jan 23/RUN

4.1 miles
minnhehaha falls
31 degrees / 50+% thin, slippery ice
wintery mix

Stepped outside and felt the sidewalk — at first, it seemed fine, but at the end of the block I realized a lot of it was covered in an invisible sheen of ice. Oh well, too late to turn back. It was never really a problem, although it was pretty slick on the cobblestones at the falls. But I didn’t fall; barely even slipped! Waved a greeting to Santa Claus, heard the kids at the playground, noticed 2 people hiking below under the falls. I watched them step over the rope blocking off the trail.

Stopped at my favorite spot to put in a playlist. Before I started running again on the ice, I took this short footage of the falls:

the falls falling between 2 columns of ice / 23 jan 2024

10 Things Not Seen

  1. the thin layer of ice on the sidewalk and the path
  2. the exact temperature, but I knew it was warm because of how energetic the kids on the playground were
  3. a runner, approaching. I thought I had seen a biker so I was looking for them, meanwhile a runner was approaching me and I had no idea. Saw him a couple seconds before I might have run into him
  4. open water — the river is iced over
  5. the light rail, but I heard its bell as I ran through the park
  6. my shadow — too gloomy and gray
  7. light rain falling — barely felt it either
  8. no fat tires or Daily Walkers or bright blue running tights
  9. the woodpecker knocking on dead wood in the gorge
  10. my breath — too warm today for that!

before the run

I was just about to write that I’ve moved on from windows — my January challenge — to assays and not seing but in midst of thinking it I conjured a new version of windows that I’d like to ruminate on for a moment: a window opening. I like the slight difference that exists between an open window and a window opening. An open window is already open, but a window opening captures the moment when the air first enters and new understandings arrive.

Side note: Suddenly while writing this, I remembered a mention of windows that is almost entirely unrelated to the last paragraph except for it involves windows and not knowing how to open them. I just finished the gothic horror novel. A House with Good Bones by T. Kingfisher. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone else reading this, but near the end some monstrous creatures are attempting to open a window but they don’t know how. If they did, it would be the end for the main character and her companions. I’ve already returned the book (bummer) or I’d post the actual description here of the strong creatures flailing and not understanding the concept of a window — it’s gross and disturbing and compelling and not recommended when you’re eating lunch (which I was).

I’m about to go out for a run. I’ll try to think about opening windows or windows opening.

during the run

I imagined I might have a few moments where something I noticed felt like a window opening. I didn’t. About a mile in, I decided to do triple beat chants with the word: op en ing/ op en ing — then, op en ing/wel com ing/ won der ing. Thought about the openness of opening versus the confinement of closed, or even closing. After chanting opening for a few minutes, I remember lifting out of my hips and leading with my chest — an opening of my body.

after the run

Walking back after I finished my run, I listened to The Woman in the Window. I heard this and it got me thinking:

“And what’s going with the rest of the block?”

I realize I have no idea. The Takedas, the Millers, even the Wassermen–they haven’t so much as pinged my radar this last week. A curtain has fallen on the street; the homes across the road are veiled, vanished; all that exists are my house and the Russells’ house and the park between us.

Not seeing: being so preoccupied/obsessed with something that everything else doesn’t exist.

Then the narrator continued and I thought some more:

I wonder what’s become of Rita’s contractor. I wonder which book Mrs. Gray has selected for her reading group. I used to log their every activity, my neighbors, used to chronicle each entrance and exit. I’ve got whole chapters of their lives stored on my memory card.

Before the run I had been thinking about what it means to not see. I’d also been thinking about what it means for me to see. I might turn both “Not Seeing” and “Seeing” into poems and submit them to Couplet Poetry for their submissions window next month. Anyway, listening to the first bit from The Woman in the Window, I suddenly thought about how an obsession, being preoccupied with something, like whether a neighbor has been murdered, makes one myopic. And then listening to the second bit, I thought about the new way I see by making note of everything, slowly, habitually noticing all the small, seemingly unimportant and peripheral moments. This is how I see now: moment on moment on moment.

Here’s a poem by Jane Hirshfield. It’s in her “assay” form, which I’ve been studying for the past few days. As I understand it, an assay explores, imagines, tries out different meanings of a word or a concept. Is this an assay about “moment” or am I’m misunderstanding the poem?

