A wonderful fall morning. Sunny, glowing trees, not much wind. I felt great during my run. Easy, relaxed. The problem: when I was done, and walking back, my right kneecap started to act up. Small slides and shifts, not wanting to stay in place. Now, I’m icing it. Bummer. I’m not sure why my knee is having problems.
Lately, it’s a challenge making it to the river. There are redoing so many sidewalks in the neighborhood that it’s hard to know which street to take over to the river road. Today, I zigzagged until I reached edmund, then down the hill until I reached 32nd, then over to the trail.
On the path, a squirrel was running ahead of me. They couldn’t decide which way to go — away from me, or right towards me. They darted away, then back, then away, then back. Fuck, I muttered under my breath.
Running at my favorite spot on the east side, just above the lake street bridge, I was running too close to the railing and didn’t see a pigeon (was it a pigeon?) stopped on a post. Normally birds will fly away before you reach them; this one, just barely in time. I exclaimed, geeze, and held up my hands to my face as its wings flapped furiously. As usual, I wondered how ridiculous I looked to a passing driver.
Recited my favorite section from May Swenson’s “October” — the whole thing this time:
Now and then, a red leaf riding
the slow flow of gray water.
From the bridge, see far into
the woods, now that limbs are bare,
ground thick-littered. See,
along the scarcely gliding stream,
the blanched, diminished, ragged
swamp and woods the sun still
spills into. Stand still, stare hard
into bramble and tangle, past
leaning, broken trunks,
sprawled roots exposed. Will
something move? A vision come
to outline? Yes, there—
deep in—a dark bird hangs
in the thicket, stretching a wing.
Reversing its perch, it says one
“chuck.” The patch
on his shoulder that
should be red looks gray.
This old redbird is planning to
stay, this year, not join in the
strenuous migration. Better here,
in the familiar, to fade.
another word repeated: still
I have loved the line, Stand still, stare hard, ever since I first read this poem a few years ago.
Ran past a big boulder with a plaque. I thought about stopping to read it, but I didn’t want to stop. One day, I’ll stop, I thought. But will I?
Thought about stopping to take off my orange sweatshirt. I didn’t. Thought about stopping to walk up the steep (but less steep now that they’ve rerouted it) sidewalk to ford bridge. I ran the entire 5.5 miles without stopping. Excellent.
Anything else? Running on the east side, past a ravine that’s not too far from the ford bridge, I had a memory of living in northern virginia when I was 10. Such beautiful falls! The leaves, the sun, the winding roads! A happy memory — not of one specific time, but the feeling of fall — crisp air, sun shining on orange leaves, trails to explore, fresh cider to drink. I don’t want to go back to that time, but I like feeling it again. Something about running on the east side of the river helps me to do that. Why the east side, but not the west? Not sure.