jan 10/BIKERUN

bike: 22 minutes
run: 2.1 miles
basement

It’s the weekend and since it looked crowded near the gorge when Scott and I took Delia out for a walk this morning, I decided to stay inside and bike and run on the treadmill. Watched some YouTube videos while I biked and then listened to a good playlist as I ran: The Man/Taylor Swift; Sunflower/Harry Styles; Midnight Sky/Miley Cyrus; You Should See Me in a Crowd/Billie Eilish; We Can’t Stop/Miley Cyrus; Tightrope/Janelle Monae. All good songs for staying distracted (or not being distracted?) while running. I still cringe at the lyrics of Miley’s “We Can’t Stop,” but the beat works for my cadence. At the end of my run, as I walked and got my heart rate down, I recorded myself reciting a snow poem I memorized earlier today: Snow-flakes/ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. What a beautiful poem!

Snow-flakes/ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Out of the bosom of the air,
Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent, and soft, and slow,
Descends the snow.

Even as our cloudy fancies take
Suddenly shape in some divine expression,
Even as the troubled heart doth make
In the white countenance confession,
The troubled sky reveals
The grief it feels.

This is the poem of the air,
Slowly in silent syllables recorded.
This is the secret of despair,
Long in its cloudy bosom hoarded,
Now whispered and revealed
To wood and field.

Love the rhythm and the easy rhymes and the idea of snow as the poem of the air. I’m not as enthusiastic about his love of the word “bosom,” although it sings much better than boobs or chest.

Snow-flakes, Jan 10

Earlier today, after returning from my walk with Scott, I recorded a moment of sound on my front steps. I had hoped to capture the sound of the wind chimes we had heard as we walked, but I guess there wasn’t enough wind. Bummer. Not much to hear in this moment: some birds, faintly singing, some traffic one block over, a car rumbling by. It is very quiet on my block, which is nice.

a moment of sound, jan 10, 2021

jan 9/BIKERUN

bike: 20 minutes
run: 1.3 miles
basement

Watched a race while I biked. Ran with a playlist, then remembered a runner mentioning listening to “thunderstruck” while they ran and liking it, so I switched to that for my final minutes. Nice. AC/DC is fun to run to. Didn’t think about anything except that I breathe better when I’m working out. I also breathe better outside and in the winter, which I noticed (again) earlier today when Scott and I were walking Delia the dog. So bright with the white snow.

A nice relaxing day. Managed to stop myself from obsessively checking the news every few minutes. Sat on the couch and read Agatha Christie’s “The Secret Adversary” with the sleuthing duo, Tommy and Tuppence. Scott and I discovered their 1982 (or 83?) BBC show a week or so ago and we’ve been watching it almost every night. I like their dynamic and saying “Tuppence” as much as I can–maybe Tuppence and Bunty from Father Brown should team up for a show. Such strange names.

Went out on the deck for my moment of sound this afternoon. Managed to convince my 14 year old daughter to join me. Today’s sound is mostly the scampering of Delia the dog–her collar clanging as she shakes, her claws scratching the deck, her scampering paws. Delia loves leaping through the snow like a bunny.

jan 9, 2021

I’m already liking these moments of sound. The quality isn’t that great and maybe what I’m capturing isn’t that interesting, but the act of capturing a moment of sound outside and then listening back to it and writing about it is helping me develop (or reinforce) great habits–making sure I get outside and that I stop and stand still and listen are important/helpful things to do right now. Plus, it helped me to get my daughter outside to play in the snow for a few minutes–something she hardly ever does.

Discovered this afternoon that there’s an animation for an awesome poem by Marie Howe:

And here’s a poem I found the other day that I like:

I Refuse to Report Bugs to Their Creator/ BRAYAN SALINAS

During roll call
a black beetle
wanders to the sink,
near my toothbrush,
and I say,
“Poor thing,
I better let you go.”

                                 My father says,
                                 “You better smash that thing
                                 before it multiplies.”
                                 I think he says the
                                 same about me.

