feb 19/RUN

5 miles
john stevens’ house
34 degrees

So bright out by the gorge today. Sharp shadows. Clear path. Black-capped chickadees, downy woodpeckers, construction workers, little kids all chattering. Before I saw the creek, I heard it gushing below me near the falls. Oh — and wild turkeys! A dozen of them pecking the snow just north of locks and dam no. 1.

My favorite part of the run was in minnehaha park near John Stevens’ house, where the serpentine sidewalk — completely cleared and dry — snaked through the grass covered in several inches of untouched snow. O, the sun and the shadows and the curves and the warmer air and the dry paths and the open lungs and humming legs!

an illusion

Glance one: running south on the stretch near 38th street, I noticed something dark and solid up ahead on the trail. A loose dog or wild animal? No.
Glance two: Still staring, the black thing turned into a dark, deep puddle on the road.
Glance three: How could I have mistook this puddle for an animal?
Glance four: Wait — it’s not a puddle, it’s someone’s disembodied legs in dark pants walking on the edge of the path.
Glance five: And their legs are attached to a torso in a light colored (gray? tan? pale blue?) jacket which blended into the sky.
Glance six: Getting closer, I can see a head, some shoes

This illusion is not unusual for me. Mostly, it doesn’t bother me because I am used to it and I have time to figure out what it is I’m seeing. Sometimes, when I don’t have time to look and think and guess, it’s scary and unsettling and dangerous.

Found an interview with Andrew Leland from Joeita Gupta and The Pulse this morning and wanted to remember this helpful definition of blindness:

The Pulse

What is blindness? Blindness isn’t merely an absence of sight. Blindness is a central identity for some, a neutral or marginal characteristic for others. Not all blind people are the same. There are blind vegetarians, athletes, academics, you name it. Some people have been blind from birth, others lose their vision as adults. Blindness can come on suddenly or gradually. Blindness is then more than a physical experience. It has its own culture, language, and politics. Blindness is not the same for any two blind people anymore than sight is experienced the same way by two sighted individuals.

note: This podcast has some other great episodes, including one about birding while blind, which I added to my May is for the Birds page.

How I See

I’m continuing to work on my alt-text/ekphrastic image project. Still trying to figure out the best way into the actual poems. Not quite writer’s block, but a grasping, grappling with, wrangling ideas. Anyway, maybe detouring will help a little. I’d like to gather lines from vision poems that describe how I see. I’ll begin with one of the most well-known blind poets, Jorge Luis Borges:

 In Praise of Darkness / Jorge Luis Borges

Old age (the name that others give it)
can be the time of our greatest bliss.
The animal has died or almost died.
The man and his spirit remain.
I live among vague, luminous shapes
that are not darkness yet.
Buenos Aires,
whose edges disintegrated
into the endless plain, has gone back to being the Recoleta, the Retiro,
the nondescript streets of the Once,
and the rickety old houses
we still call the South.
In my life there were always too many things.
Democritus of Abdera plucked out his eyes in order to think:
Time has been my Democritus.
This penumbra is slow and does not pain me;
it flows down a gentle slope,
resembling eternity.
My friends have no faces,
women are what they were so many years ago,
these corners could be other corners,
there are no letters on the pages of books.
All this should frighten me,
but it is a sweetness, a return.
Of the generations of texts on earth
I will have read only a few–
the ones that I keep reading in my memory,
reading and transforming.
From South, East, West, and North
the paths converge that have led me
to my secret center.
Those paths were echoes and footsteps,
women, men, death-throes, resurrections,
days and nights,
dreams and half-wakeful dreams,
every inmost moment of yesterday
and all the yesterdays of the world,
the Dane’s staunch sword and the Persian’s moon,
the acts of the dead,
shared love, and words,
Emerson and snow, so many things.
Now I can forget them. I reach my center,
my algebra and my key,
my mirror.
Soon I will know who I am.

penumbra: shroud, fringe, a shaded region surrounding the dark portion of a sunspot, in an eclipse the partially illuminated space between full shadow and light

