oct 20/RUN

3.1 miles
marshall loop
61 degrees!

Ran with Scott in the late afternoon. Wore shorts and my bright yellow 10 mile race shirt that I’ve been looking for this whole month. Finally found it. Excellent. A nice, relaxed run. Well, mostly relaxed. I was worried about my knees throughout the run because they were complaining a little, but they weren’t sliding so no worries. The thing I remember most about the run is the river. Running across the lake street bridge, heading east, the water was blue and dark and calm, with only very small ripples. Running back, heading west, it looked much rougher, brighter, and the sun was spread across half of it. What a contrast! Same river, different angle, much different view.

Threshold Gods/ Jenny George

I saw a bat in a dream and then later that week
I saw a real bat, crawling on its elbows
across the porch like a goblin.
It was early evening. I want to ask about death.
But first I want to ask about flying.

The swimmers talk quietly, standing waist-deep in the dark lake.
It’s time to come in but they keep talking quietly.
Above them, early bats driving low over the water.
From here the voices are undifferentiated.
The dark is full of purring moths,

Think of it—to navigate by adjustment, by the beauty
of adjustment. All those shifts and echoes.
The bats veer and dive. Their eyes are tiny golden fruits.
They capture the moths in their teeth.

Summer is ending. The orchard is carved with the names of girls.
Wind fingers the leaves softly, like torn clothes.
Remember, desire was the first creature
that few from the crevice
back when the earth and the sky were pinned together
like two rocks.

Now, I open the screen door and there it is-
a leather change purse
moving across the floorboards.

But in the dream you were large and you opened
the translucent hide of your body
and you folded me
in your long arms. And held me for a while.
As a bat might hold a small, dying bat. As

Found this poem on twitter the other day. I don’t totally understand it, but that’s okay. I might get there after a few more readings of it. I picked it for the threshold, the bats, the swimmers in the lake, and these lines, which fit with my current vision project on adjusting and growing accustomed to new ways of seeing/not seeing:

Think of it—to navigate by adjustment, by the beauty
of adjustment. All those shifts and echoes.
The bats veer and dive. Their eyes are tiny golden fruits.
They capture the moths in their teeth.

Adjustments. Shifts and echoes. Always moving — veering and diving. All of this fits so well with my thoughts on seeing and peripheral vision right now!

august 4/RUN

3.1 miles
marshall loop (short)
62 degrees
8:00 am

Ran the marshall loop with Scott. The plan was to end at Dogwood and get some coffee, but Dogwood was too busy, so we skipped it (and saved $20 which makes the frugal me happy).

The river was a beautiful blue. Calm. On the way back over it, I heard the distant voice of the coxswain. The rowers! Also noticed the shadows of the trees on the water — on the far side, turning the water a dark green, on the near side, reflecting fuzzy outlines of the tops of the trees.

No sound of water trickling as we ran above shadow falls. It’s very dry here.

august 1/RUN

5K
dogwood loop (marshall)*
69 degrees
9:00 am

*43rd ave, north/31st, east/up to lake street bridge/marshall hill/cretin/river road/lake street to dogwood

Ran with Scott this morning. Ended at Dogwood Coffee. Didn’t notice as much becasue we were talking the whole time. Can I remember 10 things? I’ll try.

10 Things I Noticed

  1. the river: blue, empty except for a few glittering spots
  2. road work just the end of the lake/marshall bridge: the beep beep beep of a truck backing up and the clunk of some big machine pounding the pavement
  3. graffitti on the backs of some signs — where was that? I can’t recall — probably on marshall
  4. passing a man with a tight hold on the leash of a big dog — he stepped onto the grass to let us pass
  5. a runner who ran in the grass as he approached us
  6. a car in a driveway waiting for a break in the traffic
  7. a little kid on a scooter, about to cross the street with an adult
  8. no one near Black Coffee
  9. stepping into the street to avoid a sprinkler
  10. hot sun but cool shade

Wow, that was difficult. It took a few minutes to come up with this list of 10!

A few weeks ago, I mentioned collective nouns in my class. Here’s a great poem I just found with some collective nouns for humans:

Collective Nouns for Humans in the Wild/ Kathy Fish

A group of grandmothers is a tapestry. A group of toddlers, a jubilance (see also: a bewailing). A group of librarians is an enlightenment. A group of visual artists is a bioluminescence. A group of short story writers is a Flannery. A group of musicians is — a band.