I lie awake at night
and think
about crunchy leaves
crushed in the autumn.

                                 My mother sees
                                 six red ants
                                 running around
                                 the loaf of bread
                                 anticipating their breakfast.
                                 She says to me,
                                 “Get those things off
                                 the table.”

My sister panics
at the sight of a spider.
She runs to the kitchen
and screams bloody murder.
I remind her,
“We don’t find
scary things
scary anymore.”

                                 My mother flicks
                                 the grasshopper off  her book.
                                 She asks how I am doing.
                                 I lie to her
                                 and say,
                                 “I’m doing quite all right,
                                 I smashed a bug
                                 with my shoe.
                                 We all do
                                 what we don’t want to do.”

I see a cockroach
on the ground.
“Gregor,” I whisper,
“you better run fast.”
He says to me,
“I only need to run faster
than you.”

jan 8/RUN

3 miles
43rd ave, north/32nd st, east/edmund, south/edmund, north
20 degrees

This morning, right after I woke up just before 7 it began to snow. Only a dusting, but enough to coat all the sidewalks and the street. Time for my yaktrax! A nice and slow run. Bright white, but without any sun. Heard a black-capped chickadee doing their 2 note call near the gorge. Also smelled smoke at the same spot on Edmund. I think it’s coming from someone’s fireplace–or backyard? Saw a few walkers–no skiers or bikers. Lots of cars on the river road. Was able to keep a very safe distance from anyone else. No slipping, only lots of crunching. I bet my legs will be sore tonight and tomorrow.

Halfway through my run, I stopped to record a moment of sound–mostly because I wanted to take a brief break. Happened to stop about 1/2 block away from someone railing against Trump. It’s heard to hear, but if you listen over the roar of the wind or traffic or city buzz or whatever is making that loud hiss, you can hear him say “Trump” “get them all” and later, “Melania.” What a strange, terrible, exhausting yet hopeful, promising, revolutionary time we are living in.

jan 8, 2021

jan 7/BIKERUN

bike: 22 minutes
run: 2.1 miles
basement

Yesterday, pro-Trump domestic terrorists invaded the US Capitol while Congress was in the midst of certifying Biden’s victory. Terrifying, terrible, but not surprising to anyone who has been paying attention for the last 4 years. Scott and I sat in front of the tv all afternoon and evening, watching it unfold in real time.

A bit sore today from running outside yesterday–and maybe sitting on the couch all afternoon? Decided to do some biking and a shorter run inside today. As I biked, I split my time between watching a documentary about Bob Fosse (I loved watching Cabaret as a kid; it must have been in heavy circulation on HBO which was the cable channel I watched the most in the 1980s) and checking CNN and the New York Times to see whether or not they had invoked the 25th amendment on Trump yet (as of 2:30, not yet). After biking, I put in my “Daily Mix 3” on Spotify. Discovered that Justin Bieber’s “Beauty and the Beat” with Nikki Minaj is a great song to run to–it came up second, right after “xanny” by Billie Eilish and right before Demi Lovato’s “Sorry, not Sorry”. Forgot about everything but making sure I didn’t fall of the treadmill. Nice.

After my workout in the basement, I went outside and recorded my moment of sound on my deck. I was particularly interested in capturing the scratching or clicking (it almost sounds like water dripping) of the strange objects hanging from my neighbor’s eaves. Listening back to the recording, you can’t hear it until 40 seconds in.

jan 7, 2021

My neighbor has three of these objects, hanging from the eaves at the top of the house. I remember when I first noticed them in the late summer. Very irritating. They’re metallic and they spin, catching the sun and flashing it onto our deck and through my daughter’s window upstairs. I had no idea what they were for, which made me even more annoyed. Then Scott suggested they might be for keeping the woodpecker, that had already pecked a huge hole in their siding, away. Yep, he’s right. They’re called scare rods and the flashing freaks birds out–I can see why. I can’t find a image of the exact ones they have, but here’s a picture of a similar one. The only difference: this one has diamonds, while theirs have rectangles.