Assay Only Glimpsable for an Instant/ Jane Hirshfield

Moment. Moment. Moment.

–equal inside you, moment,
the velocitous mountains and cities rising and falling,
songs of children, iridescence even of beetles.

It is not you the locust can strip of all leaf.

Untouchable green at the center,
the wolf too lopes past you and through you as he eats.

Insult to mourn you, you who mourn no one, unable.

Without transformation,
yours the role of the chorus, to whom nothing happens.
The living step forward: choosing to enter, to lose.

I who am made of you only
speak these words against your unmasterable instruction–

A knife cannot cut itself open,
yet you ask me both to be you and know you.

jan 20/RUN

4.35 miles
minnehaha falls and back
5 degrees

Back outside! Cold, but much warmer than Tuesday. Low (ish) wind, plenty of sunshine, clear paths. I felt a little tired and sore, but still happy to be outside. Was planning to do my usual routine of running without music, then putting some in at my favorite spot by the falls, but I forgot my headphones. Oh well, if I had been listening to music I might not have heard a goose honking.

10 Things

  1. startled some birds in the brush on the path near the ramp that winds down to the falls bridge — some rustling noises, then a silver flash as the sun caught the feathers on one of the bird’s wings — it reminded me of Eamon Grennan’s line about a lark’s silver trail in Lark-luster or EDickinson’s silver seam in A Bird, came down the Walk
  2. the falls were hidden behind columns of ice
  3. a few people (3 or 4?) walking on the frozen creek, admiring the falls from up close
  4. falling water sound: tinkling, sprinkling, shimmering
  5. the creek was frozen over, with just a few open spots where the water flowed beneath it
  6. running past the stretch of woods near the ford bridge — all the leaves are gone, the small rise up to the bridge fully visible
  7. crunch crunch crunch as my feet struck the ground — not slippery or hard or too soft
  8. my shadow, sharp lines, solid, dark, lamp post shadow, softer, fuzzier
  9. the rhythm of a faster runner’s legs as they passed me — a steady lift lift lift — so graceful
  10. a lone geese honking — not seen, only heard

Somewhere near the Horace Cleveland overlook (near the double bridge), I thought about interiors and exteriors and how you can look in or out of windows and then outside as the abstract/thinking/theorizing/writing and inside as the body. I want to remove the barrier between these, to mix writing with being/doing/moving as a body. Then lines from Maggie Smith’s “Threshold” popped into my head: You want a door you can be on both sides of at once. You want to be on both sides of here and there now and then…Yes, I do.

added 21 jan 2024: Reading through a past entry this morning I suddenly remembered the black capped chickadee calling out their fee bee song so loudly as I ran up the hill between locks and dam no. 1 and the double bridge. Wow! I recall thinking they were in beast mode (a reference to Michael Brecker and how some people describe his playing).

Jane Hirshfield’s Ten Windows, Chapter 6 (Close Reading: Windows)

Many good poems have a kind of window-moment in them–they change their direction of gaze in a way that suddenly opens a broadened landscape of meaning and feeling. Encountering such a moment, the reader breathes in some new infusion, as steeply perceptible as any physical window’s increase of light, scent, sound, or air. The gesture is one of lifting, unlatching, releasing; mind and attention swing open to new-peeled vistas.

windows offer an opening, a broadened landscape, fresh air, a lifting, unlatching, releasing, expansion, an escape or a way into somewhere else

In this chapter, Hirshfield does a close reading of ED’s “We Grow Accustomed to the Dark” — yes!

I have called the third stanza (And so of larger — Darkness –/Those Evenings of the Brain –) the poem’s first window, but for me, the true window in Dickinson’s poem is contained in one word; its quick, penultimate, slipped-in “almost.” (And Life steps almost straight). The effect is so disguised it feels more truly trap-door than window: On this close-to-weightless “almost,” the poem’s assurance stumbles, catches. Its two syllables carry the knowledge that there are events in our lives from which no recovery is possible.

I love Emily Dickinson’s almost in this poem. The space it gives — the possibilities — for living your life otherwise. It seems that Hirshfield reads this almost as unfortunate — you almost made it back to your normal life after the darkness, but not quite. I don’t. There’s so much room (and a lot less pressure) in the almost! So much to write about this idea, so little time right now.

