feb 27/RUN

3.2 miles
trestle turn around
26 degrees
100% clear!

Windy today. Not too crowded. Sunny. My legs felt weird for a mile or so–like they weren’t quite working. Heavy, plodding. Listened to a New Yorker poetry podcast with a poet I just discovered (Craig Morgan Teicher) and felt like I was in a dream. Barely on the path, floating, cocooned in layers, unable to hear birds or trickling water or striking feet. The river was open. Stopped and admired it by the trestle. Then turned on my new playlist. No Daily Walker but a few others walkers, at least one biker. Felt fast in the second half as I flew down the hill by the lake street bridge. Sprinted up the final hill. Don’t remember much from the run. What a wonderful thing it is to lose myself for 30 minutes!

Before I ran, I had a great morning. Started by listening to part of an episode with Victoria Change on Commonplace. At one point, they discuss their shifts in writing in first and third person which got me thinking about my own choice, in my latest project, to write in second person. Why am I using you? Who is you? Found some very interesting essays on second person online: Stuck on You: an ode the second person and the intimacy of writing in the second person in a bar. Then I started thinking about how Mary Oliver uses you, like in Wild Geese (You do not have to be good/you do not have to walk on your knees…). Finally I thought about who the I and the You are in my project. One answer: I = Teacher self and You = Student Self.

After all of that excellent thinking, I checked out twitter and found these lines from the poem Tomorrow and Tomorrow Again/Craig Morgan Teicher:

One cannot lock eyes with a bird,
its eyes vacant as ball bearings, but
mustn’t there be some recognition
in everything?

eyes vacant as black ball bearings? What a great line that reminds me of my own about not being able to see people’s pupils: “soul less black balls”. I looked Teicher up and found his poem, “Eye Contact”. I wondered, does he have macular degeneration or some other vision problem? Couldn’t find anything, but he sure does like referencing blindness. His poetry collection from 2012 is titled, To Keep Love Blurry and check out the titles he gave his NPR end of the year poetry reviews: “Keeping the Dark at Bay” and “In the Dark, The Eye Begins to See.” Hmm…I need to study his writing more. At this point, early on, I can’t decide what he’s doing with these references to blindness–is it signaling his own experiences/preoccupations with blindness or is it serving as metaphor, where blind = dark = bad = shame = grief = loss = death?

Tomorrow and Tomorrow Again/ Craig Morgan Teicher

Of course I don’t know what
happens to us: if we survive in the
hands of love; if Cal, if Simone
and all the trembling answers
those questions entail; whether
by time or by disease or by
an atom bomb right in the eye. Is it
possible death could be thrilling
and fun? And after could there be
something somewhere and what
will we do if we see each other
there? Will the same songs stay stuck
in our heads? Will medicine
succeed in making life so long
we will beg for medicine to end it?
One cannot lock eyes with a bird,
its eyes vacant as ball bearings, but
mustn’t there be some recognition
in everything? Some fury, some
questioning? If one phrase could echo
throughout eternity, would the ear
on the other side return
a word? But what am I asking?
Will I ever see a whale, and will his size
compared to mine be a true
form of knowledge? Loneliness
has depths writing fails to fathom.
I could be clearer, say more, but
it wouldn’t mean as much. Mother
will I ever find you again? Is fear
of spiders fair? Is a power
above minding the scales, be it
science or gods or the weather,
and can they be tipped toward
balance from here? Is beauty more
than another form of pleasure?
What, which, when, how is better?

Eye Contact/ Craig Morgan Teicher

As if bees are known for their pride.
But what’s so great about horses? They’re stuck 
on the earth except when they jump,

but even then they’re not bees.
But is there anything we value so highly 
as streetlights, which, unlike bees,

watch over us with their swan-like
necks and open their eyes at the right time 
every night? The answer is lonely

and whoever among us is brave enough 
to find it will come home to a family 
that won’t even look us in the eyes.


2

But what’s so great about eye contact? 
As if a horse knows a newspaper 
when he sees it. Streetlights don’t live

in hives; they’re not more afraid
of us than we are, fortified by stingers and swarms. 
Bees don’t brighten the alleyways

in which we commit our most heinous crimes 
to keep things moving and fill 
the papers with news. Why don’t we have

a holiday to recognize the alleyways?
The answer is lonely and whoever
among us is brave will have nowhere to jump.