The flashing is still irritating but I can live it, knowing what these are for. I’m glad the woodpecker won’t be pecking at their house anymore!

jan 6/RUN

5K
43rd ave, north/32nd st, east/edmund, south/edmund, north
29 degrees
50% snow-covered

Still lots of snow on the road and the sidewalk even though it’s been above freezing most afternoons this week. The uneven, sometimes sloppy, trail makes my legs more sore, but I don’t mind it too much. I slipped today on a patch of ice as I ran up from the road to the sidewalk. I didn’t fall–or even feel like I might–just felt that brief loss of control. I couldn’t get that close to the river but I was able to catch a very brief glimpse of it through the trees as I ran on the highest part of Edmund. It looked white and covered–is it, or are there still open spots? No sun to make it sparkle or dance. It looked flat and still. Listened to a black-capped chickadee–it was difficult to hear over the roar of the city. It has been so loud these last few days–is it the air quality? What does humidity (80%) do to sound? I looked it up, and yes, humid air makes sound travel farther. I think I heard some helicopters–does it have to do with any protests? Anything else? Noticed someone over on the river road trail wearing a bright orange shirt–or was it shorts? I can’t remember now. Heard someone (thankfully 20 or 30 feet away) vigorously coughing. Saw a few dogs–identified them more from the clanging of their collars than actually seeing them. Felt strong and fast and happy as I headed back north on Edmund.

a moment of sound

I like the idea of doing a moment of sound everyday, but I don’t always want to run everyday and I only want to post on days when I run (mostly for the calendar so I can quickly glance at it and see which days I ran in a month, and which days I didn’t). So I’m trying to figure out how to post the moments. For now, I’ll post the non-run day moments of sound on the next running day (how boring was that explanation, future Sara?):

For yesterday’s moment of sound, I was sitting on the deck, with only a sweatshirt on, feeling the warm sun on my face, listening to the snow melting off the eaves. Such a nice moment!

jan 5, 2021

For today’s moment of sound, I stopped right after I finished running (listen for my heavy breathing). For the first half, I stood on the sidewalk, holding my phone out, listening to the birds and the roar of a plane. For the second half, I started walking and sniffing and making the delightful sound of crunching snow. If you listen carefully, you can hear the crunch sound change a little as I move from mostly snow to a stretch of ice.

jan 6, 2021

Yesterday, while cleaning out my safari reading list, I found this great poem from last year–or the year before?

notes on winter holidays/ daniel biegelson

Even you are responsible
to more than you. My daughter likes visiting
the pet store. It’s like a zoo she says. She wants
a calico she can walk with a string. On the way
home she says do we sing poems before we light candles.
‘Not to see by but to look at.’ On one level,
the mind doesn’t impose order. The mind
doesn’t impose order. Order presumes
priority. Good credit score. A forwarding address.
My bills accumulate in empty spaces.
My subject position won’t stand still.
On one level, we are not casual acquaintances.
Imagine we are pressed upon one another.
For a while we lived on the second story
above The Leader Store just down the street
from The Woolworth, which still had a griddle
and a soda fountain and smelled of melted butter.
I am not nostalgic. No need. I can still remember
the photographs. I am a frame. Sometimes
a window enclosing and disclosing. We take
the subway to the museum exchanging yous
through the tunnel and into the terminal. Imagine
we are pressed against each other. ‘Mingled breath
and smell so close’ The silver doors. A cell membrane.
You are a witness only to what you admit. Some words
emit so many possibilities they threaten to burst.
What is light. What is rain. Now a metaphor.
Take two and answer in the morning. We look
and do more than look. My daughter says
you talk with your eyes off. Why should everything
we see interact with light. I am counting
clouds destined for Florida. I moved the store here.
This is inescapably common. Where is here. Will you pray
with me. Pray with your feet on the pavement.
When she was born we didn’t know if she would ever
walk. Now my daughter says my whole body is a winter
storm as she leaps across the couch cushions. No digging
out. The self is a reintegration of exponential
apologies—a crowd of people in multi-colored coats
holding handmade signs and choosing to sit or stand
in the same world. After you. No, I insist. After you.