In the chapter, Hirshfield references a “popular” Dickinson poem that I’ve never encountered before:

The Brain — is wider than the Sky — (1863) J632/ Emily Dickinson

The Brain — is wider than the Sky —
For — put them side by side —
The one the other will contain
With ease — and You — beside —

The Brain is deeper than the sea —
For — hold them — Blue to Blue —
The one the other will absorb —
As Sponges — Buckets — do —

The Brain is just the weight of God —
For — Heft them — Pound for Pound —
And they will differ — if they do —
As Syllable from Sound —

I’d like to put this into conversation with my mid-run ideas about the body and the mind — maybe add Mary Oliver’s ideas about the difference between a poem and the world from The Leaf and the Cloud too.

jan 11/RUN

4 miles
almost to franklin and back
15 degrees / feels like 0

Okay winter! A good run even though my legs felt heavy and tired for the first mile. And I was cold — felt it in my lungs. Saw Dave, the Daily Walker, and when he asked, how are you doing?, I replied: I’m cold! To which he said, that’s Minnesota or something like that. The sun was out today and I think I remember admiring my shadow. Heard some strange, almost strangled, noises down in the gorge. Probably honking geese, or maybe a feral kid having fun? Encountered at least one fat tire, a few walkers, no roller skiers. The walking path was covered in slippery snow, but the bike path was almost completely clear. The sky was blue, the trees were empty, the river was? I know I looked at the river, but I don’t remember what color it was or if it had more ice on it.

layers I started in: 2 pairs of black running tights; a bright green tank top; a previously bright green base layer shirt with the sleeves over my thumbs; a purple jacket zipped up to my chin; a pink and orange buff covering my neck and ears; a black cap with fleece lining and ear flaps down; gray socks; raspberry red shoes; 2 pairs of gloves — inner ones were black, outer bright pink with white stripes.

layers I ended in: 2 pairs of black running tights; a bright green tank top; a previously bright green base layer shirt pushed up on my arms a little; a purple jacket unzipped a few inches; a pink and orange buff around my neck; a black cap with fleece lining and ear flaps up; gray socks; raspberry red shoes; 1 pair of black gloves — the bright pink ones were in my pocket.

Listened to my breathing, cars, geese as I ran north. Put in my new “Windows” playlist (see below) on the way back south.

Interruption: An Assay/ Jane Hirshfield

Sometimes you took the shape
of an unseen mosquito,
sometimes of illness.

Presumed most of the time to be passing,
yet importunate as a toddler
who demanded her own way,
as a phone that would not stop ringing long after it should.

Unignorable pavement slap of the gone-flat tire.

All afternoon the thunder was interrupted by sunshine.
All night the rain was interrupted by trees and roofs.

And still, as rusting steel is uninterrupted by dryness
and hunger uninterrupted by sleep,
interruption and non-interruption sat in the day’s container
as salt sits in milk, one whiteness disguised by another.

As a fish in a tank is interrupted by glass, and turns,
a person’s fate is to continuedespite,

Death: an interruption not passing,
one hundred and fifty-eight pounds,
carried on cut plywood with yellow straps.

Birth: an interruption between
two windows,
trying to think of any joke, any tune, that is new.

Between them:

this navigation by echolocation and lidar,
the weathers of avalanche, earthquake, tsunami,
firestorm, drought;
a moment that sets down—gently, sleepily—its half-read novel
on a bedside table whose side turned toward the wall stays unpainted,
confident the story will be there again come morning.

definition of an assay

Assays began with a poem written after I’d reread Edgar Allan Poe’s stories while writing an essay on how hiddenness works in poems. Some of the qualities of essay exploration and prose step lingered in its music and mode of thinking. At the time, I was regularly seeing the journal Science. On the back would often be advertisements for half-million-dollar machines for performing assays. That word—close to essay and sharing its root in the idea of an attempt, a try—refers to discovering a thing’s nature by breaking it into its elemental parts. The poem became ‘Poe: An Assay.’ That approach to writing, of testing a subject for its discoverable parts, imaginative and factual, caught. I began writing others. ‘Judgment: An Assay.’ ‘Tears: An Assay.’ ‘And: An Assay.'”

