bottom of franklin hill and back
Found out last night that RJP has COVID. She’s had a cold all week. So far, I feel okay, so does Scott. Will we get it? I’m a little worried, but only a little. A few years ago, I would have been freaking out. Thank you vaccines and better treatments and less severe variants! Unless I feel like total crap, I’m going out for a run when I can. Today I don’t feel like total crap, so I went out for a run. It felt good. Breathing in fresh air! Moving my legs! Admiring the half frozen river!
A great run. Just above freezing, not too slippery. Some wind, but mostly at my back. Ran north with no headphones, south with a playlist.
12 Things I Noticed
- a honking goose, its mournful cry amplified by the bridge
- a big bird flying above. I think it was a crane
- a runner in an orange shirt, running with a dog
- another runner — tall, wearing a white sweatshirt and shorts, moving fast, with long, bouncing strides
- passing Dave, the Daily Walker: Good Morning, Dave!
- a group of young people, high school or college students?, hanging out by the franklin bridge, blocking the path
- no sun, but not gloomy, a grayish-white sky. everything bright but with very little color
- the river! down at the start of the flats, the river was gray and half-frozen. Not flat or dull but interesting. Not gloomy either, but vast and quiet. Not desolate, but detached, otherworldly
- a car, I think it was a Prius, whooshing through a stretch of the road that was part snow, part bare pavement, then suddenly turning silent as it reached a part of the road that was all soft snow. So strange to watch it move without sound
- Climbing the franklin hill, encountering a line of cars with their headlights on, crawling down the hill
- the faint trace, in light gray, of my shadow ahead of me
- the knock knock knock of a woodpecker
Still figuring out my theme for December as I continue working on some color poems — currently, a gray one. Today, I’m posting something from Ross Gay about joy. Wow!
Yes, that’s how it seems to me, that we need practices, or we need to notice the practices we have, that help us be present with our sorrow. I’m not saying that help us drown in our sorrow—I’m saying be present with it, acknowledge it, befriend it even, lest we do some wretched or devastating shit trying to pretend it’s not there, or trying to hide it. And to do it in a mutual way—which, again, might be in some of our practices: dancing, gardening, mourning—but it might also be how we live, how we attend to one another, with the awareness that, yup, like me, your heart is broken. Probably not in exactly the same way, but probably, no, definitely, it’s broken. And it will go on being broken in various ways. It does not make us special, it seems to me. It makes us like each other. It un-others us from each other in fact. What happens if we live like that? My sense is that we’re more inclined to care for one another, we’re more inclined to love one another, which, yes, might be a kind of resistance to institutions who have little care for us, but it might also end up being a kind of offense to them. When we care for each other, and consequently are less reliant on the institutions or systems that, a lot of them anyway, do not care for us, we make those systems less necessary. We might be replacing those systems with something like love.Cultivating Delight and Meaning with Ross Gay
Be present with our sorrow. Befriend it. It seems difficult sometimes to express sorrow, a brokenness, vulnerability, without it seeming weak or eliciting pity or the frustrating, You’re so brave! Or in ways that put it beside, in conversation with, delight or happiness. To me, gray holds both delight and grief, often in equal measures.
I like this idea that sorrow and broken hearts are something that connects all of us. I was thinking about that as I reread this poem by Didi Jackson, especially the last lines. The first song that is in all songs is that of sorrow/grief/mutual suffering.
Listen/ Didi Jackson
Like a hundred gray ears
the river stones are layered
in a pile near the shed where mourning
doves slow their peck and bobble to listen
to a chorus of listening.
Small buds on the lilac perk up.
A cardinal’s torpedoed call comes
in slow waves of four,
round after round. It’s a love call;
a call to make him known to himself.
The stones listen harder,
decipher the song; attempt
to offer back its echo.
This is not a poem of coming Spring.
This is a poem well aware
that gray flesh is dead flesh.
All of the ripe listening
comes at a cost. The first
sky is in all skies.
The first song
is in all songs.
And just now, thinking even more about Jackson’s poem, I realized that the delightful gray ears that the stones become has another meaning. Gray = neutral. The gray ears listen without judgment, are open to witnessing, beholding, hearing what is said without rebuke. Another meaning of gray! Love it. Those gray ears are going in one of my gray poems, for sure!