3

Why don’t we sing a song that makes 
the bees proud? What’s so great 
about desolate meadows? The answer

is lonely. Why don’t we come home 
and look at our family? Why don’t we 
designate an hour to brag about news?

What’s so great about the way the papers 
blow through alleyways in the evening 
like deflated rats? As if pride could

brighten the meadows at night. Whoever 
among us is brave enough to forgive
a family gets to make eyes with a lonely horse.


4

As if the answer is flowers. As if 
we could gather streetlights
in a bouquet from the alleyways

and brighten family after 
beekeeping family. But what’s so 
great about seeing the truth?

Beneath every meadow is the earth’s 
molten core, red and hot as an evil eye. 
Why don’t we blow through the streets

at night? The answer is lonely, even 
if a horse knows the way home. 
What’s so great about being brave?


freeze-thaw, a different perspective

added in a few hours after I first posted this entry: Scrolling through my twitter feed, I encountered this very helpful, perspective-shifting idea from Paul Huttner on MPR Weather:

Temperatures over the next week look perfect for gradually reducing snowpack across the Upper Midwest. Days above the thawing point will melt snow. Nights below freezing mean that snowmelt will gradually be released into area rivers.

This gradual release helps mitigate the early-spring threat of flooding. Wow! All this time, I’ve been cranking about how much I hate these freeze-thaw cycles. I’m glad to read that they’re helpful. I still might not like how dangerous they make the path, but now I can get over myself and think about how they help the river. What a nice opportunity to shift my perspective. And, as a bonus: it will be warmer during the day next week!

feb 24/RUN

5.5 miles
franklin hill turn around
39 degrees
5% slick ice covered

Waited a little longer to go out running this morning. Needed to let the thin sheets of ice covering the puddles melt. A nice day for a run! Not too much wind, not too many people. Sun. Clear paths. I got my layers right today: 1 shirt, 1 vest, 1 pair of running tights, 1 headband, 1 pair of gloves, 1 pair of socks. It was warm enough today to smell the earth thawing–why does it smell like dog poop? I think I like the smell of death in the fall–the musty, mulching leaves–over the smell of life in the almost spring.

David Lee Roth is in town with KISS for a concert tonight. Scott read somewhere that he always brings his bike to Minneapolis and loves biking along the river. Today, I kept looking for him, hoping he’d bike by. No luck. Bummer.

Glanced down at the river a few times. Enjoyed hearing the sibilant sounds of my striking feet on the grit covered path. Ran hard up the hill, then stopped to a walk for a few minutes when I reached the bridge. Thought about the body that was found just north of this bridge early yesterday morning. Managed to mostly avoid the secret slippery spots where the water on the path was still frozen. Also managed to avoid getting soaked by cars rushing through big puddles on the road.

With less than a mile left, I had an idea about my current project and decided, even though I was running well, enjoying going faster, to stop and record my thoughts.

Uh oh.

Just tried to find and transcribe my voice memo, but it wasn’t there. I must have hit the wrong button when I was trying to record it. Here’s what I remember. For a few minutes before stopping, I was chanting. How to be/periphery, How to be/periphery. Then I realized: I need a (big) project to focus on, a project that involves structure and daily practice. A concrete project. This is the project I think I’m working on–and in many ways, it is what I’m working on–but, I’m also working on something else, off to the side, at the periphery, which is the real work I need/want to do. What a bummer. I feel like I can’t remember a key to my thought that helped it make sense. It connects with the article I read about how to be a procrastinator a few years ago, and with the idea of not approaching projects/thoughts/goals head on, but slant or sideways or sneakily (tricking your brain). Argh! I wish I hadn’t screwed up the recording.

My Weather/ Jane Hirshfield

Wakeful, sleepy, hungry, anxious,
restless, stunned, relieved.

Does a tree also?
A mountain?

A cup holds 
sugar, flour, three large rabbit-breaths of air.

I hold these.