Jane Hirshfield

assay (def): the testing of a metal or ore to determine its ingredients and quality

my own interruption

Sitting at my desk, in front of my window, half-listening to the latest Foo Fighter album, an interruption — lyrics: there is something between us/I see right through/waiting on the other side of the glass. A window interrupting me! It’s strange how interruptions work. I’ve written/taught/spoke about the learning to let the world interrupt you. Maybe it’s not about letting the world interrupt you — it will do that anyway — but being open to that interruption, letting it in — opening the window to it?

a few more random window references that recently interrupted me:

  • Maria in The Sound of Music: “When the Lord closes the door, somewhere he opens a window.”
  • She Came in Through the Bathroom Window/ The Beatles
  • My Own Worst Enemy/ Lit — came in through the window last night (thanks Scott)

With all three of these examples, I’m thinking about the window and how it’s not a door. And in The Beatles and Lit examples there’s something not-quite-right, not normal, unacceptable about entering through the window. Using the window instead of the door is another way of saying something about your life is fucked up.

  • unrelated to these other examples, the scene of the window in The Amityville Horror– 1979 (iykyk) — I still think about that window falling on the kid’s hand sometimes. I’m not sure I’ve seen the whole movie — maybe I watched this bit on HBO and was too freaked out to watch the rest?
window pain!

Okay, now I want to make a window playlist to listen to as I think more about windows! (after the run): I did, and I listened to the first

Window/Fiona Apple
Window/Mountain Man
Smokin Out the Window/Silk Sonic
Keep Passing the Open Windows/Queen
Lookin’ Through the Windows/Jackson 5

oct 27/RUN

2.7 miles
2 trails
37 / feels like 29
wind: 15 mph

Okay winter. Wore tights under my shorts, a long-sleeved shirt under my sweatshirt, gloves and a buff. The only part of me that was cold: my ears. Now, sitting at my desk, they burn. Blustery out there. Swirling wind. A few times I mistook a falling leaf for a flying bird, which was very cool to see. A brown bird, floating by.

My legs were sore. I’m eager to get my blood checked at my physical in a few weeks. My iron might still be low. Until then, more burgers and a new multi vitamin that’s not quite a choking hazard.

10 Things

  1. more of a view today: cold blue water through the remaining red and yellow leaves
  2. slippery leaves covering the trail — don’t fall!
  3. near the sidewalk at 36th and 46th: a deep hole, dug up by the city workers, not as neat or wide as the holes carved out on our street, more like a gash or a missing chunk ripped out
  4. walkers bundled up in winter coats with hats and gloves
  5. the entrance to the Winchell trail, which was shrouded in yellow the other day, was open and bare today
  6. dripping water at the ravine — drip drip drip
  7. looking down at the gorge from the edge, a pleasing palette: steel blue, dark green, gray, brown
  8. a brown leaf fluttering by my face, looking like a floating bird
  9. at least 3 or 4 lonely, empty benches
  10. a kid’s voice below — would I encounter them later? Yes

Revisiting a poem I posted on this day in 2020, My Doubt/ Jane Hirshfield, these lines reminded me of something:

the lines:

I would like
to grow content in you, doubt,
as a double-hung window
settles obedient into its hidden pulleys and ropes.

the something:

Dance with the pain 

That last one is something I describe a lot. What does that even mean?
It means to greet the pain or discomfort like an old friend. Know that it’s always there waiting for you. If you accept it, and envision yourself enjoying its company, it’s much more manageable.

from a race recap at the Chicago Marathon — @emmajanelbates

Being content with the doubt and greeting pain as an old friend. Accepting doubt and being content with it I think I can do, but befriending pain? I’ve been trying to work on that as part of this larger writing/living/moving project. The pain I’m thinking of is the pain in my knees or my back or my hips, but it’s also other, deeper pains: the pain of aging, loved ones dying, living within a body that doesn’t work as well. Not sure if I’d call it a friend yet, more like acquaintances. I think it’s possible, but what does enjoying the company of pain look like, outside of the model of sadomasochism?

oct 13/RUN

3 miles
treadmill, basement
outside: rain, all day

My first treadmill run since last February. Wow. I listened to “Nobody Asked Us,” the podcast with Des Linden and Kara Goucher, and it helped make the time go by faster. Running inside is fine, but rarely inspiring. Sometimes a podcast or audiobook helps.

