August: Ts

Trips, traditions, 10 things, tenderness, time, teaching, and something for my to do list. Too many ts? I stopped myself at 7, but I probably could have kept going. This month was a strange one. It started with a family trip to Lake Superior and ended with Scott’s dad’s last day alive. He died in the morning on September 1st.

Too much going on to come up with a monthly challenge. Still, I wrote after every run or swim (although sometimes a day or two after). I took two trips, both of them involved traveling back in time to past lives. I started prepping for my upcoming class I will teach about wonder in the fall. I kept up the annual tradition of going to the state fair and visiting the Mannequins — now more J-Lo than ever (for the past few years, the old mannequins are slowly being replaced by new ones that look like J-Lo). I made a lot of lists of ten things I noticed as I moved — 150 items total. My heart became more tender as I watched Scott’s dad decline, then reach the point of no return, then die. And finally, I added something to my water poems to do list:

to do:

(after the final open swim of the season): Because of the shortened course, I’ve missed out experiencing my favorite stretch one more time. It’s the stretch between the final green buoy at one end of the big beach and the first orange buoy past the other end. There’s something strange and dreamy about this wide stretch: it seems longer than other stretches; it’s the one stretch where I am usually able to see the orange buoy looming ahead of me; often, when the water’s choppy, the waves are behind me here, pushing me along, almost as if I were on a people mover; and it comes at the end of the loop, so I’m in a state of relief (another loop done!) and recovery (preparing for the next loop or slowing down for the shore). 

I would love to craft a poem that might capture a little of the strange dreaminess of these moments — probably around 10 minutes?: vast, wide, open — not endless because I can see the orange-buoy-end, serene. This moment comes right after the intensity of rounding the final green buoy: the traffic jam of swimmers, the way the current pushes me forward, the changing of views from shore to water, water, everywhere. Yes! Maybe I’ll try.