dec 13/BIKE

I ran on Tuesday and Wednesday so in an effort to not aggravate my back or knee or hip or IT band or whatever it is on my left side that is happy now but wasn’t for most of November, I did not run today. Even though I wanted to because the path is clear, there’s not much wind and no snow or ice. Instead I biked in the basement, which was fine. Biking in the basement is useful but rarely (if ever) exciting or beautiful or transcendent. I don’t really enjoy trying to pay attention to the hum of the heater or the dust as it creeps across the floor or the light as it filters through a dingy window, half blocked by cobwebs and a bush that should have been trimmed before fall was finished. But, as I write this, maybe I should start paying more attention. What sort of strange poetry could I create?

After biking, I started working on a poem about the versions of the wind that I experience out by the gorge. I re-visited the Beaufort wind scale and had fun thinking about wind that’s a 6 as causing wires to whistle and umbrellas to be difficult to open and wind that’s a 7 making walking inconvenient. I also learned that white horses are another term for whitecaps. Cool.

In continuing with my research on wind and poetry, I came across Theodore Roethke (because a name of one of his collections is Words for the Wind) and then discovered 2 of his charming children’s poems. I wanted to post them here to remember.

The Chair

A Funny Thing about a Chair:
You Hardly Ever Think It’s There.
To Know a Chair is Really It,
You Sometimes have to Go and Sit.

The Ceiling

Suppose the Ceiling went Outside
And then caught Cold and Up and Died?
The only Thing we’d have for Proof
That he was Gone, would be the Roof;
I think it would be Most Revealing
To find out how the Ceiling’s Feeling.

Here’s another poem I’d like to remember–I should memorize it–by Christina Rossetti, found after typing “wind” into the search box on the Poetry Foundation’s site:

Who Has Seen the Wind?

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you:
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.

Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.

Another random thing found in my research:
sibilant: having, containing or producing the sound of or sound resembling an s or sh–like in sash. I discovered this word in the phrase, “sibilant drift of dried leaves” in Winter Journal: Wind Thumbs through Woods by Emily Wilson from her collection The Keep, which I am hoping to find at the library.

nov 26/RUN

3.3 miles
greenway bridge turn around, mississippi river road
16 degrees, feels like 4

Bundled up in my new favorite winter running outfit: two pairs of running tights, green shirt, orange pull-over, black vest, socks, buff, hat, gloves. Didn’t feel cold at all, except for my fingers around the 1 mile mark. Got to greet the Daily Walker. Forgot to notice the river. Did see steam rising up out of the rowing clubhouse below the lake street bridge. Did I see any other runners? I don’t remember. Saw at least 3 bikers. The ground is bare, except for some dead leaves. No snow. No ice. Just a cold path.

For some reason, I am suddenly into cinquains, a poetic form with 5 lines. I particularly like Adelaide Crapsey’s version (what a name!). 5 lines with the following syllable count: 2/4/6/8/2

Here’s one I found, that I especially like:

Triad

These be
three silent things:
The falling snow . . . the hour
Before the dawn . . . the mouth of one
Just dead.

And one of mine, inspired by this poem and my morning run:

A Late November Run

Running
by the river.
No snow. No ice. No leaves.
Just me and bare ground absorbing
my steps.

nov 13/RUNBIKE

run: .5 miles
mississippi river road path, north/south
13 degrees, feels like 1

Was excited to go outside and try running in the cold today. For the first 3 or 4 minutes it felt fine but then my left knee started to hurt a little. So I stopped, walked for a few minutes and then started running again. It felt okay, then not okay, then okay again. Decided not to push it too much so I turned around and headed back home. In front of my house, I felt pretty good, like I wanted to keep running, but I decided to be safe. Am I being too cautious? Not sure. I don’t want to re-injure it or miss my race in 2 weeks or not be able to walk outside for a month. Biked in the basement instead. Bummer.

Picked up Linda Pastan’s Traveling Light from the library the other day. Love this line from her poem “Flight”:

They have examined
our luggage made me
remove my shoes
and then my scarf, as if
I might strangle someone
in its silky purple.
But they let my fear
of flight on board,
though its weight
and turnbulence might
bring down any plane.

oct 24/RUN

3.25 miles
railroad trestle turn around
39 degrees

Ran a little faster on sore legs. Are they sore from running 5 miles two days in a row or has all that hiking from last week on icy trails in Rocky Mountain National Park finally caught up to me? It seems like late fall even though it’s still October. The welcoming oaks are bare. Two days ago they were a glorious gold. The gorge is slowly revealing itself at my favorite part of the path. I can see the forest floor. Can you see the river yet? Not sure, I forgot to look. All this unleaving reminds me of a poem that I revisited this morning:

Emily Bronte’s Fall, Leaves, Fall:

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.

I love this poem. Not because I’m into decay or dreary days, but because I love winter, especially winter running and I love when the leaves fall off the trees, exposing the mysteries of the wood and uncovering tree limbs: the thick, gnarled, twisted branches stretching out above the sidewalk and the tiny twigged tips that turn fuzzy in twilight and when silhouetted by the moon.

Note: Perhaps in honor of the colorful leaves–mostly in golden yellows–that are still on the trees, I dressed brightly for my run. A glowing greenish yellow long sleeved shirt and a bright orange sweatshirt. When I was in 5th grade, way back in 1984, kids always yelled out, “you’ve got the hi pro glow!” if you wore neon colors. Today, I had the hi pro glow.

sept 14/BIKESWIM

bike: 8 miles
to the ywca pool

The hill up to the Sabo bridge was easier today. Could this be because I’m biking it more?

swim: 2 miles/3520 yards
ywca pool

Swam slightly less than on Wednesday, but I did it. 2 miles. I’m hoping to do this twice a week this fall/winter (at least). Might need to mix it up with some sets because an hour of lap swimming with so many flip turns gets a bit tedious. Today I put in a quick set of 4 X 100s on 1:45. Still not enough variety. But, even though it was tedious, I enjoyed doing it and felt good during and after. The main thing I remember about the swim is the beginning. Swimming underwater, my nose almost touching the white tiles, as I swam at the bottom for 3/4s of the first length. Swimming underwater without breathing until I reach the line marking the deep end has been my ritual at the y pool for several years now. Rereading this last line, I’m wondering: is there actually a black line at this point or does it just drop off? I’m doubting my memory now. I’ll have to check next time I swim. It always starts my swim.  I also remember how the choppiness of the water when all the lanes were full and the woman next to me was vigorously kicking. No waves making it hard to breathe, like on the open lake, but a gentle rocking. Oh, and at the beginning of the swim, when I was still getting used to breathing with my nose plug on, feeling the sting of chlorine trapped in my nose, burning. I thought about stopping to adjust the plug but I figured it would stop bugging after a few laps (it did). And the older woman in the brightly colored suit swimming next to me, her body halfway between horizontal and vertical, bobbing and kicking and hardly moving forward. Strange and fascinating and beautiful to watch. And the feeling of power and strength as I plowed through the water after increasing my speed for 4 100s.

