august 19/SWIM

2 loops
lake nokomis open swim
65 degrees
10:00 am

Again this morning, I thought open swim would be cancelled because of thunderstorms. Only delayed! I did a fast two loops while Scott ran around the lake. The water was cooler, but I liked that.

10 Things I Noticed

  1. the cry of a seagull
  2. then, a bunch of seagulls* congregating on the beach
  3. a grayish white sky
  4. the green buoy looked white from a distance and like a sail from a sailboat
  5. setting up the course, the lifeguard directing the other lifeguards on where to place the buoys used the following as points of orientation: the 50th street beach (the little beach), cedar bridge, and wheels of fun. Wheels of fun? I delightedly thought this might be some inside joke until I mentioned it to Scott and he said it was a reference to the bike rental place. I prefer to think of it as an inside joke between lifeguards referring to some place or thing or memory about the lake or guarding it
  6. a few silver flashes below
  7. a vine crossing over my arm
  8. a menancing swan pedal boat in the middle of the course**
  9. feeling buoyant and strong, floating on top of the water
  10. breathing every 5 strokes

*some names for a collection of seagulls: a flock (and I ran, I ran so far away), colony, squabble, flotilla, scavenging, gullery

**some names for a collection of swans: wedge, ballet, lamentation, whiteness, regatta. I think I prefer, a menace of swans.

Here’s a useful article about collective names for birds: Popular Names for Flocks of Birds and How They Fly Together

Sometimes when I’m in the water, swimming fast and with strong strokes, I remember my much younger self: Sara, age 8. Strong, brave, sturdy, solid, a force to be reckoned with. This poem makes me think of her:

Girl in the Woods/ Alice White

I get glimpses of her in pictures, in
a t-shirt and no underwear, before
she cared, or bareback on a horse before
the branch. Before boobs, before boys. Before
school she was everywhere, that much is sure —
before the world condensed into a shape
to fit into. Some days I can sense her:
I disappeard from a girl scout campout
to comandeer a wooden raft I found,
looking. My counsellor shook her head, just said
I wouldn’t have expected this of you.
Whever I think I’ve got hold of her,
she kicks my shin and wriggles from my grasp,
runs for the trees, calls back, Try and catch me —

august 18/SWIM

3 loops
lake nokomis open swim
75 degrees
5:30 pm

Hooray for thunderstorms holding off until I was done! At the end of my third loop, I reached the beach, stood up, then heard thunder and the lifeguard telling everyone to exit the water. Great timing!

I had been tracking the storm all day. I knew it was coming after 6. I figured I would be able to do one loop, maybe two.

At the start of the swim, the sky was blue and I thought, there’s no way it’s raining during open swim. But within a few minutes, I started to notice the sky was darkening to my left. 1 2 3 4 5 breathe right, clear blue sky. 1 2 3 4 5 breathe left, dark blue. Then darker blue.

I swam faster, trying to outrun the storm. You could tell it was coming because the swells were getting bigger. No whitecaps, but biggish waves crashing into me. I was working hard — and getting to punch the water a lot, which I enjoy.

At the end of two loops, I stood in the shallow water and thought about stopping. Then I heard someone say, I’m going to do one more loop and I thought, yes, another loop sounds good. And it was, but also very hard. My legs were ready to be done way out in the middle of the lake. I’m very glad I made it back without any cramps.

I stayed on course the whole time, swimming right to the buoys even when I didn’t think I was seeing them. My legs, like rudders, correcting for when the wind blew me off course.

Saw at least one military plane, flying lower in the sky. Lots of seagulls swooping down. Some silver flashes of fish below. One prickly vine that grazed my leg, making it briefly sting.

Found this great essay about one of my favorite poem forms, the Abecedarius (which I’ve been calling the Abecedarian): Don Dada on the Down Low Getting Godly in His Game: Between and Beyond Play and Prayer in the Abecedarius (This article was mentioned in an excerpt of an interview with Matthew Harvey that I read).

