Brrr, at least for the first mile. Had to put up my hood and breathe deeply. Ran through the neighborhood on my way to the lake street bridge instead of by the Welcoming Oaks. Such beautiful light this morning, bright warm sun. Saw my shadow several times. She kept wandering down in the ravine or right by the edge. I took a picture of her when I stopped at the Monument, which is a Civil War monument and not a WWI one (which is what Scott thought):
- water dripping at shadow falls — not quite rushing or gushing, but close
- little white caps on the water from the wind
- a bird calling out repeatedly, sounding like a car alarm — must have been a cardinal, right?
- even less leaves on the trees than last week, although there are still stretches of bright green
- one runner passing me slowly, gradually
- another running zooming past me up the hill
- the satisfying feeling of sandy grit crunching under my feet as I ran on the dirt rail next to the paved path
- on the St. Paul side most of the benches have plaques embedded in the concrete, none of them do on the Minneapolis side
- spotting a parked car, glowing in the sun on the west side of the river as I ran on the east side
- noisy, darting squirrels everywhere
before the run
Today I’m revising and expanding my part of the Haunts poem about the Regulars, the people (both alive and dead) that are regularly at the gorge. I’d like to add something about the “in memory of” plaques along the trail, mostly embedded in the concrete near benches. So I’m giving myself a task: take pictures of more of these plaques to write about in my 3/2 form. Will I do it? Will I be willing to stop and take these pictures? How many of them can I get?
Speaking of plaques, I was curious about how to get one and how much they cost. Here’s the link for Minneapolis: Tributes and Memorials
To get a bench plaque, fill out the interest form on the site. It’s $5000 for a new bench for 10 years, $2500 for a refurbished bench for 10 years. Only 10 years.
Here’s St Paul’s information. Same 10 year deal, although you can add 10 year increments for an additional $1500 at any time. Also: It’s $5000 for a new bench/10 years at St. Paul Parks, except along the Mississippi River Parkway. Those are $10000. That seems like a lot — is it?
during the run
I did it! Starting by the monument, I stopped at every bench and took a picture of the plaque next to it. Lots of stopping, but it was fun! 12 images in total. I didn’t read any of the inscriptions, just stopped, took out my phone, clicked, put my phone back in my pocket, then started running again. I would imagine that some of the people I encountered were wondering what I was doing. I kind of wish one of them would have asked so I could say something like, “I’m working on a poem about the gorge and I’m gathering memorials to include in it.”
after the run
Now, back at my desk, I’m looking through the images. Almost all of them are legible! So far, there’s only one I can’t read and that’s because I made it a 4 second video instead of a photo. Oops. Oh–and it’s always because it’s in a cursive font that’s very hard to read.
It’s moving to read these memorials, many of them about people who died too young. I’m particularly struck by one that says, “Just a kid growing up!” — Tony Basta, 12/1/99
I had no idea what this meant, so I looked it up. On April 26, 2000, while riding his bike along the Mississippi River (near Randolph) around 10 pm, 17 year old Tony Basta was shot and killed by 3 teenagers who wanted to shoot a random person “just to scare them.” Basta’s parents had the plaque made; the quote is from Tony in his yearbook. Wow. So heartbreaking and haunting — the details in this article (Tony Basta’s Murder 10 Years Ago) about the bystander who heard the shot and thought it was fireworks, his father who owns The Italian Pie Shoppe, the girl who overheard the killers telling the story at a party and reported them, earning a reward that paid for her college, the killer who expresses daily regret.
Will any of this make it into my poem? Possibly? Probably? Who knows? I’m not sure what will come of these accounts, but it feels meaningful to bear witness to the lives of the people on these plaques today.
As I was finishing up my run, my thoughts wandered. I thought about having one of these plaques for when I’m dead and how I’d want poetry on it. Then I thought, why wait until then and why put it on a plaque? What about leaving some poetry around the gorge now? Then I thought, wouldn’t it be cool to leave some lines from my haunts poem — some parts of my repeating refrain that includes, a girl runs and ghost and gorge? And now I’m thinking that I want to do some sort of unofficial public installation of this poem around the gorge. It could be lines left on the path or tied to a tree, or it could be QR codes with links to the text and a recording of me reading it. YES! I should research how others do public installations for inspiration.