Before ending this entry, decided to google, “swimming pool poetry”. Here’s the first thing that popped up:

Swimming Ool
BY KENN NESBITT

Swimming in the swimming pool
is where I like to “B,”
wearing underwater goggles
so that I can “C.”
Yesterday, before I swam,
I drank a cup of “T.”
Now the pool’s a “swimming ool”
because I took a “P.”

This poem reminds me of sign at a nearby Middle School with a pool. Someone removed all the ls so instead of “pool, pool lobby,” it says, “poo poo lobby.” It makes me laugh every time I see it.

july 20/RUN

6.2 miles
66 degrees/65% humidity/dew point: 65
franklin turn around + extra

Running in the rain, I’m running in the rain. What a glorious feeling, I’m happy again! Just like I don’t mind swimming in the rain, I don’t mind running in the rain. I didn’t even notice the 96% humidity or the dew point of 65. When I started, it was barely sprinkling, but at some point, it was raining. Not quite light, but not heavy either. Steady. Soft. Straight down. Under the brim of my baseball cap, I could hardly feel it at all. Refreshing. When I was done, my shoes were soaked but I didn’t care–well, I will care if they’re still soaked tomorrow.

Here’s a poem I encountered about a heavy summer rain, by Jane Kenyon:

Heavy Summer Rain

BY JANE KENYON
The grasses in the field have toppled,
and in places it seems that a large, now
absent, animal must have passed the night.
The hay will right itself if the day

turns dry. I miss you steadily, painfully.
None of your blustering entrances
or exits, doors swinging wildly
on their hinges, or your huge unconscious
sighs when you read something sad,
like Henry Adams’s letters from Japan,
where he traveled after Clover died.

Everything blooming bows down in the rain:
white irises, red peonies; and the poppies
with their black and secret centers
lie shattered on the lawn.

july 19/SWIM

.68 miles/1200 yards/1 loop
lake nokomis open swim

Thunderstorms were expected, but this week, unlike last, I lucked out. Only a strong wind and a light drizzle that briefly turned into a heavy downpour when I was halfway across the lake. As I waited for the lifeguards to set up the buoys, I chatted with a fellow swimmer. Joyfully, he talked about how fun it was to swim in the wind and rain last week. He said, “I can handle it. I grew up swimming in Lake Ontario!” I was there last week too, but I was out of the water and on my bike by the time it was pouring. I would have liked to stay in the water last week and experience all that rain, with the dark sky, but I had biked to the lake and was hoping to get home before the storm hit (which I didn’t, but that’s another story).

Swimming in the rain is strange. If it’s a light drizzle, it’s hard to tell it’s happening. Today’s rain was heavier. I could see it coming down when I lifted my eyes out of the water to sight the shore. For some reason, in these conditions, it’s much easier to see the buoys and the beach and other swimmers. Why? Not sure. But I love swimming in the rain.

Found a poem with the title, Swimming in the Rain by Chana Bloch:

swimming in the rain

Swaddled and sleeved in water,
I dive to the rocky bottom and rise
as the first drops of sky

find the ocean. The waters above
meet the waters below,
the sweet and the salt,

and I’m swimming back to the beginning.
The forecasts were wrong.
Half the sky is dark
but it keeps changing. Half the stories
I used to believe are false. Thank God
I’ve got the good sense at last

not to come in out of the rain.
The waves open
to take in the rain, and sunlight

falls from the clouds
onto the face of the deep as it did
on the first day

before the dividing began.

Roger Deakins writes about swimming in the rain too–in Waterlog: A Swimmer’s Journal–but I didn’t write the passage down so I’ll have to either buy the book or go back to the library to find it. Something about the drops on the surface.

At the little beach, I decided to stop and readjust my nose plug. Big mistake. It fell off. I almost caught it before it tumbled to the sandy bottom. But then it was gone. 3 nose plugs sacrificed to Nokomis in 2 years. Maybe I should attach them to a cord? The worst part: I had to swim back across without a plug, knowing that, with my allergies, my nose might be completely stuffed up all night (thankfully, it wasn’t). I swam as fast as I could. So strange swimming without a plug after 3 (or is it 4?) years. I’m not sure how fast I swam, but it made my shoulders ache warmly for several hours after I was done. I like that feeling.

july 16/RUN

4 miles
64 degrees/85% humidity
mississippi river road path, north/south

Finally. A cooler morning. Still humid but 10 degrees cooler. Ran without headphones and heard lots of birds. Saw lots of green. Briefly glimpsed my shadow on the way to my favorite part of the path. She was running beside me, on the left. I’m feeling stronger, fitter and faster this summer. Could it be the swimming?

Encountered a few haikus that I really liked last week. Part of a larger series of haikus in a piece called Haiku/etheridge knight. Here are 3 of my favorite:

5
A bare pecan tree
slips a pencil shadow down
a moonlit snow slope.

6
The falling snow flakes
Cannot blunt the hard aches nor
Match the steel stillness.

9
Making jazz swing in
Seventeen syllables AIN’T
No square poet’s job.

What would my haiku be for this morning’s run?

Early morning run
in july with my shadow.
We are friends today.

A green tunnel greets
us, blocking out the shrill
sounds and the warm light.

3.1 miles
mostly walking, a little running with kids
mississippi river road path, south/north

Final training session before the kids’ first 5k. It went okay. The boy felt like he was going to throw up about halfway through it so we had to stop and rest for a few minutes. I am choosing to believe that he will be fine for the race. Encountered lots of trail runners on the part of the path that dips below the road. I’m starting to think it would be fine to try a few trail runs.

july 13/RUN

3.5 miles
38th street/minnehaha ave/falls/river road
71 degrees/93% humidity/dew point: 71

Wet. Wettish. Water-logged. Soggy. Sodden. Saturated. Drizzly. Dank. Damp. Misty. Moist. Muggy. Ran 3 miles through intermittent rain. When Scott and I stopped to walk, I thought about the rain and my skin. Touching my leg,  the surface of my skin was slightly wet. In a few spots, I was dripping, but everywhere I felt damp. Like one of those little sponges you might use to moisten a stamp. Very high dew point, which made running uncomfortable. Everything dripping. Everything a dark, deep green. Surprisingly, didn’t notice (m)any bugs. We ran by the falls but–of course–I was too busy yapping about a book I’m reading, The Wonder, so I didn’t notice the rushing gushing falls. At 42nd street, we decided to run below the road on the lower paved path. I described it to Scott as undulating. Up and down and up and down. Partly due to the terrain and partly the result of erosion–so many cracks and bumps and tiny holes in the asphalt.