I love playing with words, sometimes in the hopes of opening doors to new poems, and sometimes for distraction and escape. Yesterday, I was stuck in the waiting room of a medical clinic, which was both a “regular” doctors’ office and urgent care. I forgot my phone — what a bad time to forget my phone! — and couldn’t block out the sounds — the menancing coughs, the grunts and sighs, one angry man demanding a COVID test. I tried to read The Odyssey, but I was too distracted. So I got out my Plague Notebook, and decided to rethink the acronym, ER (I was not in an ER, but Urgent Care…close enough). Instead of Emergency Room, ER might mean:

  • End Racism
  • Endure Rain
  • Eat Radishes
  • Emit Radon
  • Erase Rust
  • Engulf Red
  • Enough Ruffage!
  • Early Run
  • Easter Roast
  • Ether Residue
  • Eggplant Ratatouille
  • Exam Review
  • Everything Ruined
  • Escape Room
  • Edible Road
  • Elephant Rug
  • Evergreen Rhyme
  • Escalating Risk
  • Expanding Rip
  • Elevator Rot
  • Empty Repair
  • Evasive Rock
  • Engineered Roof
  • Ecological Rap
  • Envelope Ripped
  • Epileptic Rooster
  • Enormous Racoon
  • Eleven Rainbows
  • Enchilada Recon
  • Elegant Rhinos
  • Electric Rump
  • Emerging Rest
  • Energy Rental
  • Eek! a Rat!

My favorites: Enchilada Recon, Electric Rump, Elevator Rot, Ecological Rap
Will any poems/lyric essays emerge from this? Probably not, but it sure helped me endure an uncomfortable hour in a crowded, coughing waiting room!

august 17/RUNSWIM

run: 5 miles
franklin loop
70 degrees
9:00 am

Such a nice morning for a run! Sunny, with lots of shade. No stiff wind, only a welcoming breeze. Heard the rowers on the river. Yesterday, as Scott and I were driving on the river road, we encountered a truck with a trailer filled with 4 (or more?) big, 8-person rowing boats — they’re called octuple sculls. So long. Wow!

Can I remember 10 things from my run? I’ll try…

10 Things I Noticed

  1. a revving chainsaw in the gorge, near the floodplain forest
  2. a coxswain’s distorted voice, counting off drills
  3. someone cutting across the trail, then disappearing through a hole in the treeline
  4. cracked open acorns underfoot
  5. 4 or 5 stones stacked on the cairn
  6. a slash of orange spray paint marking a tree’s trunk — will it be cut down soon?
  7. crossing the franklin bridge, a sign: roadwork ahead (RJP’s perpetual joke: Road work ahead? I sure hope so!). Then, a few trucks parked on the side of the road
  8. the ravine smelling like a porta potty or a poorly venitilated outhouse
  9. my toe — the one next to the big toe on my left foot. Ouch! After my swim on Monday, I thought I had completely washed the sand from between my toes before I went out for a run. Nope. A few miles in, I got a blister. That blister popped and become a raw sore that ached today, even through the bandaid
  10. no geese, no music, no roller skiers

Last night, Scott and I started watching the second season of Only Murders in the Building. So good! In the second episode, a character played by Shirley MacLaine describes her vision:

I have a bill of sale here somewhere that I… when I first bought it from the artist, and…

Oh God. Here! You find it! ( grunts )

I’ve got macular degeneration. I…

Nothing but a big bubble in my middle vision, and…

But I have very accurate peripheral vision, so you just…

Scott and I agreed that we had never heard vision/macular degeneration described in that way before on television. Very cool, and accurate. Such a great thing to include as a way to educate people on different ways of seeing.

I found a wonderful craft essay this morning by Amorak Huey: The Prose Poem & the Startling Image. I hope to write more about it soon. For now, here’s a prose poem he includes in his discussion of finding images that startle:

poem about water/ sam sax

i get it. your body is blah blah blah percent water. oceans levitate, clouds urinate on the ground that grows our food. this is considered a miracle – this is a problem of language. i could go on for days with facts about the ocean and it will always sound like i’m talking about love. i could say: no man has ever seen its deepest trenches, we know less about its floor than the stars, if you could go deep enough all your softest organs will be forced out of your mouth. you can be swallowed alive and no one will hear a sound. last summer three boys drowned in the sound and no one remembers their names, they came up white and soft as plastic grocery bags. i guess you could call that love. you’d be wrong.