Some favorite lines for today:

I am not nostalgic. No need. I can still remember
the photographs. I am a frame. Sometimes
a window enclosing and disclosing.

My daughter says
you talk with your eyes off. Why should everything
we see interact with light. I am counting
clouds destined for Florida.

Favorite parts of words: the ts in tunnel and terminal, the pleasing rhyme in admit and emit,

jan 4/RUN

5K
43rd ave, north/32nd st, east/edmund, south/edmund, north
28 degrees
75% slushy, soft, uneven snow/ 25% bare pavement

More wonderful winter running! Warmer today. The path wasn’t clear–sidewalks, roads, the trail–but I didn’t care. Had to run closer than 6 feet to 2 walkers while I was running on the trail, which bothered me, but I ran by so fast and it was outside so I didn’t care. It’s difficult in the winter because it’s hard to move off of the trail with all the snow piled up on the side. Guess I won’t get too many river views this winter–or at least until it gets colder and keeps more people inside.

Things I Remember

  • Two people by Dowling Elementary, shoveling snow and breaking up the thick slabs of ice on the road, right in front of the school. I wondered, were they volunteers? Were they preparing for kids to come back to school? Are Minneapolis elementary school kids going to return for in-person school soon?
  • Turning around at 42nd, I noticed a few snowflakes. I hadn’t expected it to snow so I thought I was imagining it or there was stuff coming off of a branch above me. Soon, it started to snow a lot, covering the ground with a thin, mushy blanket of wet sludge. Falling, the flakes were hard and small, like little bullets or missiles aimed at my mouth. I choked slightly at least twice when I swallowed them. A few years ago I did some research on snow so I used to know the different types of flakes. I’ll have to find my notes. As I type this entry now, it is sunny and clear and there is no more snow.
  • Several times I heard some interesting sounds and I thought about stopping to record my moment of sound, but I didn’t want to stop. I wanted to keep running, so I waited until I was done and recorded the moment by my garage. 2 of the places: 1. on edmund, in a sheltered spot, in front of some fancy houses, near my favorite little stand of trees, the cottonwood three, I wanted to stop and record the chirping birds. 2. Again on edmund, close to 42nd, running past a van with its radio on, hearing some rock song mixing with a few power tools, a plane overhead, and the snow hitting the pavement.
  • Caught a glimpse of the river through the trees before turning off the trail to avoid a pack of walkers. I think I saw more big chunks of ice on the surface.

a moment of sound

I recorded this moment of sound after I finished my run. I thought that it might be quieter and more shielded from the city noise and wind back by my garage, behind the house, in the alley. Not sure if it was. The hum of the city is so loud! My main focus for this sound was the little pellets of snow falling on my vest–that’s what the soft crunching noise is–but I also captured some kid losing her shit down the block and some awesomely wet footsteps in the snow at the end.

Jan 4, 2021

In honor of the surprise snow shower this morning, I’d like to memorize some snow poems for the next few days. Here are a few I might consider:

update, a few hours later: I looked back in my notes from February 2018 (also, my log posts from February 2018) and figured out what the little hard pellets are called: graupels.

jan 3/RUN

5K
2 school loop
18/feels like 8
95% snow covered

Winter running is the best! I’m not sure how to express the joy I feel during and after I finish a run when it’s cold–but not arctic hellscape cold–and snowy–but not too snowy or icy–and I get to be outside breathing in fresh air and moving with warm fingers and toes. I love running over the snow, hearing it crunch, feeling it propel me forward–a bit of slide but not a slip. I love the sense of accomplishment I feel for just getting out the door–there’s no pressure to be fast or run for a long time because it’s enough to be there, resisting the urge to stay inside and be warm and protected (from the elements, from too many people, from hidden ice that might make me slip).

