oct 16/RUN

4.5 miles
Franklin Bridge turn around
45 degrees

45 degrees is a great temperature to run in. Lots of yellow leaves. More red appearing now too. My favorite spot above the gorge is thinning out a bit more. No forest floor yet, but soon. Everywhere, I can see something. At one point I wondered, which will come first: the snow, closing the walking path or bare leaves, revealing the view? Saw a spazzy squirrel cross in front of the runner just ahead. Unlike me, he didn’t flinch or stutter step when this happened. No Daily Walker or roller skiers or fat tires or geese. Once I thought I saw a duck by the side of the path but it was just some fallen branches. This was a very good run–I felt strong and joyful and in harmony with my knees and lower left back. We all love October running.

When I stopped running, I walked to the overlook and climbed up on the wall, trying to see the river. Still partially blocked by leaves, but not for long! Also checked out the ravine, walking along the edge, peering down through the planks in the split rail fence into maple basswood forest. Even when the leaves are gone, there won’t be much to see. You have to climb down the broken wooden steps or hike down the crushed limestone path to see and hear it. Two small falls, one made from concrete, the other stone, drip (almost dribble) down to the forest floor and an old sewer pipe you can walk on. Lots of erosion here. Before the snow hits, I’d like to hike down into this ravine and explore it.

Practice
Ellen Bryant Voigt

To weep unbidden, to wake
at night in order to weep, to wait
for the whisker on the face of the clock
to twitch again, moving
the dumb day forward—

is this merely practice?
Some believe in heaven,
some in rest. We’ll float,
you said. Afterward
we’ll float between two worlds—

five bronze beetles
stacked like spoons in one
peony blossom, drugged by lust:
if I came back as a bird
I’d remember that—

until everyone we love
is safe is what you said.

The first stanza of this beautiful poem! To weep, to wake, to wait for the whisker on the face of the clock to move the dumb day forward. Five bronze beetles stacked like spoons is pretty pleasing too. Also, floating between two worlds is nice. I’ve been thinking about that a lot with the gorge and a line from the gorge management plan about how the west river parkway road/trail is the transition between two worlds: the longfellow neighborhood and the gorge. How can I write about this in a poem?

oct 14/RUN

5.5 miles
franklin loop
40 degrees

Such wonderful weather! Sunny. Calm. Not too much wind. No headphones today. Started with gloves on. By mile 2, gloves off, sleeves pushed up. Wore my vest, which made it too hot. Don’t remember much about the first few miles. No Daily Walker, no fat tires. A few runners, some walkers, annoying squirrels. The river looked gorgeous from the franklin bridge. It was fun running under the golden leafed trees on the east side. What did I think about? I can’t remember. All I can recall is counting to 4 to keep steady. 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Glanced down at the east river flats but couldn’t see the paved path. Ran a little extra up the hill past the stairs leading up the lake street bridge so I could see my favorite part of this route where there are no trees and you get an open view of the river and the west side. Ran over the bridge, through the tunnel of trees–a little more light, a little less leaves, and stopped running near the overlook and right before the welcoming oaks. The view from the overlook is getting better every day. As I walked through the Welcoming Oaks, I looked up at the golden leaves and the stretching branches. Crunched through the fallen leaves in the grass. Such a satisfying sound. Ended at the ravine. Every day more leaves fall and more of the ravine is visible. Noticed how two planks on the split rail fence had separated as the branches of the trees from below pushed against them.

Finally looked up the word “gloaming,” which I’ve encountered in a lot of poems. It’s a poetic word for dusk/twilight. Not sure if I’ll using it in a poem but I like how it sounds. Also looked up vista and found something interesting: “Vista is generally used today for broad sweeping views of the kind you might see from a mountaintop. But the word originally meant an avenue-like view, narrowed by a line of trees on either side. And vista has also long been used (like view and outlook) to mean a mental scan of the future—as if you were riding down a long grand avenue and what you could see a mile or so ahead of you was where you’d be in the very near future.”

Daughter
Jon Pineda

Let us take the river
path near Fall Hill.

There we will negotiate
an outcrop with its silvered
initials & other bits of graffiti,

all the way to the broken edge
that overlooks the bend,
& hold hands until

we can no longer tell
where the river ends.

oct 12/RUN

2 miles
river road, north/south
34 degrees
Snow!