Here are a few lines that I think describe how I see:

This penumbra is slow and does not pain me;
it flows down a gentle slope,
resembling eternity.
My friends have no faces,
women are what they were so many years ago,
these corners could be other corners

A slow, gentle deterioration. No dramatic or sudden shifts. / When I look at people directly, I usually can’t see their faces. / I either see a smudge or darkness or the face I remember from before, when I could see. / sharp edges or corners are difficult to see and streets once familiar are strange. Traveling to a new street corner, I struggle to read signs, to recognize where I am, everything there but not, everything the same forms: Building, Sign, Door

feb 18/RUN

5.8 miles
down the franklin and back
31 degrees

A little icy, a little windy, a little crowded. Difficult to run together in these conditions, so Scott and I split up. The sun was bright and I saw some wonderful shadows of trees — gnarled and sprawling across the sky. Heard some geese, smelled some bacon.

When we ran together, Scott and I talked about the half frozen river and how it looked like a gray slushy. What flavor is gray slushy, I wondered. Scott suggested, all the flavors then added, I bet that would taste good. I wondered if this “everything” slushy would include blueberry. No, Scott said, blue raspberry. I mentioned how there is no consensus on the origins of the rasp in raspberry, which I had come across while reading a past entry a few days ago.

How I See

As I continue to work on this project, I want to return to ekphrastic poems. In an article for Lithub — Back to School for Everyone: Ekphrastic Poetry with Victoria Chang — Chang offers some helpful thoughts about the form:

how poets engage with visual art:

  • write about the scene or subject being depicted in the artwork
  • write in the voice of the person or object represented
  • write about their personal experiences
  • fictionalizing a scene within the art
  • write about the work in the context of its socio-political history

In essence, ekphrastic poems are a way to interact with the world and a way to respond to the world. The process of writing ekphrastic poetry also brings into question aspects of viewing, the culture of viewing, and the gaze, always asking the questions of who is looking at what, when, and why?

3 thoughts about Ekphrasis

1: I’m as interested in how someone is looking as who, what, when, or why they are looking.

2: Maybe part of the ekphrasis angle is the idea that sometimes the world looks like a painting to me — pointillism or abstract expressionism or?

3: the contrast between how a photo captures/stills the image in a way that my eyes never can

A view from the ford bridge, poorly framed. Not sure what color other people might see here, but to me it's all gray: light gray sky and river, broken up by chunks of dark gray trees. I like how the sky and the river look almost the same color to me.
8 nov 2023

original description: A view from the ford bridge, poorly framed. Not sure what color other people might see here, but to me it’s all gray: light gray sky and river, broken up by chunks of dark gray trees. I like how the sky and the river look almost the same color to me.

5 nouns/ 5 adjectives/ 5 verbs

nouns: river, water, shore, trees, sky, branches, a bend, surface
adjectives: winding, scraggly, soft, fuzzy, drab, dark, light, gray, wide, flat, contrast, wide
verb: stretching, reaching, standing, stilled, separated, cutting through,\

one sentence about the most important thing in image: The sky and the river are the same color; only the disruption of trees enables me to distinguish between them.

a second sentence about the second most important thing: Everything gray: light gray sky and river, broken up by chunks of dark gray trees.

a third sentence about the third most important thing: In this soft, wide open view, when everything is stilled, silent, nothing is happening.

The nothing that’s happening in this image is full of meaning. Here nothing = no things are doing anything/ nothing to see; nothing = a void, absence, unknowingness; nothing = a rest for my eyes, no movement, everything still, satisfied, stable.

The idea of no separation, no edges or divisions between forms, reminds me of a wonderful poem that I thought I’d posted already, but hadn’t. I think when I first encountered it a few years ago, it didn’t resonate for me. Now, I want to call out, yes!, with almost every line.

