jan 14/RUN

4.75 miles
edmund, north/river road trail, north/seabury, south/river road trail, south
26 degrees
snow/ice-covered 75% (path) 25% (road)

For the first time since Monday, I was able to run outside. Hooray! What a difference it makes — for how the run feels, how I feel after the run — to run outside above the gorge. I ran on the road for part of it to avoid the worst stretches of the trail. Lots of loosely packed, slippery snow. I wasn’t as worried about falling as I was about having all my energy drained from the effort of running through the snow. Because of the bad conditions, I stopped to walk a few times.

Ran north to the Franklin bridge with no headphones. Turned around and put in a playlist.

10 Things I Noticed

  1. some of the roads were bare, others were still covered in soft, slippery snow
  2. a walker ahead of me on edmund was wearing a bright orange jacket
  3. running north, the wind was at my back. Returning south, in my face — cold and stubborn
  4. the river road was thick with cars, a steady stream
  5. a few bikers, more walkers, some runners
  6. a runner in a blue jacket, carefully making his way down the icy path near franklin
  7. an orange sign, a porta potty, a few barricades off to the side: there must have been a race earlier today
  8. a congress of crows cawing furiously, the sound echoing through the alley
  9. the scrape of a shovel on a sidewalk somewhere
  10. heading up from below the lake street bridge, hearing the wind shaking the dead leaves on the oak trees, sounding almost like water dripping — or was it water dripping?

Things I Forgot to Notice, or Didn’t Notice

  1. the river — don’t remember looking at it even once
  2. no regulars — no Dave the Daily Walker or Mr. Morning! or Daddy Long Legs or Mr. Holiday
  3. no geese
  4. no woodpeckers
  5. no black-capped chickadees
  6. no fat tires
  7. no kids laughing and sledding
  8. no overheard conversations
  9. no darting squirrels
  10. no music blasting from cars or smart phone speakers

Scrolling through twitter, I happened upon this poem:

Letter from the Catskills/ David Eye

Cousin–When a dozen robins blew into the yard yesterday–
I’d never seen so many–I watched them hop, cock their heads,
grab the thaw’s first worms. Such a pleasure, those yam-
colored breast feathers. Then snow las night, enough
for a fine white pelt, mostly gone by midday. (You’re better
off doing your play in the City, till it warms up for good.)
I wonder if the snow melted or–what’s that word?–
sublimed. To go from solid to gas, skipping liquid altogether.
The way I’d like to die. Grocery-shopping last night, I swear
I felt like such a loser. Not a fully set of teeth in the house,
yet I’m the freak: 45, alone at the Liberty Shop-Rite. And a snob:
can you believe it took four people to help me find capers?
So many breakups. My sister got the only keeper. God, I love
those kids. I dream of children almost every night. Awake,
I’m a eunuch. New vocal warmup, repeat before you go on
tonight: “unique New York eunuch unique New York
eunuch….” Give your boy a squeeze. The robins are back.

Lately I’ve been reading a lot about how poetry makes the familiar strange, but I think poetry can also make the strange familiar. Give us a door into the unfamiliar so we can get to know someone else and their experiences. The door in for me with this poem was all the robins. This past week, I saw so many fat robins on my crab apple tree, swaying and bobbing and getting drunk off the shriveled up apples.

a note about editing: I have a lot of typos in my writing. I didn’t used to. For years, that was a super power, being able to catch all the errors and to write a draft with hardly any mistakes. Now, I make lots of spelling errors (before I fixed it, I had spelled crab apple, CRAP apple), leave out articles and other secondary words, and for some reason, use an excessive amount of commas. I feel like I over-comma everything. Why? I think these errors and excessive commas are happening because I’m getting older, I’m writing more, the way spellcheck is set up with autocorrect is fucked up, and my declining vision. I think my declining vision is probably the biggest culprit. It’s frustrating and irritating and humbling to confront a decline like this, but I’m working on reframing it. Less of a decline, more of a shift to new practices and less worrying about stupid typos that don’t really matter. Maybe I’ll write a poem about it?