Of course I had to get out and run in the snow. A bit blustery but not too bad. The snow is not sticking to the path or the road but it is staying on the trees. Down below the road, the snow makes some of the trees glow white. Greeted the Daily Walker. Today he’s wearing 2 shirts and gloves, still no jacket. Ran above the lake street bridge and then turned around. Lots of walkers, a few runners. At the end of the run, stopped and looked down at the ravine. Lots of leaves gone, the wrought iron fence below almost visible. No view of the river here.

oct 11/RUN

2.8 miles
trestle turn around
39 degrees

Earlier this morning, flurries in the air and then some strange sleet snow combination. Nothing stuck. The ground is too warm. Still, winter is coming! Greeted the Daily Walker–does he like winter as much as I do? He might. He’s very hard core, wearing a short sleeve shirt with gloves. Listened loudly to my playlist. Wore some gloves that I removed after mile 1. Saw lots of squirrels. Orange and yellow leaves are everywhere, mostly still in the trees but more and more on the ground. The view above the ravine is much clearer today.

Thinking about map poetry today and how to use the map in my project to tell a story about my run. Read through a very interesting presentation on the topic: Map Poetry So many maps I could make! A map of gorge smells or the best places to see the river or trees that gossip and greet or every pothole and crack and fissure and dip and curve to watch out for when you have low vision…I’ll have to think about this for awhile.

Love the reading of this poem. Also love Ours Poetica.

oct 10/RUN

6.2 miles
ford loop
55 degrees

What a run! Such beautiful fall colors! Lots of orange, especially the tree near the double bridge in the 44th street parking lot. A light, glowing orange. Lots of yellow too. At the last minute, decided to do the ford loop–maybe it was because I could see how beautiful it was on the St. Paul side as I ran south on the west river parkway. After crossing over the bridge and heading north on the east river parkway, a man stopped to warn me that there was a coyote just ahead in someone’s yard. Luckily, I didn’t encounter it. But I did almost run into the snazziest squirrel I have ever seen. I surprised it and in its panic to run away it did a back flip. Yes, a back flip. The St. Paul side was amazing–sheltered from the wind and glowing in yellows and oranges with a few slashes of red. I think the gray, overcast sky made it look even better than sun would have. Ran up the short, steep summit hill and noticed the entrance to shadow falls park at the top. Almost wanted to stop and check it out, but it would have been way too muddy and slippery. Crossed back over to Minneapolis on the Lake Street bridge. Greeted the Daily Walker. Noticed how the trees above the ravine are becoming increasingly bare–leaves were falling as I ran by. This run is one of my favorite ones of the entire year.

Earlier this morning, encountered these wise words from Maggie Smith on twitter:

Think of the white space in poems—the breaks between stanzas; the part of the page untouched by language, an open field. How can you make room for white space in this day? In each day? Slow down, pause for breath, allow for silence, then continue. Keep moving.

Maggie Smith

As I work on the final haibun for my running route map project, I’ve been thinking about how important empty space is for breathing and how much that connects with open fields and open, leaf-less views. The green of spring and summer is sometimes too crowded/suffocating for me. I want fresh, clear, open air and open, uncluttered, far-reaching views. If I write a tightly packed prose poem about this idea, am I undercutting the value of white space? Should I try another form for this poem? Yes!

oct 9/RUN

5 miles
Franklin Hill turn around
59 degrees

Windy but who cares when it’s this nice outside? Sunny. Not too warm. Saw my shadow. Felt like I was in a dream, floating above the path. Noticed lots of yellow, a few splashes of orange and red. Heard some people talking below the path by the railroad trestle. Tried to figure out when the Winchell Trail ended near Franklin but couldn’t. Still too many leaves blocking my view. Greeted the Daily Walker. Encountered a fat tire. A few squirrels almost darted out in front of me. Ran from the bottom of the hill to just under Franklin Bridge. Walked for a few minutes. Started running again as someone was passing me who was just slightly faster. Followed her for the rest of the run, slowly falling further behind. Hit 5 miles in the tunnel of trees and stopped running. Walked past the overlook and saw the leaves shimmering in the breeze. Such a beautiful sight. Studied the ravine and noticed how it is gradually become more visible. Standing on the edge, staring hard, I can almost see the railing of the fence below. The sun was cutting through the leaves, shining brightly. Still trying to figure out how to write my final haibun about this ravine. Don’t have the story quite yet.