Monet Refuses the Operation/ Lisel Muller

Doctor, you say there are no haloes
around the streetlights in Paris
and what I see is an aberration
caused by old age, an affliction.
I tell you it has taken me all my life
to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels,
to soften and blur and finally banish
the edges you regret I don’t see,
to learn that the line I called the horizon
does not exist and sky and water,
so long apart, are the same state of being.
Fifty-four years before I could see
Rouen cathedral is built
of parallel shafts of sun,
and now you want to restore
my youthful errors: fixed
notions of top and bottom,
the illusion of three-dimensional space,
wisteria separate
from the bridge it covers.
What can I say to convince you
the Houses of Parliament dissolve
night after night to become
the fluid dream of the Thames?
I will not return to a universe
of objects that don’t know each other,
as if islands were not the lost children
of one great continent. The world
is flux, and light becomes what it touches,
becomes water, lilies on water,
above and below water,
becomes lilac and mauve and yellow
and white and cerulean lamps,
small fists passing sunlight
so quickly to one another
that it would take long, streaming hair
inside my brush to catch it.
To paint the speed of light!
Our weighted shapes, these verticals,
burn to mix with air
and change our bones, skin, clothes
to gases. Doctor,
if only you could see
how heaven pulls earth into its arms
and how infinitely the heart expands
to claim this world, blue vapor without end.

feb 12/RUN

3.1 miles
trestle turn around
35 degrees

Feels like spring. When I got back, I told Scott: In a normal winter, this would have been one of those days that makes you believe spring is coming. But it’s not a normal winter — no snow, only a short stretch of below freezing temps in January.

So many wonderful birds! As I listened to them chirp and tweet, I imagined the sounds as dots on a scatter plot — but what are the variables on this chart? I’ll have to think about that one. I don’t remember using scatter plots very often. All I can think of is the scatter plot on my kids’ yearly wellness checks for charting growth (variables: height and weight). The idea of scatter plot does sound intriguing as a form. I wonder what fun I could have with it?

An okay run. The conditions were wonderful, my left IT was not. It was sore — time for more fun with the IT band:

  • incandescent tripe
  • imbibing Taylors (apparently Taylor Swift impressively chugged a beer after KC won the super bowl yesterday)
  • implacable termites
  • impending trauma
  • instant triumph (in the last seconds of the first quarter of overtime, Kansas City scored a touchdown and won the game — and just like that, it was over)

As I ran, I thought about how my vision seems to be getting worse. There are some signs that I can’t see things as well, but it’s more that my eyes are straining more to read and I’m getting tired/having headaches from it. Time to put more energy to finding new, less wordy, ways to be. Part of me wishes I didn’t have to, but more of me is up for the challenge and curious about what interesting doors it might open.

I also thought about my ekphrasis project and where it might lead. I stopped and took a few pictures to use for my “how to see” project. Here’s one:

A white bike suspended from a brace on the underside of the railroad trestle.
A white bike suspended from a brace on the underside of the railroad trestle. I can barely see it in the photo, so my description comes more from my memory of when I was looking up at it to take the photo. I think it has flowers and vines wrapped around it. From a “normal” distance, I see some color — blue sky, red and yellow flowers — but they’re muted. When I put my nose right on the screen, the colors are much more vivid, but scattered. My eye is drawn to the lighter sky in the lower left hand corner, which makes everything else even more of a blur. I think I was able to “see” this bike because I know it’s there — I’ve studied it and looked up why it’s there. I even wrote a poem about it. I often rely on memory for seeing.

Looking, or trying to look, at this photo, I’m struck by how different of an experience it is than being below the bike on the trail. (How) is that true for everyone? How much do my vision issues shape these differences? I think it has something to do with the static nature of the image and the absence of other sensory data: no smells, no hearing the wind, no feeling of blue or bike or flower that I usually get when seeing beyond the narrow frame of a photo.

The poem I wrote about this ghost bike — that’s what these white bikes that are left on the trail to honor someone who died are called — as part of my larger Haunts project.

Ghost bike:
under the
trestle
for June
hit and killed
while fix
ing her bike
in a
parking lot.

