December Things I Noticed

Since this summer, I’ve been making lists of 10 Things I Noticed during my run. Here are the lists, combined into 1 list, from December:

  1. Clear views of forest floors, the gorge, the other side
  2. Running up above on the lake street bridge: 2 people walking on the part of the winchell trail that winds under the bridge. Up here they looked like tiny black specks
  3. Below the lake st bridge on the st paul side: a crew in bright yellow jackets in a boat or some sort of floating dock — were they repairing something or looking for someone who fell in the river? Both are possible
  4. The stairs descending to the trail from the bridge: closed
  5. Empty bench after bench, each with a wide and clear view of the river and the west bank of the river
  6. A white dog pooping in the grass. It’s human bending over to pick up the poop
  7. People working on the 3.25 million dollar house being built by the east river road
  8. A leaf blower, the sound of its buzzing undulating as the person holding it squeezed and then released the grip
  9. Sirens and flashing cuts lights: an ambulance turning into Becketwood
  10. Shadow Falls: water trickling + patches of ice everywhere
  11. 4 stones stacked on the ancient boulder
  12. The clicking and clacking of ski poles as a roller skier approached from somewhere I couldn’t see
  13. Running past the old stone steps: a clear, beautiful view of the forest floor and the trail that winds through bare tree trunks to reach the river
  14. The dark brown dirt of the Winchell Trail below me as I neared Franklin
  15. The folding table set up at the White Sands Beach far below me
  16. Puddles on the franklin bridge — no ice, only standing water
  17. The ancient boulder on the east side of the river never has any stones stacked on it. Is that because its top isn’t flat enough?
  18. The fence panel that was removed a month or so ago has been replaced and now, it’s hard to remember (or easy to forget) that it was ever missing
  19. Looking down at the the part of the winchell trail that goes under the lake street bridge: the dirt is not a dark brown, but lighter, more yellow, almost like spicy brown mustard
  20. Running north on the west side of the river road: car headlights approaching me through the trees
  21. From a distance and through the tree trunks, the river was burning white
  22. Off to the side and just below, the river was flat and off-white with splotches of light brownish-green or greenish-brown
  23. I could hear the sound of rushing water at the falls, but all I could see was several big ice columns
  24. Near the longfellow fountain (which never has water, not even in the summer, but does have parts of “The Song of Hiawatha” etched on the low wall curving around it), at the edge of the bluff, the view to the falls was as clear as I’ve ever seen it. No leaves or stray branches getting in the way
  25. Children having fun at their school playground, yelling and laughing
  26. Several different wedges of geese honking
  27. Packed down snow from feet, skis, sleds criss-crossing the big open part of the park above the fall, near John Stevens House
  28. The elegant, pleased (it looked like it was smiling) curve of the retaining wall on the Winchell Trail near 42nd street
  29. Mr. Morning! and Santa Claus
  30. 2 older walkers on the trail, one of them pushing their walker through the snow
  31. The river was completely open and illuminated by the sun. Sometimes it looked almost bronze or brown. Other times, pewter and then silver in the spots where the sun was shining on it
  32. The ravine just past the double bridge was bare and open and easy to study. As I ran above it, I stared at the slope, trying to judge its steepness and whether or not I could scale it. Assessment: not easily
  33. The sidewalks criss-crossing near the John Stevens House were all clear. I had run this way on Monday, when it was all covered in snow. Looking at the sidewalks now, I’m pretty sure the trail I took on Monday wasn’t following them
  34. Some workers with chainsaws trimming trees near the John Stevens House
  35. Minnehaha Creek, the part the falls drops into, was almost roaring. I briefly stopped to look down at it and listen
  36. The falls were rushing. Some of the ice that had been forming in the cold, melted from our almost 60 degree weather on Wednesday
  37. Cawing crows
  38. A greeting from Mr. Morning! and Santa Claus (at least, I think it was Santa Claus!?) Mr. Morning! was dressed for winter — snow pants, a winter park with hood, stocking cap, dark glasses
  39. One bike on the trail — couldn’t tell if it was a fat tire
  40. Someone walking down on the Winchell Trail
  41. The smell of toast and eggs, probably coming from Longfellow Grill
  42. The smell of pot, somewhere below me?
  43. There was a steady stream of cars on the river road
  44. Running under the bridges, the trucks and other big vehicles rumbled above
  45. The snow was flying into my face no matter which direction I turned
  46. Someone had stenciled “Can’t Wait! Hugz” in pink 4 or 5 times on the back of a west river parkway sign
  47. All but one of the sets of stairs leading down into the gorge was blocked off with a heavy chain. The only open one was at the final set of stairs before you reach franklin avenue
  48. A car passed, windows shut, blasting music with a booming, driving beat
  49. Cars were moving slowly, cautiously on the slick streets
  50. The fake flowers stuck in the remnant of a railing at the trestle are gone
  51. The river: completely covered in white snow
  52. A tree trunk far ahead of me on the river road trail: roughly covered in snow, as if a plow had come through and splattered snow on the tree
  53. The other side: some vague construction sounds driftng over the gorge from the st. paul side
  54. An approaching walker: at first, walking on the far side, then partly crossing over, then back again. As we neared each other, they muttered something and I wondered if it was a greeting, they were talking to themselves, or they were annoyed by me
  55. The falls: huge columns of grayish-white ice descending from the top. I could hear some water rushing, almost sizzling, and I think, when I stared hard enough, I could see some steam coming up from the water at the bottom
  56. Minnehaha regional park: a family emerging from a park car, laughing and tromping through the snow, which is only 3 or 4 inches deep
  57. No coyotes or dogs or fat tires or birds
  58. My feet: the crunch of a spiked shoe is sharper and quicker than an unspiked shoe
  59. The walking trail: all of the walking trails were blocked at their entrances and exits by plowed snow
  60. Grafitti: big bubble letters in orange (I think?) and some other color on the bike side of the double bridge

I could pick a couple and turn them into poems, or a poem. Or, I could gather the rest of the things I noticed and put them into one big list — maybe an edited list?