oct 5/RUN

3.5 miles
top of franklin hill and back
52 degrees

Rainy in the morning so our 10K race was cancelled. Ran after the rain, in the afternoon. First mile, then last 1/2 mile with Scott. The rest by myself, partly with no headphones, partly listening to a playlist. Don’t remember much but seeing streaks of fall colors and lots of cars driving on the parkway. Why so many cars?

oct 4/RUN

3 miles
trestle turn around
50 degrees

Felt colder than 50, especially when I was wearing shorts. No sun, a little wind. The tunnel of trees is thinning but still too green. Was able to see the river through the trees in many more places now that leaves are falling. Smelled the sewer as I ran above the ravine. If I can smell it up here, how bad is it down below? Counted to 4. Over and over again. Felt relaxed. Still trying to figure out my writing/route project. I feel like I need one more poem about this ravine which hides below the first split rail fence I encounter right after entering the trail at 36th street. Yes, I like this idea of it being the first and last thing that I run above before leaving the river.

oct 3/RUN

3 miles
trestle turn around
48 degrees

Ran with Scott in the afternoon. Still wore shorts, but it’s getting colder. A great run. Relaxed, not too fast. Getting ready for the 10k race on Saturday. Haven’t raced a 10k in almost a year. 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.

Spring and Fall
BY GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS

to a young child

Márgarét, áre you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! ás the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

oct 2/RUN

1.6 miles
river road, north/south
50 degrees

A short run in the afternoon. Pretty sure I listened to a playlist, but I can’t remember now, writing this days later. Ran up from under the lake street bridge, around the rim above the rowing club, then turned around and headed back. It’s getting cooler outside. Looking more like fall too. Yellows and oranges and reds.

Rabbits and Fire
BY ALBERTO RÍOS

Everything’s been said
But one last thing about the desert,
And it’s awful: During brush fires in the Sonoran desert,
Brush fires that happen before the monsoon and in the great,
Deep, wide, and smothering heat of the hottest months,
The longest months,
The hypnotic, immeasurable lulls of August and July—
During these summer fires, jackrabbits—
Jackrabbits and everything else
That lives in the brush of the rolling hills,
But jackrabbits especially—
Jackrabbits can get caught in the flames,
No matter how fast and big and strong and sleek they are.
And when they’re caught,
Cornered in and against the thick
Trunks and thin spines of the cactus,
When they can’t back up any more,
When they can’t move, the flame—
It touches them,
And their fur catches fire.
Of course, they run away from the flame,
Finding movement even when there is none to be found,
Jumping big and high over the wave of fire, or backing
Even harder through the impenetrable
Tangle of hardened saguaro
And prickly pear and cholla and barrel,
But whichever way they find,
What happens is what happens: They catch fire
And then bring the fire with them when they run.
They don’t know they’re on fire at first,
Running so fast as to make the fire
Shoot like rocket engines and smoke behind them,
But then the rabbits tire
And the fire catches up,
Stuck onto them like the needles of the cactus,
Which at first must be what they think they feel on their skins.
They’ve felt this before, every rabbit.
But this time the feeling keeps on.
And of course, they ignite the brush and dried weeds
All over again, making more fire, all around them.
I’m sorry for the rabbits.
And I’m sorry for us
To know this.

Such a sad and beautiful poem. What a storyteller Ríos is!

sept 30/RUN

2.6 miles
River road, north/south
80 degrees/humidity: 76%

All weekend, I was convinced that the 10th anniversary of my mom’s death was the 29th. Only at the end of the day did I realize that it was actually today. Did a short run in the afternoon heat. The last bit of summer weather until maybe April but more likely June. I’m writing this a few days later so I don’t remember much about the run. Lately, I’ve been behind in writing and posting these entries. I think it’s because I’m working on the running route pamphlet.

sept 24/RUN

1.5 miles
part of 2 trails
82 degrees

Is this my new Tuesday tradition? Doing a short run in the afternoon to make sure I get my move goal? Maybe. If I do it next Tuesday, I hope it’s not as hot as today or last Tuesday. The thing I remember most about this run is being on the lower trail and hearing all the car whooshing by above my head. Very intense. Lots of people heading home, I guess.

