may 23/RUN

5.35 miles
flats and back
61 degrees

10 Things

  1. globs of white foam on the river surface, moving slowly south, flat, brown, opaque water near the shore
  2. a hissing goose
  3. dazed, dreamy, almost disembodied, running fast up the franklin hill
  4. dandelion stalks on the grass, right before the ancient boulder, illuminated by sun, casting ragged shadows
  5. looking down at the green of the grass, seeing it as just a clump of green, wondering if people with better vision than me can see the individual blades
  6. walking along the cracked concrete wall that holds back the river, comparing the actual wall to its shadow, noticing what I see better in each. The shadow, the line/edge of the wall, especially when it is cracked — noticing how the shadow breaks there. The “actual” wall: texture, not in fine detail but roughly — all over, not smooth / specifically, gray depressions where shadows inhabit the spots the wall has broken off
  7. approaching a person standing in the middle of the path under the trestle, realizing at the last minute they were not alone, but hugging another person — were they comforting them (or vice versa)? or were they just expressing affection? They held the hug for a long time, much longer than one would in a greeting
  8. Hi Dave!
  9. (how could I almost forget!?) catkin fuzz! white fuzz from cottonwood trees, looking like a dusting of snow, lining the edges of the path. White fuzz, not looking like snow, floating through the air. I had fun trying to bat it around
  10. Taking a walk break, feeling a strange drop of water on the back of my knee, wondering what happened, realizing it was a drip of sweat from my ponytail

Not an easy run. Somewhat of a grind. The first 3 miles were fine. Then I stopped to walk for a few minutes until I returned to the bottom of the hill. Put in a playlist and picked up speed as I run up the hill. Walked for a minute near the crosswalk, then ran faster up the rest of the hill. Ran then walked then ran again for the rest of the run.

No rowers or shadows from birds or big groups of runners or frantic squirrels or unleashed dogs or menacing turkeys. At least one roller skier. Today my shadow only appeared at the end of the run, looking strong with broad shoulders.

the shadow of death

Yesterday as I was reading more of C.D. Wright’s Casting Deep Shade, I was thinking about how she unexpectedly died before it was published, wondering what “unexpectedly” meant. So I looked it up. Maybe a little out of morbid curiosity, but mostly because concrete details about death help me (us, I think) to engage with death in deeper ways that go beyond fear or discomfort or dismissal. Anyway, I looked it up and discovered that she died at 67 in her sleep from a blood clot she got on an overly long plane ride from Chile. Woah — that is unexpected. Thinking about this unexpected fact while I was running this morning, I thought that, for the person dying at least, this might not be a bad way to go — in your sleep. Then I wondered what experience of dying you might miss out on in your sleep. Would you dream about going into a light? Would your life still flash before your eyes as you slept? Or would all just be suddenly nothing?

A few days ago, someone somewhere (a poetry person on instagram?), posted a poem by Lucie Brock-Broido: After the Grand Perhaps. She died a few years ago. I remember that it was shocking and upsetting to many poetry people. She had been 61 and it was a brain tumor. Reading another poet’s account of her, I know she knew she was dying for at least a few months. I thought about her as I ran today, too.

2 shadow moments from After the Grand Perhaps/ Lucie Brock-Broido

After the pain has become an old known
friend, repeating itself, you can hold on to it.
The power of fright, I think, is as much
as magnetic heat or gravity.
After what is boundless: wind chimes,
fertile patches of the land,
the ochre symmetry of fields in fall,
the end of breath, the beginning
of shadow


After what is arbitrary: the hand grazing
something too sharp or fine, the word spoken
out of sleep, the buckling of the knees to cold,
the melting of the parts to want,
the design of the moon to cast
unfriendly light, the dazed shadow
of the self as it follows the self