dec 2/RUN

4 miles
minnehaha falls and back
30 degrees

Another Saturday run with Scott. Another sunny, mild morning. Sharp shadows, sparkling water, a clear path. Before the run, I was feeling out of sorts, sad, but after I feel much better. Running, and being outside, breathing in fresh air, is the best!

The falls were gushing and framed by ice columns. Making our way through the park, we walked past Sea Salt and I had flash of memory: being here in the hot summer, sitting with a pitcher of beer and shrimp tacos. Then it was thick with people, today the restaurant is closed and only a few people are walking around.

nov 25/RUN

4.85 miles
top of franklin to stone arch and back
27 degrees

Another Saturday run with Scott. We drove to the top of the franklin hill and started our run: down the hill, through the flats, up the 35W hill, past the Guthrie, to the Stone Arch bridge, then back. We ran up the whole hill and it felt great to me. So great that I, annoyingly I’m sure, sang “Eye of the Tiger” as we neared the top.

11 Things

  1. ice on the seeps, 1: big columns of ice streaking the limestone
  2. ice on the seeps, 2: so many streaks of ice; some of them stretched to the street and had melted and refroze on the road. A strange sight. It looked like someone had used “fake snow” spray paint to make it look like winter
  3. a few scattered chunks of ice on the river
  4. more bright green leaves still on some trees
  5. a new apartment building that looked like it was made out of limestone, but was probably mostly concrete with a thin veneer of limestone
  6. ducks! in the river, bobbing up, showing their butts
  7. geese! in the river, too far away for me to see, loud honks
  8. roller skiers, pt 1 — a whole crew of a dozen of more, heading south on the trail
  9. roller skiers, pt 2 — bright pink jackets on 2, yellow on another, one in black and white
  10. roller skiers, pt 3 — click clack scrape echoing off of the bridge
  11. a runner sprinting up the hill — when I saw her I sang the Kate Bush song to Scott, Running up that hill

Here is a vision poem that I’d like to remember and return to:

punctum/ Teja Sudhakar

A punctum is the little, unexpected extra in a photo. It is the face or the hand or the expression or the animal that you did not notice as you took the picture. It is simultaneously never the subject and entirely the subject. – Diana Weir

my earliest memory is of learning disappearance / on my father’s lap smudging an eraser across the page / even then i knew what i could lose if not careful / how whiteness operated to disappear you / have you ever been the first to leave a room / have you ever made your place behind the camera / my children might know me only out the corners of their eyes / when birds slam against rainbacked windows they leave their outlines the water continues as if there was not dying all around it /
are you seeing this / i ask someone here are you seeing this / how many buildings have i passed through without a sound / how many years only remember me by my imprint / when we speak

a word we are naming each of its previous utterances / i fear i am only the language i have kept alive / i fear i am only my name being poured down a hallway / are you seeing this / the light we look through took years to get here / to see the disaster you must first see its veil / our pupils not made to hold all this bright / our eyes call their blood to the photograph / to take an image you must first take all the light out of the room / please hold as i steady / please keep your eyes soft / as i click /

nov 23/RUN

4.5 miles
franklin loop
25 degrees

Ran with Scott. Cold, windy but sunny. Lots of wonderful shadows — ours, trees, lamp posts. Running across the lake street bridge at the end, the railing shadows made a cool pattern on the sidewalk. Combined with the breath-taking (at least for Scott) wind, it created a strange, untethered effect. Felt like I was floating or hovering or moving without touching ground. I asked Scott how he experienced it, and he said he was too focused on avoiding all of the groups of people approaching us on the bridge. Also seen on the bridge: a flyer posted on several of the posts that read “Killed by Israel.” I suggested to Scott that it should read, “Killed by the Israeli government.”

Found this poem the other day and it makes me think of how often I mistake one thing for something else as I run around the gorge:

Mistake/ Heather Christle

For years I have seen
dead animals on the highway

and grieved for them
only to realize they are

not dead animals
they are t shirts

or bits of blown tire
and I have found

myself with this
excess of grief

I have made with
no object to let

it spill over and
I have not known

where to put it or
keep it and then today

I thought I know
I can give it to you

I have to think about the ending some more — what does it mean to me? — but for now, what I like about this poem are the opening lines and the idea that other people also think they’re seeing dead animals when they’re actually seeing something else. I often think I’m seeing dead squirrels, when it’s actually a furry hat or a glove. These mistakes don’t make so sad or produce excess grief, just confusion and uncertainty and a little bit of morbid fascination.