Now I’ve started reading more of sam sax’s work. Water is a big theme in their collection, Bury it. And, how about this wonderful image in their poem, Prayer for the Mutilated World?

after phone lines do nothing
but cut the sky into sheet music
& our phones are just expensive
bricks of metal & glass

Or how water works in this poem:

swim: 1 small loop = .5 loop
cedar lake open swim
76 degrees
6:00 pm

Went to open swim with FWA. Just as we arrived, it started to rain. Then it rained harder. We almost turned back, but we didn’t. By the time we made it to the water, the rain had stopped and the sun was peeking through the clouds. The water wasn’t as clear as it has been, but still much clearer than Lake Nokomis. When we reached the far beach, we stopped for a few minutes. FWA picked up some rocks (with his feet, underwater), and started knocking them together. They made a sharp satisfying clicking noise that we could hear above water. I wonder if other swimmer could hear it below, and from how far away? Did it bother the fish?

august 16/BIKESWIM

bike: 9 miles
halfway to fort snelling
77 degrees
11:00 am

FWA and I decided to take a bike ride this morning. I got to choose where we went. I chose the paved trail to Fort Snelling, which I haven’t biked in 10 years. I chose wrong. It was bumpy 10 years ago, and they haven’t repaired it since then. We made it a few miles, then decided to turn around. Bummer. Glad we turned around because the trail was terrible, but disappointed that that meant the end of the bike ride. Will FWA be willing to take any more bike rides with me before he leaves for college in 3 weeks? Stay tuned.

Found this poem on twitter today. Makes me think about the end of open swim next week, and the end of swimming until next May or June.

Living Here/ Cleopatra Mathis

In the absence of ocean, I have the field,
and I walk there with the dogs
on a chain. One who won’t shut up,
the other large and grave
with his patient look–we all survey
gray sky, gray woods, absence
turning the season. The field
is married to silence, a cloud
lying across it, and when it lifts
no horizon takes my eye. No glory of night
falling at sea, light’s limitless plane.
In the field, containment
is everything, locked as it is by evergreen shade.
The scrimshaw of ice
is water’s only possibility, handiwork
the cold creek make in its secret
turning. Why not accept the bounds,
love the confined self?
In the world of appearances, teach me
to believe in the unseen.
The ground darkens to a threat.
I watch where I put my foot–no sound
in this universe but that reassuring thud.

swim: 4 loops
lake nokomis open swim
75 degrees
5:30 pm

Another wonderful swim! I felt strong and fast. Thought about myself more as a boat then a fish. Not fins but oars, shoulders as a broad bow cutting through the water, only partly submerged and partly above the water. Always moving with intent, trying to get to the other side. There’s something about how serious I am with my swimming, always working hard, rarely stopping. I like to push myself, not to get faster or be more fit, but because I like to work hard? Still trying to figure that one out. Imagining myself as a boat reminds me of a poem I posted a few years ago:

SWIMMER (FEMALE)/ Concha Méndez

My arms:
the oars.

The keel: 
my body.

my thought.

I found this poem on the site, Swimming at Dawn. In the entry in which this was posted, Dawn Swimmer describes how they try to return to the “elementals” to center themselves and to clear their mind.

Blue. Green. Tree. Breath. Arm. Hand. Bubbles. Sun. Moon. 

Sometimes when I’m open water swimming, with my mind full of thoughts and I want to clear it, I turn to elementals like primary colors. Single words for single moments. I turn my head to breathe, life giving agent, and there is the Sky. Cloud. Pink. Sun. Sensation. Joy. Cold. Water. 

Simplicity emerges. Each breath, a word. And, yes, Water. Water. Water. Always water, everywhere. Me inside the water. The water inside of me. 

Slicing through the waves, the currents, the liquid aqua. I’m flowing and moving somewhere and nowhere. Rock, Buoy, Colored house. Or perhaps, there’s a long section with nothing to distract me. The mind wanders. I turn my head to breathe. Mountain. Pine. Boat. Moored. 