What do I hold? Ever since I encountered the phrase, “inner and outer weather” (from a Frost poem about a tree at the window, via Edward Hirsch), I have been thinking about weather as metaphor for one’s mood/emotions/feelings. Love this poem and how it plays with this idea. And I love imagining how much air is 3 large rabbit-breaths worth. How big is this rabbit? And, in general, how big are rabbit breaths?

feb 23/RUN

3.1 miles
locks and dam #1 turn around
45 degrees
50% ice and puddle covered

note: no dictation today. Just as I started, Delia the dog ran in, barking and making lots of noise, which was fine because I wasn’t really feeling it anyway.

Today it was sunny and warm and sloppy and not as much fun. I do not regret going out for this run–well maybe my wet socks and shoes do!–but I would rank these conditions as some of the worst. Overcrowded paths, narrow strips of dry pavement in-between little lakes of cold, sometimes icy water. Very slick. Instead of feeling open and joyful and generous to everyone I encountered, I felt hostile and threatened–would they push me off into a puddle or a slick spot? I do not like feeling this way and I do not want to give too much space to my grumpy thoughts. So I won’t. Instead, here’s something very cool that I saw on my run today:

The river was still mostly white but at one spot, I think it was between 38th and 42nd somewhere, I noticed a path of open water winding across from the minneapolis to the st. paul side. It reminded me of a slithering snake. I love the strange patterns that open water makes when the ice cracks open. And I love the contrast between the frozen white and the darker water–black on cloudy days, brown on sunny ones.

Another thing I saw today that I liked: my shadow! She ran in front of me on my way back from the locks and dam.

I liked wearing less layers: only one pair of running tights, one neon yellow shirt, one vest.

I liked the squish squish squish my shoes made after I ran straight through the deep puddle on the double bridge.

I liked talking to the couple after my run who asked me how I could run on the ice. I’ve been asked this several times and I always say: “It’s easier to run on it then to walk on it. It’s when I stop running that I slip!”


Yesterday, I posted May Parton’s poem, The Work of Happiness. In her first stanza, she writes:

But is creation itself like the growth of a tree.
No one has seen it happen, but inside the bark
Another circle is growing in the expanding ring.

Here are a few things that her tree ring/circle made me think about:

1

Reflecting on how she always feels like she’s 11, even though she’s 64, Sandra Cisneros tells Krista Tippett:

You know how you look at a tree, and there are some rings that had a lot of rain, and it gets really bigger, and they shrink? Well, we can think about our own years and what defined us or what happened to us in those years.

2

In her poem, “Can You Imagine?”, Mary Oliver imagines a tree’s irritation with the slow, soundless, boring passing of time represented in the thickening of the rings:

Can You Imagine?/ Mary Oliver

For example, what the trees do
Not only in lightening storms
or in the watery dark of a summer night
or the white nets of winter
but now, and now, and now–whenever
we’re not looking. Surely you can’t imagine
they just stand there, looking like they look
when we’re looking; surely you can’t imagine
they don’t dance, from the root up, wishing
to travel a little, not cramped so much as wanting
a better view, or more sun, or just as avidly
more shade—surely you can’t imagine they just
stand there loving every
minute of it, the birds or the emptiness, the dark rings
of the years slowly and without a sound
thickening, and nothing different unless the wind,
and then only in it’s own mood, comes
to visit, surely you can’t imagine
patience, and happiness, like that.

3

Did you know the modern science of tree-ring study is called dendrochronology? I didn’t, until I read this essay, Shared Dendrochronologies: Andrew Schelling on poetry, translation, & the aliveness of wor(l)ds.

4

And that the original dendrochronologist, William E. Douglass, created it to track how trees record climate change through their rings?

What a wonderful log entry this is! Through the process of writing it, I feel better–joyful and delighted with my run today.

feb 22/RUN

5 miles
franklin hill turn around
32 degrees
20% snow and ice covered

Recorded my self on the voice memo app today a few hours after my run.