Can I possibly create a list of 10 things I noticed? I’ll try:

10 Things

  1. My treadmill faces a window that is covered over and under our deck, so no view, only dark emptiness — and the reflection of a lit bulb, looking like a full moon in a starless sky
  2. my feet hurt for the first mile; I think it might be my shoes
  3. I didn’t wear a hat or a headband and fine bits of my hair kept slipping out of my ponytail
  4. at one point these fine strands were standing straight up — static from running on the treadmill?
  5. later, these same strands were wet, dripping with sweat, and plastered against my neck
  6. hard to get into a rhythm at the start; my feet felt heavy
  7. 10 minutes into the run, everything lightened up and I felt like I was floating above the treadmill
  8. several times, my hand hit the front bar — I like to run close to the front
  9. my cheap treadmill works just enough, but not well. It won’t start until the speed is at almost 2, then it goes faster than the speed on the screen. If you adjust the speed too many times, the numbers on the screen get all scrambled. This happened today, and for over half of the run I was staring at strange, squiggly lines instead of numbers
  10. I didn’t hear or see it, but I thought about the mouse (or mice) that are probably sharing space with me down in the basement. I imagined one of them running across my feet

Did it! These things were not really about a place, but about my body. Maybe this winter, when it’s too dangerous to be outside, I should try some experiments with noticing and focusing on my body moving?

Discovered this poem the other day:

It Must Be Leaves/ Jane Hirshfield

Too slow for rain,
too large for tears,
and grief
cannot be seen.
It must be leaves.
but broken
ones, and brown,
not green.

Speaking of the phrase, it must be, I came up with a title for my poem about the color yellow, which ends with the idea that some things will always be yellow, even when I can’t see them. The title? If it’s a banana, it must be yellow. This title was inspired by a science article with the same name: If it’s a banana, it must be yellow: the role of memory colors in color constancy

july 28/SWIM

4 loops
lake nokomis open swim
71 degrees

Yesterday, it was very windy and HOT — upper 90s with feels like temp of over 100 — so I decided to skip open swim last night. I’m glad I did. I think I would have been sore and tired, having battled the wind and the waves. Instead today was a great swim. Calm water and not too crowded. I felt strong and fast and confident.

Again, I couldn’t see the orange buoys, but it didn’t matter. I was fine. I’ve been writing for years about how I can’t see those buoys. Slowly, what it means to “not see the buoys” has changed. It used to be, I only see the buoys every few minutes, not all the time, or, I only see the flash of orange or a small orange dot. But today, on the way to the little beach, swimming into the sun, I only saw the buoys out of my peripheral as I swam by them, never when I was trying to sight with them. Looking straight ahead, using my central vision, I only saw glare and water, trees, and sky. This did not worry me at all. The only time I could see an orange buoy with my central vision, and again, just barely, was after I rounded the second green buoy as I swam back to the start of the loop. Mostly I could see the green buoys as the idea of green or a small green dot. One time, as I got closer (but I was still 50+ yards away), I knew I was heading toward the second green buoy but I couldn’t actually see it. I paused, lifted my head high out of the water, then turned to look out of my peripheral. There it was. When I looked through my central vision again, I could see it because now my brain knew where it was. That’s one way my brain compensates for bad cones.

On the back half of loops 3 and 4, I recited A Oswald’s “Evaporations,” A Sexton’s “A Nude Swim,” and T Hoaglund’s “The Social Life of Water.” Fun! I like reciting these poems. I thought about Sexton’s line, we let our bodies lose all their loneliness and Hoaglund’s lines, all water is a part of other water and no water is lonely water. Also thought about Ed Bok Lee and his idea of water as wise, ebullient, and generous in “Water in Love.” I tried to love like the lake loves, open and generous to everything and everyone. I gave attention to feeling not lonely — connected, entangled, beholding and beholden by the fish or the lifeguards, the other swimmers, the buoys.