Flowers:
next to
June’s ghost bike
plastic
placed in the
remains 
of a post
once part
of metal
railing
now only
open
cylinder 

Note: In the winter, someone hangs the bike up higher. Usually, for the rest of the year, it’s lower to the ground, with flowers placed nearby.

Found this poem the other day. I love the listing, then the pow at the end with the final line.

Medical History/ Nicole Sealey

I’ve been pregnant. I’ve had sex with a man
who’s had sex with men. I can’t sleep.
My mother has, my mother’s mother had,
asthma. My father had a stroke. My father’s
mother has high blood pressure.
Both grandfathers died from diabetes.
I drink. I don’t smoke. Xanax for flying.
Propranolol for anxiety. My eyes are bad.
I’m spooked by wind. Cousin Lilly died
from an aneurysm. Aunt Hilda, a heart attack.
Uncle Ken, wise as he was, was hit
by a car as if to disprove whatever theory
toward which I write. And, I understand,
the stars in the sky are already dead.

feb 6/RUN/WALK

6.2 miles
dog park and back
44 degrees

Another warm, spring-like day. More mud, no snow. Overcast. The wonderful sounds of birds. For 2/3 of the run, I listened to cars and my feet striking and voices and water gushing. For the last 1/3, I put in a playlist — Winter 2024.

I felt good — so much better than yesterday. Most of the time, I was zoned out, listening but not looking more than I needed to. I know that I glanced down at the river, but all I remember is that it was open. Somewhere near the shore little strips of snow still remained.

I felt strong and sore and not amazing, but certain that I’d be able to keep running.

A few hours later, RJP and I took Delia on a walk. I often ask and RJP rarely says yes, so today was a nice surprise. We ended up taking the old stone steps down to the river at Longfellow flats — a fitting destination because I just found out today that my poem about these steps and the spot by the river will be published in Scrawl Place. Wonderful news! The poem is titled `112 steps — the number of steps you take to get to the bottom. I counted 111 today, but I think I forgot to count the top step.

added the next morning: I almost forgot about the turkeys! Running south, somewhere near locks and dam no. 1, I saw them: 6 or 7 turkeys crossing the path. One of them sped up to pass before I got to them — a half walk half run that was more efficient than the human version but just as awkward. Hooray for wild turkeys!

peripheral

some notes from The Plentitude of Distraction

William James: (in his Laws of Habit lecture) the ability to experience subtle degrees of emotion depends on practice, on a regular encounter with non-teleological ways of apprehending the world. Once the brain stops cultivating gratuitous pursuits–music, poetry, painting–and limits its range to the recording of facts, to the single-minded quest for information, then its emotional and aesthetic elasticity deteriorates.

Work, unlike leisure, usually follows one direction and points toward a clear goal. This endows it with a reassuring automaticity. Art and play, on the other hand, tap into untried areas of the brain, calling for greater effort and elasticity not readily available to the untrained mind.

He believes in mental, not just physical aerobics, pushing for a veritable gymnastics of the spirit.

what might a poetics and spiritual gymnastics — that involves the body too — look like?

a problem: when attention is more about busyness than wonder

disengaged engagement

a heightened yet singularly unfocused relationship to phenomena

slow, not fast-paced result-oriented engagement, requires a particular sort of endurance — boredom as a necessary step to lasting absorption

endurance exercises to practice — I love this idea of thinking about disengaged engagement as an exercise, one to be added to my exercise plan: runs, core, stretching, building up ways to be distracted

being human means to inhabit a presence-absence mood — detached attentiveness, letting the minor and major coexist, active and passive

listening to furniture music from Erik Satie

Montaigne: no linear thinking, float along with the light, winged flights of fancy…nothing worthwhile can be harvested immediately — important: this type of wandering/distraction is not the same as our current culture of distraction (finger swipes and taps on screens)

Walter Benjamin: delicious idleness

Focus is useless without distraction, and distraction, without motivation and a pinch of single-mindedness, rapidly dwindles into listless lethargy.