A resplendence of poets.

A beacon of scientists.

A raft of social workers.

A group of first responders is a valiance. A group of peaceful protestors is a dream. A group of special education teachers is a transcendence. A group of neonatal ICU nurses is a divinity. A group of hospice workers, a grace.

Humans in the wild, gathered and feeling good, previously an exhilaration, now: a target.

A target of concert-goers.

A target of movie-goers.

A target of dancers.

A group of schoolchildren is a target.

july 22/SWIMRUN

swim: 1 loop
lake nokomis open swim
75 degrees
9:30 am

FWA did it! Today, he swam across the lake and back again. 1200 yards. It was fun to stop at the little beach and talk with other swimmers, while we took a break. We met an older woman, who loves to swim around the lake, even when it’s not open swim. She said her kids told her she better stop because the fine is big if you are caught. (I think it might be $2500!) One of her responses, Technically I’m not swimming across the lake, but around it. I like her.

The water was great for the swim: smooth, and not choppy at all. Much easier than when it’s windy. It has been fun training with FWA. I’m hoping he’ll swim some in August. What a gift to spend this time with my wonderful son!

run: 3 miles
marshall loop, shortened
80 degrees
11 am

A little while later, I ran with Scott. It was hot. We walked a lot, which was fine with me. A memorable sighting: an eagle circling around, high above us, riding a thermal. It took a while for me to be able to see it in my central vision, but finally I could. What a wing span!

The other day, searching for something else, I found this beautiful interview with Marie Howe from 2013 for Tricycle. She’s talking about losing her beloved brother Johnny and the space she had for grieving. These words fit with other words of her that I’ve read and loved and just used in my class. Putting them in the context of her grief makes them glow even brighter for me:

MH: That was really a big deal. I was given this place to be without any expectations really. And everything changed so that the particulars of life—this white dish, the shadow of the bottle on it—everything mattered so much more to me. And I saw what happened in these spaces. You can never even say what happened, because what happened is rarely said, but it occurs among the glasses with water and lemon in them. And so you can’t say what happened but you can talk about the glasses or the lemon. And that something is in between all that.

KPE: It’s like the Japanese esthetic word of ma. It’s so wonderful. The space between….

MH: This is the space I love more than anything. And this became very important, but there’s no way to describe that, except to describe “you and me.” And there’s the space. I make my students write 10 observations a week—really simple. Like, this morning I saw. . . , this morning I saw. . . , this morning I saw. . . —and they hate it. They always say, “This morning I saw ten lucky people.” And I say, “No. You didn’t see ten lucky people. What did you see?” And then they try to find something spectacular to see. And I say, “No.” It’s just, “What did you see?” “I saw the white towel crumpled on the blue tiles of the bathroom.” That’s all. No big deal. And then, finally, they begin to do it. It takes weeks. And then the white towels pour in and the blue tiles on the bathroom, and it’s so thrilling. It’s like, “Ding-a-ling, da-ding!” And some people never really take to it. But I insist on it. What you saw. What you heard. Just the facts, ma’am. The world begins to clank in the room, drop and fall, and clutter it up, and it’s so thrilling.

KPE: Because it clanks and falls?

MH: Yes! It does. It’s like, “Did you see it? Did you see it?” Everybody goes “Whoa!”

Marie Howe: The Space Between

It is thrilling to notice the world! To hear it clank and drop, watch it create clutter. This reminds me of 2 other things I have recently encountered, one for the first time, one again, after a few years.

First, this poem was posted on twitter the other day:

Do Not Ask Your Children To Strive for Extraordinary Things/ William Martin

Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.

The space between us, reminds me of Juliana Spahr’s amazing post 9-11 poem: This Connection of Everyone With Lungs

as everyone with lungs breathes the space between the hands and the space around the hands and the space of the room and the space of the building that surrounds the room and the space of the neighborhoods nearby and the space of the cities and the space of the regions and the space of the nations and the space of the continents and islands and the space of the oceans and the space of the troposphere and the space of the stratosphere and the space of the mesosphere in and out.

july 21/RUN

3.3 miles
douglas trail / rochester, mn
67 / humidity: 81%
7:45 am

Ran with Scott this morning on the Douglas trail, right next to his parent’s new apartment in Rochester. A great path! Mostly shaded, off road, smooth. Heard some birds I didn’t recognize; they were very bird-y, meaning their chirps and trills seemed to embody the classic form of a bird. It had rained earlier, and there were puddles on the road and moisture in the air.