10+ Lake Companions

  1. the woman who, as she neared the safety boat by the lifeguard stand on the beach to drop off her stuff, called out, I forgot my cap in the car! Then later, when I asked, pointed out the far orange buoy to me
  2. the lifeguard on the shore, speaking into her walkie talkie, instructing the lifeguards where to place the buoys
  3. the swan boat, far off to my left
  4. the plane sharply ascending above me
  5. the small piece of debris that I accidentally swallowed then felt as it briefly got stuck in my throat
  6. the small piece of debris that somehow got trapped in my googles, then in my eye until I blinked it out
  7. the swimmers with bright pink buoys tethered to their torsos
  8. one of the few swimmers wearing a wet suit on this warm morning
  9. the breaststrokers
  10. the women giggling and calling out to each other as they approached the first orange buoy
  11. the woman discussing her swim with another swimmer after she was done, I’m slow, very very slow

All of us, together, loving the lake and each other.

Before my swim, I read a great interview between two writers discussing illness and the writing life, Sick and Writing: Two Poets Converse. Here are some passages from it that I’d like to remember and reflect on:

detection, diagnosis, disease

poetry is not so much a means of healing as it is a method of detection, occasionally therapeutic but essentially diagnostic. Which of course implies that poetry is rooted not only in dis-ease but in causes hidden.

Jennifer Sperry Steinorth

to articulate what this singular life is like, in the thick of it

Not that we’re writing to solve the mystery of being; it’s more the need to see clearly. To look at the undersides of leaves, to watch butterflies emerge from their chrysalises. To be amazed. To look at the adventure of our infirmities, even. As Marianne Boruch said, it’s about detection.


I’ve wondered if I write them [emotions] to feel in control, to feel in connection with others who suffer, or simply to articulate what this singular life is like, in the thick of it.

Fleda Brown

on erasures

I like the idea of receptivity with regard to erasure. I have often used the metaphor of excavation to speak of that work, though I too balk at the idea that I am digging up something that already exists, something latent in the text. Rather, it is as if I am excavating the dead from a text that buried them—a kind of channeling.


trying to find the awe in awful

The word awful has awe in it, but when I feel awful it doesn’t feel like awe—maybe it should. Pain alienates us from one another, from ourselves, and from language. It disrupts connectivity. But through writing or other forms of making, we struggle against that disconnect.


on taking walks in order to face the lion

 I sometimes need multiple walks a day; movement outside in the ordinary splendor of the world allows me to enter the tragic spaces of the past and the ongoing darkness in the world and in myself, without being swallowed by it. Jane Hirshfield talks about this in her wonderful essay “Facing the Lion,” inspired in part by Allen Ginsberg’s poem “The Lion for Real,” “The trick then is to let the lion into the house without abandoning one’s allegiance to the world of the living: to live amid the overpowering scent of its knowledge, yet not be dragged entirely into its realm.” Moving my body out in the world—outside the intimate spaces where I write—being in conversation with others—all of these help me hold the dark and light together. That this work demands so much discipline—even when I feel otherwise stable—speaks to the toll our work can take.


the relief of a diagnosis

 Sometimes when I tell people my diagnoses they tell me they are sorry, and I understand they think the diagnoses are awful, and I get that, but I am so thankful for the diagnoses. It’s such a relief to know what’s wrong—even when nothing can be done to fix it.

Maybe knowing what’s wrong—the diagnosis—helps us—if not to fix what’s wrong, then to adjust our mind to new uncertainties—to let something go?


Discovered that Fleda Brown has a wonderful blog, The Wobbly Bicycle. I’ll have to keep checking it out!

Here’s the poem-of-the-day from yesterday. If I had swam last night, I would have posted it then. It’s fitting for my swim this morning, thinking about my love for/of others in the water. Also, it’s a nice nod to the swimmer I heard after I exited the lake who said she was slow, very very slow.

