September 2019

Mannequins

today’s (sept 1) mannequin: Please find my hands!

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Please find my hands!

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today’s (sept 5) mannequin: pink girl

Looked up uncanny valley and found this definition: “a distinctive dip in the relationship between human-likeness and emotional response.” What makes us human? Or, what makes us see each other as human, makes us feel empathy for each other? Is it the eyes? The pupils? The spark within that black ball?

I have trouble seeing people’s pupils. Can I ever see that spark? Do I imagine one? Sometimes everyone feels like a mannequin to me. Not quite human. Not alive or there. And sometimes mannequins feel human, like this girl.

today’s (sept 7) mannequin: girl with the curl

I am always fascinated by the eyes in these mannequins–the little bit of white in the corner of the pupil and the curls veiling the one eye. The way her pupils are shifted up and to the side. What is she looking at? Is it my shoulder? One of the first things the ophthalmologist told me when I was diagnosed with cone dystrophy was that I’d need to learn to look just past people’s shoulders if I wanted to see their faces. Once my central vision was gone, I would only be able to see them through my peripheral. How unsettling is it to others to look at them this way? I do not look at people’s shoulders…yet. For now, I either avoid looking or I just stare into their dim, fading, dead-pupil faces and pretend that they don’t look like a lifeless mannequin.

today’s (sept 8) mannequin: girl in blue hat

s the white in the middle of the pupil just because the paint is wearing off, or is it an artistic effort to indicate life/a spark/a soul within?

I find delight (reading Ross Gay’s wonderful, The Book of Delights, I’m trying to be better about claiming my own quirky delights) in this mannequin and her continued (and improbable) presence at the State Fair in a space barely touched by progress where the amateur is celebrated and beauty is never slicked up. Every year, walking into the creative activities building and seeing these cracked, faded, weathered mannequins still adorned in handmade hats and coats and scarves and sweaters, looking creepy and odd, I am delighted–and not in an ironic, hipster way. Here, the ugly and old and outdated have a space. I think I’m almost able to articulate this delight, but not quite. I’ll keep working at it. Something about how these mannequins represent resistance to the relentless need (by capitalism) to constantly change things to make them better! and newer! and prettier! and, in doing so, erase/remove/destroy those things which don’t fit their vision of better/newer/prettier. I love things that are ugly and overlooked and unsettling.

today’s (sept 10) mannequin: girl with tag below her eye

There’s something about this mannequin’s face that makes me think she really doesn’t give a fuck. She doesn’t even care that a ribbon is covering her cheek. It’s the eyes, right?

expressionless, emotionless, blank, empty of intent

valley, gap, gulf

What makes us human?

Exploring how this is often understood in terms of seeing and connecting through faces/facial recognition.

How/when can we sense a lack of humanity?

Our faces bear the stamp of our experiences and our character (Oliver Sacks).

I can see the eyes, nose, and mouth quite clearly. But they just don’t add up. The all seemed chalked in, like a blackboard” (Oliver Sacks).

Face Blindness: prosopagnosia
Oliver Sacks: The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat

faces

Can’t put them together
In low light there’s no face
at all in bright light it’s there
but lacks life personality
spark

Like people with face blindness, I rely on hair color, body movement

eye contact

even as this lack of eye contact isolates alienates it fascinates
I’m learning to imagine the audience I want

I run into things

Whacked my elbow on a tree, running too close to it. As my vision declines, I have started to run into more things.

More 3 Beat Chants

Chanted in 3s: raspberry, blueberry, strawberry. Tried to think of other 3 syllable words as I ran:

mystery, ambitious, remember, September, decadent, difficult

better words for what the sun does on the water

The sun was sparkling on the river. I’d like to start collecting descriptions of what the sun looks like as it shines on the water. I’m tired of sparkling or dancing or shimmering or glimmering. What other expressions can I find?

the return of Cliffhanger 1

The tree trunk is still leaning near the 38th street steps, with its yellow and pink yarn dangling down.

