Towards the end of my run saw a dog and its 2 humans about to cross the road. The humans were wearing snow shoes. Winter goal: to try out snow shoes. I’ve wanted to do this ever since I met fast Eddie at the Y and he told me about racing 10Ks in snow shoes.
Today is a wonderful start to winter running season! (dec 1)
At the start of the run, encountered a walker with his dogs. I think they called out, “will power!,” which I assumed meant they thought that the only reason I was out here in the winter was because I had a strong will. I wanted to yell out, “This isn’t miserable! I love being out here in this cold!” Realized a few days later that they had actually called out “girl power!”
and she’s off!
Encountered an older man and woman on the lake street bridge as I climbed up from the steps. As I started to run again, the man said, “And she’s off!”
the sun and my shadow
As I ran north, she was behind me and off to the side. Occasionally I could see her out of the corner of my left eye–well, not the actual shadow but the hint of something there almost. I kept thinking someone was about to pass me. I think I looked back to check at least 3 or 4 times. Strange. Is this because my awareness of my periphery is heightened as I lose my central vision?
Why can’t I be this chill all of the time?
Encountered a group of walkers taking up the entire path and refusing to move at all. I actually had to stop moving as they approached me. Finally the guy realized I was there and moved over a little. After I turned around, catching up to them again, I had to call out “excuse me” 2 or 3 times before they moved. Surprisingly, I was not mad at all. I wish I could be this chill about path hoggers all the time.
exhausting a place
My intention in the pages that follow was to describe the rest instead: that which is generally not taken not of, that which is not noticed, that which which has no importance: what happens when nothing happens other than the weather, people, cars, and clouds (georges perec).
Goodbye walking path, see you in the spring
Lamented the parts of the walking path–especially where it dips below the road–that are still covered in almost a foot of snow (and will be until the spring because they don’t plow this path).
Ran under a moving train at the trestle! I thought ADM had closed but I guess not. I think this is only the second time I’ve run under a train in the 5+ years I’ve been running here. Liked watching the drips from the train drop down from the trestle. So cool.
Mis-seeing things again
Mistook 2 trashcans for a group of people. Also thought a bright yellow jacket draped over one of the ancient boulders by the sprawling oak was a person. Good thing I didn’t greet them!
I’m not sure what I think about the first line: “Mostly I’d like to feel a little less, know a little more” (from “Epistemology”) I’ve been writing a lot about the limits of knowing and the need to feel the force of ideas more. Yet, I like this idea of knowing as becoming familiar with things (knowing knots) and acquiring interesting facts (about preventing fraying, how trees communicate). I’d like to distinguish between knowing as familiarity and knowing as conquering/mastering/fully understanding. I’d also like to put this poem next to another poem I discovered this fall, Learning the Trees, which I posted in my sept 15 log entry. I want to ruminate some more on the difference between learning and knowing and Knowing.
Admired the river, looking like it was on fire, bursting through the bare trees.
trestle turn around
4 degrees/feels like -12
100% snow-covered (dec 10)
Only the crazy-for-winter fools were out here today. I encountered one fat tire and one other runner besides me. We had the path to ourselves–one of the big advantages of winter running.
It’s All I Have to Bring Today (Emily Dickinson)
Today I brought my heart, and my legs, and my lungs, and the crunching snow, and the river, and the bright white solitude of an almost empty path.
the Daily Walker is hard core
(2 degrees/ feels like -5) Now this is winter running! Colder “real” temp than yesterday but felt much warmer. Sunny, hardly any wind. Greeted Dave the Daily Walker. He called out, “what a great day!” (was that it? now I can’t remember, but something like that.) He’s hard core–no coat, just several layers.
At first, noticing how the river was almost completely iced over. Later, just before I turned around, noticing how there was a black trail of open water in the middle.
Looked down at the river and thought about how un-riverlike it looks right now. Just a broad, flat plain of white.
in the long gaps between cars, it was wonderfully silent.
Always Having Fun with Medical Terms: I T Band Again
- Impossible Tangrams
- Interested Termites
- Indistinguishable Twins
- Indifferent Theses
- Infamous Tattletales
- Imprecise Tailors
- Incanting Taylors
- Impeded Traffic
- Impeachable Tyrants
- Icicle Tinsel
- Invigorated Triathletes
- Insatiable Tricksters
- Ill-fitting T-shirts
refrain: soft shifting snow/no bare pavement
remember there is always something
besides our own misery
What if this final line was changed to beside our own misery? Reminds me of Ross Gay and his book of delights. He talks about how our experiences of joy are always in tandem with suffering and can be linked with others to create beautiful communities.
Bright blue leggings
Wore a pair of ridiculously patterned leggings that I bought for my daughter a few years ago that she has never worn. Wow–blue and white tie-dyed with bright blue patches on the back of the knees.
