august 26/RUN

5.15 miles
franklin loop
64 degrees / humidity: 85%
8:40 am

Wow, what a wonderful late summer morning! Sunny, but cool. Noisy (with cicadas), but calm. I was hoping to run nice and slow, and I did, until I started creeping up on a runner ahead of me. I was running just faster than them and slowly gaining. As I neared, I noticed the runner slowed their pace to let me pass (I do that too — unlike some other runners who speed up as you near — very annoying). So, I picked up the pace to pass and never slowed down again. Oops. So much for a slow run!

In the first miles of the run, lots of people seemed to be getting in my way. Running too close, or walking on the wrong side. When I noticed it was almost everyone, I realized it probably wasn’t them, but me. I must be in a bad mood. So I let go, stopped feeling hostility towards everyone else, and within a few minutes no one was getting in my way. Funny how that works.

10 Things I Heard

  1. the electric buzz of cicadas*
  2. a few fragments of conversation that I can’t remember
  3. an old van, bouncing around on the road, sounding like broken springs on an old mattress
  4. the radio in that same van, playing some music I couldn’t recognize
  5. a chipmunk** chucking or clucking (I like chuck better than cluck)
  6. water sprinkling out of the seeps in the limestone on the eastern side of the gorge, sounding almost like wind through the trees
  7. the rumble of a garbage truck in the alley at the beginning of my run as I made my way to the river
  8. the rowers down below
  9. the quick foot strikes of a runner behind, then beside, then way in front of me
  10. walking back, nearing my block, a mailman speaking to someone in his mail truck: Open the door and then look out to check for cars. Was he training another mailman? That’s my guess

*Speaking of cicadas, I recorded their loud buzz right after I finished my run:

august cicadas / 9:30 am on 26 august 2022

**Found this Ogden Nash poem about the chipmunk:

The Chipmunk/ Ogden Nash

My friends all know that I am shy,
But the chipmunk is twice and shy and I.
He moves with flickering indecision
Like stripes across the television.
He’s like the shadow of a cloud,
Or Emily Dickinson read aloud.

Emily Dickinson read aloud? Reactions to this line: Huh? No. Maybe. The maybe came when I remembered Susan Howe’s description of ED’s poetics of humility and hesitation in her book, My Emily Dickinson (I bought this book earlier this summer. Is this a sign that I should read it now?).

Emily Dickinson took the scraps from the separate “higher” female education many bright women of her time were increasingly resenting, combined them with voracious and “unladylike” outside reading, and used the combination. She built a new poetic form from her fractured sense of being eternally on inteIlectual borders, where confident masculine voices buzzed an alluring and inaccessible discourse, backward through history into aboriginal anagogy. Pulling pieces of geometry, geology, alchemy, philosophy, politics, biography, biology, mythology, and philology from alien territory, a “sheltered” woman audaciously invented a new grammar grounded in humility and hesitation. HESITATE from the Latin, meaning to stick. Stammer. To hold back in doubt, have difficulty speaking. “He may pause but he must not hesitate”-Ruskin. Hesitation circled back and surrounded everyone in that confident age of aggressive industrial expansion and brutal Empire building. Hesitation and Separation. The Civil War had split American in two. He might pause, She hesitated. Sexual, racial, and geographical separation are at the heart of Definition.

My Emily Dickinson/ Susan Howe

One more thing about the chipmunk. I find them irritating and loud and their hesitations (when crossing my path) or frantic scurrying after confounding my dog by hiding in the gutter, are annoying. Scott and I refer to them as chippies, like when we yell in exasperation at their incessant chucking or scurrying or darting, Chippies!