Noticed that the leaning tree near the 38th street steps is still there but it is no longer adorned with yarn. Why not? And why take the time to remove the yarn yet leave the precariously positioned tree? (sept 22)

getting a girl to go to school

Listened to a playlist while up above because I needed to forget the difficulty of getting a girl to go to school.

overheard

  • kids on the playground up above
  • an occasional acorn dropping below
  • the almost gushing water at the second sewer pipe
  • the wind howl
  • my shoes squeak on some wet leaves.
  • geese honk as they fly south. Not sure why, but I’m really enjoying these honks this year.
  • the doppler effect on a runner’s radio
  • some rowers yelling on the river. 
  • the loud cracks of acorns hitting the asphalt. Crack! Crack!

changing leaves

A few leaves are already changing (sept 5)

It’s starting to look like fall. A few trees are losing leaves or turning red and yellow. (sept 9)

Today I noticed some leaves changing color. Just off the railing near the lake street bridge I spied some red–or was it orange? I’ll have to check–peeking through. On the St. Paul side, approaching Marshall, I noticed some more reddish-orange/orangish-red leaves blazing near the ground. The grayish light and the wet pavement made the colors seem more vivid, especially the bright orange construction sign.(sept 11)

A few trees turning golden, some slashes of red on the low lying bushes. The floodplain forest is still green green green. Can’t wait for the leaves to start falling and for everything to turn rusty and brown and then bare. (sept 18)

In the gorge, it’s starting to look like fall even if it doesn’t feel like it. Leaves floating, then littering the ground. Saw some more slashes of red, a few blobs of orange, some yellow stripes. (sept 20)

Will summer never leave?

Today, with the sun so bright and warm, it’s hard to get excited about fall or winter. It feels like summer will never leave. (sept 10)

Walking before the run

Walking towards the river, listening to the electric hum of the bugs, the cawing of the crows, the rumble of the garbage truck.

the hi pro glow

Seeing so many bright colors today–glowing yellowish green and orange shirts, aquamarine and hot pink shorts.

Guess who got to swim in Lake Nokomis this afternoon?

Me! When I got back from my run, I found out that the lake was open again (after being closed due to some kid pooping in the water and spreading e-coli and getting several dozens of other people sick…boo). I didn’t think I’d be able to swim in this lake again this year. Now I get to give a proper good-bye.

note from dec 22: When the lake was closed I was angry about the ignorant, fear-mongering responses people had on social media. It was a freak occurrence and the result of some idiot parents letting their kids poop in the lake. It was NOT because the lake is dirty or unsafe! It’s interesting how my intense feelings about this aren’t on this log anywhere. Should they be? Yes, I think so. Maybe a goal for 2020–be more honest and open with what I’m feeling.

critters

  • Ran by at least 2 wild turkeys under the ford bridge and a black squirrel at the start of the lower path.
  • A squirrel, rustling in the brush, darted out right in front of me and then quickly ran back into the woods.
  • Today I saw a blue rooster on a roof! (sept 5)

Daily Delights (sept 5)

  • A blue rooster on a roof
  • A black cat sitting still on a lawn
  • A hipster Dad with his tight jeans cuffed
  • The write a gnome poem on the poetree

4 beat rhythms composed in the rain

I am running
in the ra-in (which then became: in the cold/warm/soft rain)
will it stop now?
never again

Rain is falling
on my shoulder
rain is falling
on my knee

Rain is falling
on my elbow
and it’s dropping
from that tree

pitter patter
pitter patter
pitter patter
drip drip drop

pitter patter
pitter patter
drip drop drip drop
drip drop drip drop

what? why?