10 Things I Encountered

  1. a short pedestrian bridge, crossing over a road, at the start of our run
  2. a long pedestrian bridge, arching over a highway
  3. a helmet-less biker, one hand carrying a small cooler
  4. a fast walker
  5. a speedy runner with long, loping limbs
  6. an adult biker, whose on your left from behind sounded like a little kid’s
  7. only one small, empty road to cross
  8. a runner approaching, listening to music — it was either loud music coming out of headphones, or soft music coming from a speaker
  9. 2 guys, dressed in business casual, walking on the other side of the trail
  10. the parking lot at the trailhead, which included: a big sign with a map of the trail, 2 bathrooms, a picnic trail tucked behind a tree, lots of lush grass

breaklight/ lucille clifton

light keeps on breaking.
i keep knowing
the language of other nations.
i keep hearing
tree talk
water words
and i keep knowing what they mean.
and light just keeps on breaking.
last night
the fears of my mother came
knocking and when i
opened the door
they tried to explain themselves
and i understood
everything they said.

this poem! tree talk, water words! so wonderful!

july 12/RUNSWIM

run: 3.1 miles
dogwood coffee run
66 degrees
6:45 am

An early run with Scott to beat the heat. We ran north on the river road trail, then over to Brackett Park, then to Dogwood Coffee. We stopped to admire my stacked stones at the ancient boulder. Heard some bluejays. Noticed the sun sparkling on the water, and cutting through the thick, humid air. Heard the loud whooshing? thrashing? of an eliptigo as it sped past us on the bike trail. Scott said he thought it sounded like two lumberjacks were sawing down a tree, with one of those big saws that you hold on either end and push back and forth. I remember thinking Scott’s acting out of this saw was entertaining.

swim: 3 loops
lake nokomis open swim
80 degrees
5:30 pm

Another great swim, even though it was very choppy on the way back from the little beach. Managed to stay on course with barely any sighting of the orange buoys. I write about this so much, but it’s always strange and amazing to be able to swim straight and keep going when I can’t really see where I am.

Half the sky was blue and clear, the other half looked like a storm was moving in. Later, after we left the lake, it poured. I wondered how much it would have to be raining for them to cancel open swim. Usually they only cancel it when there’s thunder or lightening.

Saw more silver flashes below me. Also, a dark shadow as I swam around one of the buoys. At some point, I heard a squeak. Someone else’s wetsuit? I got to punch the water a few times, when I swam straight into it. Fun! Breathed every 5, then when it got choppier, every 4, or 3 then 4 then 3 again. I don’t remember seeing any swan boats or sail boats or paddle boarders. No music or yelling, laughing kids.

Back in April, I collected poems about dirt — soil, humus, fungi, and dust. Here’s another poem to add to the dust pile. It’s by Ted Kooser. He is such a wonderful poet!

Carrie / Ted Kooser

“There’s never an end to dust
and dusting,” my aunt would say
as her rag, like a thunderhead,
scudded across the yellow oak
of her little house. There she lived
seventry years with a ball
of compulsion closed in her fist,
and an elbow that creaked and popped
like a branch in a storn. Now dust
is her hands and dust her heart.
There’s never an end to it.

I love his line breaks and his beautiful first sentences. I should check out his collected works and study him more.

june 29/RUN

5k
river road trail, north/south
69 degrees
9:00 am

A birthday run with Scott. Beautiful out by the gorge. Greeted Dave, the daily walker as we ran through the Welcoming Oaks. Too busy talking about something to remember to notice running through the tunnel of trees or past the old stone steps or even under the lake street bridge. Running with Scott was great, but it was hard to notice much. Can I remember 10 things I noticed? I’ll try:

10 Things I Noticed

  1. a roller skier and their poles singing, click click click click
  2. a man talking on a bluetooth phone with his arm extended across the path pointing — at what?
  3. some blue jays whispering their screeches
  4. a few narrow streaks of blue river through the thick thatch of green
  5. faint voices of rowers talking below near the boathouse
  6. a runner on the path, accompanied by a young girl on a bike
  7. no memorial flowers at the trestle today
  8. the sweet rot of the sewer near the ravine
  9. the cracks in the asphalt just past the trestle bridge, remembering the peace sign spraypainted at this spot last summer
  10. the satisfying crunch of the sandy gravel under my feet as I ran on the side of the trail up to the greenway