Log, 2/22/20

Here is the transcript:

Today I ran 5 miles. It was sunny and above freezing. It felt warm and there were puddles and barely ice patches on the path. I saw my shadow in front of me as I was running towards Franklin. I ran down the Franklin hill and then turned around and ran up until I got to the bridge. Then I stopped and walked for a couple of minutes. I encountered a lot of runners. I was able to greet Dave the Daily Walker. He was in short sleeves and no coat–of course. I saw some fat tires and a vee of geese at some point. The sky was blue. I didn’t notice any clouds. Around the time I started, the river all looked white to me but by the time I got to the Franklin bridge it was brown and open. I heard some kids down by the ravine, probably playing in the ice cave. I slipped several times on the ice but didn’t fall. I heard some crunching. I saw some salt stains on the path. I didn’t think about much. I remember counting to four. I remember feeling strong and relaxed and thinking I wasn’t going that fast, which was good, I was trying to go slow. And I don’t remember that much else about the run. I sprinted up the final hill and it was hard. But I thought that if I sprinted up this hill and I could do this and keep going when it was hard, that when I’m in a race, when I’m getting to the very end, if I can keep going and even pick it up and know that I will survive. Did I think about anything else? I don’t remember smelling much. I think there were a lot of cars. There were groups of walkers, usually in pairs, and sometimes that was frustrating to try and navigate that. I didn’t hear a train. I didn’t do any triple berry chants. I think I heard a woodpecker and I think I saw a bird up in the sky but I’m not sure. I don’t remember looking down to my favorite part of the path, looking down to the floodplain forest. I think that’s all I remember. It was a good run.

It is definitely harder to speak than to write. It feels like my details are a bit boring and I’m having trouble remembering quickly as I try to speak without out umms or ands. Will this get better, or is this a bad approach to remembering the details of my run? I’ll try it a few more times before I decide.

One other think I forgot to mention in my recording was all the runners I encountered running the Franklin hill. At least 5 or 6 seemed to doing hill work–running up it until reaching the bridge, then turning around and running back down it again. I would like to try this sometime. Maybe a slow, easy run to the hill, then a few times running up and down it–a goal for spring.

The Work of Happiness/ May Sarton

I thought of happiness, how it is woven
Out of the silence in the empty house each day
And how it is not sudden and it is not given
But is creation itself like the growth of a tree.
No one has seen it happen, but inside the bark
Another circle is growing in the expanding ring.
No one has heard the root go deeper in the dark,
But the tree is lifted by this inward work
And its plumes shine, and its leaves are glittering.

So happiness is woven out of the peace of hours
And strikes its roots deep in the house alone:
The old chest in the corner, cool waxed floors,
White curtains softly and continually blown
As the free air moves quietly about the room;
A shelf of books, a table, and the white-washed wall—
These are the dear familiar gods of home,
And here the work of faith can best be done,
The growing tree is green and musical.

For what is happiness but growth in peace,
The timeless sense of time when furniture
Has stood a life’s span in a single place,
And as the air moves, so the old dreams stir
The shining leaves of present happiness?
No one has heard thought or listened to a mind,
But where people have lived in inwardness
The air is charged with blessing and does bless;
Windows look out on mountains and the walls are kind.

Something about the idea of inwardness and the stable, single place of the thinking/deepening self as a house reminded me of another poem (Ash/ Tracy K. Smith) I heard last year on a podcast. These are very different poems, but I’d like to put them beside each other and think about them for a while.

Ash/ Tracy K. Smith

Strange house we must keep and fill.

House that eats and pleads and kills.

House on legs. House on fire. House infested

With desire. Haunted house. Lonely house.

House of trick and suck and shrug.

Give-it-to-me house. I-need-you-baby house.

House whose rooms are pooled with blood.

House with hands. House of guilt. House

That other houses built. House of lies

And pride and bone. House afraid to be alone.

House like an engine that churns and stalls.

House with skin and hair for walls.

House the seasons singe and douse.

House that believes it is not a house.

I found the podcast with Smith’s poem–On Being with Krista Tippett–and read the transcript where Smith talks about the poem and how her understanding of it has been transformed by how others have read it:

I wrote that poem thinking about the body, thinking about what it means to be alive in this human form and how strange it is that it’s temporary, that we are not just the body, but something else. That’s the way I’ve read it the first many times that I read it, or, at least, what I heard myself saying. But there’s a lot of ambiguity in the poem, and so people have questions about it. Someone has told me it feels like a poem that, more than just being in the body, is about being a woman and that sense of vulnerability and also sheltering something. Then, because a lot of these poems in this book are thinking about nationhood and American history, I was really excited to hear it described as a poem that is about the country as a house, and taking us back even to Abraham Lincoln in the sense of “a house divided against itself.” I love that active readers can give you a good enough argument to re-hear and see what you’ve made yourself.