Swimming My Verses: Poetry & Open Water Swimmming

I really like this idea. I’d like to experiment with some swimming poems made up of these elements. What were the elements of my swim?

Clouds. Sky. Plane. Vine. Wave. Buoy. Kayak. Swan. Strokes. Five. Breath. Roof. Treetops. Elbow. Cap. Blue. Green. White. Yellow. Orange. Pink. Shoulders. Hand. Hips. Foot. Slosh. Duck. Kick. Splash.

As we were waiting at the beach for open swim to start, a woman came up to me and asked, Do you ever think the buoys are staring at you? The handles look like eyes. When I’m rounding the buoy, I always see it watching me. I admitted that I’d never thought about that, but once she mentioned it, I could see it — the handles as eyes, the edge of the triangular buoy a long nose.

Tonight, the green buoy closest to shore seemed to grow farther away as I swam toward (towards?) it. Mid-lake, this green buoy also looked like a tiny glowing dot, more white than green.

A crowded lake with lots of open water swimmers and boats. During the third loop, I noticed a line of giant swans off to my left. Tonight, they didn’t seem menancing, just strange. Out of scale — were they too big, or was the lake too small?

Gave some attention to my stroke, noticing (again) how breathing to my left was a little harder. I don’t get my head out of the water as much on that side. Is it my rotation? I tried stretching out my right arm and rolling over on my right side more. I think it helped.

Here’s another bit of a poem that I’d like to play around with:

from “swims“/ Elizabeth Jane Burnett

The river is something that happens,
like exercise or illness, to the body
on any given day
I am rivering.

Not that the river is like the body
or the river is the body
but both have gone
and what is left is something else.

I wonder, is there such a thing as lake-ing? How does it differ from rivering? Also: what is the something else that is left? I like the idea of the water being a verb and not a noun.

august 15/SWIMRUN

swim: 10 beach loops = 2 big loops
lake nokomis main beach
66 degrees
9:00 am

Brrrr. Colder air this morning. Windy and cloudy. An almost empty beach. Water temp = 76 degrees. After a few days off — since Thursday night — it felt good to be in the water again. Only 2 weeks left. Sigh. For the first loop, I had to convince myself that nothing was going to swim up from the bottom of the lake and drag me under. I knew this was extremely unlikely to happen, and I wasn’t really that scared, but I still imagined it happening. Thankfully by the second loop, I was fine. I felt strong and very boat-like, my sturdy shoulders like the bow of a boat, slicing through the water, my feet the rudders. Thought about a poem I’ve started working on about the light our bodies make on the surface of the lake as we move through the water. This morning I wrote, hands pierce or hand enters the water. As I swam I thought about how it isn’t just our hands that pierce the water, but our whole bodies, then I thought body breaks. Yes, I like the multiple meanings of a body breaking.

10 Things I Remember About My Swim

  1. choppy water, a gentle rocking
  2. a vee of geese flew high above me
  3. lentil dal yellow water (visibility 1.5 feet)
  4. the sun behind the clouds
  5. breathed every 5, sometimes 6 or 4 or 3
  6. at one point, wondered what it would be like if this big lake was a pool instead. Is there any pool this big anywhere?
  7. no kayaks or swams or paddle boards or other swimmers
  8. saw some white streaks below me a few times — a trick of the light, not fish, I think
  9. felt warmer in the water than out of it
  10. a pain in my neck sometime as I breathed to the right

run: 3.1 miles
neighborhood + river road path + winchell
71 degrees
11:15 pm

When I got home, I decided to go for a quick run. Heard lots of birds — a strange trilling call near Cooper school. Looked it up and it sounds like an Eastern Whip-poor-will, but they usually sing at night. So, what was it? I don’t remember looking at the river or hearing any roller skiers. Had to duck under the fallen tree — are they planning to remove it? Felt hot, sweaty, tired, and happy to be able to be outside and running.