Vow
BY DIANA KHOI NGUYEN

It will be windy for a while until it isn’t. The waves will shoal. A red-legged cormorant will trace her double along glassy water, forgetting they are hungry. The sea will play this motif over and over, but there will be no preparing for it otherwise. Water will quiver in driftwood. Sound preceding absence, a white dog trailing a smaller one: ghost and noon shadow, two motes disappearing into surf. And when the low tide comes lapping and clear, the curled fronds of seaweed will furl and splay, their algal sisters brushing strands against sands where littleneck clams feed underwater. Light rain will fall and one cannot help but lean into the uncertainty of the sea. Bow: a knot of two loops, two loose ends, our bodies on either side of this shore where we will dip our hands to feel what can’t be seen. Horseshoe crabs whose blue blood rich in copper will reach for cover, hinged between clouds and sea. It will never be enough, the bull kelp like a whip coiling in tender hands, hands who know to take or be taken, but take nothing with them: I will marry you.
I will marry you. So we can owe what we own to every beautiful thing.

Love this poem, especially how it sounds: strands/sands/clams Such beautiful details leading to an explanation of the title at the end.

oct 8/RUN

3.25 miles
two trails + extra
58 degrees

A few nice days before rain then possibly snow! on Saturday and Sunday. I like winter, but this is a little early even for me. No headphones today. A great morning for a run. Wore my awesomely bright yellow 10 mile shirt from last year’s race. A walker called out, “have you recovered from the 10 mile yet?” (the annual 10 mile race was on Sunday–I didn’t run it) and I called back and then wondered for several minutes if I unintentionally sounded rude, “this is from last year’s race.” The river was shining. Noticed a glowing yellow tree–the yellow that still has a hint of green. Felt good and strong. Ran all the way past the ford bridge so that I could check out the fall colors framed by the bridge as I ran back north–this used to be one of my favorite fall views when we lived at the old house. Then, even though it was only a minute later, forgot to look up as I ran back under the bridge. Tried to spy, but couldn’t find, any wild turkeys. No eagles or hawks, just a few squirrels and dogs. Once I reached the 44th street parking lot, ran down on the Winchell Trail. Heard water spilling out at the first drain pipe, but forgot to listen at the second one. Heard the kids playing at the school. Glanced out at the beautiful blue river from the wrought iron fence. Discovered that finally, after months, they have removed the leaning tree. No more stories to tell about the yarn hanging from it or questions to ask about when it might fall completely or be removed. Instead of taking the steps at 38th, kept running on the Winchell Trail. Ran into some mud at the bottom where the parks department had cleared out some wildflowers. Ran up to the mesa and stopped. Studied the ravine as I walked back up the trail to the parking lot and thought about how this ravine can never be seen from above, even when the leaves are gone and the view is clear. The only way to really see it is to hike down in it…there might be something there to write about with being inside/outside…

Reading Ann Lauterbach’s Spell right now and found this small poem that includes so many words that I’m thinking about right now. Not sure if I understand it or like it, but felt like I should post it here today.

Nominal/ann lauterbach

Through the bare branch, a flutter.

I thought a flag was an immense wing.

Sky sliced through with long clouds.

The city is an avalanche; all torn down.

I have a bridge in mind; a river.

River, clouds, sky, wing, branch.

Flag. City. Avalanche. Bridge. Mind.

oct 7/RUN

5.3 miles
franklin loop
52 degrees

Sunny. Calm. At first, rumbling trucks, annoying, overly precocious kids. Soon silence. Saw a squirrel and possibly a rat. Heard crows. Orange, yellow, red in the gorge. Still too much green–a glut of green. Got sneak peeks of the river through the thinning trees. Crossing over the franklin bridge glimpsed blue river. Smooth, barely a ripple. Ran under the shade of some cool trees on the east side. I always think of this as St. Paul, but it’s not until just before Meeker Dam. Here, it’s Minneapolis–Prospect Park. Lots of dogs and their owners. A women walk-running or run-walking or walking but trying to run or running but trying to walk–some combination I can’t quite describe. Heard the water that was seeping through the limestone gorge trickling down to the river–is this a strange sentence? too awkwardly written? Felt really great 4.5 miles in. Relaxed. Not too tough. After stopping, walked to the overlook near the welcoming oaks, climbed on the wall and looked out at the gorge. Still too hard to see past the green. I’ll try to remember to stop and check the progress of the view after my runs. Someday soon, I’ll see the river and then the other side.