Nature Aria
Yi Lei
translated by Tracy K. Smith and Changtai Bi

Autumn wind chases in
From all directions
And a thousand chaste leaves
Give way.

Scatter in me the seeds
Of a thousand saplings.
Let grow a grassy heaven.
On my brow: a sun.
This bliss is yours, Living
World, and alone it endures.
Music at midnight.
Young wine.
Lovers hand in hand
By daylight, moonlight.
Living World, hold me
In your mouth,

Slip on your frivolous shoes
And dance with me. My soul
Is the wild vine
Who alone has grasped it,
Who has seen through the awful plot,
Who will arrive in time to vanquish
The river already heavy with blossoms,
The moon spilling light onto packs
Of men. What is sadder than witless
Wolves, wind without borders,
Nationless birds, small gifts
Laden with love’s intentions?

Fistfuls of rain fall hard, fill
My heart with mud. An old wind
May still come chasing in.
Resurrection fire. And me here
Laughing like a cloud in trousers,
Entreating the earth to bury me.

sept 17/RUN

1.5 miles
two trails (almost)
83 degrees

So hot! Wasn’t planning to run today but then, when I didn’t think I would reach my move goal of 490 calories, decided to do a short run. The things we do to keep a streak going. 114 days now of filling all 3 rings on my apple watch. Very glad I did. Listened to a playlist and forgot that I had a cold–I always feel less sick when I’m running. I think I was the only person I saw running. I imagined people driving by looking at me like I was crazy running in this heat with the bright sun and not much shade. Ah September, the annoying month of being teased with wonderful fall weather and then cruelly tricked with mini heat waves.

Found this poem while searching for “heat” on the poetry foundation site. I feel like it really fits in ways that I don’t quite understand yet.

The Heat of Autumn
BY JANE HIRSHFIELD

The heat of autumn
is different from the heat of summer.
One ripens apples, the other turns them to cider.
One is a dock you walk out on,
the other the spine of a thin swimming horse
and the river each day a full measure colder.
A man with cancer leaves his wife for his lover.
Before he goes she straightens his belts in the closet,
rearranges the socks and sweaters inside the dresser
by color. That’s autumn heat:
her hand placing silver buckles with silver,
gold buckles with gold, setting each
on the hook it belongs on in a closet soon to be empty,
and calling it pleasure.

sept 9/RUN

1.5 miles
river road, north/south
60 degrees

Did a short run today in-between rain drops. It’s starting to look like fall. A few trees are losing leaves or turning red and yellow. Will there be bright orange this fall too? I hope so. In my 20s and 30s, I didn’t appreciate orange. Too bright or earthy or… orange. Green–darker, more muted–was my favorite. I still love green but I love orange now too. Is it because it was my mom’s favorite color? Maybe. I love bright oranges that glow unnaturally. And earthy, rusty oranges. It’s funny that I like orange now, when I can’t always see it because of my cone dystrophy. I’m thinking of getting some orange sneakers to wear this fall–not to run in, but just to wear and admire.

Right now I’m reading Ross Gay’s The Book of Delights and listening to podcast interviews with him and thinking about his ethics/politics/pedagogy of delight. So wonderful! Here’s one of his poems from a few years back:

Sorrow Is Not My Name
BY ROSS GAY

—after Gwendolyn Brooks
No matter the pull toward brink. No
matter the florid, deep sleep awaits.
There is a time for everything. Look,
just this morning a vulture
nodded his red, grizzled head at me,
and I looked at him, admiring
the sickle of his beak.
Then the wind kicked up, and,
after arranging that good suit of feathers
he up and took off.
Just like that. And to boot,
there are, on this planet alone, something like two
million naturally occurring sweet things,
some with names so generous as to kick
the steel from my knees: agave, persimmon,
stick ball, the purple okra I bought for two bucks
at the market. Think of that. The long night,
the skeleton in the mirror, the man behind me
on the bus taking notes, yeah, yeah.
But look; my niece is running through a field
calling my name. My neighbor sings like an angel
and at the end of my block is a basketball court.
I remember. My color’s green. I’m spring.
—for Walter Aikens