Romance/ Susan Browne

I swim my laps today, slowly, slowly,
reaching my arms out & over, my fleshly oars,
the water silken on my skin, my body still able
to be a body & resting at the pool’s lip,
I watch other bodies slip through the blue,
how fast the young are
& how old they become, floating, floating,
forgetting the weight of years
while palm trees sway above us,
a little wind in the fronds, children playing
in the fountains, one is crying, one is eating
a peanut butter & jelly sandwich, I’m hungry
& wonder, has everything important happened
& what is more important than this,
like a secret adventure, like an affair I’m having
with everyone I see, their soft or washboard bellies,
their flat or rounded butts, their rippling hair
or shiny domes, their fragile ankles,
their beautiful bones, all our atoms swimming, swimming
& making us visible & I shove off the wall,
reaching my arms out, embracing the whole
magic show, with ten more laps to go.


bike: 8.5 miles
lake nokomis and back
66 (to lake) / 69 (from lake) degrees

Hooray for new tires! The dappled sunlight was a little disorienting, but otherwise I could mostly see. There was something I wanted to remember about the bike ride but I had to take a few hours break before writing this and now I can’t remember what it was. Oh well. Encountered other bikers, walkers, runners, strollers, and one surrey.

swim: 2 loops (8 mini beach loops)
lake nokomis main beach
67 degrees

An excellent swim! Even with the wind and the cooler air temperature it was great. For most of the swim, I had the lake to myself. It was a little choppy and overcast. How wonderful it is to be able to bike to the lake and swim. No having to wait for someone to give me a ride. No worries about finding a free lane or making sure (and not being able to tell if) a lane isn’t occupied or needing to share a lane with two other swimmers. Free open water.

The rain yesterday must have stirred up the water. When I put my head underwater I could see particles suspended in front of me. I didn’t see any fish but after I was done I heard some kids calling out to someone on shore, the fish are chasing us!!

I counted my strokes from the far right buoy to the far right one: 130. I counted by fours. I counted my strokes from the far left buoy to the far right one: 120, counting by 5s. I like swimming every 5 better, but I like counting by every 4 better.

wordle challenge

5 tries:


A Primer of the Daily Round/ Howard Nemerov

A peels an apple, while B kneels to God,
C telephones to D, who has a hand
On E’s knee, F coughs, G turns up the sod
For H’s grave, I do not understand
But J is bringing one clay pigeon down
While K brings down a nightstick on L’s head,
And M takes mustard, N drives to town,
O goes to bed with P, and Q drops dead,
R lies to S, but happens to be heard
By T, who tells U not to fire V
For having to give W the word
That X is now deceiving Y with Z,
Who happens, just now to remember A
Peeling an apple somewhere far away.

Left-handed Sugar/ Jane Hirshfield

In nature, molecules are chiral—they turn in one direction or the other. Naturally then, someone wondered: might sugar, built to mirror itself, be sweet, but pass through the body unnoticed? A dieters’ gold mine. I don’t know why the experiment failed, or how. I think of the loneliness of that man-made substance, like a ghost in a ‘50s movie you could pass your hand through, or some suitor always rejected despite the sparkle of his cubic zirconia ring. Yet this sugar is real, and somewhere exists. It looks for a left-handed tongue.

new word: chiral — mirrors but can’t be super-imposed

from The Enkindled Spring/ D.H. Lawrence

This spring as it comes bursts up in bonfires green,
Wild puffing of emerald trees, and flame-filled bushes,
Thorn-blossom lifting in wreaths of smoke between
Where the wood fumes up and the watery, flickering rushes.

Repulsive Theory / Kay Ryan

Little has been made
of the soft, skirting action
of magnets reversed,
while much has been
made of attraction.
But is it not this pillowy
principle of repulsion
that produces the
doily edges of oceans
or the arabesques of thought?
And do these cutout coasts
and incurved rhetorical beaches
not baffle the onslaught
of the sea or objectionable people
and give private life
what small protection it’s got?
Praise then the oiled motions
of avoidance, the pearly
convolutions of all that
slides off or takes a
wide berth; praise every
eddying vacancy of Earth,
all the dimpled depths
of pooling space, the whole
swirl set up by fending-off—
extending far beyond the personal,
I’m convinced—
immense and good
in a cosmological sense:
unpressing us against
each other, lending
the necessary never
to never-ending.

