20% deep puddles with ice
Wasn’t planning to run 6 miles today, but when I got closer to under the ford bridge and saw a maintenance truck blocking the way, I decided to take the path up to and then over the ford bridge. I briefly worried that it might be too much for my IT band, but decided to do it anyway. My IT band is sore, and it did grumble a little during the run, but I think it’s okay. Another reason I was willing to do this route: the part of the path between 42nd and the double bridge had 2 big stretches of jagged ice + deep, cold puddles + slush. I had already gotten my feet wet once (brrr), and I wasn’t excited to do it again.
Crossing the ford bridge, I admired the river. Farther north, it was open but right below, it was still iced over. Later, crossing the lake street bridge, I admired the river more. Open, undulating, and blue. The sun was shining on the waves, making a sparkling path towards the east side of the river. Beautiful! I wondered if it sparkled there because of a sandbar just below the surface. Probably not, but maybe?
Had to stop and walk a few times to navigate the slick, slushy trail.
Heard at least one drumming woodpecker, and a bunch of other chirping birds. Saw a bird soaring in the sky. Also heard what sounded like rushing water near Shadow Falls. Was it water, or dead leaves. Water, I decided.
Saw my shadow ahead of me. She was enjoying the sun as much as I was.
On the east side, I saw two walkers stopped for a minute, looking up into the tree. What were they seeing, I wondered.
My plan was to read all of My Emily Dickinson this month, but I made it about halfway and stalled. Too academic for me. Maybe I’ll return to it later? Still thinking about Emily Dickinson, though, and windows (which was another possible topic for this month). In the spirit of that, here’s a poem from Kelli Agodon Russell and one of her books that I just discovered and bought, Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room:
Another Empty Window Dipped in Milk/ Kelli Agodon Russell
“I’ve had nothing yet,” Alice replied in an offended tone: “so I can’t take more.”
“You mean you can’t take less,” said the Hatter: “It’s very easy to take more than nothing.”
I am the opposite of duende.
I am the humdrum, monotonous, the blah blah blah
when you want dazzling, a passion
flower with hipbones.
I’m not the voodoo that you do,
but the bone from the salmon on the side
of your plate. My lips say hiatus, say corpse pose.
All morning I make Ku Ding tea, serve crumb cake.
Trust me, it’s not bitterness I carry
in my blood, but the pulse and flow
of ordinary, the white picket fence
I like to call my ribcage. Listen—
the faulty valve of my heart quotes Einstein,
believes everything’s a miracle instead of nothing is.
All around, birdsong and background
music. All around, diamond birds and beetles.
To the mirror, I’m less than a gem. Some days
I see green glass while others see emeralds.
I needle through this, trying to sew synchronicity
into my stories. Sometimes I drop a stitch
and have to back-tack spiritus mundi to my hem,
slide the universe beneath my slip.
I would live differently if I knew passion
flowers would bloom in my bourbon,
if I believed randomness
wasn’t only a bone I choked on.
At night God speaks to me while I’m balanced
in dead bug pose. He says I’m beautiful
balanced in dead bug pose, but
I want to be the voice and not the insect,
the hipsway of tail feathers and not the egg
broken beneath a wingspan of worry.
I tell myself I’m safe from extinction
living in a marsh of marginal, a swamp
of so-so, but I’m afraid I’m becoming the common
seagull. Deep down, hope perches in my ribcage
and its song is enough to make me soar.
And this hum I thought was a murmur,
was another’s words—dwell, dwell—in a voice,
a ventricle, in the vital song of a hermit
thrush singing, here I am right near you,
to the robin outside my window
repeating as I serve the crumb cake,
the bitter tea: cheer-up, cheer-up, cheer-up.
I like this poem, even as I don’t completely understand it. Because I’ve been thinking about the ordinary — Linda Pastan’s line, It is the ordinary that comes to save you — I was struck by Russell’s lines,
it’s not bitterness I carry
in my blood, but the pulse and flow
I also like living in the marsh, a swamp of so so. And, the birdsong and the bird — ED’s hope is a feather perching in her ribcage — as being enough to make the narrator soar. I looked it up and found a source for Russell’s robin singing cheer up and her hermit thrush singing here I am right near you: Bird Songs: Putting Words to What You Hear