Virginia Woolf, from A Room of One’s Own: “It is in our idleness, in our dreams, that the submerged truth sometimes comes to the top.”

If you set your goals of efficiency and productivity aside, if you stop measuring your days by what you can report to your boss or to your conscience, you might be ready to call your symptoms of distraction by another name—reverie, daydreaming, ruminating.

Now listening to the score for Better Call Saul.

Roland Barthes and emptiness training — stepping away, slowing down, slowly gaining access to a world that will eventually demand focus

inventiveness can only be culled from the outer margins of consumerism

All this talk of slowness and gradual focus and learning how to not understand the plot right away or to make sense of everything instantly is a key part of my seeing through peripheral vision. Or, is it? Could it be more about not seeing, as opposed to seeing differently? I’ll think about that.

key themes for distraction: slow, gradual, idle, non-linear, reverie/daydreaming, a practice/skill

Aerial View/ Jericho Brown

People who romanticize an Africa
They’ve never seen
Like to identify themselves
With lions. It’s all roar and hunt,
Quick fucks and blond manes.
People love the word pride.
Haven’t you seen the parades?
Everybody adores a lion
But me. I want to be a giraffe.
I’m already tall and long-necked.
In the real Sahara, a giraffe beats
A lion’s ass every day
On Instagram. I’ve seen
A giraffe shake the leaping cat
Off its back and toss it like litter.
I’ve seen a giraffe stomp hooves
Down hard on the lion’s face
Before it got the chance
To meow. I want to be a giraffe
And eat greens of every variety
Straight out the tree. I already
Like to get high. Lions need
Animals like us. We need no prey.
I already won’t chase anybody
For my food. But maybe
I can still be romantic. Maybe
I can still be romantic in spite
Of my pride. Someone will notice.
Up the sky, not down the street.
You can watch me while I watch you
And the rest of the savanna
From my aerial view. Lord,
Let me get higher. Just one of me
Is a parade.

What a beautiful poem! I love Jericho Brown’s work and his interviews and the brief podcast he did about Dickinson. I wish I would have been at Emory when he was there — would I have been brave enough to take one of his classes?

feb 5/RUN

3.2 miles
locks and dam no. 1 and back
45 degrees

Ran in the afternoon. 45 degrees and no snow. Spotted one lone chunk of ice floating in the river. Very mild. I was overheated in my layers: black tights, black shorts, long-sleeved green shirt, orange sweatshirt. For a few minutes of the run I felt good, but for most of it I felt off. Some gastro thing, I think.

In my state of discomfort and distraction, did I happen to notice 10 things?

10 Things

  1. overheard, one woman walker to another: It’s been five years and a lot has changed
  2. kids yelling on the playground
  3. a flash of white car up ahead — were they driving the wrong way in the parking lot? No, the car I was seeing was on the road, on the other side of the ravine
  4. someone roller blading — not roller skiing
  5. the short dirt trail where folwell climbs up to the top of the bluff then back down again was all mud
  6. lots of bikers on the bike path
  7. lots of walkers down below on winchell
  8. (as mentioned above) the river was open except for one big chunk of ice
  9. playing chicken with a walker who was walking on my side until the last minute — were they playing chicken too or just oblivious?
  10. no grit on the path or shadows or honking geese or regulars

today’s peripheral: just a distraction

daydreams reveries distractions

When ideas float in our mind, without any reflection or regard of the understanding, it is that which the French call reverie; our langauge has scarce a name for it.

John Locke, cited in The Plentitude of Distraction

To make a prairie/ Emily Dickinson

To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,
One clover, and a bee.
And revery.
The revery alone will do,
If bees are few.

This short book takes a second look at distraction, extracting untold pleasures and insights from its alleged dangers, defending and celebrating the unfocused life for the small and great miracles it can deliver.

The Plentitude of Distraction/ Marina can Zuylen

Reverie in Open Air/ Rita Dove

I acknowledge my status as a stranger:
Inappropriate clothes, odd habits
Out of sync with wasp and wren.
I admit I don’t know how
To sit still or move without purpose.
I prefer books to moonlight, statuary to trees.

