jan 8/RUN

5.3 miles
franklin loop
27 degrees
snow / 100% snow-covered

Before my run, looking out the window, I noticed it was snowing. Of course I went out; it’s fun to run in the snow! Wore my yaktrax for the first time. No problems. A great run. I felt strong and happy to be outside by the river, which was still open with only a few clumps of ice. I was able to run on the walking trail the entire time.

10 Things

  1. good morning Dave!
  2. Daddy Long Legs called out to me: good work!
  3. the shore’s edge across the river, where the snow was collecting, was glowing white. I think the blurry view due to the falling snow made it glow even more
  4. footprints in the snow, a few of them smeared — is there where someone slipped?
  5. intense smell of weed on the bridge
  6. park — or city? — workers parked on the bike path — flashing lights and one worker dropping a hose down somewhere
  7. a chain across the entrance to the old stone steps
  8. a few of lights were lit on the lake street bridge, most were still out, their wires stolen
  9. no eagle perched on the dead branch near the lake street bridge
  10. a soft, quick crunch as my feet struck the snowy path

Nearing the turn off for the Franklin bridge I deliberated: the franklin loop, or down the hill? I had this strange feeling that the choice mattered. Choosing wrong might mean slipping on an icy path, or worse. I guess I chose right, or my worries were unfounded.

the view from my windows (10:21 am)

2 pairs of windows — one set in front of me, 1 set to the right side. Today it is snowing — only flurries. The grass is half covered in yesterday’s dusting, the sidewalks are white. A few scraggly trees — almost off my front right edge: a pussy willow tree and beyond that a tall, wide trunk — too tall to see the top without moving forward in my chair. 20 or 30 minutes ago, someone walked by with a dog. Now, an empty sidewalk.

Wendell Berry’s Windows poems

Berry has 27 short-ish window poems. Before my run, I read 10 of them. Here are a few notes/thoughts/lines:


window as wind’s eye looking out through the black frame
eye as window (to the soul)
winter: white sky, snow squalls, corn blades


fall: foliage has dropped/below the window’s grave edge
bare sky, greenness gone, buds asleep in the air
the hard facts: the black grid of the window


40 panes, 40 clarities
window glass streaked with rain, smudged with dust
wild graph of its growth
the window is a form of consciousness
window mind wild consciousness river wind blown seed cobwebs


this is the wind’s eye,/Wendell’s window
In the low room/within the weathers,/sitting at the window,
the spark at his wrist/flickers and dies, flickers/and dies


Look in/and see him looking out.
hill (the native hill?) — wears a patched robe/of some history that he knows/and some that he/does not
the cattle watch him from the distant field

but there are mornings
when his soul emerges
from darkness
as out of a hollow in a tree
high on the crest
and takes flight
with savage joy and harsh
outcry down the long slope
of the leaves.

What he has understood
lies behind him
like a road in the woods. He is
a wilderness looking out
at the wild.


third person: as the man works
the window, alive: the window/staring into the valley/as though conscious
dreariness as comfort: As the man works/the weather moves/upon his mind, its dreariness/a kind of comfort


birds learn to trust him, then ignore him: That they ignore him/ he takes in tribute to himself.
birds as free — reckless with their eating, not concerned with the high cost of seeds


the river rises, nears the window
a storm, out of the corner of his eye, troubles the working Wendell


outside, birds: the air is a bridge/and they are free
Berry/writer is
set apart
by the black grid of the window
and, below it, the table
of the contents of his mind:
notes and remnants,
uncompleted work,
unanswered mail,
unread books
–the subjects of conscience,
his yoke-fellow,
whose whispered accounting
has stopped one ear, leaving him
half deaf to the world.
Some pads of paper,
eleven pencils,
a leaky pen,
a jar of ink
are his powers. He’ll


a rainstorm/flood — what a beautiful description here!

The window
looks out, like a word,
upon the wordless, fact
dissolving into mystery, darkness
overtaking light.

the water recedes:
Facts emerge from it:
drift it has hung in the trees,
stranded cans and bottles,
new carving in the banks

First, the line, facts emerge from it, reminds me of another poem about a time after the rain, After the Rain/Jared Carter:

After the rain, it’s time to walk the field
again, near where the river bends. Each year
I come to look for what this place will yield –
lost things still rising here.

Second, I’m struck by how Berry is using the window to talk about being a writer. I need to read and think about it some more before I say anything else, but it has to do with contrasts between wild and conscious/aware, interior and exterior, looking and being looked at, the word as constructed/fact and the wordless as mystery.

As I read Berry’s words, I keep thinking about Mary Oliver and her discussion in The Leaf and the Cloud about the tensions between writing a poem and being in and of the world.