the railroad trestle
Ran to the split rail fence and noticed the crumbling stone wall at the railroad bridge. Also noticed that the slivers of river looked very white through the thick vegetation.
Turning around and running south, I noticed the black metal fence on the other side of the trestle and I started thinking about the different types of fences that line the trail: wooden split rail, abandoned chainlink (on the lower path), black wrought iron, stone.
new word: paredoilia
tendency to interpret a vague stimulus as something known to the observer/ “I see faces in things”/objects, patterns/ clouds that look like elephants
what is it called when you mistake a person for a tree? or a wife for a hat?
Green leaves crawling up the trunk of the rad oak tree like hungry ants.
what do fences do?
mark boundaries, protect people from steep drop offs, keep people in, keep people out
Encountered various pairs of runners–almost always in pairs–and my favorite: the group of 4 hardcore rollerbladers. Every summer they train on the river road path. They’re so fast and synchronized. With about 1/2 mile left, I heard the rowers on the river so I turned off my audiobook and listened.
Saw the Man in Black and the quartet of in-sync rollerbladers (what should I call them? first thought: the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse, but that doesn’t quite fit–I need to think of another famous group of four–the Beatles?). Encountered a lot of runners, a large group of walkers and some bikers.
what I think about when I’m swimming in the lake
Don’t remember thinking about much except for whether or not my legs were cramping up or if water was getting in my ear or if there were any fish below me or boats approaching or how my yellow backpack was doing propped up against the big light post
only one small, puffy cloud, the rest of the sky was a bright, blameless blue.
the place where the 4 fences meet
4 fences–wrought-iron, stone retaining wall, wood retaining wall, split rail. These fences stand at the start of the ascent into the tunnel of trees. Noticed some small maples (I think) on the edge of the path. Not sure what the other trees are. I did see some broad leaves with jagged edges. What are those? At the beginning, the slope isn’t too steep or high but it gets steeper and higher and darker and narrower as you climb. Wondered why this not so steep spot was the place where a wrought iron fence was placed when there are much steeper spots farther up and decided it was for the cars coming around a curve up above. Not sure if that’s correct. Did a car crash through the split rail here too as some point?
entering the tunnel of trees
stopped at the top and studied the two boulders. 4 small stones make up the cairn perched on the taller rock. No plaque on this rock. How long has it been here? The boulders rested beneath a sprawling oak tree with a branch that bent down to greet me. The leaves were perfect forms of the classic oak leaf–like the cartoon versions I used to see at my elementary school in Northern Virginia–Oak Hill Elementary. Walking down into the tunnel of trees, there was so much cotton in the air and on the edge of the path. I realized, this doesn’t look like snow but feathers, like someone was in the midst of a big pillow fight or a goose had flown off in a hurry or a seam from my winter coat had ripped and spilled out the feathery lining. The fuzzy white cotton softened the rough edges of the path and decorated the dirt patches in the grass.
talking to the Daily Walker!
not just greeting but talking to the Daily Walker! I was walking at the time and he said, “you’re walking?” When I said it was so hot he agreed and we talked for a few seconds more. I think this is the first time I have actually talked to him.
The cotton from the cottonwood tree is not white, at least not once it hits the ground. It looks green to me–a pale green–willow perhaps? Is it green or is it my vision or a trick of the light or its close proximity to the grass and so many green leaves?
Chanted in triplets to myself to keep my rhythm: raspberry/blueberry/strawberry, 4 way stop, split rail fence, railroad bridge, 2 oak trees, garbage can
star wars trash cans
I thought about how the new trash and recycling cans Minneapolis Parks got for the path look a lot like early Star Wars droids–the ones from 1978. Can I work that into a poem? And am I the only one who thinks this?
first open swim! (june 11)
who trims the bushes?
Running back, on the lower path, I payed attention to the wrought iron fence and how bushes and vines and wildflowers were reaching through the bars. Will this be trimmed back anytime soon and who will do it, volunteers or the parks department?
a bug flew on my face and then into my mouth mid-run. I was able to spit it out, which was gross. At least I didn’t gag on it, like I have in the past. Yuck!
a common refrain
The air was colder than the water.
Lot of swimmers because it was free night–first timers preparing for their first triathlons. Heard lots of people calling out, “I can do this” or “I’m swimming in 3-2-1….I mean it this time…3-2-1….okay, here I go.”
sounds: a swing
Got to the lake almost an hour early so I sat on the beach and listened. Heard people talking, dogs barking, and a swing rhythmically creaking. As it went up it sounded like Rs rolling. On the way down: mmmwwwooowww. Over and over again.
a train spotting!
