Running in the Rain
When I started the run, it was misting, then it stopped, then after I crossed over to the east river road, it started raining. Not drizzling, but raining. Still in my counting to 4 phase, I composed another mindless chant: I am running/in the cool rain/it feels so good/on my warm skin I didn’t mind the rain.
tracking the leaves
- Yellows and oranges and reds (oct 2)
- Noticed more leaves have fallen from the trees. The Welcoming Oaks are now a goldengrove unleaving. When did that happen? Everything is changing too fast (oct 3)
- Orange, yellow, red in the gorge. Still too much green–a glut of green. Got sneak peeks of the river through the thinning trees (oct 7)
- Noticed a glowing yellow tree–the yellow that still has a hint of green (oct 8)
- Such beautiful fall colors! Lots of orange, especially the tree near the double bridge in the 44th street parking lot. A light, glowing orange. Lots of yellow too (oct 10)
- Orange and yellow leaves are everywhere, mostly still in the trees but more and more on the ground (oct 11)
- one bright orange tree and a ravine filled with lemon yellow trees near the double bridge (oct 15)
- Sitting here, post-run, writing this log entry, I’m watching the leaves falling like snow off the tall maple tree in my front yard (oct 29)
the overlook near 35th
After stopping, walked to the overlook near the welcoming oaks, climbed on the wall and looked out at the gorge. Still too hard to see past the green. I’ll try to remember to stop and check the progress of the view after my runs. Someday soon, I’ll see the river and then the other side.
Ran over the bridge, through the tunnel of trees–a little more light, a little less leaves, and stopped running near the overlook and right before the welcoming oaks. The view from the overlook is getting better every day.
Ended at the overlook at the 35th street parking lot. The few leaves left on the trees were shimmering in the sun and wind.
Walked over to the split rail fence above the ravine and the sewer pipe that freezes in the winter and creates an icy tunnel, then drips blueish greenish water as it melts. The Winchell Trail winds around this ravine, over a steel grate and beside a wrought iron fence that once displayed dozen of keys with social justice-y messages until they were ripped out–by who and why? I wish I could remember the messages. A few: Be nice. We are One. Resist Fear. From up above, at the end of my run, I cannot see the ravine or the sewer or the keys.
Studied the ravine as I walked back up the trail to the parking lot and thought about how this ravine can never be seen from above, even when the leaves are gone and the view is clear. The only way to really see it is to hike down in it…there might be something there to write about with being inside/outside…
Studied the ravine and noticed how it is gradually become more visible. Standing on the edge, staring hard, I can almost see the railing of the fence below. The sun was cutting through the leaves, shining brightly. Still trying to figure out how to write my final haibun about this ravine. Don’t have the story quite yet.
Ended at the ravine. Every day more leaves fall and more of the ravine is visible. Noticed how two planks on the split rail fence had separated as the branches of the trees from below pushed against them.
checked out the ravine, walking along the edge, peering down through the planks in the split rail fence into maple basswood forest. Even when the leaves are gone, there won’t be much to see. You have to climb down the broken wooden steps or hike down the crushed limestone path to see and hear it. Two small falls, one made from concrete, the other stone, drip (almost dribble) down to the forest floor and an old sewer pipe you can walk on. Lots of erosion here.
Ended the run then walked down the gravel path just past the overlook to the spot above the ravine. Noticed the river and listened to the water trickling out of the sewer pipe and then down a small stream to a limestone ledge. Just beneath the ledge the dripping water had carved out a cave. And just beneath that was another sewer pipe, stretching along the forest floor to the river. At one time, this pipe had been buried, covered in dirt, but erosion had exposed it–how long ago?
gloaming = dusk/twilight
definition of vista
Vista is generally used today for broad sweeping views of the kind you might see from a mountaintop. But the word originally meant an avenue-like view, narrowed by a line of trees on either side. And vista has also long been used (like view and outlook) to mean a mental scan of the future—as if you were riding down a long grand avenue and what you could see a mile or so ahead of you was where you’d be in the very near future.
favorite time of the year
Sometimes I smell the sewer or hear someone talking below me, but I can’t see anything but green until the leaves fall in late October, early November. This is my favorite time at the gorge. I love being able to see deep into the gorge when its bare bones are exposed, its secrets revealed. I love the color palate of rich browns, pale blues, dull grays, rusted reds. I love the smell of mulching leaves, the sharp, crisp air, the paths that aren’t yet covered with snow but with crunching, crackling leaves.
no more cliffhanger 1
Discovered that finally, after months, they have removed the leaning tree. No more stories to tell about the yarn hanging from it or questions to ask about when it might fall completely or be removed (oct 8)
- heading north on the east river parkway, a man stopped to warn me that there was a coyote just ahead in someone’s yard. Luckily, I didn’t encounter it.