“there are, on this planet alone, something like two/million naturally occurring sweet things,/some with names so generous as to kick/the steel from my knees…”

july 28/BIKERUN

bike: 5.7 miles
to lake nokomis/1/2 way back

Biked to the lake for open swim. As I arrived, it thundered and I heard the lifeguard call out, “Open Swim is delayed for 30 minutes.” Bummer. Then, after waiting for a few minutes, the sky unzipped and it began to pour. Waited under the overhang of the building with Scott until it stopped. Thundered again. 30 more minute wait. So we left. Double bummer. At least I got to see a rafter of wild turkeys in a field across from Locks and Dam #1 as I biked to the lake. Pretty cool!

run: 2.4 miles
river road path, north/south
75 degrees
humidity: 87%
dew point: 70

I am currently on day 62 of filling all three rings on my apple watch. Decided to run so I could keep up the streak. So hot and humid! For the first time this year, I saw haze hovering around the tunnel of trees. It was raining as I ran. Not too hard and offering no relief. Encountered some idiot teenagers playing catch on the running path under the bridge. Two of them almost threw a ball over my head as I ran by them. I gave them one of my vigorous disapproving head shakes which my daughter says are very effective in shaming. Why did she say that? Have I given her one before?

What Lights Up…?
BY KEKI DARUWALLA
excerpt

what lights up
the lightbulb filaments
of your recall Old Man
this streak of fire
through the thin wire
of memory and mind
what line
from which poet?

I love this opening stanza! Definitely one to memorize.

july 22/RUN

2.75 miles
lake harriet
77 degrees
humidity: 46%

Ran around Lake Harriet with Scott this afternoon. Less humidity but still hot and sunny. Not much shade at 2 in the afternoon. What I remember most: the gross, fishy smell; dodging lots of people; the shshshsh of the sand on the side of the path as I ran over it; trying to sing The Commodores’ song “lady…you bring me up when I am down” and “na na na na na naaa na na na naaa” and having trouble mid-run; running an small extra loop to get my final exercise minutes and overhearing a man say to the woman next to him, “people are running right now?!”; running up hill a lot. A good run.

Postscript
Seamus Heaney

And some time make the time to drive out west
Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore,
In September or October, when the wind
And the light are working off each other
So that the ocean on one side is wild
With foam and glitter, and inland among stones
The surface of a slate-grey lake is lit
By the earthed lightning of a flock of swans,
Their feathers roughed and ruffling, white on white,
Their fully grown headstrong-looking heads
Tucked or cresting or busy underwater.
Useless to think you’ll park and capture it
More thoroughly. You are neither here nor there,
A hurry through which known and strange things pass
As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways
And catch the heart off guard and blow it open.

Love this poem for so many reasons: the ocean wild with foam and glitter, head-strong looking heads, being neither here nor there but a hurry through which known and strange things pass, big soft buffeting catching the heart off guard. This morning, when I was walking with Delia, I thought about how different one’s experience of a landscape is depending on whether you are walking or running or biking or riding in a car.

july 20/YOGABIKERUN

bike: 5.2 miles
torchlight 5k packet pick-up and back

Biked on the river road, over the ford bridge, up the hills in highland park to the packet pick-up for the july tradition: torchlight 5k. So hilly in St. Paul! Biking over the ford bridge is always beautiful–after the rain, the river was a calm, steel blue and the air was much cooler. Still not shifting into different gears when climbing. Speaking of climbing, thought about today’s stage of le tour de france and the brutal final climb while Scott and I biked. Those bikers are such bad asses.

run: 3 miles
trestle turn around
69 degrees
dew point: 59

Thunderstorms this morning, so I ran in the afternoon. Listened to my birthday playlist from last year and tried to stay relaxed. Ran all 3 miles without stopping, which was harder towards the end–my legs were sore, but I think it was more mental. Too easy to stop and walk. I didn’t today. Maybe it was because I got so mad at the two walkers that were hogging the entire path, cluelessly spreading out over the entire thing instead of sticking to one side? Felt pretty good. Ran each mile faster than the last. Kept running, but payed attention as I ran by the part of the tunnel of trees that I’m writing about. I’ve been thinking about it as a wide open, spacious room, but it’s more of just a break in the trees. A pause. I recorded some thoughts into my phone when I was done:

Only, just a brief pause. No room for rumination. Only breathing and being before the leaves lock? the leaves thatch? the leaves lattice? the vines envelop the forest again.