When I was done running, as I was walking through the tunnel of trees, I noticed a person perched up in a tree. Nestled in among the leaves, hovering above me, wedged in by the wooden fence. So strange. What were they doing there? Had a flash of panic, wondering if they would pounce on me, but they were content to stay hidden (and silent) in the tree.

in-between rain drops

Another good run, squeezed in between rain drops and thunder strikes.

sept 7: 83 degrees!
sept 24: 82 degrees!

my unigrid pamphlet project

I’m interested in linking my experience of the gorge with its management by minneapolis park and rec (and longfellow neighborhood and friends of the mississippi river and national parks, including mississippi national river and recreation area mnrra). It’s fascinating to read all the documents online. So many project proposals and detailed information about plants and trails and ecosystems and access.

history of the trestle

Earlier this morning, before my run, I started to think about the Railroad trestle and its history so I looked it up. It’s called the Short Line Bridge and it was built in 1880. It carried passengers from Minneapolis to St. Paul until 1971. Now it has a single track and is owned by Canadian Pacific (CP). In the time I have been running by/near this trestle (5 years on a regular basis), I can only remember seeing 2 trains. One crossing right over my head as I ran under it and one traveling on the tracks as I biked on the Midtown Greenway trail which starts at the end of the bridge and follows the trail across Minneapolis. For the past decade, ever since the greenway was built, bikers have been interested in extending the greenway over this bridge and to St. Paul and the bike trails there. I haven’t had time to read it closely yet, but here’s an article on the most recent efforts. It would be awesome if they could do this!

The train that uses the tracks transports flour from the ADM (Archer Daniels Midland) Mill on Hiawatha. This past spring it was announced that the Mill would be closing in “the next couple of months.” Has it closed yet? What will happen to the bridge now? This mill was the last flour mill in Minneapolis, which used to be called Mill City. Wild.

on Merwin’s To the Light of September

“But they all know/that you have come” Yes. I love how this poem captures my thoughts this fall about September and how it is fall but still feels almost like summer but not quite. It’s summer until you see the leaves changing color, or the light shifting earlier, or the geese wildly calling out in the evening as they head south.

Ross Gay’s The Book of Delight

The body, the life, might carry a wilderness, an unexplored territory, and that yours and mine might somewhere, somehow meet. Might even join.

And what if the wilderness–perhaps the densest wild in there–thickets, swamps, bogs, uncrossable ravines and rivers–is our sorrow?

delight

of light, without light

pleasure, en/joy, a treat, satisfaction, glee, triumph, jubilate, please, exuberant, dazzle, charm, relish, blind, enrapture, blur, astonish, wonderment

OF LIGHT

Soft filter
b walter’s filter
generous
gentle/not harsh
diffused
magical
fuzzy, faded
glowing
forgiving
without judgment
open/open-minded
hides/obscures
deceptive/tricky/lying
welciming
dreamy
unmoored/untethered
oblivious
faulty knowledge
luminous
featureless
free/unburdened
enveloped/wrapped

WITHOUT LIGHT

lost
unseeing
alienating
uncertain
overwhelming
frightening
void
lonely/alone
lack
confusing
irritating
stuck/trapped
disabling
oblivion
feeling, not knowing

Have I narrowed by life in order to cope–to avoid exposing my visual limits so I can pretend my life hasn’t narrowed?

I am not afraid of dying

I am not afraid of dying.
I am afraid of living
for the next 3 or 4 decades
with an aching middle finger.
Is it arthritis? Nobody told me
how your body slowly falls apart
and you spend much of your life
endlessly accommodating
its decline. Some people fear oblivion–
the great eraser. I do not.
I fear pain and the small
gradual ways I learn to accept
and adapt to a breaking body.

I think it’s funny/interesting that as I typed the above poem fragment I found myself wanting to qualify those feelings–I don’t feel that way all the time! Only in darker moments. I’m okay. I don’t mind growing old!

We Shake With Joy/ Mary Oliver

We shake with joy, we shake with grief
What a time they have, these two
Housed as they are in the same body.

Idea: a map of delights?

a stack of delights, like the stones stacked on the old boulder

weir definition: a low dam built across a river to raise the level of water upstream or regulate its flow