may 9/RUN

5 miles
bottom of franklin turn around
66 degrees
humidity: 70%

Just as I started my run, one bird then another flew right across my path. Were they sparrows? Heard the squawk call of the downy woodpecker several times. Smelled a smell like Big Red cinnamon gum. I know it’s a flowering bush or tree, but every year I forget what it is. Tried looking it up; I still don’t know. I was tired and sore so the run was hard. I should probably take a break tomorrow. I remember looking at the river but not what it looked like. Heard a dog collar clanging below then something — a dog, I assume — running through the bushes. Noticed a few cars and bikes with headlights on.

No sun today. Everything a rich green, thick and quiet.

Since last week, painters have been painting the outside of our house. A dark gray (gibraltar) with white trim and a bright green (parakeet) door. Very nice. Not only does it look good but by fixing the rotting boards on the garage, scraping away the peeling paint just below the kitchen, and sanding and painting the deck railing, they have eliminated several of the worries that have simmered on low on the back burner in my brain for years. Of course they’ll be replaced with new worries — bothersome ant hills, a yard with more weeds than grass — but I always like to acknowledge the passing of worries so they don’t continue to haunt me.

Listened to cars, my breathing, birds as I ran north, “Dear Evan Hansen” on headphones as I ran north.

Mary Ruefle, “I Remember, I Remember”

Today’s Ruefle selection is the lecture, “I Remember, I Remember.” Each one of Mary Ruefle’s series of recollections about poetry and writing and childhood begins with the phrase, I remember.

I remember, I remember refers to the a poem by Thomas Hood in the first poetry book she ever owned.

Ruefle remembers sending a poem to the publishing company, Little, Brown, and Company as a child and learning from them that Laura Ingalls Wilder was dead and that one of her favorite characters from the book series had died in a threshing accident.

Ruefle remembers reciting “Ode to a Nightingale” to cows in a field when she was 18 and weeping because she loved the poem so much.

Then she remembers many other things — 16 more pages of them — about writers she encountered and poetry.

before the run

I only read the first page of this lecture before going out for my run.

during the run

I remember, about a mile and a half in, I had a thought about remembering and forgetting. I remembered it and then, when I reached the bottom of the hill, I stopped to record what I remembered into my phone:

Thinking about “I Remember” and remembering, origins and when things began. I thought about how there is a sort of origin point to all of this (my writing poetry) and it’s my eye doctor diagnosing me with a rare eye disease then saying, you should write about it which prompted me to want to work on my writing so I could better explain what I was experiencing. But, I had already been writing and already had those desires, so it was really more of a slight shift, a stutter step or a quick stumble off the path, just briefly, which changed the trajectory, slightly, incrementally. Difficult to pinpoint what all changes your path.

after the run

Ruefle’s recollection of reciting a poem in a field to some cows reminds me of how I liked to memorize poems, especially by Shakespeare, and recite them to 3 of my friends as we trudged through Iowa cornfields de-tasseling corn the summer before heading off to college. At that point, I didn’t think I liked poetry. I guess I did.

I remember when I turned 40 and was trying to remember what happened to me as a child, I felt like I had forgotten everything. I wondered how other people could remember so much, me so little.

I remember reading an article about Marilou Henner and how her brain doesn’t forget anything that happens to her, she remembers every detail of every day. I remember thinking that sounded miserable.

I remember writing the phrase, “remembering to forget” and “forgetting to remember” in two different log entries and thinking those were interesting ideas.

I remember the moment of struggle, trying to remember a word from a poem that I had just memorized, then the moment of awareness, realizing what the word was — the moment when forgetting became remembering. Then thinking that the moment of remembering was invigorating and strange and magical — how suddenly something lost was found.

I remember trying to find someone else’s poem that expressed similar feelings about the joy of remembering, but all I could find were poems of sorrow about forgetting.