Found this great poem via twitter the other day:

Sixteen Theses on Walking and Poetry
by Mátyás Dunajcsik
translated by Timea Balogh1.

  1. Walking is the poetry of the urban space.
  2. Just as a poet uses the same language as everyone else, only for other things and in other ways, a walker walks the same city as other pedestrians, only with a different purpose and perspective.
  3. Walks, much like poems, are composed via selection and arrangement.
  4. Just as a poet sometimes uses strange, obsolete words, a walker often comes across seldom visited places.
  5. Just as poetry can sometimes cleanse trite words, calling them back to their original meanings, a walker can only really see a city if he keeps in mind the original purpose of the places and buildings in it, even if they serve new purposes now.
  6. Just as the poet has the power to give entirely new meanings to certain words, the walker sometimes also uses certain places for things other than they were originally designed for.
  7. The poet is always ambivalent about the grammatical rules of her native language. A good walk is always a little illegal.
  8. Important poems change the language in which they are written. A truly important walk leaves lasting marks on a city.
  9. Both walking and poetry are forms of catastrophe tourism: just as poetry begins where everyday conversation ends, likewise the walker looks for those places where the fabric of the city unravels.
  10. The empty spaces left behind by buildings demolished or never built are as sweet to the walker as the unsaid and the indescribable are to the poet.
  11. Poetry is a language’s living memory and conscience, just as walking is to a city.
  12. A reader most enjoys poems written in his native language. The most exciting walks are always the ones we take in our hometowns.
  13. But actually, all poems speak in their own mother tongues, just as every walk reveals a new city.
  14. The foundation of both walking and poetry is the breath. Its rhythm is determined either by words or by steps.
  15. Just as there are one-word poems, so can one step be considered a walk.
  16. Poets and walkers look up more often than other people.

Love all of this, especially the idea of poets using language differently, walkers walking differently; walking and poetry as forms of catastrophe tourism–looking for places where the city unravels; breath as the foundation for poetry and walking; poets and walkers looking up more than other people. Cool. I’m really interested in the connections between writing and movement, especially in terms of walking, running, swimming and biking.

june 12/RUN

3 miles
downtown loop
65 degrees

Ran with Scott downtown this afternoon. With the wind, it was cold enough that I had goosebumps before we started. My legs felt heavy and strange. Plodding along. I remember it being hot at Boom Island with no shade and loud on Plymouth–music coming from some sort of festival. They’re setting up for an art festival this weekend. Extra porta potties were everywhere and scaffolding too. Lots of tourists and segways and motorized scooters. Some other runners. A huge log jammed in the river near Nicollet island. Scott and I wondered how far it had traveled from up river? Running over the Stone Arch Bridge, I looked down at Mill Ruins Park and saw emerald green grass. Felt the spray from the falls, carried by the wind.

Here’s a poem about the Missississippi River from Bao Phi, a poet from Minneapolis.

A poem from Bao Phi


M I S S I SS I PP I
M I SS I SS I PP I
M I SS I SS I –
OKAY, BAO
the elementary teacher roared, and my delight at the staccato flow of the letters
evaporated.
This was over thirty years ago – I don’t hold her ghost to grudge.
How many times have I sat above that water, walked beside it
and wondered about its history all
the while taking for granted
I could spell its name.
The first time I saw its tail was after Katrina,
the wide water in New Orleans,
the houses drowned, and yet Vietnamese ate trays of boiled crawdad
tipping skinny neck bottles of Tabasco,
squeezed lemon slices until they bled out.
Somewhere some river is always running
and who chooses to run beside what river in what country,
and who gets sent down them.
Me and my teenage friends, we found a rotted railroad bridge,
climbing over its barriers, the no trespassing sign,
sat with our legs dangling over but hugging the round cylinder iron guardrails
laughing with one another as the brown and white foam curled far beneath us.
For many years I thought if I ever had a child I would
name them Song, river, but in my language
which makes the word sound like
a song.
So I did.
And she does.
Just this past year I learned of Bdote,
the concentration camps now a green field.
In a canoe, my daughter and a teacher
slowly sliced our way across its green gray skin
we three floating in history
water to some, blood to others
a part of everything
belonging to no one