But this lawn has been leveled for looking,
So I kick off my sandals and walk its cool green.
Who claims we’re mere muscle and fluids?
My feet are the primitives here.
As for the rest—ah, the air now
Is a tonic of absence, bearing nothing
But news of a breeze.

feb 3/RUN

5 miles
ford loop
38 degrees

Ran with Scott on the ford loop. Today I talked about the US Olympic Marathon Trials, which I watched this morning. A runner from Minnesota, Dakotah Lindwurm, got third. Scott talked about the music project he worked on before the run — a little jam with his new keyboard and bass. We also mentioned slippery mud, tight shins (Scott), cramped toes (me), running up the Summit hill during the marathon, and mistaking a fire hydrant (Scott) and a black fence (me) for people. I was surprised that there weren’t more people out running — it’s not that cold and the paths are clear. Maybe it was the time of day — 12:30?

10 Things

  1. an empty bench on the bluff
  2. a wide (r than I remembered) expanse of grass between the path and the edge
  3. the crack trail
  4. some strange decorations on the fence in front of the church — yarn? paper chains?
  5. a car blasting music at an overlook parking lot — the only lyric I remember was senorita
  6. a wide open view of the river and the other side
  7. a double lamp post on the ford bridge — one light was on, the other was not
  8. the dead-leafed branch that’s been pushed up agains the other side of the double bridge for months — still there with all of its dead leaves
  9. no poem on the poetry window — have they stopped doing it? was it just for the pandemic?
  10. ice on river, near the east shore, one chunk almost the shape of a right triangle

Searching “peripheral” on the Poetry Foundation site, I found this interesting blurb:

Poet Tan Lin edited issue 6 of EOAGH, for which he invited contributors to submit a piece of “peripheral” writing – that is, a text that doesn’t directly supply the material or inspiration for the authors’ work, but is in some tangential, peripheral, or ambient way, related.

blurb

I would like to play around with this idea of the peripheral text in my own writing. What are the peripheral texts, ideas, practices that contribute to my poems, especially my Haunts poems?

jan 31/RUN

4 miles
minnehaha falls and back
43 degrees

Feels like spring today. Sun, warm air, less layers. Today: black tights, black shorts, long-sleeved green shirt, orange sweatshirt, hat, buff, headband.

No gloves. No winter jacket. No snow on the path. Lots of birds and darting squirrels and shimmering water.

I felt sore from the 30 minute workout I did yesterday, but not too sore. Maybe I’ll try it a few more times.

Thought about how strange it was to be running in January with no snow and such warm air. It’s not just that it’s warm today — we’ve had warm days in past Januarys, but that it’s been warm like this for 4 or 5 days and will continue to be this warm for the next week. And, there’s no snow. Bad for the trees; they’re starting to bud. RJP came home the other day from school and told me how one of her friends was very scared about the warm weather — we’re all going to be dead by the time we’re 30, he said. How terrible to be coming of age in this time, when statements like this are felt so intensely by so many people.

Yesterday, while rereading my July entries from 2023, I was reminded of Christina Sharpe’s amazing book, Ordinary Notes. I read it while quarantining for COVID. I posted a note from it on July 4th:

a screen shot of Christina Sharpe's Note 46

I was particularly struck by her discussion of the shift from guilt to grief because Scott and I just watched (on Monday night) a beautiful story of PBS about Rita Davern and her efforts to reckon with her family’s buying of Pike Island, a sacred space for the Dakota people known as Bdote which was illegally “purchased” by Zebulon Pike in 1805. I’m not sure if Rita utters that exact phrase, but the idea of moving from guilt to grief was a big focus. After reading Sharpe’s note again, I decided to find and watch the documentary she mentions, Traces of the Trade. Found it online from my local library — public libraries for the win! — and watched it yesterday afternoon. It was amazing. One thing I kept thinking as I watched it was Marie Howe’s entreaty: don’t look away. Guilt gives us distance and prevents us from witnessing/beholding. Grief enables us to feel — not just the pain of others, but our own pain — the pain of silence, complicity, denial of connection, fear, helplessness.