Things I Remember

  • As I was tying my laces, just about to go outside, I heard a black capped chickadee calling. I like imagining them singing to me: “Sara. Join us. Be brave, find joy.”
  • Several cawing crows–not a murder of crows because they weren’t flocked together.
  • Smelled smoke at the usual spot, on Edmund Boulevard. Still don’t know, does it come from a house or the gorge?
  • Saw my shadow and felt the warm sun on my face.
  • Running north on 43rd, I smelled the too flowery, too fake scent of dryer sheets. Must be laundry day on this block!
  • Never got close enough to see the river or hear it.
  • Heard a crow and a train having a conversation–first a caw, quickly followed by a “beep beep”–and I think an airplane joined in, roaring from high above.
  • Ran under the bushy fir tree with the limb that arches over the sidewalk on 43rd and thought about how it was covered with snow way back in November.

a moment of sound

While running around Hiawatha School, I got trapped: another pedestrian approaching, a knee-high wall of snow on the curb preventing my quick escape onto the street. I decided to try running in the deeper snow in the baseball field. When that didn’t work, I stopped for a minute to record my moment of sound. The sun was too bright for me to tell when the recording had reached a minute, but that’ okay because this is moment of sound, which is less precise than a minute.

Jan 3, 2021

Listening back to this recording, I’m struck by how loud the planes are. I didn’t even notice that there were planes when I was standing in the field. The next thing: if you listen close and you know what you’re listening for, you can hear the sprinkling of water. That’s someone watering the ice rink at the park. Every year the field, that can fit at least one soccer field and 3 baseball fields, is turned into a huge ice rink, with a large open section from just skating and a closed-in section for hockey. I love this about Minnesota. When I was a kid, I adored ice skating, but living in the South, I rarely skated–only when we went to the big mall in Charlotte with the indoor ice rink. My 8 year old self wouldn’t have imagined that now, at age 46, I live within a mile of 2 big outdoor rinks and 1 indoor one. Last year, I didn’t skate even once. Will I this year?

Was reminded of a poetic form that I tried 4 years ago (yikes, here it is), when I first rediscovered poetry: the triolet. It’s 8 lines with line 1 being repeated as line 4 and line 7, and line 2 being repeated as line 8. Here’s the rhyme scheme (with the capitals representing the repeated lines): ABaAabAB

Here’s the poem that made me think of the form again:

Triolet on a Line Apocryphally Attributed to Martin Luther/ A.E. STALLINGS

Why should the Devil get all the good tunes,
The booze and the neon and Saturday night,
The swaying in darkness, the lovers like spoons?
Why should the Devil get all the good tunes?
Does he hum them to while away sad afternoons
And the long, lonesome Sundays? Or sing them for spite?
Why should the Devil get all the good tunes,
The booze and the neon and Saturday night?

I love this poem. Right now I especially love it because of its rhythm and how successful it is in inhabiting this form without making it cheesy or awkward or obvious–that is hard to do.

jan 2/BIKERUN

bike: 24 minutes
run: 1.5 miles
basement

Took a walk with Scott and Delia this morning. Cold. It always feel colder when I’m walking than when I’m running. Frozen fingers but no frozen face with my mask on. Nice. Heard some black-capped chickadees and crows and many other birds that I couldn’t identify. Also heard the dog that moans–the one that I heard this summer and told Scott about but that we’ve never been able to hear again until now. Yes! I wanted to record the sound but I found restarted–too cold? not enough charge? I was hoping to make that my moment of sound, but I couldn’t. Instead, I stood outside on my deck, a few minutes later, and recorded the neighborhood noises. A “chickadeedeedee,” a “caw caw”–I remember, but I can’t quite make it out on the recording, a feebee call at the end. Someone dropping down the lid of their garbage can. The low, steady hum of the city underneath it all.