- I did almost run into the spazziest squirrel I have ever seen. I surprised it and in its panic to run away it did a back flip. Yes, a back flip.
white space of poem as open field
Think of the white space in poems—the breaks between stanzas; the part of the page untouched by language, an open field. How can you make room for white space in this day? In each day? Slow down, pause for breath, allow for silence, then continue. Keep moving (Maggie Smith).
thinking about how important empty space is for breathing and how much that connects with open fields and open, leaf-less views. The green of spring and summer is sometimes too crowded/suffocating for me. I want fresh, clear, open air and open, uncluttered, far-reaching views.
Possible Map Stories
A map of gorge smells or the best places to see the river or trees that gossip and greet or every pothole and crack and fissure and dip and curve to watch out for when you have low vision
First Snow! Oct 12
floating between 2 worlds
I’ve been thinking about that a lot with the gorge and a line from the gorge management plan about how the west river parkway road/trail is the transition between two worlds: the longfellow neighborhood and the gorge. How can I write about this in a poem?
sometimes I don’t see potholes
Managed to avoid goose poop but not a giant water-filled pothole that looked like part of the pavement to me.
no more biking outside (oct 21)
daily delight (oct 21)
I could write about the many leaves that had fallen in the wind and rain and were littering the path or how it felt like it was still raining with all the water dropping from the trees or the strange quality of the light–dark at first, a light slowly spreading, then sunshine–or seeing the forest floor a few times or turning around at the trestle and racing the cars crawling their way through the four way stop or actually enjoying running into the stiff wind, a big grin on my face or stopping, at the end, to study the ravine and being able to clearly see the wrought iron fence. I could, but all I really want to mention are the two turkeys I saw crossing Edmond Boulevard as I walked home through my neighborhood. The one in front was running fast, bobbing its head, while the second, smaller one tried to keep up. Did you know that turkeys could run fast? I didn’t. As I watched them run away I thought that seeing them run so quickly, with their graceful legs and awkward heads, was all I needed today.
too much green = hard to breathe, think
For a few weeks now, I’ve been trying to figure out why I find being able (finally) to see the river or the forest floor or further into the gorge so delightful. It’s not a need to know or a fear of the unknown. Something to do with more space and room to breathe, I think. Mulling it over in my head at one point during the run, I thought about how the excess of green in late spring/summer/early fall intoxicates and suffocates, choking out words and ideas that aren’t green. Even as green is my favorite color, I do not like when green takes over everything. Green = busy doing things, producing, connecting, crowds/crowded/crowding out.
led to be quietly yourself
you understand this, how wonderful!—
that you’ve been led to be quietly yourself,
like a root growing wise in darkness
under the light litter, the falling words.
from How Wonderful
how wonderful to end a poem with the idea of being led to be quietly yourself like a root growing in darkness! This line evokes winter–and maybe that’s why I like winter and its darkness and slow, unnoticed growth (or, if not growth, at least continuing to be). I like being led (or left) to be quietly myself.
this entry brought to you by the letter R
Ran north on the river road until I reached the bottom of the franklin hill. Reversed direction, running back up the hill. Took a set of wooden stairs down to the rusty red leaf-covered Winchell Trail. With reluctance, resorted to walking most of it–too risky to run…so many hidden roots and rocks and ruts! As I carefully hiked the steep rim, more and more of the railroad trestle revealed itself. I’ve never approached it from this angle. Returned to the paved path by the road after climbing another set of stairs right by the rickety, rotting split rail fence. Listened to the sounds around me. Rusty, rustling leaves, rooting rodents. What a racket! Ended my run by the 2 big rocks. Before leaving the river, remembered to stop at the overlook and then the ravine to absorb the roomy view.