A few hours later, after getting up from the couch, by bad knee suddenly popped out of place again. It’s been a week since the last one. Slowly and carefully I popped it back into its groove. These subluxations don’t really hurt, although I do feel a slight, sharp pain. Instead, they just shock, taking my breath away. Very upsetting to suddenly, without any warning, have your kneecap slide out of place. Especially for someone who is so physically active and relies so heavily on being able to move–to walk or bike or run or swim or travel up stairs or down stairs or outside. I’m getting better at not panicking and at carefully yet quickly popping it back into place.

I would like to write some more about my knee–how it feels, my fraught relationship to it, my struggle to keep running and loving it. Here’s a wonderful poem I found by Rita Dove about her right knee–my “bad” knee is the right one too. She’s writing about osteoporosis, which is different from my unstable kneecap:

Ode to My Right Knee

Oh, obstreperous one, ornery outside of ordinary

protocols; paramilitary probie par

excellence: Every evidence
you yield yells.

No noise
too tough to tackle, tears

springing such sudden salt
when walking wrenches:

Haranguer, hag, hanger-on—how
much more maddening

insidious imperfection?
Membranes matter-of-factly

corroding, crazed cartilage calmly chipping
away as another arduous ambulation

begins, bone bruising bone.
Leathery Lothario, lone laboring

gladiator grappling, groveling
for favor; fair-weather forecaster, fickle friend,

jive jiggy joint:
Kindly keep kicking.

june 19/RUNBIKESWIM

run: 4 miles
64 degrees/84% humidity
minnehaha falls loop

More water. Puddles on the path. A steady summer rain falling on my head. Listened to music while running the first two miles faster. Fun! But hot–shouldn’t have worn my pink jacket. Felt free and joyful to be out in the glowing green world.

Summer Rain/John Waters

Rain-woman,
Gray-haired,
Impatient,
You didn’t stay long
With your cloud-herd
And your silver shawl.
You went towards the East,
Flashing your whip
And thundering orders.
Perhaps a thirsty corn-field
Was calling you.

bike: 5 miles
nice and slow with Ro

Rosie and I biked over to our old neighborhood so she could get her haircut. An easy ride but I’m including it here because we got outside and moved. It was supposed to be done raining, but there was a fine mist as we biked by the river.

swim: .6 miles/1200 yards/1 loop
lake nokomis

Was planning to do 3 loops tonight but when it started raining heavily after the first loop I decided to stop. It would have been fun to swim more in the water but the visibility was really bad and I didn’t want to risk getting lost out in the middle of the lake.

Here are the notes I jotted down shortly after the swim: surface, smooth. cutting through the cold water. gliding. powerful. strong. clear vision. wetsuit. rain drops entering the water, shafts of water instead of light. after I finished, standing in the water watching the drops on the surface, like little dancing beads. so cool! did I see silver streaks below me as I swam–fish? now my muscles burn warmly. cool brown water, planes above. pouring rain when I exited the water. I didn’t care.

june 16/RUN

4 miles
mississippi river road path, north/south
72 degrees/91% humidity

Ran at noon when the rain and thunder finally stopped. Started raining again while I was running. Not sure how hard or how much–was it earlier rain dripping from the trees or sweat dripping from my face or a new, light steady drizzle landing on my head? All three, I think. My favorite part of the path was a gorgeous green. Lots of twigs and chunks of wood littered the path. Luckily, no big branches blocking my way. Legs felt strong. Pace didn’t feel too hard. Listened to my playlist, sometimes floating, sometimes flying. Saw some other runners. A few walkers. No bikers or rollerbladers or roller skiers.

Lots of water everywhere. Rain, wet leaves, puddles on the path, dripping sweat. Speaking of water, found this beautiful poem the other day:

Wind, Water, Stone
BY OCTAVIO PAZ
TRANSLATED BY ELIOT WEINBERGER

for Roger Caillois

Water hollows stone,
wind scatters water,
stone stops the wind.
Water, wind, stone.

Wind carves stone,
stone’s a cup of water,
water escapes and is wind.
Stone, wind, water.

Wind sings in its whirling,
water murmurs going by,
unmoving stone keeps still.
Wind, water, stone.

Each is another and no other:
crossing and vanishing
through their empty names:
water, stone, wind.

june 10/RUN

6 miles
65 degrees/84% humidity
the flats

A great run! Walking towards the river, before my run, everything was still and quiet–except for the birds, which were chattering. Not too many people out yet even though it was past 7:30. Near the start of my run, greeted the welcoming oaks and a few runners. The part of the trail that dips below the road and above the gorge was dark and green and mysterious.

wheels

Near the old stone steps, saw 2 parents helping a kid ride their bike. Then heard a bike’s brakes squeaking loudly and longly behind me. The wheel of truck made a clicking noise as it traveled–something must be caught in the tread. Behind me, slowing approaching, a bike gear clicked into place. A lone rollerblader bladed by.  Heard, but didn’t see, a roller skier heading for the greenway path. In the flats, running on the bike path because the walking path is in terrible shape, heard a biker call out “bike path!”–or did they say, “biker behind.”  Stewed over it for a minute. Imagined calling out, “you try running on that path!”

Turned around at the top of the hill and headed home. Made it up the Franklin hill without stopping and kept going–a big victory. Took a short walk and then ran the last mile faster, finishing strong.

Thinking about wheels and bicycles, decided to look for a poem on the subject. Found this fun one:

Nun on a Bicycle
by Jonathan Edwards

Now here she comes, rattling over cobbles,
powered by her sandals, the gentle downhill
and the grace of God. Now here she comes, her habit

what it was always waiting to become:
a slipstream. Past stop signs, the pedestrian
traffic at rush hour, the humdrum mopeds,

on a day already thirty in the shade:
with her robe fluttering like solid air,
she makes her own weather. Who could blame her

as the hill sharpens, she picks up speed and smiles
into her future, if she interrupted
the Our Fathers she’s saying in her head,

to say Whee, a gentle Whee, under her breath?
O cycle, Sister! Look at you now, freewheeling
through the air conditioning of the morning –

who’s to say the God who isn’t there
isn’t looking down on you and grinning?

june 6/RUN

2.3 miles
65 degrees
mississippi river road path, south/north

A quick run with a playlist. Ran because it’s global running day. Because I needed to forget about the difficult morning trying to get a girl to go to school. And because I could. Jogged to the river, turned right towards the falls and then ran much faster than I usually do. First mile: 7:39. Felt good. Free. I think my body likes running faster.