Walked over to the split rail fence above the ravine and the sewer pipe that freezes in the winter and creates an icy tunnel, then drips blueish greenish water as it melts. The Winchell Trail winds around this ravine, over a steel grate and beside a wrought iron fence that once displayed dozen of keys with social justice-y messages until they were ripped out–by who and why? I wish I could remember the messages. A few: Be nice. We are One. Resist Fear. From up above, at the end of my run, I cannot see the ravine or the sewer or the keys. Sometimes I smell the sewer or hear someone talking below me, but I can’t see anything but green until the leaves fall in late October, early November. This is my favorite time at the gorge. I love being able to see deep into the gorge when its bare bones are exposed, its secrets revealed. I love the color palate of rich browns, pale blues, dull grays, rusted reds. I love the smell of mulching leaves, the sharp, crisp air, the paths that aren’t yet covered with snow but with crunching, crackling leaves.

One Heart/yi-young lee

Look at the birds. Even flying
is born

out of nothing. The first sky
is inside you, open

at either end of day.
The work of wings
was always freedom, fastening
one heart to every falling thing.

oct 1/RUN

5 miles
franklin loop
52 degrees/rain

Wasn’t sure how long I was going to run when I left the house. Somewhere between the railroad trestle and the turn-off to franklin, decided to do the 5 mile loop. When I started the run, it was misting, then it stopped, then after I crossed over to the east river road, it started raining. Not drizzling, but raining. Still in my counting to 4 phase, I composed another mindless chant: I am running/in the cool rain/it feels so good/on my warm skin I didn’t mind the rain. A lot of the time I could hardly tell that it was raining. It felt good running. Encountered a few walkers–any other runners? Yes, at least one, near the franklin bridge. Watched the river as I ran over the bridge. Was able to get a few quick glimpses of the east flats now that the leaves are falling.

October (excerpts)
BY MAY SWENSON

2

Knuckles of the rain
on the roof,
chuckles into the drain-
pipe, spatters on
the leaves that litter
the grass. Melancholy
morning, the tide full
in the bay, an overflowing
bowl. At least, no wind,
no roughness in the sky,
its gray face bedraggled
by its tears.

4

I sit with braided fingers
and closed eyes
in a span of late sunlight.
The spokes are closing.
It is fall: warm milk of light,
though from an aging breast.
I do not mean to pray.
The posture for thanks or
supplication is the same
as for weariness or relief.
But I am glad for the luck
of light. Surely it is godly,
that it makes all things
begin, and appear, and become
actual to each other.
Light that’s sucked into
the eye, warming the brain
with wires of color.
Light that hatched life
out of the cold egg of earth.

7

Now and then, a red leaf riding
the slow flow of gray water.
From the bridge, see far into
the woods, now that limbs are bare,
ground thick-littered. See,
along the scarcely gliding stream,
the blanched, diminished, ragged
swamp and woods the sun still
spills into. Stand still, stare
hard into bramble and tangle,
past leaning broken trunks,
sprawled roots exposed. Will
something move?—some vision
come to outline? Yes, there—
deep in—a dark bird hangs
in the thicket, stretches a wing.
Reversing his perch, he says one
“Chuck.” His shoulder-patch
that should be red looks gray.
This old redwing has decided to
stay, this year, not join the
strenuous migration. Better here,
in the familiar, to fade.

The more I read through these lines, the more I love them. Knuckles, chuckles, spatters, leaves that litter, melancholy morning. The simplicity of: it is fall. The luck of light that makes all things actual to each other–but is that true? Hatching life out of the egg of the earth. The gentle commands in this last stanza: see, stand still, stare hard.

sept 29/RUN

5 miles
river road, north/south
51 degrees, drizzle

Ran through a light drizzle, which I loved. Wasn’t sure how much I would run when I started, but ended up feeling good and running 5 miles. Listened to an Agatha Christie audio book and didn’t think about much. Perhaps if I had remembered before heading out, I would have tried to conjure my mother to run with me. She died 10 years ago today. 10 years. I had imagined that this day would be a bigger deal, that I’d do something important to mark it. But I’m not. Why not? How has it already been 10 years?

sept 27/RUN

3 miles
trestle turn around
63 degrees

Running north, just after the old stone steps at the double bridge, I noticed that the fence was damaged and covered in caution tape. What happened? Was it a car? Someone on a scooter? Not sure. Farther up on the trail, past the Lake Street bridge, a dog suddenly popped out of the woods. Running back after the trestle turn around, felt like I was flying down the hill. That’s all I remember now, writing this a few days after the run.

sept 26/RUN

4 miles
2 trails + extra
56 degrees!

