august 24/RUNSWIM

run: 3 miles
2 trails
75 degrees
10:10 am

Up above, a playlist: Harry Styles, Queen, Foo Fighters. Down below, the river gorge. An easy run.

surfaces run on: concrete, asphalt, dirt, grass, gravel, partly crushed acorns, decomposing leaves

Lots of chipmunks darting across the path. Lots of squirrels rustling in the dry brush. Busy, preparing for winter.

Turkeys! 6 or 7 of them just off the trail near the WPA steps at the 44th street parking lot. The one closest to the trail opened its wings in warning. Keep your distance! I did. I’m not messing with any wild turkeys!

Dripping sewer pipes. Light blue river. Fuzzy green vegetation, air. I couldn’t tell if it was my bad vision or some haze, but everything was soft and out of focus. I felt removed from the world, floating above the path in a bubble.

Down in the oak savanna, they haven’t trimmed back the wildflowers and tall grass in months. I ran through a tall line of sunflowers. Hello friends!

Smelled the sewer, almost tripped on a root. Powered up the damp gravel to the beat of a gulping chipmunk — what would you call that sound they make, almost like the hitting of a woodblock?

Noticed several leaning trees. Will they fall during the next heavy storm?

Thought about a few lines I just read while reviewing a newspaper article about the farmer who sold the last plot of land to Minneapolis for Lake Nokomis. The farmer’s name? Ebenezer Hodson. An interesting guy. The lines?

In the 1850s, his aging uncle Isaac — who fought in the Revolutionary War — urged him to seek his fortune in the Minnesota Territory. Treaties with the Dakota people had opened up land for white settlers west of the Mississippi

Treaties with the Dakota people had opened up land for white settlers? I imagined writing an erasure poem using this article that focused on how the land was stolen, the treaties illegal. Now, after looking at that phrase again, I’m struck by its passivity, as if the land just opened up, or the treaty did the work and not the settler colonizers who crafted their dubious/illegal/violent treaties and then failed to honor them. It reminds me of a poem I posted on nov 13, 2021.

Passive Voice/ LAURA DA’

I use a trick to teach students
how to avoid passive voice.

Circle the verbs.
Imagine inserting “by zombies”
after each one.

Have the words been claimed
by the flesh-hungry undead?
If so, passive voice.

I wonder if these
sixth graders will recollect,
on summer vacation,
as they stretch their legs
on the way home
from Yellowstone or Yosemite
and the byway’s historical marker
beckons them to the
site of an Indian village—

Where trouble was brewing.
Where, after further hostilities, the army was directed to enter. 
Where the village was razed after the skirmish occurred.
Where most were women and children.

Riveted bramble of passive verbs
etched in wood—
stripped hands
breaking up from the dry ground
to pinch the meat
of their young red tongues.

swim: 1 small loop / .5 big loop
cedar lake open swim
84 degrees
5:30 pm

The last Cedar Lake swim of the season. FWA came along and we did a loop together — he swam breaststroke, I swam freestyle, with some butterfly and backstroke mixed in. FWA ended up going to 4 or 5 open swims this season, and swam a loop at Lake Nokomis once. It was fun to share it with him, and good for me to have a few swims where I didn’t just swim as fast and as hard as I could.

Cedar Lake was on brand tonight, for sure. No lifeguards around, no buoys, loud music blasting across the lake, open water swimmers swimming even without the lifeguards and wherever they wanted — way off to the side, stopping in the middle. In the past this probably would have bothered me, but not now. Am I mellowing out? I hope so.

There was no wind, no waves, a warming light from the setting sun. A beautiful night! So happy I was able to spend these moments with FWA!