Since we’re driving FWA back to school on Saturday, Scott and I decided to do our weekly run today instead. We ran (most of) the Franklin loop. A beautiful morning: cool, sunny but with plenty of shade, calm. At one point the wind picked up and I had to recite one of my favorite wind poems, “Who Has Seen the Wind?” by Christina Rossetti.
Fall is coming: discarded acorn shells, glowing leaves, the light seems longer and softer, maybe a bit sadder too?
- empty river — no rowers or kayaks or big paddle boats playing dixieland jazz
- 3 or 4 stones stacked on the ancient boulder
- waved at the woman who stopped me the other day to tell me about some other runner who had my same gait. I think she wanted us to go on a date — she kept telling me how cute he was. A new regular? I’ll call her, the Fixer Upper — talking with Scott, we agreed that Fixer Upper sounded like she needed to be fixed up, which is not true at all, so I guess I’ll call her the Setter Upper
- the porta potty by the overlook has been removed. Why? I bet the people living in tents down in the gorge really needed it
- the cracks in the path just past the trestle are growing wider and deeper. Is the bluff becoming too unstable? Will they need to abandon this part of the path?
- a steady stream of cars on the road — no soft moments when all I can hear are my footfalls and my breath
- the east river road just south of franklin is in terrible condition — so many potholes!
- played a game with Scott — was that noise down in the east flats wind or water? I said water, he said wind. I think he was right; it hasn’t rained for a while
- another game — what is that loud, strangled cry? Knowing I was being ridiculous I guessed, a giant gobbling turkey. Scott thought it was a man yelling. We were both wrong; it was a dog barking
- crossing back over the lake street bridge: shadows of trees on the river near the shore, soft ripples from the wind
the day made
Walking back through the neighborhood, we encountered a pair of dogs that I had run by earlier in the summer (june 10, 2023) and always hoped to see again. 2 tiny dogs, barking with little yips and snorts, especially the larger one. Scott thought the smaller one — a minpin chihuahua mix? — was so small that it could have escaped through the bars of the fence if it wanted too. It didn’t. Of course, I cried out in delight when I saw them. I might have even clapped. Scott started laughing and then imitating the yip snort whenever I asked. Would I love these dogs as much if I had to live next to them? Maybe not, or maybe I’d love them even more.
Earlier this morning, prepping for my class, I was thinking about being open to the world, letting it interrupt you. These dogs were wonderful interrupters. That glorious bark, those cute, impossibly tiny bodies! Before we saw them, we were tense — Scott needed to hurry home to fix a server, but when they suddenly appeared, everything else was forgotten. It was just those dogs and that moment of sound and blurry little bodies.
I’ve written about frantic dogs barks before (and how much I like them). A few years back, I also posted a poem that included some yippy yappy dogs.
from I Heart Your Dog’s Head/ Erin Belieu
Which leads me to recall the three Chihuahuas
who’ve spent the fullness of their agitated lives penned
in the back of my neighbor’s yard.
Today they barked continuously for 12 minutes (I timed it) as
the UPS guy made his daily round.
They bark so piercingly, they tremble with such exquisite outrage,
that I’ve begun to root for them, though it’s fashionable
to hate them and increasingly dark threats
against their tiny persons move between the houses on our block.
But isn’t that what’s wrong with this version of America:
the jittering, small-skulled, inbred-by-no-choice-
of-their-own are despised? And Bill Parcells—
the truth is he’ll win
this game. I know it and you know it and, sadly,
did it ever seem there was another possible outcome?
It’s a small deposit,
but I’m putting my faith in reincarnation. I need to believe
in the sweetness of one righteous image,
in Bill Parcells trapped in the body of a teacup poodle,
as any despised thing,
forced to yap away his next life staked to
a clothesline pole or doing hard time on a rich old matron’s lap,
dyed lilac to match her outfit.
I want to live there someday, across that street,
and listen to him. Yap, yap, yap.