july 26/RUNSWIM

3.3 miles
trestle turn around
71 degrees
humidity: 94% / dew point: 67

Hot and steamy today. Went out for my run right after the rain ended. Everything wet, dripping, swampy. Headed north through the tunnel of trees. Noticed a tall, precarious stack of small stones on the ancient boulder. Was passed by a shirtless runner with a bright yellow baseball cap on backwards. For the next five minutes of my run, I watched as his bright yellow head slowly bobbed out of sight. Encountered another biking camp group — 20 or 30 kids in yellow vest on the bike path. Not sure how they were doing it, but they managed to get several cars to honk for them. Turned around at the stairs just past the railroad trestle.

For most of the run it was overcast, but at the very end, as I ran back through the neighborhood, some sun emerged and my shadow joined me. Hello friend!

Listened to 1 biker talking to another — most of it was just out of range, but I heard, I always slow way down there and look carefully, otherwise I keep going, the biking kids, and cars. After turning around, put in headphones. Started with Billie Eilish’s latest song for the Barbie movie, “What Was I Made For,” then was inspired to put on The Wiz and the Tinman’s song, “What Would I Do If I Could Feel?”

I started thinking about my desire to use my runs to help open me up to the world — to feel things deeply and generously. And now, as I write this, I’m thinking about Emily Dickinson’s poem about grief and the formal feeling that comes after it, “After great pain, a formal feeling comes,” which I first posted about on this blog in march of 2021.

10 Wet Things

  1. sidewalk puddles
  2. half my street for a short stretch
  3. the leaves on the sprawling oak tree near the ancient boulder
  4. the edges of the trail
  5. one branch leaning over the trail, brushing my face
  6. my face — from sweaty effort, running through rain-soaked branches, under dripping bridges
  7. the air — hazy, steamy, fog hovering just above the trail
  8. the tip of my pony tail
  9. wheels — bike, car, stroller
  10. mud on the dirt trail, mostly where the ruts are the deepest

This was the daily poem on poems.com. A great winter poem to revisit in January. I love Major Jackson’s poetry.

lxxxi. / Major Jackson

Pine shadows on snow like a Jasper canvas,
if only my pen equaled the downy’s stabbing beak
this January morning, her frantic
chipping, more resolve than frenzy, to make a feast
of beetle larvae, if only my wood-boring eyes
could interrogate the known like pillars of sunlight
through fast-moving clouds scanning the side
of Corporation Mountain where on a distant ridge
white plumes dissolve like theories. I cannot hear
through winter’s quiet what’s worth saying.
Saplings stand nude as Spartans awaiting orders.
The entire forest is iced-up and glistening.
Sealed in its form, the austere world I’ve come
to love beckons, earth runnels soon resurrected
into a delirium of streams and wild fields. Till then,
branches like black lines crisscrossing the sub-Arctic.

swim: 3 loops (6 cedar loops)
cedar lake open swim
92 degrees

A warm night with very little breeze. Not good for cooling Scott off on the shore, but good for me and swimming in calm water. For the first few loops it felt a little harder to breathe — was it the heat? Felt a little sore during this swim — just under my right shoulder.

The coolest thing about my swim: just heading out from shore, swimming over some vegetation, dozens of small fish (much bigger than minnows) swam right below me, almost as if I was acting out Anne Sexton’s poem, The Nude Swim, real — All of the fish in us had escaped for a minute. Were these all of my fish, escaping into the water? Or, were these Sexton’s real fish that don’t mind my fish having escaped? Either way, a super cool image! As I think about it some more, I like imaging these fish as escaping from me — swim free little Sara fish!

added the next morning: Just remembered something else about the swim. Mostly the water was warm, which felt nice when I first entered the water, but as I rounded the far buoy, the one at Hidden Beach, I swam through a few pockets of very cold water, which felt nice after swimming in such hot air.

april 15/RUN

2.15 miles
mississippi river road path, south/north
52 degrees

Watched the Boston Marathon this morning. Last year, when I was watching it, we were getting 17 inches of snow. This year, sun and above freezing temperatures. Did a short run with Scott this afternoon. Windy and overcast but warmer with a clear path. Felt pretty easy, like I was bouncing on the path.

Found a draft of a poem that I wrote a few years ago. It’s inspired by what I’d recently read on how different writers remember their thoughts when they’re walking or running.

How do you keep

an idea from running away? Grab a stick
and etch it in your arm? Pin a piece
of paper to your clothes? Jot it down
in a pocket-sized notebook? Speak it
into your smart phone? Why
not let it run away
instead of immobilizing it with words.
You might be able to follow it
into the woods or
over the creek or
down by the river or
under the bridge.
Words may not be fast enough to follow
but you might
with your flying feet.

And here’s a poem I read (and heard) this morning on the Poetry Foundation site. What a poem! I love the title and so many of the images–especially describing the field after harvest as a man’s unruly face. Even better than describing it as stubble (which I’ve often thought and read before).

Thinking of Frost
Major Jackson, 1968

I thought by now my reverence would have waned,
matured to the tempered silence of the bookish or revealed
how blasé I’ve grown with age, but the unrestrained
joy I feel when a black skein of geese voyages like a dropped
string from God, slowly shifting and soaring, when the decayed
apples of an orchard amass beneath its trees like Eve’s
first party, when driving and the road Vanna-Whites its crops
of corn whose stalks will soon give way to a harvester’s blade
and turn the land to a man’s unruly face, makes me believe
I will never soothe the pagan in me, nor exhibit the propriety
of the polite. After a few moons, I’m loud this time of year,
unseemly as a chevron of honking. I’m fire in the leaves,
obstreperous as a New England farmer. I see fear
in the eyes of his children. They walk home from school,
as evening falls like an advancing trickle of bats, the sky
pungent as bounty in chimney smoke. I read the scowl
below the smiles of parents at my son’s soccer game, their agitation,
the figure of wind yellow leaves make of quaking aspens.