I just realized what it means to me — the you is us, her readers. And she’s right, she is giving it to us, not as a burden to bear, but as an experienced shared. I love that about poetry, how you can write or read a poem and feel less alone, (a little) more understood.

nov 18/RUN

4 miles
hidden falls to crosby farms and back
37 degrees

Just like yesterday, another beautiful morning! Sunny, calm, not too cold. Sharp shadows, cloudless blue sky. Today’s route started and ended at the Hidden Falls parking lot, right next to the sunlit river. So wonderful! Ran with Scott and talked about Amy Winehouse, NCAA cross country races, lurking shadows, and why there was a car driving on the no vehicle path — lost golden retriever. As we neared Crosby Falls, we ran over a root that was embedded in the path and looked like a snake. Very cool! Scott took a picture of it:

a cracked sidewalk with a tree root winding through it, looking like a snake
Scott’s picture of a root in the paved path / near Crosby Farms

10 Things

  1. chirping birds, shrieking squirrels
  2. shadows, 1: ours, sharp, beside us then in front of us
  3. shadows, 2: the trees, casting long lines across the paved path
  4. shadows, 3: the trees on the water, making the bright blue water look dark brown
  5. question pondered: what’s the difference between a shadow and a reflection — Scott’s answer: the position of the light
  6. a walker in a bright pink jacket
  7. the sandstone/limestone bluff — high and looming — on one side of us
  8. graffiti spray painted on a barricade in the parking lot, uh oh stinky
  9. smoke from a campfire on other side of a little lake near Crosby Farms
  10. running up a short, step hill on the tips of my toes and remembering when I tried (and failed) to bike up it a few years ago without shifting gears

nov 11/RUN

5.25 miles
fort snelling loop*
36 degrees
snow flurries

*a new loop! Started at the Hidden Falls parking lot in St. Paul and ran south to some steps just before the confluence. Over a bridge to Fort Snelling. Through Fort Snelling, Coldwater Springs, the Minnehaha dog park, the Veterans’ Home. Over the ford bridge and back to the river trail.

A wonderful run with Scott! A new loop to add into the mix. From our house, this loop is about 7.5-8 miles. Not too bad. So many wonderful views of the rivers — Mississippi and Minnesota. Such variety in surfaces and landscapes! Asphalt, concrete, crushed limestone, grass, dirt — soft and hard, dead leaves. Over bridges, above ravines, beside old military barracks and frequently travelled highways, through beloved parks, around disc golf courses. Under trees, next to freaky looking bushes with no leaves but dark pinecones, through tall grass, up steep steps with special tracks for rolling bikes down.

Not too long after this run, we drove down to St. Peter to hear FWA’s fall concert. I didn’t have time to finish and post this entry. I’m finishing it on Sunday morning. Can I remember 10 things from yesterday’s run?

10 Things

  1. the river (mississippi) stretching north — a clear, unobstructed view from above — this stretch near hidden falls in st. paul has the best views of the river
  2. so many glowing green leaves on the trees
  3. Scott ranting about Elon Musk and his latest attempts to destroy electric cars
  4. the strange (and a little irritating) visual effect of running next to a tall railing as the light pulsed through the slats — a constant flash flash flash flash
  5. running right by the barracks at Fort Snelling and feeling the misery of it — the cold quarters, especially in the winter, and this site as concentration camp, killing so many Dakota people in the winter of 1862
  6. the pleasing slide and crunch of the crushed limestone on this stretch of the trail
  7. a mix of surfaces: a few steps of limestone, then a flat, hard surface with a map printed on it
  8. running through the Ft. Snelling parking lot, then over to a trail next to Highway 55 — a tall wall then the highway on one side, strange bushes with ugly and ominous-looking pinecones on the other
  9. cutting through a narrow dirt trail near coldwater springs — running up and down as the path gently rose and fell over small hills
  10. a row of American flags lining the road right by the Veterans’ home — it’s Veterans’ Day

I did it! I probably could have listed another 10 things. This route was memorable.

nov 4/RUN

4.1 miles
hidden falls / confluence
28 degrees

Loved the weather this morning! Hardly any wind, not too bright, not too cold. Scott and I drove over to a parking lot near Highland Bridge and ran beside the Mississippi River past Hidden Falls to the confluence where the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers meet. Wow! Such soft, sweeping views! Heard lots of chickadees (chick a dee dee dee) and ran up and down lots of little hills.