I’m slowly making my way through Emily Wilson’s translation of The Odyssey. It’s great.

the ones who stay :: faith shearin

There are the ones who leave and the ones who stay,
the ones who go to war and the ones
who wander the silent streets, waiting

for news. There are the ones who join the circus
or go on safari: the explorers, the astronauts,
then there are the people who never leave

their first neighborhood, their first house.
Odysseus spent years trying to come home
but Penelope never left. He was seduced

by women with islands and sung to by sirens;
he held the wind in a bottle. But Penelope
slept differently in the same bed, weaving

and unweaving the daily details while men
she did not love gathered in her kitchen.
Her face grew thinner, her son grew taller.

Is that a journey? The ones who leave
come back with stories: an excitement
in their eyes. But the ones who stay

witness little changes: dust, weather, breath.
What happens to them happens so slowly
it seems not to be happening at all.

the ones who stay/witness little changes: dust, weather, breath. I like being one who stays. I like tracking the subtle changes of dust, weather, and breath. I write about them a lot on this log. And, I like how doing this tracking is enough for me. Through it, I am satisfied — that’s no small achievement.

august 13/RUN

1.8 miles
river road path, north/south
64 degrees
9:00 am

Overcast and cooler. Feeling more like fall is coming. Breezy. Heard lots of shivering leaves, some roller skiers’ poles clicking and clacking. Got a “good morning!” and “have a great day!” from Mr. Morning! and a “Say hi to my wife!” from Dave, the Daily Walker. No rowers or views of the lake. Lots of voices — from runners and walkers — hovering in the air.

Scrolling through my Safari Reading List, I found two poems I had saved, both featuring ants:

The Sunset and the Purple-Flowered Tree/ Joshua Jennifer Espinoza

I talk to a screen who assures me everything is fine.

I am not broken. I am not depressed. I am simply

in touch with the material conditions of my life. It is

the end of the world, and it’s fine. People laugh

about this, self-soothing engines sputtering

through a nosedive. Not me. I’ve gone and lost my

sense of humor when I need it most. This is why I

speak smoke into a scene. I dance against language

and abandon verse halfway through, like a broken-

throated singer. I wander around the front yard,

pathless as a little ant at the tip of a curled-up

cactus. Birds flit in and out of shining branches.

A garden blooms large in my throat. Color and life

conspire against my idea of the world. I have to

laugh until I am crying, make an ocean to land

upon in this sea of flames. Here I am.  

Another late-winter afternoon,

            the sunset and the purple-flowered tree

trying their best to keep me alive.

With Ant and Celan/ Eamon Grennan

This tiniest mite of an ant, no bigger
than a full stop, is making its careful
way across a poem by Celan and
stopping to inspect with its ant
feelers (can it smell or see? is all in
the idiom of touch?) each curve of
each letter, knowing nothing of the
mill of thinking that ground into it,
into each resonant syllable of each
word. The ant stops on Sprache and
sniffs at its ins and outs, its blank
whites and curlicues of black, then
moves on to the next word, Sprache,
and busies itself with its own ant-
brand of understanding; but finding
nothing of what it seeks it moves to
the blank margin of nothing more,
stumbles over the edge of the page
and I have to imagine it is saying (if
that’s the word) to itself something
that translated means No food.
Nothing here . . . And so now, gone
back into its own weird world of
stones and weeds and grass and sun-
shadows, it is lost to me as I go back
into the dark wood of Celan’s poem—
a world of words I feel my diligent
way through, sniffing at its tangle of
branches, its brief sun-flower flashes: 
Language, language, it will sing in
translation: Partner-Star . . . Earth-
NeighborPoorer. Open . . . Then: 
Homelike. Homely. Homelandlike.
Heimatlich. And so I take its final
word to heart, the way that most
minuscule creature might take back
to its own earth-burrow a seed, a
scrap of anything either edible or
useful, anything it could translate to
nourishment, and live a little with it.