This morning I discovered double abcedarians and I’m in love. What a challenging form. The first one I read had 26 lines. Each line started with the alphabet going up (a b c …) and ended with the alphabet going down (z y x …).

Alcatraz
beneath a sky
crouching low and black as onyx

The second one I read had 26 lines, with each line starting with the alphabet going down and ending with the alphabet going up.

Zooks! What have I done with my anthologies? I’ll need a
year of sleep after writing my millionth review (with aplomb).
XX bottles of moonshine litter my bedside table like arsenic.

may 31/RUN

6.7 miles
bohemian flats and back
70 degrees/90% humidity/dew point: 67

Was planning to run 9 miles this morning but I started too late and it was too hot. Why is it so hard for me to run in the summer heat? The first 3 miles were fine: I saw the Daily Walker, glanced down at the gorge, settled into a dream-like state of moving without effort. But then something happened. I got hot. It got hard. I started thinking about how far I was planning to run and the 2 big hills I had to climb and doubt creeped in. Was it all psychological, this inability to keep going? I’m not sure but I’m not disappointed that I stopped.

addendumI almost forgot. I saw a bright pink yarn bomb in the shape of a heart on the railing just past the lake street bridge! It made me smile. I like the random whimsy of yarn bombs.

Here’s an excerpt from a poem about heat that seems effective:

The heat pours into their throats and ears.

It fills their lungs with a smothering staleness.

The heat blots out the conscientiousness

That made billy pick up the litter

That kept tracy from slamming the door.

Under heat, the lightness is lethargy

The buckled-up discontent bursts

And the delicate brain-curves unravel.

may 25/RUN

4 miles
to minnehaha falls and back again
67 degrees/91% humidity/dewpoint 61

Ran early this morning. 6 am and already 67 degrees. Today, 90. Tomorrow, 95. Sunday, 97. I do not like running in the heat. This morning it was okay, especially since I was only running 4 miles. When I got to the river, I turned right instead of my usual left and headed towards the falls. A few minutes after me, Scott went out for a run too, but turned left at the river. My path was clear but his was blocked by a big tree, split in two during the heavy winds and thunderstorm last night. Listened to my running playlist so I didn’t hear birds or rushing water or snapping branches. I have no memory of what I thought about while I ran other than mundane running thoughts like: “I feel like I’m running fairly fast but I bet I’m running slow. I shouldn’t look because then I will just feel bad.” or “I need to make sure to focus on using my left leg so I can build up the muscles in it.” or “I don’t know if this rhythmic breathing works for me.” What else do I remember about my run? Running right by the falls and enjoying the coolness of the spray from the gushing water on my face and arms. Happily drinking water from the fountain that has finally been turned on. Feeling soaked from sweat even before the end of the first mile.  No bikes. No roller skiers or roller bladers or dogs or bugs. One squirrel that almost darted in front of me but then wisely turned around. Several pairs of runners, one trio. A woman stretching her calves on the concrete ledge where Longfellow’s “The Song of Hiawatha” is etched.

Again, everything was green. A lush, post-rain green that glows and overwhelms and spills out over the path from below and above. Late May is very early for that shaggy, scruffy, weedy, much too green feeling. I usually don’t feel that until July or August. I love the green, but I’m ambiguous about weeds. In theory, I appreciate their unruly resilience but, even so, I struggle to see beyond their disruptive excess–blocking my view of the river, covering the path, housing too many bugs. Here are 2 poems for reflecting further on this ambiguity, one that I encountered today, the other I read last fall:

Long Live the Weeds/Theodore Roethke

Long live the weeds that overwhelm
My narrow vegetable realm!—
The bitter rock, the barren soil
That force the son of man to toil;
All things unholy, marked by curse,
The ugly of the universe.
The rough, the wicked, and the wild
That keep the spirit undefiled.
With these I match my little wit
And earn the right to stand or sit,
Hope, look, create, or drink and die:
These shape the creature that is I.

Surrender/Geraldine Connolly

Rogue seedlings flank
the front bank.

Aspen roots lift
asphalt
from the driveway’s face.

I can hear
growth

like a crackle
of flames.
I watch a frantic

squirrel hoard
pinecones,
strip them clean.

Weeds choke the garden,
thorns and buffelgrass.
Wild blackberries seethe.

I scrub green moss.
Still it spreads its stain

across the deck, and
falls into cracks where
green sprouts flare up.

I fight against surrender but
the trees call to me
as they creep forward.
The forest wants to take us back.

may 17/RUN

5.15 miles
67 degrees
52% humidity
franklin loop

A good run. Steady and slow. There was cool shade and when there wasn’t, my shadow kept me company. Glanced down at the gorge and all I could see was green and a few slashes of brown. No river. No sandy path. So much green–a sea of it. I kept thinking that it was hard to distinguish between shades of green and that maybe I should think about textures and shapes instead? Soft fuzzy greens. Sharp, spiky greens. Thick, heavy greens. Ran through some swarms of bugs on the way to the franklin bridge. They flew into my eyes and my mouth until I tipped my hat so low that all I could see was the ground. Scott had warned me about them, but I was already committed to my route and decided that experiencing the bugs might make for a good story or a good description. Does it? Not sure what to say about the bugs other than that they seemed determined to drown in the fluid in my eyes. Yuck. On the east side of the river, ended up following (not too closely) a runner ahead of me for a few miles. Would I have run faster if I hadn’t been trying to keep a big distance from her? Maybe. Towards the end of the run, I got to say, “good morning” to the Daily Walker. Always a great way to end my run.

Early on in the run, I remembered a poem I read this morning. It was about cottonwood trees. I wondered, when will the cottonwood trees start snowing cotton? Probably in June.