Passage / Barbara Guest

for John Coltrane

after all
are syllables just
and you put them
in their place
a painter using his stroke
so the spot
where the article
an umbrella
a knife
we could find
in its most intricate
slashed as it was with color
called “being”
or even “it”


For the moment just
when the syllables
out of their webs float

We were just
beginning to hear
like a crane hoisted into
the fine thin air
that had a little ache (or soft crackle)

golden staffed edge of
quick Mercury
the scale runner


C’est juste
your umbrella colorings

dense as telephone
humming down the line

Red plumaged birds
not so natural
complicated wings

Sweet difficult passages
on your throats
there just there
caterpillar edging
to moth

I’d like to think more about Guest’s use of just in this poem. I like the word just. As a teenager, whenever I called my best friend and her mom answered I’d say something like, this is just Sara. I remember her calling me Just Sara.

swim: 1 small loop (1/2 big loop)
cedar lake open swim
78 degrees

Swam with FWA at open swim. Cold getting into the water, then cold in every part of the body outside of the water. Brrr.

10 Things

  1. a gentle rocking from the small waves — I liked it, FWA did not
  2. a big bird — a goose? a crane? high up in the sky above the water
  3. lots of pot smells at the far beach — a huge whiff wafted our way when the wind shifted
  4. the far buoy was much farther to the right than it usually is — I think it drifted in the wind
  5. creepy, pale vegetation growing up from the bottom
  6. “swam” through a thick patch of vegetation — very difficult to get in a full stroke or to move
  7. the grating, sharp, piercing noise of 2 rocks being knocked into each other under water — Above water the sound was annoying, but not too bad. Sticking my head below water, it was almost unbearably irritating
  8. splashing and flicking water like I used to as a kid with FWA
  9. the haunting call of the mourning dove as we walked back to the car
  10. something shining through the break in the trees on the other side of the lake — what was it?

june 18/RUN

3.2 miles
trestle turn around
72 degrees
9:30 am

I need to start getting up earlier for these runs. It’s too hot by 9:30. Sunny and windy. Lots of shade, which is one reason to love the green, even if it does block my view of the river. Did one of my most regular routes: the trestle turn around. Saw and greeted Mr. Morning!, then later, on my walk with Delia the dog, Dave the Daily Walker. I remember thinking about something, and wanting to remember it — 2 things actually — but now I can’t remember them. I almost stopped to record them into my phone, but I didn’t. Maybe if I keep typing, I’ll remember them?

10 Things I Noticed

  1. above the tunnel of trees: light green, dark green, green air. Felt like I was flying above the trees
  2. before the tunnel: 3 stones stacked on the ancient boulder. I wonder, are they same stones every time — they fall off and someone picks them up and stacks them again?
  3. 2 runners with a running stroller, a kid in it crying, one of the adults saying, “we’ll be home soon”
  4. voices drifting up from the Winchell Trail right by the railroad trestle
  5. the smell of pot by the ravine
  6. a few others bits of conversation — I think I was able to hear a word or two, but I can’t remember the words now
  7. starting out my run in the neighborhood, hearing some talking, not able to identify any words. I knew they were words, but no idea what the words were. I was reminded of these lines from a Jane Hirshfield poem I encountered a few weeks ago: “An almost readable language./ Like the radio heard while traveling in a foreign country—/You know that something important has happened, but not what.”
  8. the whooshing of car wheels mixing with the wind
  9. yes! I just remembered one thing I’d forgotten! a car blasting “Renegade” by Styx as I neared the double bridge just north of the old stone steps and longfellow flats
  10. surfaces: west dirt, dry dusty dirt, concrete, asphalt, grass

Back to “Renegade.” I started singing along in my head after the car passed:

The jig is up
the news is out
they finally found me

A renegade
who had it made
in ???? county

I couldn’t remember the last line, no matter how hard I tried, I decided I would look it up when I got back from my run. Here’s what I found:

The jig is up, the news is out
They’ve finally found me
The renegade who had it made
Retrieved for a bounty
Nevermore to go astray
This will be the end today of the wanted man

Wow, not sure I ever knew exactly what Dennis DeYoung sang there. Retrieved for a bounty? Nice.

Found these little poems from Charles Simic in a recent New Yorker:

A Tree of Dignified Appearance/ Charles Simic

Fed up with its noisy leaves
And its chirping little birds,
Plus that young woodpecker
Drilling himself a new home.

For Rent/ Charles Simic

A large clean room
With plenty of sunlight
And one cockroach
To tell your troubles to.