10+ Things

  1. a cracked rutted cratered trail
  2. steps leading down to a bridge across the river — something to try next time!
  3. empty benches on the edge
  4. a recently re-painted parking lot below the confluence with jaunty arrows on the pavements — I said they looked like they were italicized
  5. the tops of the bare branches looked fuzzy and soft and gray
  6. 2 rivers curving around an island
  7. more white sand than usual — the river is low
  8. running through Highland bridge, I could hear a dog relentlessly barking at the dog park
  9. hidden falls was steadily flowing down limestone and concrete ledges
  10. a few slick, icy spots on the bridge
  11. geese! A gaggle of geese on the edge of the trail, only the final one acknowledged our presence with a sharp honk — no hiss, thankfully

oct 28/RACE

Halloween 10k
stone arch bridge
27 degrees

We did it! Scott and I ran together in our first race in 4 years. Much slower than I’ve ever run a 10k, but it doesn’t matter because we did it without stopping, especially on the final hill. And I felt good at the end and even smiled. Hooray! The only part I didn’t like was before the race. It was freezing. I was dressed in my usual winter attire — tights, a green shirt, orange sweatshirt, black vest, gloves, and a buff — but it wasn’t enough. I was so cold that I felt like I might throw up. I’m fine running outside when it’s very cold, but I have to be moving, which we weren’t for almost an hour.

10 Things

  1. the cobblestones at the beginning were a challenge — so uneven and broken
  2. David S. Pumpkins and his 2 ghosts were running the race
  3. also a guy portaging a canoe — an actual canoe! I wonder if he was running the 10k or the marathon
  4. other costumes: 2 m-n-ms — red, 2 oompa loompas, curious george and the man with the yellow hat
  5. a guy dressed up like the granny from Little Red Riding Hood
  6. running down a hill, I passed one of the leaders of the race running back up it. I thought I heard hime call out, only 5?! as he passed the 5 mile marker
  7. one runner approaching another one and calling out, I love your earrings! They make your outfit look extra special
  8. a guy in a banana costume struggling up the first hill, wheezing loudly and breathing heavily
  9. bump/bump bump bump/ bump bump buuuuummp (overheard: the opening to “eye of the tiger” at the top of the hill)
  10. speeding up on the stone arch bridge and (almost) sprinting across the line with Scott with a huge smile on my face — a great race!

adding this several hours later: I found this poem on HAD ( and I didn’t want to wait until the next time I run to post it, so here it is:

Friendly?/ Luke Strathmann

The fact they call Casper friendly
Means he probably isn’t
Probably a real piece of shit
The type of ghost
Who keeps business unfinished
Just to stick around
Longer than anyone wants
One time grandpa fell on a knife
And grandma said a ghost did it
And I bet it was fucking Casper
I don’t trust him for one fuck
And don’t care if he hears it, either
Haunt me, baby
One day I’ll be a ghost, too
And then we’ll see who’s friendly
We’ll beef until the sun explodes
Eats the earth and everything else
And that will be the end of all business
Unfinished or not

oct 21/RUN

6.2 miles
minnehaha dog park and back
53 degrees
wind: 15 mph

Back on track with the weekly “long” run with Scott. Today we ran past the falls to the dog park, then turned around. Beautiful but windy. Not sure if this has ever happened before, but a gust of wind blew my cap off my head. I joked with Scott that the wind was mad at me for the bad poetry I was composing. Something about how the bright sunlight strobed through the trees while the leaves disrobed and the wind probed the empty space where red and gold and green had been. Pretty bad — I guess I deserved to get my hat knocked off. Thankfully I was able to catch the cap before it blew into the street.

After we passed the falls, which were in full flow, I recited Mary Oliver’s “Can You Imagine” to Scott as we followed the paved trail on the edge of the bluff, above Minnehaha creek as it travels to the Mississippi. When I was finished he admitted he had become distracted when I recited the line, Surely you can’t imagine they just stand there loving every minute of it” because he started thinking about the song with the lyrics, “loving every minute of it.” At the time I couldn’t remember who sang it or how it went, but I just looked it up. Loverboy. Excellent.

10 Things

  1. a bright yellow tree
  2. next to a fiery red one, both glowing from the sun
  3. my favorite orange tree near the double bridge, now bare and looking brittle
  4. 3 roller skiers! Before I saw them, I heard their poles click click clacking
  5. a pileated woodpecker laughing, somewhere in the trees
  6. another woodpecker tap tap tapping away at the roof of the kiosk
  7. May Swenson’s scarcely gliding stream from her poem “October”: Minnehaha Creek as seen from the tall bridge that crosses over the Veteran’s Home
  8. from the top of the bluff at Wabun Park, you have a clear view of the new development on the old Ford plant grounds
  9. the glitter effect: the sparkling water burning through a gap in the trees
  10. dodging walkers, a few with coffee cups, as we sprinted down the hill and through the tunnel of trees

oct 7/RUN

5.5 miles
ford loop
43 degrees

Ran the ford loop with Scott. Finally, it’s cooler. Much easier to run. We talked about a problematic NYTimes article that Scott had read earlier that was so sloppily edited that they spelled Gov Walz’s name wrong (as Waltz, I think). We also talked about the rowers on the river and the Brooks’ mile on the marathon course.

