the leaves just right, or a critter — a bird or chipmunk or squirrel?
  10. later in my run, encountered Mr. black sweatsuit with white towel again. He said a soft, “morning,” and I nodded my head as a reply

Wow. Finding 10 things today took some thinking and remembering and getting past my overriding feelings of heat and discomfort. Such a great exercise in noticing!

Oh — I almost completely forgot: I also chanted in triple berries. Lots of strawberry/blueberry/raspberry and gooseberry/blackberry/red berry to keep my feet striking steadily. Added in a few mystery/history/mystery, which didn’t quite work, and butterscotch/chocolate sauce/caramel, and please don’t stop. Now I wish I had done more of them. I love the triple berry chants.

At the end of my run, as I was walking back, I listened to my first lecture for the class I’m teaching. I’m asking the students to listen to it on their first walk or run outside. I’m doing this partly because I’d like to make outside be the classroom space as much as possible, and partly because I think listening while moving can help you hear/process the words differently than when you’re inside, sitting still. One thought about the lecture: will my voice put them to sleep?

Mostly I don’t use headphones, but I do like to listen to podcasts or music sometimes. It’s strange how ideas or stories I’ve heard while running get imprinted on where I was on the trail. Even now, years later, as I run below the lake street bridge, I often think of the first season of Serial. Running from downtown to the Bohemian Flats, I think about an episode of “On Being” with Eula Biss. Listening to music or podcasts while moving might seem like a distraction from giving attention to a place, and it can be. But it can also be a chance to create a map of a place, connecting ideas that matter to you with locations that you move through regularly. Does that make sense?

Many people have strong opinions about whether or not you should be listening to anything while you’re moving. Although I do move much more without headphones, I like wearing them too. In my first year of doing this running project, I wrote a series of four acrostic poems exploring this no headphones/playlist debate: Playlist/No Headphones, some reflections

note: I’m typing this paragraph an hour later. When I was writing about headphones and listening, I thought there was something else I wanted to say, but it had drifted from my mind. It came back, in the midst of thinking about podcasts.

When I listen to podcasts, I always wear headphones, not broadcasting them to anyone else on the trail. For the most part, I prefer that others listen with headphones too. Yet, even as I write this, I’m reminded of how hearing someone’s irritating TEDtalk inspired a poem, and how I find some delight in hearing a song blasting from a bike speaker, especially if it’s accompanied by the Doppler effect.

Found this Anne Carson poem on twitter this morning:

Could I/ Anne Carson

If you are not the free person you want to be, you must find a place to tell the truth about that. To tell how things go for you. Candor is like a skein being produced inside the belly day after day, it has to get itself woven out somewhere. You could whisper down a well. You could write a letter and keep it in a drawer. You could inscribe a curse on a ribbon of lead and bury it in the ground to be unread for thousands of years. The point is not to find a reader, the point is the telling itself. Consider a person standing alone in a room. The house is silent. She is looking down at a piece of paper. Nothing else exists. All her veins go down into this paper. She takes her pen and writes on it some marks no one else will ever see, she bestows on it a kind of surplus, she tops it off with a gesture as private and accurate as her own name.

(added this later in the day):

bike: 8.5 miles
lake nokomis and back
87 degrees
4:30 pm (there) / 6:00 (back)

Biked without any problems. 2 distinctive memories, one of the way to the lake, one on the way back.

to the lake: Coasting down the hill between the double bridge and Locks and Dam No. 1, in the hot sun, I passed someone pushing a canoe on wheels. It looked awkward and like they were struggling. I tried to imagine the scenario where you would be pushing a canoe at this spot.

from the lake: Biking under the echo bridge, I heard 2 flutes playing a duet under the bridge, on the other side. It sounded very nice. I imagined calling out, “that sounds great” or “you’re awesome” but I didn’t.

This is the first time I’ve witnessed a canoe being pushed on the paved path or 2 flutes playing a duet under a bridge.

swim: 2 loops
87 degrees
windy

So much wind again. I’m getting used to it. I stayed on course. There was one point where I oriented myself in relation to another swimmer who was off course, so I got a little too close to the buoy, but otherwise, no problem. Again, I seem to swim straight towards the buoys even when I don’t see them, or think I see them. My googles leaked a little, and when I got out of the water there was a film over my eyes. Everything looked like it was fogged up, even thought I wasn’t wearing glasses.

One memorable thing: Rounding the last green buoy, parallel to the big beach, I suddenly hit something hard with my hand. Huh? A green plastic bucket. As I flinched and lifted my head out of the water in surprise, I heard a woman laugh. Was she laughing at me? I doubt it. How did the bucket make it out this far?

