walk: 35 minutes
neighborhood with Delia
36 degrees / wintry mix
Took Delia on a walk on a gray, wet day. Puddles everywhere. No ice, just water. Dripping, pooling, seeping. With my boots on, I didn’t mind it, but Delia did. I could tell by the end of the walk, she was over it. Instead of wagging vigorously when I called her name, her tail was stiff and bent at the end.
I’m working on a series of cento poems using Linda Pastan’s poetry. Before I went out, I was playing with a line from “The Ordinary:” “it is the ordinary that comes to save you.” I was thinking about the ordinary as I walked — the sharp, staccato drips of the water through one gutter, the gurgling of some other drops as the missed a different gutter. Someone’s shuffling footsteps. The feel of the cold, but not too cold, air in my nose. The reflection of trees, then the flutter of wings, in a puddle on the sidewalk. The singing birds.
Inspired by the beauty of the ordinary all around me, I stopped to record some sound and a thought:
it is the ordinary things that save us
the reprieve of birdsong
the flip side of sadness
A little later in the walk, I encountered yet another lone black glove. I walked by, then double-checked to make sure it was, in fact, black. Yes. It’s always black. This made me wonder which is more
satisfying exciting desired:
seeing a lone black glove and having my view of the world — that it will always be a black glove — affirmed/confirmed, or
seeing a glove of another color and having my view of the world
interrupted disrupted changed?
I want to say, a glove of another color, and I think it is, but not every time. Sometimes I want it to always be black.
swim: 1.8 miles
Finally, another swim! My last swim was on February 19th. It felt good to be back in the water, and a little strange. After watching a video last week on flip turns, I tried to focus on them more. Maybe it was a bad idea, or maybe it wouldn’t have mattered, but my knees started to feel sore about a mile into the swim.
The coolest thing about the swim was watching the shadows from the trees outside the window shift and shimmer on the pool floor. I was in the lane closest to the windows, which made the shadows more vivid. Swimming in the shallow end, I wondered if I’d still see them as vividly when I reached the deep end. I did! Very cool.
Not so cool: I noticed a little brown speck (very small) of something floating in the water near my face. What was it? No idea, and I didn’t see it again. I hope I didn’t accidentally swallow it. Gross.
I know February is over which means my month with Linda Pastan is over, but last night I read more of her poems while I listened the South High Community Jazz band rehearse, and I feel compelled to post this delightful one. Besides, it mentions Emily Dickinson who is my topic for March.
Q and A/Linda Pastan
I thought I couldn’t be surprised:
“Do you write on a computer?” someone
asks, and “Who are your favorite poets?”
and “How much do you revise?”
But when the very young woman
in the fourth row lifted her hand
and without irony inquired:
“Did you write
your Emily Dickinson poem
because you like her work,
or did you know her personally?”
I entered another territory.
“Do I really look that old?”
I wanted to reply, or “Don’t
they teach you anything?”
or “What did you just say?
The laughter that engulfed
the room was partly nervous,
partly simple hilarity.
I won’t forget
that little school, tucked
in a lovely pocket of the South,
or that girl whose face
was slowly reddening.
Surprise, like love, can catch
our better selves unawares.
“I’ve visited her house,” I said.
“I may have met her in my dreams.”