may 31/BIKESWIM

bike: 8.6 miles
lake nokomis and back
swim: 100 yards?
lake nokomis

Yes! Open water swimming is here! Well, not officially until June 11th when open swim club starts, but I briefly swam in the lake today so I’ll count it. Water temperature was probably 65 or 70 degrees. It was pretty cold and my goggles were fogging up so I only did a quick swim out to the white buoy and back. Unlike last year, the water was not clear at all. Guess it must be because of all of the rain and flooding? I was hoping to get freaked out by seeing everything. Oh well. When I got out I felt a bit dizzy. Was it because of the cold? Not enough food? I hope it’s nothing to worry about. I’m hoping to swim a lot more this summer. 4 or 5 times a week.

Still thinking about prose poems. Here’s another one. Wow, does it get dark.

She Spent a Year Hallucinating Birds
BY JILL ALEXANDER ESSBAUM

They perched on roofs and fences and sills. They posed statue-still on catenary lines. They aligned along cables like prayer beads on rope. They amassed en masse on the cemetery lawn and marauded the broad, yawning fields like cattle. Their cackles were black. Each shadow dove and pecked. They nested in chimneys and chirped at the chime of the church bell. They worked in shifts. Clocked out at odd hours. They laid their eggs in the Vs of trees. They teemed on the dry-baked banks of creek beds, streams the sun had overseen. They teetered on the bed-knob tops of flagpoles. They pitched like pennies into founts. They pitched like babies into wells. They thumped at doors then skulked away like hoodlum teens. They jabbed her. When she cried they did it faster. Everyone knows what happened next. Some grew big as sunflower stalks, others tall like bonfire flames. Or moving vans. Or the sick, brick houses people die inside of every night. Their hatchlings canopied the sky. Was it her fault, then, when they pinned her to the ground and thrust their feathers down her throat? Or wormed between her legs in bad-man ways? Or rattled plumes and whooped and beat her body with their wings? Or locked their talons to her thighs and tra-la-la-ed that ditty from the old-time music box? Or forced their whiskies past her lips? Or put her in the pillory? This was foreplay, in a way. They rolled in rabid packs and woofed like dogs. She couldn’t throw a bone. The meat was gone. They chased her and they named her and they boiled her tears and bathed her. Then they ate her.

may 30/RUN

3 miles
downtown loop
82 degrees

Hot! Ran 2.5 miles, walked 1/2 mile with Scott on the downtown loop. Not too bad–probably because we stopped to walk at the hottest, sunniest, hilliest part. Focused a lot on avoiding clueless pedestrians, big cracks in the pavement and lunging dogs. Discussed wilderness, the gorge, climate change, Margaret Atwood, our inability to ever successfully tame wild green spaces.

The river was moving fast. Running over it, on the stone arch bridge it was swirling and foaming, creating these cool white waves. In Boom island it was grayish blueish brown and smooth, swiftly traveling the opposite direction we were running.

Other things I remember? A toddler losing their shit at a playground on the west side of the river road. A few people going fast on lime scooters. 3 Segways going even faster around a corner–I think I hard someone yell out, “hey, that’s too fast!”

Since I’m writing a haibun about fog right now, here’s a fog poem to consider:

The Trees Delete Themselves Inside a Fog-Sphere
BY FRANCIS PONGE
TRANSLATED BY KAREN VOLKMAN

In the fog which surrounds the trees, the leaves are stripped—leaves defaced already by slow oxidation, deadened by the sap’s out-seeping for flowers’ and fruits’ gain, since the harsh heats of August made of them a less.

In the bark, vertical furrows crease and slit where dampness drains to the earth’s base, indifferent to the living citizens of the trunk.

Flowers scattered, fruit conferred. Since youth, this relinquishing of breathing attributes and body parts has become for the trees a standard practice.