Cottonwood/Kathy Fagan/from Sycamore

The cottonwood pollen is flying again,
Adrift like snow or ash. It lines
The curbs, it sticks to my lips
Like down to a fox’s muzzle.
I made a poem about it years ago.
We were new then. We’d set fire
To our old lives and made love day
And night, mouths full of each other.
Back then, we were a match
For June: arrogant, promising, feverish.
For as long as we live, summer returns
To us. And snow, ash, they, too, return.

may 8/5.5 MILES

71 degrees
franklin hill turn around

Green. So green! Everywhere I ran, I saw light green. Maybe like the color of the inside of an avocado or the tips of asparagus or the skin of a pear? Running above the floodplain forest, I quickly glanced down. Almost all I could see were green leaves and just the faintest memory of a sandy path winding through the woods to the river. I think it looked even greener because rain was coming. Now, as I write this a few hours later, it is raining and will be for the rest of the day. I like how green looks when the sky is gray. Of course, it’s shimmers in the sunlight, which is beautiful, but the clouds do something special to the green–at least as I see it, with my diseased eyes. It’s more vibrant or deeper or melancholy or? I’m not sure, but I’ve always liked cloudy overcast rainy green best.

I ran down the Franklin hill and kept going for a few more tenths before turning around. Ran back up the hill for a little bit then walked for about 2 minutes. Then ran the rest of the way home. It didn’t feel easy, but I know it wasn’t that hard. But hard enough that I found it difficult to do much more than think about how much I had left to run. Tried chanting “raspberry strawberry blueberry” which helped keep me focused. Did I notice much else? Lots of cars driving on the river road–a steady stream. My pony-tail was dripping a lot of sweat on my shoulder. The wind felt good in my face. Saw the Daily Walker but wasn’t able to greet him. The river in the flats looked brownish-gray. When I got tired of running and wanted to be done, I paid attention to the white line on the path, dividing the bikers from the walkers. Mostly unbroken white with a few worn patches. I think they painted this line last spring. I wonder if they’ll repaint it this year?

In honor of so much green, I found a few green poems on Poetry Foundation that I like:

Green/D.H. Lawrence

The dawn was apple-green,
The sky was green wine held up in the sun,
The moon was a golden petal between.

She opened her eyes, and green
They shone, clear like flowers undone,
For the first time, now for the first time seen.

Answer in Green/Florence Dickinson Sterns

I spoke to the grass that brushed against my knees:
Are you the answer or Empedocles
Who gave to life a scientific core,
And thus proclaimed himself conspirator
With what a man can dedicate to reason?

Does science solve the problem of the season,
That gives a blossom to the bough or ice to the eaves,
Or brings a livelier color to the changing leaves?

We rustle pages of our Aristotle,
And keep the Hylozoists in a bottle.
Unlike the ancient Genji lost to view,
They claimed a philosophic residue
Persisting through a labyrinth of years.

A robin does not argue. It appears.
It lives its day and lets discussion pass.
“Perhaps you’ve solved the problem,” said the grass.

The Green Eye/James Merrill

Come, child, and with your sunbeam gaze assign
Green to the garden as a metaphor
For contemplation, seeking to declare
Whether by green you specify the green
Of orchard sunlight, blossom, bark, or leaf,
Or green of an imaginary life.

A mosaic of all possible greens becomes
A premise in your eye, whereby the limes
Are green as limes faintly by midnight known,
As foliage in a thunderstorm, as dreams
Of fruit in barren countries; claims
The orchard as a metaphor of green.

Aware of change as no barometer
You may determine climates at your will;
Spectrums of feeling are accessible
If orchards in the mind will persevere
On their hillsides original with joy.
Enter the orchard differently today:

When here you bring your earliest tragedy,
Your goldfish, upside-down and rigidly
Floating on weeds in the aquarium,
Green is no panorama for your grief
Whose raindrop smile, dissolving and aloof,
Ordains an unusual brightness as you come:

The brightness of a change outside the eye,
A question on the brim of what may be,
Attended by a new, impersonal green.
The goldfish dead where limes hang yellowing
Is metaphor for more incredible things,
Things you shall love among, things seen, things known.

may 7/5.75 MILES

69 degrees
ford loop

9:15 am and 69 degrees? No thanks. I love so much about spring and summer but not running in the heat and the bright sun. Hardly any shade. Listened to headphones and felt disconnected. Thought I was doing okay, but near the Ford Bridge, it started to feel difficult. Stopped to walk for a few minutes on the bridge. Strangely, walking today didn’t bother me or make me feel like I failed.

This very warm weather is coming too soon. Last year on May 7th it was only 51 degrees. Much better running weather. Everything is happening too soon and too fast. My view down to the river is almost gone. The floodplain forest is covered in green. A beautiful shade of green, but that’s not the point. I want to see the river and the sandy trail through the forest for at least a few days more. Yesterday when I was walking near the river I heard the rowers! They’re back. I looked down at the ravine as I ran up the hill near Summit. No water today. Tried to run mostly on the dirt trail next to the uneven path. Noticed the raging river at the locks and dam. Ran by a walker that I encountered in the same spot last week. If I keep running this loop in the morning, will he become a new Daily Walker to watch for? At some point during the run, around the time it was feeling especially hard, I wondered–am I getting enough iron? Resolved to eat more spinach and maybe take an iron supplement. Finished strong, running faster and feeling freer. Stopped at the water fountain but noticed too late that it wasn’t working yet. Saw my shadow–in front of me, then beside me. I think she likes the heat and the bright sun. Sweat a lot more. Face felt bright red. My hair was completely soaked and dripping by the end. Next time I run I’ll need to bring some water.

note: While quickly proofreading my log, I noticed a theme: water. A lost river view. Rowers. A lack of water in the ravine. The raging river below the bridge. A water fountain that doesn’t work. A sweaty, red face with a dripping ponytail. The need for water to drink.

Returning home, I discovered a new poem to love from The New Yorker: “Eating Grapes Downward” by Christian Wiman. I especially love the opening stanza:

Every morning without thinking I open
my notebook and see if something
might have grown in me during the night.
Usually, no. But sometimes a tendril
tries a crack in my consciousness
and if I remain only indirectly aware of it
and tether my attention to the imminent
and perhaps ultimately unseeable
sun, sometimes it will grow. Inevitably
a sense of insignificance intrudes: I think
of all the lives in all the places
waiting in their ways
for something to grow out of them,
into them. Is it the same God?

Love this idea of indirect awareness. So important to how I am living these days–with my writing and my vision and even my running. Want to experiment with ways to write about it/with it/around and through it.

april 21/3 MILES

47 degrees
greenway bridge turn around

Another beautiful morning. Don’t remember much because I was listening to my headphones. I think I saw my shadow a few times in the bright sun. Saw lots of runners, alone and in groups. A few bikers. Walkers. No roller skiers. No puddles. No ice, except for under the lake street bridge. Ran faster and felt the joy of working harder. I definitely need to do some more speed work to get used to pushing myself.