jan 2, 2021

I am hoping to keep this habit up of recording about a minute of sound every day this month–or this year? I’m tagging them, a moment of sound

jan 1/RUN

5K
turkey hollow
14 degrees
95% snow covered

Happy New Year! Of course I had to get outside and run on the first day of the year. 14 degrees didn’t seem too cold to me with all of my layers: green shirt, blue hooded shirt, orange sweatshirt, black vest, 2 pairs of running tights, headband covering my ears, baseball cap, hood, 2 pairs of gloves, 1 pair of socks, yak trax. Not too much wind. Ran south on the river road trail. Encountered a few others runners or walkers but we stayed close to our opposite sides, which I think was about 6 or 7 feet apart. Yelled at the one biker I encountered who was biking in the middle of the trail–at least I thought he was. My depth perception is not the greatest. Saw 2 or 3 cross country skiers! One was crossing the river road, their skis scraping on the bare pavement.

birds!

No turkeys in turkey hollow, but as I ran on the river road trail, above the oak savanna, I heard the drumming of a woodpecker on a tree. The noise was deep and metallic. Was the tree dead inside? I read a poem or an essay that described how a tree can be dead and you can’t tell until you cut it down; it could be dying inside for years. Where did I read that? I almost stopped running for a minute to try and locate the woodpecker but I didn’t–I doubt I would have been able to see it anyway. I also heard some male black-capped chickadees and their feebee call. A three note call this time with a 2 note response. Nice! Such a good omen for the year, hearing my favorite bird, running close to the river!

the river!

Running south on the trail above the oak savanna, at first all I could see were trees, a hill, snow. Suddenly, the gorge sloped down near 38th and the river appeared. Wow! Shining in the soft spots that weren’t yet sharpened by cold . I love the visual effect of sparkling, glittering water–sometime soon I want to read this article about glittering patterns. Talking with Scott, I thought I remembered that the effect was called glint, but looking it up again, it’s glitter. Glint is a flash of light, not to be confused with glisk which is a gleam of light through a cloud. As I described the image to Scott, we also discussed whether the river had sheets of ice or, as I delightfully suggested, floes. Scott thought floes were only in the ocean. Looking it up, Wikipedia says that a floe is defined by it’s size–big!

“An ice floe is a large pack of floating ice often defined as a flat piece at least 20 m across at its widest point, and up to more than 10 km across.[1]Drift ice is a floating field of sea ice composed of several ice floes.”

Maybe I like using the term because it’s big and grand and makes the river–which is fairly big, but nothing compared to an ocean or a sea, at least where I see it–seem bigger and grander and my images more magical or fantastical or epic?

Another word encountered: brash ice. “Brash ice is an accumulation of floating ice made up of fragments not more than 2m across. It is the wreckage of other forms of ice.” Cool.

After I finished my run, I could hear so many birds. I decided to stop and record a minute of it–I might try to do this every day this month or this year.

jan 1, 2021

In addition to the feebee call, I hear the “chickadeedeedee” and some other chirping I can’t identify. Some dudes laughing, me still breathing hard after my run (and then adding in a gross sniff), and the delightfully irritating crunching snow! I love hearing the biomechanics of my feet walking–listen to the different types of crunches as one foot lifts off and the other sinks down.

Winter Poem/ Donika Kelly

We climb the stalk of early winter
into the sky. Below: the car, the road,
the gray branch. The sun, a mirage, multiplies
in the earth. The light beetles, makes of our
bodies a mirror. We are fallow
as the land beneath us. We climb, though our
arms tire and our legs burn, a gesture
of absolution–we forget,
are forgotten. We are fire or
the image of fire, the day, or
the breaking of it. We disappear, chaff
of myth, what held the story of a season’s end.

This poem! It’s from her collection, Bestiary. How did I miss it when I read that book this summer? I love beetles as a verb–the light beetles. Does she mean “to scurry” (like a beetle) or “project/jut”?

So many great words in this entry! brash, beetle, glint, glitter, glisk. I want to use some of them in a poem.