Whew! I did it. The last 3 took some time to remember.

june 15/RUN

2 miles
dogwood coffee run
73 degrees
8:30 am

Ran with Scott. North on the river road to the trestle, then left and up to the greenwood trail, through Brackett Park, and over to Dogwood Coffee on lake street for an iced latte. Overcast. It was supposed to rain all day, but something shifted and it’s missing Minneapolis. Nice. Without the sun, everything was a deep, dark green. I remember noticing how green and mysterious and calm it was in the tunnel of trees. I think I heard some rowers down below, or maybe it was a few hikers? I don’t recall ever seeing the river, or much of what Scott and I talked about, other than complaining about some changes to apple pay that make it impossible to transfer money to our 16 year old. Heard some blue jays and thought, again, about how I used to think “crow” everytime I heard their screeching.

Sitting here, trying to remember things that happened, or that I thought about, on the run, I’m…not amazed or suprised…struck by how much I don’t remember, how lost I was for those minutes. I don’t mind getting lost. Sometimes I wish it would happen more.

Things I Don’t Remember

  1. the river
  2. if there were any stones stacked on the ancient boulder
  3. the welcoming oaks
  4. above the rowing club
  5. if anyone was sitting on a bench

Writing the list above, I suddenly remembered something, which might explain why I don’t remember noticing the welcoming oaks because I think it was near them that this happened: a chipmunk darted in front of both of us and we had to jump to avoid stepping on it. Dumb chipmunk! I’m glad that neither of us injured our feet or ankles or knees trying to avoid it. Of course, the chipmunk was fine. I recounted the story to Scott of when RJP and I had been biking to Fort Snelling and a chipmunk darted across the trail and ran right into my wheel. It was stunned or dead, I’m not sure which one.

Thinking about Simone Weil for my class this morning. I like this paraphrasing of her in a lithub article:

To attend means not to seek, but to wait; not to concentrate, but instead to dilate our minds. We do not gain insights, Weil claims, by going in search of them, but instead by waiting for them.

Thinking about being open, patient, willing to wait, letting go, trying to relax.

may 13/RUN

2.5 miles
austin, mn
68 degrees

Last run in Austin before Scott’s parents move. I will miss running through the town, past the SPAM museum, then getting coffee from Kyle at the Coffee Place. Scott was feeling nostalgic and told me stories about many of the places we passed as we walked back home after the run. A good and necessary move for aging parents with health problems. A little sadness, but mostly relief.

april 23/RUN

3 miles
marshall loop in reverse
66! degrees
wind: 20 mph

Ran with Scott after the rain stopped on a (finally) warm spring morning. It was so windy I had to hold my hat then take it off while running on the lake street bridge. It was warm and sunny and wonderful. We talked about Debussy (Scott) and mycelium (me) and tried to avoid loud-talking-only-slighter-faster-than-us runners. Didn’t hear any rowers or roller skiers or radios blasting from bikes. Did hear some geese honking and some crows cawing and wind howling.

Spent the morning reviewing my notes and re-reading descriptions of fungi and mushrooms and mycelium. Here are a few notes I took:

  • a different sort of We, not a me or an I, but a we, an us
  • a different way of looking/sensing/becoming aware: not seeing straight on, but feeling, looking across and to the side, down, beneath and below
  • stop looking up to the heavens, start feeling/sensing what’s below
  • a hope that is not predicated on evidence, when evidence = seeing and Knowing and fully understanding (seeing things as parts or discrete categories or individual things)
  • entangled is not separate or pure but messy and enmeshed

this is why we are all here — from my haibun and what I heard coming out of the little old lady’s phone

this 
why 
we 
all
here

why = curiosity, wonder

The why is not an explanation — this is why/this is THE reason — but an invitation to imagine differently, expansively, wildly.

we all = ecosystems, organisms, networks, asemblages

Organisms are ecosystems.
I find myself surrounded by patchiness, that is, a mosaic of open-ended assemblages of entangled ways of life, with each further opening into a mosaic of temporal rhythms and spatial arcs (Tsing, 4) .

here = a place, located in history, a specific place, not transferable or easily translatable, can’t be scaled up or turned into assets