nov 8/RUN

5.5 miles
ford loop
43 degrees

Ah, November! Ran through the neighborhood, past the kids playing outside at the church daycare, past the house that has a giant Packer’s flag hanging from their fence, past the window of the business where I watch myself run and wonder if the people inside are watching me watch myself, over the lake street bridge to the east side of the river. On the bridge, I passed a couple holding hands. A mile later, I passed another hand-holding couple. An unusual sighting, and twice. Ran up the long hill to the Monument, then beside the river until I reached the ford bridge. Stopped to take a picture on the bridge, then ran the rest of the way back with Taylor Swift and Olivia Rodrigo.

A view from the ford bridge, poorly framed. Not sure what color other people might see here, but to me it's all gray: light gray sky and river, broken up by chunks of dark gray trees. I like how the sky and the river look almost the same color to me.
taken from the ford bridge / 8 november 2023
My view of the river from the ford bridge. I stuck my phone above the railing, pointed and clicked quickly, afraid I might drop my phone into the river. For me, this image is fuzzy, almost furry, with soft greens and golds and grays. Most of the shot is of the past-their-prime trees on the shore of the Mississippi. All along the left edge curved around the trees is the light gray river which, at some point, turns into the sky. This image looks more like a painting than a photograph.
taken, with some trepidation, over the railing of the ford bridge / 8 november 2023

10 Things

  1. kids playing at the church daycare, several of them huddled at the fence, one of them (accidentally?) threw a ball over the side
  2. blue water, some waves, a few streaks or trails from something
  3. running above shadow falls, not sure if I was hearing it dripping or the wind through the trees
  4. running up the summit hill, a stretch of lit street lamps lining the path, the amber lights glowing softly
  5. noticing the gloom and the absence of my shadow as I ran around the ravine
  6. wondering if I would get to hear the St. Thomas bells as I ran close to campus (nope)
  7. chickadee dee dee
  8. turkeys! I’m not quite sure, but I think they were hanging out in the grass, just past the ford bridge, before you head down the hill to the locks and dam
  9. an unnaturally vibrant green on some of the leaves on the east side of the river — is this spring or late fall?
  10. an intense smell of cinnamon shortly before reaching the ford bridge — where was it coming from? someone’s gum? a bush?

before the run

Last night during Scott’s South High Community Jazz Band rehearsal, when I sit and listen and work on poetry, I returned to Susan Tichy’s North | Rock | Edge. Wow! This morning, before my run, I’m thinking about the lines I read and an interview Tichy did for Terrain.

There’s also a sensory excitement in a sea-rock-light-wind-bird-flower-seal-seep-peat-rain-salt—oh look, there’s a whale!—environment that subsumes attention to any one thing into the press of the whole.

I love how she describes the environment and her idea of attention to the whole, not just to any one thing.

Rock blurs the categories of time and space by making time visible and place temporal. A poem uses both rest and motion to create a form, which can be seen and must be heard—as the Susan Howe epigraph says, fleeting and fixed. These poems, like many in Avalanche Path, have a surface texture of fragmentation, abrupt change, and brokenness metamorphized into a new whole, voiced in present time, human time. Nothing is still; nothing is uniform.

And here’s a wonderful bit from the first part of Tichy’s poem, 60 North|Arriving, Stand Still:

& here wind

elevates to a theory

of time : to not miss a single

wave’s decay, a verse

of coast becoming dearth

of certainty, to undefine

the edge as noun, dissolving

in the not unyielding mouth

of cliff : verse/reverse

from the root of turn :

wind-wave & swell

compounded to a single

force, broken

by the thing it breaks—

In the next section she offers this line, what place is not. The gorge as what place is not, or where place one was?

during the run

I think Tichy’s poem influenced my thoughts indirectly as I ran. I was thinking about a part of my Haunts poem I’m working on, particularly about how I am sometimes a girl, sometimes a ghost, and sometimes a gorge. Am I the gorge, I wondered as I started running. And as I ran over the lake street bridge I came up with an answer: yes. Later, when I reached to ford bridge, I stopped running to record some thoughts:

I am the gorge because the gorge is the remains, what is left behind, what continues to exist even as ground erodes, self erodes, vision erodes. The gorge, constantly shifting, but always there. The gorge is the eroded. Is the ghost the verb, the eroding? … I am also the gorge because I’m constantly leaving part of myself here and becoming this place and not just moving through the place, becoming the place.