Such detail! Now I want to return to my poem and be much more specific.

may 22/RUN

4.1 miles
mississippi river road path, north/south
57 degrees

Ran at noon today. Had to wait for the rain to stop. A bit windy and wet–a be-puddled path–but otherwise okay. Just green green and more green. Not many bugs…yet…so haven’t acquired the persistent itch that irritates summer Sara. Decided to run with an audio book that I checked out of the library–Murder on the Orient Express. Pretty great. I’m trying to slowly acclimate myself to audio books so that when I can no longer see to read (most likely within the next 5 years), it won’t feel like as big of a loss. Listening to the book was fun and distracting. I wouldn’t want to do it every time because it’s harder to pay attention to the path and the river or listen to the wind and the scratching grit, but it would be nice to add into the mix.

Do I remember much from the run? Some dripping. Greeting the Daily Walker and the Man in Black! Glancing at the green gorge. Catching a few fleeting glimpses of the river. Wondering when the wind would hit me (once I turned around). Not much else. Too focused on listening to Hercule Poirot examine the clues and contend with his idiot assistant.

I just remembered one cluster of thoughts I had as I neared the Lake Street Bridge, heading south. Listening to Agatha Christie talk about Poirot and his eagle eyes (or hawk eyes or some sort of extremely observant bird eyes), I started thinking about how much these old sleuths rely on reason and vision. Then I remembered the show “Lie to Me” and how the detectives used almost imperceptible visual cues (or tells) to determine when a suspect was lying. What if you can’t see very well? What about other ways to sense what is happening–like hearing. I remember reading a brief article earlier this year about how people are more emphatic when talking to a person on the phone (not seeing but only hearing them) than on FaceTime–something about being able to focus on the pauses in their voice, etc. Are there famous literary sleuths who are blind (or who don’t use vision but other senses)? I googled it and so far I found this: Mourning the Little Dead. Also found this helpful link: Disabled Isn’t Unable

How to Get There
BY PHILIP LEVINE

Turn left off Henry onto Middagh Street
     to see our famous firehouse, home
          of Engine 205 and

Hook & Ladder 118 and home also to
     the mythic painting “Fire under
          the Bridge” decorating

the corrugated sliding door. The painting
     depicts a giant American flag
          wrinkled by wind   

and dwarfing the famous Brooklyn Bridge
     as it stretches as best it can
          to get a purchase

on Manhattan. In the distance a few dismal
     towers and beyond the towers
          still another river.
          
A little deal table holds a tiny American
     flag—like the one Foreman held
          as he bowed to

receive gold at the ’68 Olympics in Mexico
     City—; this actual flag is rooted in
          a can of hothouse

roses going brown at the edges and beginning
     to shed. There’s a metal collection
          box bearing the

names of those lost during the recent burnings.
     Should you stop to shake the box—
          which is none

of your business—you’ll hear only a whisper.
     Perhaps the donations are all
          hush money,

ones, fives, tens, twenties, or more likely
     there are IOUs and the heart
          of Brooklyn

has gone cold from so much asking.
     Down the block and across
          the street, a man

sleeps on the sidewalk, an ordinary
     man, somehow utterly spent,
          he sleeps through

all the usual sounds of a Brooklyn noon.
     Beside him a dog, a terrier,
          its muzzle resting

on crossed paws, its brown eyes wide
     and intelligent. Between man
          and dog sits

a take-out coffee cup meant to receive,
     next to it a picture of Jesus—
          actually
    
a digital, color photograph of the Lord
     in his prime, robed and
          though bearded
    
impossibly young and athletic, and—
     as always—alone. “Give
          what you can,”  

says a hand-lettered cardboard sign
     to all who pass. If you stand
          there long enough

without giving or receiving the shabby,
     little terrier will close his eyes.
          If you stand

there long enough the air will thicken
     with dusk and dust and exhaust
          and finally with

a starless dark. The day will become something
     it’s never been before, something for
          which I have no name.

I picked this poem because I’m thinking about my running route project and creative ways of describing place. Love the line, “dusk and dust and exhaust” and the mention of hush money and the description of Jesus, in his prime, young and athletic. I’ve been working on a haibun that includes a framed image of Jesus, found in the gorge. I think I’ll add some more detail to my description.