Mostly the run was easy. My IT band was acting up by the end and I rolled my ankle on something in the grass in the last mile. .

Running over the lake street bridge I noticed a single shell on the water. Then more shells, some with only one rower, one with eight. Then buoys. A race! A few minutes later a woman overheard us wondering about it and told us it was a tournament. It was so quiet on the bridge that we were able to hear the oars slapping the water. They made such a delightfully awkward sound. Without sound, the rowers float effortlessly over the water. But when you can hear the oars you can feel the effort of their rowing. I like being able to hear them; they feel more real that way, more body, less machine.

10 Things

  1. dark blue water. near the edges it looked almost black
  2. the lamps lining the path on the st. paul side were on, the ones on the minneapolis side were not — the minneapolis have been stripped of wires and never repaired/replaced
  3. rowers’ voices drifting up from the river near Shadow Falls
  4. it started overcast, almost gray. by the time we were done, the sky was bright blue
  5. a chipmunk darted in front of me, narrowly missing my foot
  6. plenty of color on both sides of the river — yellow, red, orange
  7. the ford bridge stretched in front of us, looking longer than it usually does
  8. on both the lake street and ford bridges, a tiring wind blowing into us
  9. a motor boat near the shore. I wondered if its wake would cause problems for the rowers
  10. turkeys! 3 of them in someone’s yard on the st. paul side

Typed “oars” in the search box on Poetry Foundation and found this poem. I like the form and want to read the larger work — Emptied of all Ships — that it comes from:

…shift at oars/ Stcy Szymaszek





no one
the brains
I am now

an oar

joints ruptured
soak in
deep ink

Very cool. I might have to buy Emptied of All Ships.

oct 3/RUN

2.5 miles
lake nokomis
70 degrees / dew point: 59

Warm, again. More summer attire: shorts, orange tank top. Tomorrow it is supposed to be cooler.

Scott and I ran around Lake Nokomis together. Strange to be sweating so much while running over so many fallen leaves. Summer air, fall ground.

As we ran, we talked about the wet bulb temperature and the flag system for determining when a race should be cancelled.

10 Things

  1. the little beach covered in honking geese
  2. the low rumble of a plane flying overhead
  3. cracked, uneven pavement
  4. a fishy, lake-y smell near the dock
  5. a wonderful view of the water from the small hill between the bridge and 50th
  6. an empty, buoy-less swimming area
  7. a memorial hanging from a fence with bouquets of flowers — was this for the girl who drowned in August?
  8. watch out for the pumpkin guts on the path, they might be slippery!
  9. a woman sitting on a bench, listening to the news on her phone, then a song with a driving beat that I suggested (to Scott) would be good to run to
  10. blue water with small ripples, sparkling in spots from the sun

In September, I did my own variation on wordle, which I called birdle. The first word had to be a bird. This month it’s boo-dle or spooky wordle or something like that. The first word must be a spooky word. So far I’ve done: ghost, witch, ghoul

This poem was the poem-of-the-day on on Sunday:

Dorothy,/ Garth Graeper

Trees, light, weather, people

Millions of warm vibrating chords

Chance threads woven together in coordinated movement

I close my eyes and try to feel my blood pumping

Instead I feel you, walking miles, melting into hills and flowers

The simple power of circling a lake

You knew how to lose yourself, how to leave space

Walking to find a way to be whole

Bird song, leaves rustling

I fall into this moment, my atoms spun just so

This heartbeat is not mine alone

Two bodies walking

Two layers of sound in motion together, hundreds of years apart

Words stored deep in muscle-memory

Carried in hunger, in bruises

Reflected back by grass, branches, rocks

How do I get this voice out of me?

Love this poem. It makes me think of Thomas Gardner and his discussions in Poverty Creek Journal about running with the ghost of his dead brother. It also make me think of my early poem about running with my mom. And, the first lines — trees, light, weather, people — makes me think of Georges Perec and his attempt at exhausting a place by focusing on what happens when nothing happens — weather, people, cars, and clouds.

Reading Graeper’s bio, I found this very interesting bit:

 Explorations of place—real, remembered, escaped, imagined—are at the core of his poems. Graeper created a site-specific, handmade Park Book series based on places like New York’s Central Park and Battery Park, which he distributed surreptitiously. 

I did this too; I just didn’t distribute it to anyone. Maybe I should? First I need to record myself reading the poems and set up the audio tour.