Encountered a wonderful poem that reflects my feelings about the slow arrival of spring:

april 9/4 MILES

33 degrees
50% snow-covered
mississippi river road path, north/south

More snow. An inch or two. Much of it melted by the time I started running. The rest of it–either soft grains that were fun to run through or slick, icy patches to try and avoid. Last year it was 57 degrees on my April 9th run. This winter has been much longer. Still, it was a good run. Encountered a few runners. The Daily Walker–passed him twice and then we turned off the river road at the same time. I thought about introducing myself, but then didn’t. Noticed the cars rushing by quickly, their wheels whooshing through the puddles on the road. The word for today’s run? Wet. Not too many big puddles on the path but lots of slick, shiny stretches. Wet roads. Big drips of melting snow that dropped off the bottom of the bridges and onto my face or my back or the brim of my hat as I ran under them. Dripping eaves. Gushing gutters. The big melt, part two–or is this part three?

Walking back home after my run, I recorded some wet sounds:

I love water. I’d like to read more water poems and maybe write some myself. Here’s an excerpt from a water poem I read last month that I want to remember (ed bok lee, water in love):

Worship, splash, guzzle, or forget
It clears any difference
Stone washer and mountain dissolver
that will
outlive us, even the memory of
all any eyes touched

feb 21/4.25 MILES

8 degrees/feels like -3
99% snow-covered
mississippi river road path, north/south

Bright blue sky. Blinding sun. Cold air. Slippery path. Fogged-up glasses. Crunchy path. I was struck by how the 2 crunching sounds of my feet highlighted the differences between walking and running. When I was walking, the slower, steadier crunch lasted longer, as my foot went from the initial heel strike to the final toe-off. How many bones came into contact with the crunchy snow? When I was running, that second crunch was quicker, with less grinding. I’d like to capture some sound of me running on crunching snow, but that seems hard.

Reading The Snow Poems by AR Amons which is, disappointingly, not all about snow. But, there are some snow poems, like this one:

here a month of snow,
mere January than
February, intervenes
during which
I wrote
nothing. it is
the winter-deep, the
annual sink:
leave it unwritten,
as snow unwrites
the landscape

feb 3/5.25 MILES

18 degrees/feels like 5
100% snow-covered
mississippi river road north/hennepin avenue bridge

Ran on the river road to downtown in the snow. My first time this winter running while it was snowing. Beautiful. It wasn’t too cold. The snow wasn’t too deep or annoying–except for when it felt like little knives hitting my face. There weren’t too many other people out on the path. I think I saw 3 or 4 runners. I was alone in the flats below the U. The steep hill almost to downtown was a bit tough so I walked it for a few minutes. Right at the base of the Hennepin Avenue bridge there was a zipline set up so people in town for the Super Bowl could zip across the river.

I loved this run today.

Heard the snow crunching again and noticed how the steady crunch sound traded off between my feet. The path today was a little more slippery and not packed down because it was steadily snowing. A few days ago I wrote a haiku about how the wet snow felt like running in the sand but I think that this dry, powdery, freshly-fallen snow felt more like running in the sand–especially the soft sand by the river.

Birds

Almost forgot to mention the birds. Running in the quiet snow, I kept hearing birds. Not geese or crows but something cooing or chirping. So odd to hear these calls which make me think of spring while running in the pure white solitude.

Here’s a poem about birds that I recently found and really like:

Bird Song —Rebecca Taksel

After all these years
I still don’t know the name
of the bird who has followed me
with his early-morning song
to all the places I’ve lived.

I’ve never asked
“Which bird is that, singing now?”
I remember hearing him first
on a spring morning in childhood
somewhere in the woods
behind our little house, his song clear
above the thousand little sounds
of grass and water and trees around us.

I’ve thought about the deaths I fear,
but only now do I know the death I want:
to let that song be the last thing I hear,
and not to mind at all that I never learned
the singer’s name.

Oh—and another thing about birds: After my run, and after meeting Scott at the coffee place, we walked by a tree, right in front of a spa/salon where they had thoughtfully placed half a dozen bird feeders. Little birds like to gather here. I know because I’ve walked by this tree before. As you approach the birds they flutter and fly, only briefly, away from the tree. It’s a beautiful thing to see.

And a few more lines about birds from a poem:

Snow melts into the earth and a gentle breeze
Loosens the damp gum wrappers, the stale leaves
Left over from autumn, and the dead brown grass.
The sky shakes itself out. And the invisible birds
Winter put away somewhere return…
(from The Late Wisconsin Spring/ John Koethe)

jan 17/XT

bike on stand, front room
32 minutes

Watched The Great North Run half marathon on YouTube while I biked. Love watching races when I’m biking. Then walked to the studio and decided to take an existing poem by someone else and turn it into a running poem. It’s fun (and often helpful) to use other people’s poems as a starting point for my own. Today I used Natasha Threthewey’s “Theories of Time and Space.” As a play on her title, I’m calling mine, Strategies for Hill Climbs and Pace:

Strategies for Hill Climbs and Pace

You can run there from here, though
there’s no easy way home.

Everywhere you go will be somewhere
with a hard hill to climb. Try this:

head north on the Mississippi River Road, one—
by—one street signs ticking off

another stretch of your route. Follow this
to its inevitable conclusion—a huge hill

after Franklin, the flats by the U where
the path is a black ribbon

next to a blue river promising a breeze. Run beside
the carefully controlled water, 2 locks and dams

have made it wider and slower—taming
the rapids that once flowed. Run only

as far as you think you can go—remember
you still have to turn around and climb the hill. At the bottom,

where you begin your climb, start slow,
your watch will track your pulse and pace:

the data—how fast you ran, how hard you worked—
will be waiting on your phone when you return

dec 27/4 MILES

6 degrees/feels like 2
5% snow-covered
mississippi river road, north/south

Cold but not too windy. I think I was the only runner out there. I also think this is the coldest run I’ve done this winter. Felt the cold in my lungs fingers toes. What do I remember from the run? Loud cars driving fast along the river road. The sun already start to sink, blazing through the trees at the end of my run and the crows. The crows! So loud. Cawing and circling and cawing again. Here’s a poem about crows that I really like:

Crows

Marilyn Nelson, 1946
What if to taste and see, to notice things,
to stand each is up against emptiness
for a moment or an eternity—
images collected in consciousness
like a tree alone on the horizon—
is the main reason we’re on the planet.
The food’s here of the first crow to arrive,
numbers two and three at a safe distance,
then approaching the hand-created taste
of leftover coconut macaroons.
The instant sparks in the earth’s awareness.