I have posted several poems by Eamon Grennan before. Such beautiful poetry! Here’s a link to more poems, read by the author.

august 12/RUN

3.8 miles
marshall loop
62 degrees / humidity: 87% / wind: 14 mph
10:30 am

Rained this morning, so open swim was cancelled. Bummer. Is this first time it’s been cancelled this year? Maybe — except for the e-coli problem at Cedar Lake for one day. Everything was wet, dripping. Mostly I heard it as it mixed in with the rustling leaves in the wind.

Running over the bridge, I had to hold onto my cap so it wouldn’t blow off. At one point, I felt like I was going to blow off the bridge! Noticed a few waves on the water.

No rowers. No roller skiers. Not too many people running or walking or biking.

Discovered this awesome book yesterday: A Walking Life / Antonia Malchik. Here’s a description from her site:

How did we lose the right to walk, and what implications does that have for the strength of our communities, the future of democracy, and the pervasive loneliness of individual lives?

Driven by a combination of a car-centric culture and an insatiable thirst for productivity and efficiency, we’re spending more time sedentary and alone than we ever have before. The loss of walking as an individual and a community act has the potential to destroy our deepest spiritual connections, our democratic society, our neighborhoods, and our freedom. But we can change the course of our mobility. And we need to. Delving into a wealth of science, history, and anecdote — from our deepest origins as hominins to our first steps as babies, to universal design and social infrastructure, A Walking Life shows exactly how walking is essential, and how deeply reliant our brains and bodies are on this simple pedestrian act — and how we can reclaim it.



run: 3.1 miles
turkey hollow loop
70 degrees
9:00 am

Overcast this morning. Listened to an old playlist and ran a route I did a lot during the early days of the pandemic. No turkey sightings. Bummer. Don’t remember much about the run, except for that it felt pretty good. No need to stop and walk.

Read more of Alice Oswald’s Nobody yesterday and decided that I need to reread The Odyssey to get her references. So I picked up FWA’s copy from his first year of college. I recall reading it my freshman year too. It’s great, especially this recent-ish translation by Emily Wilson. Very cool. How long will it take my slow eyes to finish? Unsure.

Found a great poem by Linda Pastan on twitter yesterday:

Imaginary Conversation/ Linda Pastan

You tell me to live each day
as if it were my last. This is in the kitchen
where before coffee I complain
of the day ahead—that obstacle race
of minutes and hours,
grocery stores and doctors.

But why the last? I ask. Why not
live each day as if it were the first—
all raw astonishment, Eve rubbing
her eyes awake that first morning,
the sun coming up
like an ingénue in the east?

You grind the coffee
with the small roar of a mind
trying to clear itself. I set
the table, glance out the window
where dew has baptized every
living surface.

Speaking of the sun coming up, this morning I woke up too early, around 5:45. I was going to try to fall back asleep then suddenly I thought: if I get up now, I’ll get to see the sunrise. Wow! What a sunrise. One half of the sky the color of a neon pink crayola with edges of bright blue. It lasted less than 5 minute. I sat out on the deck, wrapped in a blanket with my coffee and marveled at it. I remember thinking how ridiculously simple it seems to make a day worth it, and how difficult it is to remember to do it.

bike: 8.6 miles
lake nokomis and back
82 degrees
4:45 pm / 6:45 pm

Biked with Scott over to the lake. Perfect weather for biking and being outside!

swim: 3 loops
lake nokomis open swim
82 degrees
5:15 pm

Another wonderful swim! Why does open swim have to end in 2 weeks? Oh well, then it’s time for fabulous fall and winter running, and listening to crunching snow and breathing in the crisp, cold air.

Tonight it was crowded — at Sandcastle, on the beach, in the water. Lots of menancing sail boats and swan boats and kayaks. I kept seeing them at the edge of my vision and feeling wary.

Scott asked how the water was. I said there were waves, but they were gentle like a cradle, not rough like a spin cycle.

I felt strong and fast and amazing, cutting through the water. What a great feeling!

Looked down: opaque, almost greenish-yellow.

The water was warm. No pockets of cold, just warm.

