bottom of franklin hill turn around
15 degrees / feels like 5
Colder today, but almost a completely clear path! Sunny, bright. Greeted Dave the Daily Walker early on. He was bundled up today. Wrapped in so many layers, I felt disconnected. I barely remember running on the stretch between the Welcoming Oaks and the lake street bridge. Only one flash of memory: looking down from the bike path, I noticed the walking path was hidden by a hard pack of snow, hardly looking like a path.
Listend to the gorge running north, a playlist returning south.
- my (recently) dead mother-in-law’s purple Columbia jacket
- pink jacket with hood
- green shirt
- 2 pairs of black running tights
- 2 pairs of gloves (black, pin and white striped)
- gray buff
- black fleece-lined cap
- 1 pair of socks
10 Things I Noticed
- my shadow, running ahead of me
- the shadow of the lamp post beside the trail — the tip of the top of the lamp post looked extra sharp
- the river was open and brown, with a few streaks of white
- the path was clear but on the edges there were thick slabs of opaque ice where the puddles had refroze
- birds!, 1: the tin-whistle song of a blue jay
- birds!, 2: the laugh of the pileated woodpecker
- birds!, 3: the drumming of some woodpecker. Was it a pileated woodpecker, or a downy woodpecker, or a yellow-bellied woodpecker?
- birds!, 3: so many chirps and trills and twitters on the way up the franklin hill — a rehearsal for spring
- an impatient car illegally passing another car on the river road
- very little ice on the trail — where there was ice, Minneapolis Parks had put some drit down to make it less slippery (finally!)
Today, I have 2 Pastan poems. I am including both of them because they work together to speak to one set of struggles I have with losing my vision: I can no longer drive because of my deteriorating central vision AND this inability to no longer drive makes me feel much older than I am. Pastan is writing about surrendering her key when she’s in her late 80s. I stopped being able to drive at 45.
Ode to My Car Key/ Linda Pastan
shape of a treble clef
I slip you
in the ignition—
seeking its target—
where you fit
like a thread
in the eye
of a needle
like a man and
A click and
the engine roars,
the road unscrolls
on its way
At night you sleep
in the darkness
of a drawer,
On a pillow
of tarnsied coins.
Oh faithful key:
last week I gave
in its stone—
as I climbed into
the waiting vehicle
of old age.
Cataracts/ Linda Pastan
Like frosted glass,
you blur the hard edges
of the cruel world.
Like summer fog, you obscure
the worse even an ocean can do.
But watch out.
They are coming for you
with their sterile instruments,
their sharpened knives,
saying I will be made new—
as if I were a rich man
wanting a younger wife.
Soon the world will be all glare.
Grass will turn a lethal green,
flower petals a chaos
of blood reds, shocking pink.
What will I see? I am afraid
of so much clarity, so much light.
This second poem offers an interesting contrast to the first one, which is a lament over the loss of the ability to drive, presumably (mostly?) because of her vision. In “Cataracts,” Pastan is worried about regaining her vision and how it will change the gentle ways she sees. “I am afraid/of so much clarity, so much light” immediately reminds me of Emily Dickinson’s “Tell it Slant”: “too bright for our infirm Delight” and “Before I got my eye put out”: “So safer — guess — with my just my soul/ Opon the window pane/ Where other creatures put their eyes/ Incautious — of the Sun– “
I like how putting these poems together offers space for both lamenting the loss of vision, and for appreciating the new ways it allows you to see. Is this what Pastan is doing? I’m not sure, but it speaks to how I feel about my vision loss.