So many ways to think about the inner, inwardness, the self, the body.

feb 20/RUN

4.2 miles
minnehaha falls and back
5 degrees/ feels like -5
10% snow and ice covered

Another dictation entry. I tried to more deliberate in my speaking today, but it’s still harder to speak these then to write them.

Ran south towards the Falls this morning. It is very cold. The path is clear, although there was some ice that was slippery. I paid attention to my favorite spot right after the Mesa curves down and opens up into the river. I noticed that the path was stained with salt. The river was mostly frozen over with a few gaps of open water. I ran towards the falls thinking that they would be completely frozen over by now but when I got to the park, I heard some water rushing and when I reach the falls, I noticed a bit of water falling over the edge. There were a few people there.

I don’t think I saw any other runners. The first person I encountered on my run was somebody on a fat tire and I remember thinking how cold they must be.

When I got to the Falls I stopped for a minute to take off my hood and to look at the water. Then I started again. I noticed as I was running that my shadow was right in front of me. So clear and sharp and fully present! Then I had a revelation: my shadow is who is writing my workbook. My shadow is talking to me and giving me advice on what to do. In my exercises, my shadow is the implied I and I am the you she’s talking to. Very exciting to figure this out.

On the run back, I was hot and sweating. I noticed how beautiful the ravine near the double bridge is at this time of year when all the leaves are off the trees and you can really see everything.

After I was done and had walked home, I took a recording right outside my front door of the birds. Speaking of birds, about 3 miles into my run, heading north, I heard a mourning dove crying out, sounding like the one in this recording:

Discovered this wonderful essay over at Poetry Foundation by Edward Hirsch on poetic language. Here are a few of my favorite bits:

Poetry charts the changes in language, but it never merely reproduces or recapitulates what it finds. The lyric poem defamiliarizes words, it wrenches them from familiar or habitual contexts, it puts a spell on them. 

As the eighteenth-century English poet Christopher Smart put it, freely translating from Horace’s Art of Poetry:

It is exceedingly well
To give a common word the spell
To greet you as intirely new.

The lyric poem separates and uproots words from the daily flux and flow of living speech but it also delivers them back—spelled, changed, charmed—to the domain of other people

feb 19/RUN

4.2 miles
trestle turn around plus extra
5° feels like 4 below
50% snow and ice covered

A only slightly edited transcript of my notes about the run, dictated into my notes app on my phone.

A lot of slippery spots. Very sunny this morning. It felt really cold. About a mile in greeted Dave the daily walker. Almost yelled out to him, “it’s cold today!” He is hard-core–no coat again but some gloves. Running right before I got to the trestle I heard a beep beep beep beep beep beep beep sound. I wondered if it was the train and then after I crossed under the trestle and was still heading towards downtown, I heard the rumbling of a train. It lasted a long time. I thought about turning around and running back so I could see the train but I decided against it because I wanted to keep going north. I listened to the rumble and I couldn’t quite tell if it was coming from Saint Paul over to Minneapolis or from Minneapolis over to Saint Paul. I experimented with chanting in threes when I turned around and headed south again. Uppercut/ bowling ball/ sweaty brow Then I started chanting in triple berries: raspberry/ blueberry/ red berry/ green berry pink berry/ orange berry/ blueberry/ raspberry/ gooseberry/ mulberry I chanted them over and over again to try and keep a steady rhythm. I saw a couple other runners, a few walkers. I thought I heard some kids yelling in the gorge but then I realized it was geese honking.

thoughts about dictating running notes

  • Not sure if I like the notes app for this. It was a bit awkward and I think (at least I hope) it added in some random words.
  • I write much better than I speak.
  • I need to stop feeling so self conscious doing this. I also need to be more deliberate and thoughtful in what I say.
  • I still have to add in periods and capitals, which is irritating.
  • This is a good exercise for me. I need to get used to doing something that someday might be necessary.

The Blink Reflex/ Rick Barot

I have this notion that if you live long enough,
there are three or four great stories that you will have in your life.

A story of a journey or a transformation.
A story of love, which will likely mean the loss of love, a story

of loss. And a story of spiritual illumination,
which, for many, will probably be the moment of death itself,

the story untellable, its beginning and middle
and end collapsing with its teller into a disappearing conclusion.

