59 degrees! A great temperature for a run. Overcast, misting, low wind. Tried to relax and release the tension in my shoulders (cause: failing to get a girl to go to school) and keep a slow, steady pace for my left IT band. Mostly it worked. I had my headphones set up to put in but never did.
6 Things Heard, 1 Smelled, 3 Unseen
- SCREECH! SCREECH! — bluejays
- tat tat tat tat tat — a roofer’s nailgun
- drip drip drip — the sewer at 42nd
- there’ve been so many drownings there — a woman walking and talking on the phone
- thump kerplunk — falling acorns
- good boy! — a woman talking to her dog as she stopped to let me pass on the narrow trail
- sickly sweet, slightly off, a hint of rotten egg — sewer smells near the ravine
- the voices of kids playing above and across the road (unseen: only voices drifting down, heard but not seen)
- a black shirt left on a bench (unseen: the shirt being left behind/the person who left it)
- a bare rock (unseen: no stones stacked, yesterday’s wind that must have knocked the stacked stones off)
before the run
I just started a new thing in the morning with my wordle habit. I’m calling it birdle and the only rule is this: the first five letter guess must be a bird. So far I’ve used: finch, robin, goose, eagle, egret, and quail. Confession: I don’t know or couldn’t think of many bird names so I had to look it up after goose. I suppose that could be part of the point of this goofy game: to learn more bird names.
Some others 5 letter bird names I’ll try:
Veery reminds me of a delightful little poem I posted on july 13, 2021 from Lorine Niedecker (I love her!):
We are what the seas
have made us
the very veery
on the fence
Two things via Heather Christle on twitter this morning while drinking my coffee out on the deck: a poem and a concept
MORE SWANS AND MORE WOMEN/ Heather Christle
A swan makes a bad pet It is a murderer
but very beautiful just like a woman
If you see a woman moving in the water
you must run away very fast to a mountain
It happened to me once and there
are no swans on a mountain
This made it lonely and natural so
I was very safe but I forgot
how to talk and when I came home
people could not see I was a woman
although I made a lot of statues to explain
and I live by myself in a cottage and
the water is no longer working It won’t
make me beautiful just wet and the same
As of 2 or 3 readings, I don’t yet understand what this poem means. I’m not sure I need to. I like it for the swans and the swimming woman and the idea of the water no longer working, although I hope I never get to a place where the water is no longer working for me. Also: water making you wet and the same (like everyone else — all bodies floating freely and free from ailments/injuries, all together, a congregation) is magical, isn’t it?
concept — via negativa
Taught child about concept of via negativa this morning and had SO much fun watching her looking all around the bus stop, making silent notes to herself of what was not there.Heather Christle on twitter
I’m sure I encountered the idea of via negativa in one of my theology classes, but I’ve forgotten it. And now, after some very brief searches, I’m not sure I totally understand it, or that what I think it means is complex enough to capture what it really means. Regardless, for right now, I like thinking about via negativa in terms of the gorge and what’s present in its absence (does that make sense?).
Looking up “via negativity and poetry,” I found a great site, Via Negativa, which led me to many wonderful poems by Luisa A. Igloria, including this one:
Talisman/ Luisa A. Igloria
Even now, at what we believe is near the end, my mother is what kids today might describe as #fighting, A month in the hospital and she’s rallied and flailed, flailed and rallied. Through intravenous feeding, oxygen delivery, antibiotics, everything short of TPN. Who is Patty? my cousin and the nurses ask. My mother has been calling the names of the dead, names of the living, names of all the remembered ghosts in her life. Perhaps more than death or dying, the ghost of our own approaching absence is the most difficult piece of the puzzle. She still knows the difference between the clothed and naked body, how the taste and texture of water on the tongue disappears like a stolen jewel. Once, she fashioned for me an ugly name in a second baptism meant to confuse and repel the gods. She embroidered it on towels and the inside of my collars as she mouthed it like a spell. Sometimes, I still start at my shadow on the wall, blue and sick from being shorn from light.
I’ve thought a lot about fighting death this last month as Scott’s dad was dying. I remembered how my mom fought it for almost a year and how difficult that was for everyone. I hoped that Scott’s dad wouldn’t fight it too, wouldn’t linger in an almost dead state for months. He didn’t.
during the run
Inspired by my brief exploration of via negativa, ideas of the gorge as an absence that is present and embracing — or centering? — the unknown kept flaring in my mind. Then I wandered with these ideas, moving beyond (or beside?) via negativa, thinking about the unknown as what we can never access (never see) but also what we might be able to see if we slowed down and opened ourselves to the world. I thought about Robin Wall Kimmerer and her chapter in Becoming Moss, “Learning to See,” how being patient and present in the world can enable us to see things that were previously invisible to us. And I thought about the periphery and what dwells there (both the unknown and the known-made-strange).