I breathed every 5 strokes and had fun punching the water when it was extra choppy. Noticed a few planes and clouds above. An occasional flash below, and nothing else but brown, opaque water. Oh — a menancing sailboat, off to my left side. The first one this year!

addendum, june 22: I remembered 2 more memorable things that I don’t want to forget. One while I was swimming, the other while biking.

swimming: I kept seeing another swimmer out of the corner of my eye, but when I looked back again, they were gone. It was strange, because it happened more than once and felt very real, like they were there, and then they weren’t. Maybe it was the yellow buoy tethered to my waist?

biking: Biking back home on the river road trail, I passed a runner, running smoothly and quickly, snapping their fingers repeatedly. Why where they snapping? Not sure. In all the times I’ve passed a runner while biking (or while running), I don’t think I’ve ever heard them snapping!

june 19/BIKESWIMBIKE

bike: 8.5 miles
lake nokomis and back
80 degrees
9:00 am (there) / 10:40 am (back)

My first bike ride to the lake by myself this year. Everything was a bit fuzzy, but I wasn’t scared to bike and I didn’t have any problems almost running into things or hitting a big pothole. Hooray! I’m always grateful to still be able to bike. My most distinctive memory of the ride was on the way there, right after I entered the Minnehaha Creek path, past what we (me, my husband, and our kids who named it 10 or 12 years ago) call the duck bridge. A very irritating sound. A person walking with ski poles, scraping then clicking them on the asphalt with every foot strike. Ssscrape. Click. Ssscrape. Click. Over and over. I wondered if the runner right ahead of this walker couldn’t wait to get away from the sound.

swim: 2 very choppy loops
lake nokomis
80 degrees (air) / 75 degrees (water)
9:30 am

I checked the weather earlier in the day and knew it was going to be very windy. And it was. 25-30 mph gusts, I think. It’s hard for me to tell, but this felt like one of the choppier swims I’ve done ever. And I did a lot of choppy swims last year. I wasn’t scared, just tired out by it. My chest burned a little as I tried to get oxygen to it. Hard to think about much else, other than: where’s the buoy? is that the buoy? breathe away from the wave. is my neck getting too sore? am I almost to the big beach? Nearing the final green buoy, at a part that was extra choppy, a big wave washed over me as I tried to breathe. I didn’t inhale any of the water, I guess because I’m a strong, experienced swimmer, but I imagined if I had, how that might have been very bad. And when I say imagined, I mean I literally imagined the scenario, or a vague, dreamy approximation of it, in my head. Swallowing the water, panicking, flailing, drowning. I wasn’t feeling this, but almost watching it like a movie. I often daydream alternate scenarios in my head right after something has happened. Everybody does, right?

10 Things I Noticed

  1. the orange buoys, at least 2 of the 3, were in a neat row, cutting diagonally across the lake
  2. the bottom of the overturned lifeguard boat at the little beach was hard to spot through the waves — no sparkling silver streak to follow
  3. water visibility: I could see my hands in front of me and the bubbles they made with each stroke, but not much else
  4. the final green buoy was drifting in the wind, the rope attached to a weight that anchored it was close to the surface, I barely cleared it as I rounded the buoy
  5. my bright yellow buoy, tethered to my waist, was pushed into me by the wind several times
  6. a few female voices near the orange buoy closest to the little beach, a few swimmers resting and comparing notes before heading back to the big beach
  7. the water felt heavier or slower or like some part of it was trying to drag me down, harder to float
  8. off to the side, I noticed another swimmer swmming very far from the buoys — was this on purpose, or were they way off course?
  9. no vines wrapping around my head or big branches floating in front of me
  10. one seagull flying towards me

Overheard, right before starting, near the lifeguard stand:

Swimmer One: I see you’re wearing the wrong colored cap. The lifeguards will make you get out if your cap’s not the right color.
Swimmer Two: I know. I talked to a lifeguard about it. It’s okay.
Swimmer One: Okay. My daughter’s a lifeguard and she’s always saying how awful it is to make someone have to get out because their cap is wrong. You might have to get out on the opposite side and then walk around.

Was there anymore to this exchange? Was the second swimmer irritated by the first swimmer? Why did she have on the wrong colored cap? Was she confronted by a lifeguard in the water? That would be very irritating to be a lifeguard having to confront someone about the wrong colored cap. I don’t like disciplining people or enforcing rules.

This swim and bike was wonderful, and made me feel so relaxed and happy after I was done. Lake Nokomis swimming is the best.

I found this poem via twitter this morning. So great, so perfect for one of the weeks of my summer class!

Calling Things What They Are/ Ada Limón

I pass the feeder and yell, Grackle party! And then an hour later I yell, Mourning dove afterparty! (I call the feeder the party and the seed on the ground the afterparty.) I am getting so good at watching that I’ve even dug out the binoculars an old poet gave me back when I was young and heading to the Cape with so much future ahead of me it was like my own ocean. I yell, Tufted titmouse! and Lucas laughs and says, Thought so. But he is humoring me, he didn’t think so at all. My father does this same thing. Shouts out at the feeder announcing the party attendees. He throws out a whole peanut or two to the Steller’s jay who visits on a low oak branch in the morning. To think there was a time I thought birds were kind of boring. Brown bird. Gray bird. Black bird. Blah blah blah bird. Then, I started to learn their names by the ocean and the person I was dating said, That’s the problem with you, Limón, you’re all fauna and no flora. And I began to learn the names of trees. I like to call things as they are. Before, the only thing I was interested in was love, how it grips you, how it terrifies you, how it annihilates you, and resuscitates you. I didn’t know then that it wasn’t even love that I was interested in, but my own suffering. I thought suffering kept things interesting. How funny that I called it love and the whole time it was pain.