I have believed long enough in my notion
to know that it is a romantic notion, that it erodes each time

I realize that the shard and not the whole
comprises a life, the image and not the narrative. Otherwise,

there’s no reason why all I remember of the airplane
I took as a child from one country to another

is the moist towelette packet we were given with our meal,
the wonder and absurdity of it. Or that, in love,

high in a tree in the dark, and high, he and I sat in the rain-damp
branches and ate 7-Eleven donuts. Or this, this piece

of a story that isn’t even mine, that isn’t even a story
but a glance of an experience, of the friend who held the stray

dog after it was struck by a car. Not knowing whether the dog
was dead, my friend called a friend

who worked for a vet. Poke the dog in the eye, this friend said.
Because if the animal no longer has a blink reflex,

it probably means the animal is dead. Decades after
college, when you could do such a thing, I typed his name

into a search engine to find out what became of the 18-year-old
boy from the tree. Like dozens of old keys

in a drawer, so many of the wrong people with the right name.
The child dead from leukemia, with a school gym

named for him. The wrestler who had a perfectly square jaw,
like a cartoon police detective in a fedora.

When I arrived at a page that was certainly
about him, I no longer knew the face, but I recognized the life

that he had had. He had transferred to
another college, gone to film school, and become a producer

of TV documentaries. A film about fishermen, the harsh fishing
season in Alaska. A film about Abraham Lincoln

and a film about the last days of Adolf Hitler.
A film about the Sherpas who go up and down the Himalayas.

What a beautiful poem. I love the title and the way the stories/fragments are woven together and the sweet, soft rhyme of “and high, he and I” and the playing with the romantic notion that we each only have 3 or 4 great stories.

feb 17/RUN

4 miles
trestle turn around
33°
85% clear 15% ice covered

Note: Today, I’m trying something new. Usually I type up these log entries directly into wordpress. Today I tried dictating the entry into my notes app, then editing it slightly. It was difficult to speak my thoughts, partly because I felt self-conscious with other people in the house and partly because I find it easier to write my thoughts. But I need to learn how to do this because looking at a computer screen is getting more difficult and more tiring on my eyes. Maybe I’ll always be able to use the computer and see the letters, but I’d like to experiment with different ways to speak and write and think that don’t rely on vision. I was thinking of trying this dictation method for a month–maybe even trying to dictate the notes directly after my run, at the gorge.

This entry was slightly edited, with extra words and redundant phrases taken out.

The wind was coming from the south which meant that as I was running north it was at my back. Much easier running towards the trestle. I knew that it would be hard on the way back and it was. It was slightly sunny but not super sunny and at one point I saw my shadow. Not clear like it usually was; it looked more like a ghost, faint. I heard some kids down in the gorge. Probably by the ravine, maybe hiking around the exposed sewer pipe or the ice cave that is created in the winter by the seeps and the dripping water. Felt fast running north. I didn’t feel the wind at my back but knew that it was easier. Encountered a few runners, some walkers. One walker, an older white man, wore a fluorescent yellow vest. I saw him twice. I heard the grit under my feet. I don’t think I heard any geese but I did hear some crows cawing as I started. The river was partly frozen over but mostly open and it looked beautiful and still and desolate. The run back was difficult, the wind right in my face. I sprinted up the final hill and felt very tired and hot and sweaty. Overdressed. I chanted triplets. I started with Sycamore Cottonwood one lone Oak but that didn’t do it for me so then I chanted Gooseberry Mulberry raspberry raspberry mulberry goose berry raspberry blueberry blackberry raspberry blueberry blackberry and that helped me keep a steady pace.

lateral malleolus = all a sell out realm

On Saturday, I slightly rolled my ankle as I was moving down from the walking to the biking path. It is a little sore, but not painful. I am pretty sure it will be fine but I’ve been reading up on the ankle and foot to prepare myself. New fact/word: the bony knob on the outside of your ankle is called the medial malleolus. The knob on the inside is called the lateral malleolus. Tried turning lateral malleolus into an anagram. The first phrase that I could come up with that sort of made sense: All a sell out realm

feb 16/RUN

3.35 miles
river road, south/north
19 degrees/feels like 11
15% ice-covered

Ahhhhhh!! Winter running! Not too cold but cold enough to be able to breathe in fresh, cold, crisp air. A mostly clear path. Not too much wind. Not too many people. Everything quiet, still. Saw at least three people walking their dogs down on the Winchell trail. Encountered a fat tire biking alongside a runner. A few pairs of walkers. One or two other runners. Don’t remember hearing any birds cawing or chirping or honking. Not much traffic noise. Thought I heard some sloshing or dripping water at one point. Marveled at my new favorite view just past the oak savanna. One problem: I don’t remember there being so many bare trunks here between me and the river. Am I remembering the wrong spot? I love how the flat hill at the savanna–we call it the mesa–curves down to reveal the river.