Rounding the far orange buoy, a sudden shadow and coldness. Strange.

august 10/RUN

3.4 miles
river road path, north/south
73 degrees / dew point: 66
10:10 am

A later start. A warmer day. Still a great run. Relaxed. Thought about thoughts and trying to let them pass through me like the wind. Decided it’s easier to think about something else than trying to stop thinking about something. Recited Emily Dickinson’s “Before I got my eye put out –” Favorite lines today: “The motion of the dipping birds/the morning’s amber road” Greeted Mr. Morning! and overhead a conversation that I can’t remember now. Thought I heard the rowers below, but I’m not sure.

Walking through the alley after my run finished, I heard a blue jay. First, the tin whistle sound, then the screech. I’ve decided that, whether I like it or not, the blue jay is my new bird for this year. With that in mind, here’s an ee cummings poem I found. It’s making me appreciate the blue jay just a little bit more.

crazy jay blue/ ee cummings

crazy jay blue)
demon laughshriek
ing at me
your scorn of easily

hatred of timid
& loathing for(dull all
regular righteous

thief crook cynic
fragment of heaven)

raucous rogue &
vivid voltaire
you beautiful anarchist
(i salute thee

I haven’t read much ee cummings, so I had to look up how to read/make sense of his parenthesis. Here’s something helpful I found in What is the key to reading E.E. Cummings poetry?:

“Cummings often arranges the lines of his poems in seemingly strange ways:




(Cumming Complete Poems 691)

The key is to read everything within the parentheses first, then to begin again at the top with the remaining words: Bee in the only rose, unmoving. Are you asleep? If that is all he meant to say, why didn’t he write it that way? He wants us to discover the bee for ourselves as perhaps a bee surprised him when he peered into the heart of a rose. Why the “only” rose? Because our attention is completely focused at the moment on one particular blossom, it is as though no other rose exists. Why isn’t the bee moving? Is he dead? Is  he sleeping the sleep of the sated?”

august 9/RUNSWIM

run: 3.1 miles
2 trails
73 degrees
10:00 am

I recorded some notes by speaking into my phone after I finished the run. Warmer today. Ran mostly in the shade. Ran the 2 trails. Saw a firetruck — well, I heard its siren first — as I approached 42nd st. I wondered why rescue workers were here. Were they going down to the river to rescue someone? To recover a dead body? I never found out.

a thought about water: It’s nice to run beside or above or around water. It’s even nicer to be on water — in a boat, on a raft. But it’s nicest yet to be in water. Swimming, immersed. What a transformation it makes to be in water, the intensity of feeling about a space when you’re in it.

idea for a lecture for my podcast: I’d talk about these various ways that runners and writers try to hold onto thoughts while they are moving and the idea of thoughts and what happens to them while you’re moving. A lot of poems, possibly multiple lectures about this topic. At the end of the lecture, I could offer a few activities that I do to hold onto thoughts.

image: I had to stop and walk because a big tree had fallen over the lower trail. It was high enough that I could duck under it easily, but too low to do that quickly. It was forked with 2 branches, leaning from above, propped up by the fence. No leaves, just bark. It looked dead.

Returning to my idea for a lecture, or a series of lectures, on thoughts, I read some great lines from Alice Oswald in Nobody yesterday that involve thoughts and where they travel:

from Nobody/ Alice Oswald

As the mind flutters in a man who has travelled widely
and his quick-winged eyes land everywhere
I wish I was there or there he thinks and his mind


as if passing its beam through cables
flashes through all that water and lands
less than a second later on the horizon
and someone with a telescope can see his tiny thought-form
floating on the sea-surface wondering what next

swim: 3 loops
lake nokomis open swim
85 degrees
5:30 pm

Warm and crowded tonight. Lots of people on the beach, lots of boats in the water. A paddleboard and a group of kayaks paddling right through the swimming area. A menancing swan boat. This barely bothered me. What do I remember about the water? Heard some loud sloshing noises. Saw a lot of planes flying above me. Something hard bumped into me — not a person, also probably not a fish. A stick? The sun was blinding and it was impossible to see anything on the way back — no sighting the buoy or the beach. I breathed every 5 or 3 or 4. Felt strong and fast (even though I went the same speed I always do, about 1:45-1:50 per 100 yds).