Finally Fall. Cooler this morning. Listened to an old playlist and felt great. Ran south, under the ford bridge, up to Wabun, down the steep hill above Locks and Dam #1, up the hill to the 44th street parking lot then down to the Winchell Trail. Came home and have been working on my map/guide about running by the gorge for most of the day.

Before heading out to run, learned a little bit more about the Railroad Trestle, or the Short Line Bridge. The train that uses the tracks transports flour from the ADM (Archer Daniels Midland) Mill on Hiawatha. This past spring it was announced that the Mill would be closing in “the next couple of months.” Has it closed yet? What will happen to the bridge now? This mill was the last flour mill in Minneapolis, which used to be called Mill City. Wild.

sept 25/RUN

3.35 miles
trestle turn around + extra
63 degrees

Cooler this morning. Sunny. Less humid. Beautiful. Greeted the Daily Walker. Saw a roller skier. Looked at the river sparkling in the sun and some green leaves shimmering in the wind. Admired more of the purple flowers on the bluff. Thought about the different fences lining the path: wrought iron near the rowing club and in the tunnel of trees, split rail near the trestle, chain link half buried near the 35th street parking lot. Made note of the WPA sign on the big boulder just before lake street. Tried to stay relaxed and even in my breathing and arm swinging. Wished I would have counted the number of times the running and biking paths separate on this route. Maybe next time.

the trestle

Earlier this morning, before my run, I started to think about the Railroad trestle and its history so I looked it up. It’s called the Short Line Bridge and it was built in 1880. It carried passengers from Minneapolis to St. Paul until 1971. Now it has a single track and is owned by Canadian Pacific (CP). In the time I have been running by/near this trestle (5 years on a regular basis), I can only remember seeing 2 trains. One crossing right over my head as I ran under it and one traveling on the tracks as I biked on the Midtown Greenway trail which starts at the end of the bridge and follows the trail across Minneapolis. For the past decade, ever since the greenway was built, bikers have been interested in extending the greenway over this bridge and to St. Paul and the bike trails there. I haven’t had time to read it closely yet, but here’s an article on the most recent efforts. It would be awesome if they could do this!

To the Light of September
BY W. S. MERWIN

When you are already here
you appear to be only
a name that tells of you
whether you are present or not

and for now it seems as though
you are still summer
still the high familiar
endless summer
yet with a glint
of bronze in the chill mornings
and the late yellow petals
of the mullein fluttering
on the stalks that lean
over their broken
shadows across the cracked ground

but they all know
that you have come
the seed heads of the sage
the whispering birds
with nowhere to hide you
to keep you for later

you
who fly with them

you who are neither
before nor after
you who arrive
with blue plums
that have fallen through the night

perfect in the dew

“But they all know/that you have come” Yes. I love how this poem captures my thoughts this fall about September and how it is fall but still feels almost like summer but not quite. It’s summer until you see the leaves changing color, or the light shifting earlier, or the geese wildly calling out in the evening as they head south.

sept 23/RUN

5 miles
franklin hill
60 degrees

Cooler. Is Fall finally here? Sunny. Calm. Some beautiful light purple wildflowers lining the path. Do they come every year? I’ve never noticed them before. Saw the Daily Walker and a roller skier who called out, “you’re going race pace!” Encountered a few annoying strollers taking over the entire path. Did a lot of counting to 4. 1 2 3 4/ 1 2 3 4/ 1 2 3 4. Reached the bottom of the Franklin hill and immediately turned around without noticing the river. Saw more slashes of orange and red in the trees. Thought more about my writing project and how narrow to make the focus.

A Blank White Page
BY FRANCISCO X. ALARCÓN

is a meadow
after a snowfall
that a poem
hopes to cross

What a beautiful way of describing a blank white page. Speaking of blank white pages, this morning I finished writing in my 4th running/training notebook and started the 5th one. Very satisfying to completely fill so many notebooks.

sept 22/RUN

4 miles
minnehaha falls and two trails
62 degrees
81% humidity

Cooler but still humid. Sunny. A beautiful morning. Enjoyed watching the glowing river through the oak leaves. The falls were roaring and the creek was rushing. Ran by at least 2 wild turkeys under the ford bridge and a black squirrel at the start of the lower path. Noticed that the leaning tree near the 38th street steps is still there but it is no longer adorned with yarn. Why not? And why take the time to remove the yarn yet leave the precariously positioned tree?