I need to spend some more time with the bit about the crows, but I am instantly drawn to the idea of standing each is up against emptiness.

sept 28/HIKING

I can’t wait until I can run again–next week, I think. Until then I’m walking a lot more and biking occasionally. Today, I did both. Biked 4.75 miles to Minnehaha Falls and then hiked to the river. What a beautiful fall day. Walking on the dirt trail, through a grove of trees just starting to turn yellow, I briefly wondered if I should take a picture. But I didn’t. I’d like to spend some time, sitting on a bench, and find words to describe it. But what words? I need better ones, better than “beautiful.”

Here’s a poem I discovered the other day.

O Autumn! Autumn!/Effie Lee Newsome

O Autumn! Autumn! O pensive light
and beautiful sound!
Gold-haunted sky, green-haunted ground!

When, wan, the dead leaves flutter by
deserted realms of butterfly!
When robins band themselves together

To seek the sound of sun-soaked weather!
And all of summer’s largesse goes
For lands of olive and the rose!

I like Newsome’s trick twisting flutter by into butterfly. And the phrase “to seek the sound.” And I like her enthusiasm. I’m usually too restrained, so I appreciate someone willing to gush and overuse exclamation points.

Words other than Beautiful to describe my view:

  • aesthetically pleasing
  • alluring
  • appealing
  • attractive
  • dazzling
  • gorgeous
  • grand
  • handsome
  • lovely
  • magnificant
  • wonderful
  • splendid
  • resplendent
  • radiant
  • awe-inspiring
  • transcendent
  • sublime
  • poetic
  • vibrant
  • vivid
  • intense
  • aetheral

august 21/3 MILES!!!

68 degrees
74% humidity
mississippi river north/south/north/south back to 36th street parking lot

I ran again today for the first time since August 4, a little less than 2 1/2 weeks ago. The first 10 minutes were difficult, with lots of pain, even though, as the doctor prescribed, I took 3 ibuprofen 30 minutes before running. Probably the most pain that I’ve ever experienced while running, which isn’t saying that much because I tend to stop if I’m feeling a lot of pain. Then, when I’d almost hit a mile, I started feeling better. Maybe my knee and quad had warmed up or I was used to pain, not sure, but I felt like I could keep going. The doctor had told me to try one mile and if that felt good, another mile, and if that felt good, one more mile. So that’s what I did. By the end of the third mile I was tired and glad to be done but now, 2 hours later, I feel fine. Not too sore. And I can lift my straight leg, from a sitting position, off of the ground!

Some passages from Mary Oliver’s Long Life that I want to remember:

flashing like tinsel

at the center: I am shaking; I am flashing like tinsel. Restless…”(90).

seasons: falling/fall/followed/follow

summer falling into fall, to be followed by what will follow: winter again: count on it (90).

obedience to mystery

Opulent and ornate world, because at its root, and its axis, and its ocean bed, it swings through the universe quietly and certainly. It is: fun, and familiar, and healthful, and unbelievably refreshing, and lovely. And it is the theater of the spiritual; it is the multiform utterly obedient to a mystery (90).

green and blue dyes

The constancy of the physical world, under its green and blue dyes, draws me toward a better, richer self, call it elevation (there is hardly an adequate word), where I might ascend a little–where a gloss of spirit would mirror itself in worldly action. I don’t mean just mild goodness. I mean feistiness too, the fires of human energy stoked; I mean a gladness vivacious enough to disarrange the sorrows of the world into something better. I mean whatever real rejoicing can do!

brassy and wonderful

We all know how brassy and wonderful it is to come into some new understanding. Imagine what it would be like, to lounge on the high ledge of submission and pure wonder (91).

between our own best possibilities, and the view from our own window

It is one of the perils of our so-called civilized age that we do not yet acknowledge enough, or cherish enough, this connection between soul and landscape–between our own best possibilities, and the view from our own windows (91).

august 4/9 MILES

58 degrees
a little more than the almost downtown turn around

Running when it’s in the 50s is so much better than running in the mid 60s! It was a beautiful morning for a run. I felt strong and not too tired. I ran the first half without stopping, then took a brief walking break at the top of the hill and another one at some point during the run–I think? After spending a lot of time thinking/writing about the run to lake harriet and how it wanders beside the creek, I was struck by how straight the path to downtown is. While it occasionally strays from the biking path, they are usually right next to each other. And the path crosses under several bridges–Lake Street, the Railroad Trestle, Franklin Avenue, I-94, Washington Avenue, the biking/walking bridge to the East Bank of the U of M,10th Avenue and 35W–but not over them. You also don’t cross any roads. The biggest features of this route are the two hills: Franklin and 35W. And the river, the gorge, the views of the U of M campus and the Minneapolis skyline.

I picked up Mary Oliver’s collection of essays/poems, Long Life, from the library yesterday and started it after my run. I haven’t even made it through the forward and I’m already inspired!

Writing poems, for me but not necessarily for others, is a way of offering praise to the world. In this book you will find, set among the prose pieces, a few poems. Think of them that way, as little alleluias. They’re not trying to explain anything, as the prose does. They just sit there on the page, and breathe (xiv).

No Explanation Necessary

What a thing to do!
To sit and just breathe.
How novel,
how necessary,
how different from what is expected.
Who needs an explanation
when there’s inspiration
and expiration
and alleluias?

And, here’s one of Oliver’s Alleluias:

Can you Imagine? by Mary Oliver

For example, what the trees do
not only in lightening storms
or the watery dark of a summer night
or under 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 the way 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 its own mood, comes
to visit, surely you can’t imagine
patience, and happiness, like that.

I’ve just been editing a piece in which I reflect on what leaves on a tree are for and last month I pondered whether or not trees sigh and why. Now, I want to imagine more about what trees do when we’re not around. As I wrote this last line, I remembered by Modern Philosophy class from college and studying the empiricist George Berkeley and the classic question prompted by his suggestion that “The objects of sense exist only when they are perceived: the trees therefore are in the garden, or the chairs in the parlour, no longer than while there is some body by to perceive them”: If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it still make a sound?

Maybe I should play with this question? Here’s a link I found to how some people in the UK respond.

july 28/8.45 MILES

69 degrees
79% humidity
dew point: 60
the almost downtown turn around

This run felt hard and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do it. But I did, with the help of several walks. I’m surprised at how little it bothers me that I’m walking so much during these runs. Or that I’m going so slow. Have I given up or just become wiser and more measured in my approach? Or some thing else that I can’t quite figure out? Whatever it is, I’m continuing to train and survive and have moments that I deeply enjoy. I would like to work on pushing through some of the more difficult moments.