This is one of many poems I wrote in a short period of time early last year, when I stepped away from writing The Crying Book-—my first work of nonfiction—to return to my home form. I was seeking all sorts of wisdom from Merriam-Webster, trying to understand what layers there are to the words I think and speak, finding shiny edges I hadn’t known before: new to me, but long-known to the words themselves. Then, as one does, I followed the words into a figurative space, where they invited me to get lost. I’m never able to get quite as lost as I want to, but with each poem I get a little closer (Heather Christie discussing her poem, “What Big Eyes You Have”).
I love the idea of nature not caring about our preoccupations and of living in and beside it and of a moment or an hour in which we can drift and lose track of ourselves as we respond to nature–which is, by the way, what running enables me to do by the gorge for at least a few seconds every time I run. I also love how she describes nature in such simple forms: cloud, bird, fox. With my vision and how it makes objects fuzzy, sometimes all I can recognize is the basic form: person, tree, boulder, river, bird
This valuing of losing track of ourselves is central to my own goals and has me thinking that it is just as or more important than the constant refrain to find ourselves.
What would it look like to center/prioritize losing instead of finding ourselves?
the art of finding
it is crucial that a poet see when she or he is not looking—just as she must write when she is not writing. To write just because the poet wants to write is natural, but to learn to see is a blessing. The art of finding in poetry is the art of marrying the sacred to the world, the invisible to the human (Linda Gregg).
Running south instead of north, turning right instead of left
Ran south instead of north this morning. Much better conditions on the trail. I ran on bare pavement for much of it. Hooray! The sun was shining and the wind wasn’t too bad. A wonderful morning for a run. If it had been just a little clearer on the paths, I might have called today (near?) perfect conditions. Much easier to notice the river running this way. It’s because there’s not much other than steep slopes between the bluff and the river in this stretch. Nearing Locks and Dam #1, I could see shimmering river near the Ford Bridge. Open water! Beautiful. Ran through Minnehaha Regional Park and stopped for a few seconds to admire the rushing falls. Not frozen over yet.
Another lonely black glove
A dropped glove–black, thick–on the edge of the sidewalk.
3 observations in color
- The cloud-covered sun, glowing quietly beneath the gray
- Wide, open white sky blending in with the white gorge, seeming endless and airy and like I was floating
- 2 walkers/hikers below me on the stretch of the Winchell Trail that hugs the steep slope of the gorge, between 42nd and 44th. Noticing them first when their bright blue jacket entered my peripheral vision
What a dreary, trapped-in-the-house-kinda-day. Gray, dark, wet (dec 28)
- So wet! Lots of drips from the trees.
- The sewer pipe in the ravine was rushing, gushing, almost roaring.
- Big puddles on the sidewalk. Tried to avoid one but stepped right in it.
- Car wheels whooshing over the wet pavement.
- Always wondering: is that just water or a sly slick spot?
- More gushing, dripping, falling water on the St. Paul side.
- Huge puddles on the east river road. Big splashes as the cars drove through them.
- Tiny ice chunks flowing down the river towards the falls below the lake street bridge.
After finishing the run and walking back, stopped to record the sounds of water on the street, rushing down the sewer, dripping off the eaves, mixed with all the birds:
Sentimentality is feeling that’s too sure of being understood.
trestle turn around
34 degrees/ snow
15 mph wind/ gusts up to 29 mph
100% snow-covered (dec 30)
Happy Winter Running! Even running straight into the wind and the snow didn’t dull my delight for being outside in the wintery white world. Wow! (too much with the rhyme and alliteration?) These days I don’t mind so much about the wind or the snow as long as the path isn’t too rough and uneven.
on nothingness in poetry
One way I think about nothing is silence and absence. And I think that poems—people want to talk a lot about the difference between poems and song lyrics. You know, are song lyrics poetry, and I think the lyrics in song take place against the information of music. And they’re in dialogue with that information. But poems are in dialogue with silence. And silence and nothingness and absence are so fundamental to the physical experience of writing and reading poems for me. But nothingness also has a conceptual importance for me as a poet, which is that, you know, language—I mean, even the kind of talking that you and I are doing now—it’s so purpose driven. We want to accomplish things with our language and communicate and exchange. And that’s a beautiful thing, and that’s what language—you know, it’s a miraculous tool in that way. But what happens if you remove all that purpose and functionality from language? If you take it away and there’s a kind of absence or nothingness in your purpose of speaking, what then starts to happen? And I think what happens is poems. Because then language has a chance to move around and be intuitive and make connections and reach for the limits of experience in a way that it can’t do when you’re constantly turning it to a purpose (Matthew Zapruder).