june 11/RUN

9:45 am*
2 miles
river road trail, south/42nd st/edmund, north
66 degrees / humidity: 85%

*I’m trying out adding the time to my basic details for these entries. I always tag them with “morning” or “afternoon” or “evening,” but I thought it would be interesting to see if it helps to get more specific. The tag is great for getting a general sense of when I run, but is that enough?

Here’s how it breaks down by tags:

morning: 1.092 entries (including today’s entry)
afternoon: 168 entries
evening: 16 entries

That’s a lot of mornings! I’m actually surprised that I’ve run as many as 16 times in the evening. I don’t like running in the evening. Should I try to change that?

A quick run on a humid Saturday morning, after some light rain that fell just before I woke up. Decided at the last minute to listen to some faster songs so I could work on increasing the speed of my cadence. Not because I want to go faster, but because I’m wondering if it might help my runs feel easier and improve my form. My go-to song for this: Misery Business/ Parmore. Elton John’s I’m Still Standing came on next, and that was a good speed too. It felt easy for the first mile, harder for the second. I think I should try doing this once a week. Maybe run with a quicker cadence (175) for a song, then a little more relaxed for a song, then repeat?

I’m sitting on my deck as I write this and the chickadees are going crazy: “chick-a-dee dee dee dee” — or, is it a chickadee? Now, I’m not sure. All I know is that it’s loud and steady and a bit frantic.

Encountered a running group. Not rightly packed, but strung out on the trail, a pair of runners here, a pair of runners there, for 1/4 of a mile. What are the training for? I didn’t look at the river or the oak savanna. Didn’t smell anything strange or hear any alarming sounds. No deep thoughts that I can remember. No felled trees to wonder about, or roller skiers to delight in (seeing a roller skier on the trail, is a good omen for me).

an image I remember: On my block, just before starting my run, I heard a woman softly speaking a few words (I couldn’t tell what the words were), then a collar jangling. I looked across the street and saw a woman running with a dog. The dog was medium-sized and on a leash, tethered to the runner’s waist. They looked like a puppy that might soon become a much bigger dog. They were running ahead of the runner. Something about their (the runner and the dog) movements seemed awkward, or not-quite-right. Was it that they were going too fast? Was it just not what I expected? I don’t know. I also don’t know why this image seems more vivid to me than anything else that happened on my run.

a new podcast to check out

I stumbled upon a poetry podcast that I’d like to try out: Words by Winter

Words by Winter: Conversations, reflections, and poems about the passages of life. Because it’s rough out there, and we have to help each other through. Each brief episode includes a story or conversation, along with a poem.

The creator/author of this podcast is based in Minneapolis, which is pretty cool.

my upcoming class

I think I mentioned that I’m teaching a class at the Loft Literary Center this summer. I’m very excited! It’s based on my work over the past 5+ years here on this blog. Here’s the description for “Finding Wonder in the World and the Words While Outside and in Motion“:

In this class, we’ll explore how cultivating the habit of being outside and moving regularly can make us more attentive and open to finding wonder in the world. And we’ll experiment with different methods for transforming that wonder into words, including creating and maintaining a movement log. We’ll read how writers use moving outdoors to help their creative process; investigate different forms of attention and how being in motion influences them; practice wonder, both as delight and curiosity, on our walks or runs; spend time with poems while moving to see what happens to them and to us; study how moving through land transforms how we know and describe it; notice our breathing as we move at different speeds, then compose poems that match its rhythms; and develop ways to remember ideas that occur as we move outdoors. 

Each week will consist of discussion, writing prompts, sharing strategies for your own outdoor-in-motion habits, and a few experiments to try during the week. Optional meet-ups by the Mississippi River Gorge are possible for those interested. Readings will be from Ross Gay, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, J. Drew Lanham, Aracelis Girmay, Mary Oliver, Georgina Kleege, Ada Limón, Emily Dickinson, Thomas Gardner, and others.

The class starts in 11 days and it’s all online, so I’m working on creating the content for it right now. It’s about the value of developing the habit of being outside and in motion for your writing/creative process/life. I’m especially interested in experimenting with how paying attention while moving (instead of while stopped, standing still) might open us up, and open up certain forms of attention that many of us don’t often use: soft attention or passive attention or attention that’s not about focusing closely on one thing, but on getting a bigger picture (the forest, no the trees). Not staring at or scrutinizing something in order to KNOW it, but becoming aware of something, feeling it, beholding it. How does that type of attention work, and how can we translate it into words? That’s what we’ll be playing around with in the class.

I mentioned chickadees earlier in this entry — the ones chattering noisily near my backyard — so I looked up “chickadee” on the poetry foundation site. Here’s the last section of a poem by Juan Delgado:

The Evidence is Everywhere/ Juan Delgado


Outside my window,
the sky is suddenly
draped by a hum,
a hummingbird’s hunger.
Her wings wrinkle the sky.
a chickadee too busy
and full of seed chatter,
the hummingbird
puffs up the air,
feeding like a storm,
a redness, a sideway rocket
past the world’s ear.

That spark reminds me of you.

Thin-rooted, lingering too
long, absorbed in window
reveries, I’ll be released. Here,
the soil is moist, sponge-like,
storing. Worms surface,
digesting their way up.
I, too, am ready
for the driving winds
of another season.