Nearing the railroad bridge I heard a honk. A truck on the other side? A big boat on the river? No, a train! I wondered if it was coming or going and if I’d be able to see it when I reached the bridge. With all the trees, it’s hard to see the top of the bridge until you’re almost right under it. When I got there, a train engine! Only the engine so my timing was lucky. Any sooner or later and I would have missed it. I think this is the first time I’ve ever encountered a train on the trestle. Will I ever see one again?
below the trestle
The dirt path below the split rail fence was mud free and mostly bug free. Much steeper than some of the paths further south. In a few stretches, there was a chain link fence, leaning out. Another stretch had a plastic, make-shift fence. One small section, right above a sewer pipe, had a wrought iron fence. As I reached it, I could hear voices up above and water trickling below.
It was darker in the tunnel of trees below the road and dripping with the soft, steady drizzle that had just stopped.
is that a plant or a person?
Walked over the Lake Street bridge and stopped at the overlook to admire the deep gray water. Looked at the west shore and couldn’t tell if I was seeing a person or a plant.
distance from bottom of the hill to the top: .2 miles
climbing out of the tunnel of trees
the trees seem thicker and the need to be out of the tunnel and in the open air much greater when you’re climbing up the slight hill then running down it.
the lower trail
ran below, on the path that starts as dirt then mulched leaves then uneven, barely intact asphalt then newer asphalt. This path undulates, climbing up by 42nd, then down, up by Folwell, then down, then mostly flat until the steps at 38th street. You can take these up and run by the road again or take your chances running down on the dirt path of the Winchell Trail–usually there’s a muddy, mucky spot halfway to the bottom of the Oak Savanna and then too many wildflowers crowding out the already narrow path. Sometimes I take my chances, today I climbed the steps and then kept going past the turn-off and down through the tunnel of trees.
1 2 3 4 5 breathe left
I don’t remember thinking about much while I swam. Mostly I counted: 1 2 3 4 5 breathe right 1 2 3 4 5 breathe left, or 1 2 3 4 5 breathe right 1 2 3 4 5 6 breathe right 1 2 3 4 5 breathe left 1 2 3 4 5 6 breathe left. I like counting. It’s relaxing and distracting
recorded thoughts about my work on the run
My poetry comes out of decades of work on an ethics of care and curiosity…a pedagogy and poetics of care…fundamental to the care is both the disrupting of knowing and vision and the posing of alternatives, other senses, other motivations for caring and curiosity. Not to know and to dominate but to feel and experience and that connects in with my vision problems and my earnest efforts to both explore the alternatives and to play and trouble the idea of knowing anything with my vision which often leaves me ignorant or produces fantastical or unreal images. That is what this project is all about, it is undergirded by this poetics and pedagogy and ethics of care as paying attention, being aware, being curious.
I’m interested in how our senses get disrupted and this ability to know becomes impossible or distorted through cone dystrophy or through running or swimming of walking or moving. How this impacts what we feel and know and what we can know, how we know it. And some of this exposes the inability to ever really know or the undesirability of striving to know, but it also opens up new ways of knowing and thinking and being that breathe and move.
dark and green and out of focus
his morning it’s overcast. Rain is coming. Thunderstorms this afternoon. Everything is dark and green and out of focus.
strong and sore and satisfied
a slash of sky
I noticed how the trail dips down right after the old stone steps into a small stand of trees, then slightly up again in a clearing, then down again to the bottom of the tunnel. It was dark in the tunnel today, with the rain coming soon, and I couldn’t see the light at the end until the path had twisted and climbed a little. Then, there it was, a slash of sky.
distortion of senses
offense/ a fence
wealth needs fences but fences need wood (Richard Powers, Overstory)
wild || tamed
bottom to top
st. peter sandstone
fossil-filled shale (with brachiopods, gastropods, trilobites)
30 feet of platteville limestone
decorah shale (accumulated mud)
glacial drift/till (rock, gravel, sand)
3 beats/2 beats
slip rail fence
uses of cairns
mark a trail or a point of interest, indicate an obscure danger
loose, unsolicited sediments that have been deposited at the base of hill slopes by either rainwash, sheet wash, slow continuous downslope creep, or a variable combination of these processes
great ice age
2 million – 10,000 years B.P.
B.P. = before present = before physics, before radioactive carbon dating [1950, origin of BP scale]
Wisconsin Glaciation = 10,000 B.P.
trying to tame the wild
- contrast human effort + failure + effects of time/erosion
- unmended fences, rerouted trails
- not taming the plants but the humans
- ongoing negotiation, management of fences, fencing us in or out?
- failed attempts: crumbling asphalt, buried chain link, popped bolts, smashed split rail, disemboweled/ripped open chain link
- boxing things up, mapping vegetation, creating boundaries
phrase: hemmed in
found: “Hemmed in by the dun-colored santa rosa hills and a looming sense of monotony” (Susan Orlean, The Library Book).
used in haibun, too far below a sprawling oak: “hemmed in by maples and humidity.”
bugs feast on sweat/tears
eye flies/eye gnats are drawn to liquid in eyes, throat, nose because of salt minerals
lachrymal secretions/glands/tears: not to the tears not the light
leaves as lenses