I’m not a big fan of grief; it’s not helpful as a foundation for ethics or politics. As I thought this, I suddenly remembered a feminist ethicist I read/liked, back in the day: Elizabeth Spelman. She wrote a chapter titled “Good Grief” and it was about ways of grappling with racism. She was critical of guilt as a response — what did she like instead? I’m sure I have the article somewhere. Oh well.

Speaking of rereading old entries, I’ve been encountering the idea of the peripheral a lot lately. It’s giving me the itch to work seriously on some peripheral poems. Maybe this could be the February challenge? Maybe this poem could get me started?

In Praise of Being Peripheral/ Jane Hirshfield

Without philosophy,
tragedy,
history,

a gray squireel
looks
very busy.

Light as a soul
released
from a painting by Bosch,
its greens
and vermilions stripped off it.

He climbs a tree
that is equally ahistoric.

His heart works harder.

This last line about his heart working harder reminds me of something else I’m reading: The Plenitude of Distraction. In it, Marina Can Zuylen argues for the value of distraction. In a bit I read last night she praises how the slowness that distraction demands — wandering through the peripheral and away from one’s central task. Maybe I should read this too — I’ll try; it has a lot of words for my weak eyes.

jan 29

7.3 miles
lake nokomis and back
40 degrees

Sun! Sun! Finally some sun! After days of gloom, sun and warmer air. Birds. Snow all gone. Greenish grass. It feels like spring. An unpopular opinion, but as much as I like this weather, I want some snow. Big fluffy flakes to run through. The silence only a blanket of snow can create. Crisp, cold air. I’m sure we’ll get some in February.

Ran to the lake for a specific reason: I wanted to see if Painted Turtle, the restaurant, has made any progress on building a structure so they can serve beer this summer. Nope — at least, now that I could see.

The lake still has a thick layer of ice, but the surface is wet and blue. Such a beautiful, intense blue. I don’t think I saw anyone out in the middle on the ice — did I just forgot to look? Or is too wet or too thin?

10 Things

  1. Ran over the recently redone duck bridge, noticed it squeaking
  2. a sparkling river
  3. a truck making a racket as it went over a bump — the noisiest part were its rattling chains
  4. no ice on the creek, no water in the swampy area in my favorite part of the path
  5. what I thought was a teacher’s shrill whistle at the playground was a bird, calling repeatedly
  6. still working on nokomis avenue, had to cross over to the sidewalk
  7. lots of mud near the lake — again, no snow
  8. walking by my favorite bench at the big beach, imagining myself sitting there this summer and my suit, waiting for open swim to begin
  9. no poem on the window at the house that used to put up a poem on their front window
  10. many friendly, kind people on the sidewalk moving over for me to pass

Earlier this morning, reading the Longfellow Messenger, I found an article about Edmund Avenue — the one I’ve mentioned many times here. The Edmund is after Edmund Walton who was the first developer to do a racial covenant on the properties he was selling. He did this in 1910. Some people want to change the name. I’m with them. Racial covenants are terrible; we had one on our house that we didn’t realize was there and just filed paperwork to get it removed a few weeks ago. And, it’s not in the past; our neighborhood, and all of Minneapolis, is still shaped by who could and couldn’t buy a home here. The article mentioned a site: Reclaiming Edmund

Found this poem last week:

an excerpt from Poem/ Shin Yu Pai

for Wolfgang Laib

a life
of collecting pollen
from hazelnut bushes
a life of gathering word-grains
to find all you have wanted
all you have waited to say

five
mountains
we cannot climb
hills we cannot touch
perhaps we are only here
to say house, bridge, or gate

a passage
to somewhere else

House, bridge, or gate. Love this idea. I want to add it to my thoughts on windows and doors.