February 2019

Spotted: an actual cross country skier!

Thick slabs of snow on the side of the path. The trees coming up from the floodplain forest had snow slabs too. Bare brown branches, outlined in white, holding up the sky.

Windows I Looked Through

Everything was white and gray and cold-looking. A little winter wonderland. Nice to be in it instead of just watching it through the window. Windows I watched it through today/what I watched: the writing desk in my bedroom/the snow-covered branch of the tree in my front yard; living room/snowy back yard; car window/river road, minnehaha parkway, south Minneapolis; the 3 story huge picture windows at Minneapolis Institute of Arts/Stevens Square Park.

My Body

Thought about my body and how little I noticed it when I was younger and didn’t have any aches or pains or problems. Now I notice it and think about what it is and how it’s me and not me. I wish I didn’t ache or have problems with my knees, but I like having a reason to think about my body–so many interesting questions to explore, so many new things to learn about joints and muscles and chemical processes!


layers: (too many!) green shirt, orange shirt, black jacket with hood, vest, 2 pairs of running tights, 1 pair of socks, a buff, visor, gloves. During the second half of the run, I was dripping sweat.

other layers: dirt, a thin hard sheen of ice, dusting of powdery snow, small clumps of snow, loose 1/2 inch of rough snow (the path); a woodpecker pecking, a truck backing-up, a car with a loose part rattling, a plow approaching, the fabric on my vest and jacket rustling, the quick crunch of my striking feet, a plane rumbling overhead (sound)

A Sepia Toned Sky

Suddenly the sky turned lighter, from gray to brownish. After thinking about it for a moment I realized, it looked sepia toned. Weird. The wind picked up a little too. Maybe my eyes were seeing things after spending so much time staring at the bright white snow? The sepia tone made me feel like I was stuck inside a vintage photo of old Minneapolis.

Blackened Ice

Reached the river road and encountered something strange: the path, right at the entrance, was covered in black, smoky snow and jagged black ice–like something had made the snow quickly melt then reform. Must have been some sort of fire–what happened?

Listening to a poem about winter by Mark Strand (Lines for Winter), I wrote a few phrases in my journal that I liked:

“gray falls from the air” “the dome of dark” “the tune your bones play” What tune do my bones play?

The snowiest February in recorded weather history.

snow snow snow

0 degrees/feels like -11/ sara lynne puotinen

Up from the gorge floor
Down from the gray sky
Under a jacket
Cold sharp air

Even through layers
it comes to linger
right on the surface
of warm skin

Suddenly shocking
jolting those deadened
deeply distracted
dazed and dumb

Sober up quickly!
Sharpen your senses!
Notice the river!
Smell! Hear! See!

Cold air heavy sky
Hard path muffled steps
Trees sing lullabies
Go to sleep.

Not sharp only soft
Dense thick covering
All thoughts frozen, stopped
Shhhhh. Hush. Dream.

Sink deep settle in
Dull numb blanketed
Wrapped in frigid air

Chants, Breathing in for 3, out for 2

Who could it
be now?

It could be

What if it’s

Why is this
so hard?

Snow covers
the path.

Runners run
by me.

The water

The sun is

Why can’t you
shut up.

The gloves are
off now.

What are you

4 possible types of run poems (modeled after walk poems exercise)

  • a poem about what you see on a run
  • about a run that produces a revelation
  • length. style, shape, mirror length, style, shape of run
  • that reflects the way the mind works during a run