For the first half of the run, I listened to an old On Being episode with Mary Oliver. I love Mary Oliver. Here are a few lines that I particularly liked:

What is the meaning of life?

“have no answers but have some suggestions.” I was expecting her to end her line with: “have lots of questions.” I like that she didn’t and I like the idea that we can make suggestions instead of assertions or claims. These suggestions offer insight without definite answers. I’d like to do a writing experiment organized around the idea of having suggestions instead of answers.

writing while walking

They discuss how Oliver writes on her many walks through the woods.  A notebook is mentioned. I’d like to know, in more detail, her process of walking and writing. A few months ago, I read about Jamie Quattro and how, if she got an idea while she was running for a story, she would stop and find a stick and then scratch some notes on her arm (or in her hand?). I’ve tried composing lines while running by speaking them into my voice memo app. But, how does Oliver do it? Maybe she writes about it somewhere?

listening convivially

Krista Tippet references Mary Oliver’s suggestion to “listen convivially” while walking. Where does Oliver say this? In a poem? Prose? An interview?

convivially: good company, joyful/agreeable attitude, greeting others/the world with delight

For me, listening in such an important part of the process of running and paying attention. I like the idea of being convivial as we listen. What are the subtle (and maybe not so subtle) differences between being convivial and generous or open?

attention without feeling is only a report

“You need empathy with it rather than just reporting. Reporting is for field guides. And they’re great. They’re helpful. But that’s what they are. But they’re not thought provokers. And they don’t go anywhere. And I say somewhere that attention is the beginning of devotion, which I do believe.” Attention/Devotion/Rumination/Engagement/Feeling the Force of Ideas and Experiences and Moments.

mystery is in that combination of discipline and the convivial listening

I’m really interested in how being disciplined and undisciplined combine to generate creativity and a more meaningful life. Limits, in the form of structure–Oliver discusses how one of her most famous poems, “Wild Geese,” began as a writing exercise in using end-stopped lines–and freedom, in the form of experimenting, taking risks, imagining new ways of writing, being, doing.

Such wonderful ideas! I can’t wait to read more.

Here are 2 of her poems that I found and want to spend more time with: Spring and What is it?


And here’s my attempt at playing around with Oliver’s idea of suggestions, not answers.

a suggestion on suggestions

I’ve never been good with answers,
giving them, that is.
I can handle accepting them,
as long as they aren’t final
or firm
or boring,
lacking imagination and a wonder
that is necessary for joyful living.
I used to believe that this was a problem,
my refusal to give answers.
It certainly is for some people.
But, no longer for me.
Answers are overrated and too easy.
Even sometimes lazy.
I always want questions.
And now, having heard Mary Oliver utter it in an interview,
suggestions.
Possibilities to explore, entertain, use in our experiments.
Proposals that might fit the facts and feelings.
Things to consider
and ruminate over as I wander through the woods
or run on the path that stretches ahead of me for miles.

And, a poem inspired by Oliver’s exercise in combining end-stopped lines with enjambment and by Gros (Philosophy of Walking) and his use of Nietzsche and the question from The Gay Science about the value of a book or dance or musical composition: “Can they walk?”

How Does Your Writing Move?

With ideas that end when the line or the path does.
And ideas that wander, traveling over
the edge, maybe down
into the gorge, where mystery lives,
behind the green veil that covers the trees from mid-May to early October.

In forms that hold tight with elbows at a 90 degree angle.
And forms that sprawl
all over the place. Messy moments
transformed into words that spill across
the page, leaking energy (and black ink).

Using syntax that remains steady and even.
And syntax that starts. Stops. And starts again,
moving slowly through ideas and experiences and feelings and images.
Then, rapidly.
Like jagged breathing during a tempo run.

may 4/REST

Last night, after his run, Scott said, “I think it’s time I get back to following my training plan.” I suppose I should too. I’ve been straying from my “official” plan for weeks. Adding extra miles, running on the days I’m supposed to be resting. So today my plan says I’m supposed to rest and I’m resting!

This morning, while searching for some other running-related topic–I think it was “writing a poem while running a marathon”, has anyone ever done that?— I encountered a poem by Rachel Zucker: Wish You Were Here You Are

wish you were here you are by Rachel Zucker

time isn’t the same for everyone there is
science behind this when you fly into space
you’re not experiencing time at the same rate
as someone tethered to Earth & someone
moving quickly experiences time at a slower rate
even on Earth so as I run through Central Park
at a speed not much faster than walking but slightly
I am shattering fields of time around me
& experiencing time differently from those I pass
last night I saw my son’s adult self &
in the same moment toddler self this really
happened he was playing “Wish You Were Here”
by Pink Floyd on his electric guitar & feeling it
he’s 11 & in between 2 kinds of time on the verge
of worlds I think we are too you & I who are old
young women it’s not all ‘downhill from here’ we are
here you are & I am & this beautiful moment our sons

There’s a lot that I’d like to think and write about this poem, but today I’m struck by her discussion of time while running. Recently, I’ve been thinking about running as almost timeless, when you’re able to access a space where “regular/linear” time doesn’t exist. You’re not experiencing or tracking time; you’re just moving through space. But that doesn’t seem accurate, partly because I’m rarely really not tracking time. Even though I’ve been trying to de-emphasize my pace, I still check it on my watch every mile or so (or more). And also because I’m giving a lot of attention to slowing down. Maybe timelessness is not what I’m aiming for, but a slowing down of time. A slower pace for a more relaxed space?

It’s interesting to contrast Zucker’s pithy portrayal of quick time with Frédérick Gros’ dismissal of speedy time in A Philosophy of Walking:

But haste and speed accelerate time, which passes more quickly, and two hours of hurry shorten a day. Every minute is torn apart by being segmented, stuffed to bursting. You can pile a mountain of things into an hour. Days of slow walking are very long: they make you live longer, because you have allowed every hour, every minute, every second to breathe, to deepen, instead of filling them up by straining the joints (37).

Slow time is different, Gros adds. “Slowness means cleaving perfectly to time, so closely that the seconds fall one by one, drop by drop like the steady dripping of a tap on stone (37)”.

I want to do some more experimental writing about slow time. Maybe a list of things that are slow? or a poem that involves using syncing when you expect sinking, like the sun was syncing?