triple berry chants

Did some triplet chants again: all berries. Without thinking, briefly chanted blueberry/ blackberry/ red berry. Then wondered why a raspberry is called a raspberry and not a red berry and why blueberries are called blueberries and not something else. Found a buzzfeed article that was a little helpful: The Delicious Origins of Summer Fruit Names

Here’s what is written about raspberries:

Like the strawberry, the raspberry isn’t a true berry in the biological sense of the word. And also like the word strawberry, we don’t know what its rasp- is about.

The word raspberry is found relatively late in English, attested in the early 1600s. An earlier form, raspis-berry, might give clues to its origins. In Middle English, raspise was a sweet, pink wine, possibly from the Anglo-Latin vinum raspeys. But this raspeys remains unexplained. Suggestions include the French rasper, “to scrape,” referring to the fruit’s rough appearance, and an Old Walloon word for “thicket.”

The listicle also mentions gooseberries and mulberries. And further down, it happens to mention the tree, sycamore. Another satisfying triplet. Maybe I’ll chant: gooseberry/raspberry/mulberry and then some trees: sycamore/cottonwood/? Need to think more about a third triplet tree.

to float, to haunt

At some point, thought about the article I read earlier this morning about the biomechanics of the run and the “double float” phase, which is when both feet are off of the ground. I usually think of this as flying but is also cool to think of it as a floating. What else floats: clouds, hot air balloons, ghosts, bodies in water, buoys, bubbles. I like the idea of being a ghost, floating and haunting the trail that I’ve traveled so many times in the last five years. Haunt is such a wonderfully rich word: to frequent, visit often; to continually seek the company of; to trouble; to reappear continually in; to visit or inhabit as a ghost; to stay around or persist, to linger; a place habitually frequented

feb 15/RUN

4 miles
river road, north/south
32 degrees
99% clear path

I forgot to save my log entry before clicking out of it and lost it. Bummer. Here’s the abbreviated version: Greeted Dave the Daily Walker on the run and he called out, “What a beautiful day!” Yes, it is. Warmer. Some sun. Clear path. Strong legs. A mostly frozen river. Wind in my face heading north, wind at my back returning south. Final sprint up the hill. Encountered dogs, walkers, runners, fat tires. Don’t remember any smells or sharp sounds. Felt very warm with a flushed cheeks and a sweaty forehead.

feb 12/RUN

3.2 miles
ford bridge turn around
32 degrees
10% snow-covered

A gray day. A little wind. Warmer weather. Decided to turn right at the river instead of left. Wanting to see my new favorite view: the spot at the edge of the oak savanna when the river is revealed. This view is not possible in the spring and summer, when the leaves are back on the trees. Today, I barely saw it because of the 3 or 4 walkers passing by right at the same time I was approaching it. Boo. The run felt hard on sore legs. Did my triplet chant again: raspberry/ blueberry/ blackberry. Passed a hiker climbing out of the gorge near 42nd street. Heard another one still down on the lower trail. Saw a dog or two. At least one other runner. No fat tires.

I have been thinking about erosion for the past few days as I’ve been wondering about openness and openings and the gorge and its many seeps and leaks and fissures and cracks. Yesterday I wrote in my notes: erosion creates more room/ wearing down faulty foundations/ carving out new spaces I’m trying to figure out what to do with the idea of erosion and its positive and negative connections with unlearning/ becoming undone. Scrolling through my twitter feed, I found out about Terry Tempest Williams’ new book, Erosion: Essays of Undoing. Yes! I must check this out.

While reading an interview with Williams, I encountered this quotation by David Orr from his commencement speech, “What is an Education For?“:

The plain fact is that the planet does not need more “successful” people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every shape and form. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these needs have little to do with success as our culture has defined it.