march 23/RACE

10k
Hot Dash
18 degrees

Not a fast run, but I felt relaxed and strong, and I powered up the big hill. No difficulty at all. I picked it up a little at the end and enjoyed crossing the finish line. A victory! Maybe the hardest thing about the race was holding back — I kept wanting to go faster than Scott, but I kept it slow and relaxed. My goal is not a fast time, but to be able to run the marathon with Scott.

For most of the race I recounted stories — probably the same stories — about past races: having to run ahead to get water for FWA in our 5k, RJP being very disturbed by a runner who was dry heaving as he neared the finish line, a wheezing runner dying on a hill, running way too fast in the first 5k of a 10k then dying and having to stop and walk several times for the second 5k.

10 Things

  1. 2 women behind us lamenting how they were both such bad singers — I played an instrument, but I just can’t hear the notes. I turn the radio way up to drown out my own voice. I wanted to turn aroudn and say, Me too!
  2. the crappy pre-recorded version of the national anthem before the race
  3. cold, cold fingers and toes for the first mile
  4. Scott yelling, Banana!, when a guy in a banana costume ran by
  5. Overheard: Oh right — I get a beer when I’m done with this! note: our bibs had a ticket for one free beer at the end
  6. Overheard: runner with a 1/2 mile before she would reach the turn around: where is the turn around anyway? I wanted to say, a long way, but didn’t
  7. a few patches of snow and ice near the edges of the road
  8. snow on the grass
  9. the cobblestones at the end were in bad shape — lots of holes, rough, uneven
  10. on the cobbles, I heard someone behind sprinting and yelling but they never passed. What happened? did they think the race finished sooner? did they sprint too soon and run out of gas? I’ll probably never know

march 17/RUN

6.2 miles
minnehaha dog park and back
wind: 13 mph / gusts: 27 mph

Another weekend run with Scott. We talked about Ada Limón’s National Park project and I recited Scott’s favorite line from one of the poems featured in the project. The line — Surely you can’t imagine they just stand there loving every minute of it. The poem — Can You Imagine/ Mary Oliver. Scott likes the line because it’s also a line from the Loverboy song, “Loving Every Minute of it.” As we ran into the wind I mentioned the terrible wind (and rain and cold) in the 2018 Boston Marathon. Scott talked about a dream he had last night that he went to a friend’s gig and how, when he woke up, he realized that that friend did actually have a gig last night. He also talked about birds — wild turkeys and his favorite encounter with them when he saw two walking side-by-side down a busy sidewalk near lake street.

When we started running, it was snowing — small flurries. At some point it stopped, but it stayed cold and windy. Writing this now, a half an hour later, I’m still cold.

image of the day: a robin on the edge of path, hopping along then flying across the path. Having noticed the leaves skittering in the wind on the other side of the path, at first I thought the robin was a leaf. But then, when it landed on the fence, I could tell it was a bird. After mentioning it to Scott, I recited a line from ED’s “A bird came down the Walk –“. I think I’ll write a little birding poem about this Robin!

10 Things

  1. skittering leaves
  2. a robin — first on the ground as a dark form that could be anything and that I thought was a bird, then fluttering across the path, then landing on the top of the fence
  3. flurries in the air — steady, then swirling, then a clump of them dumped
  4. water falling at the falls, a few bits of ice near the edge
  5. the creek, mostly flowing, but still on the edge, and low
  6. a walker with an unleashed dog, wandering around the trail
  7. the view of the river obscured by a screen of thin, unleafed branches
  8. the fake bells of the light rail on the other side of Hiawatha
  9. the curve of the river below us as we ran south toward fort snelling
  10. a steady cadence — the lift lift lift of my feet, slightly slower than Scott’s

march 10/RUN

5 miles
marshall loop (prior)
47 degrees

An afternoon run with Scott. We talked about a cool rpf (request for proposal) that Scott just completed and whether or not the wires sticking out of the street lamps on the bridge were live and how the clocktower at Disney Land was telling the wrong time for years without them realizing. For most of it, I felt fine. My calf was a little sore after we picked up the pace so we wouldn’t miss the light at Cleveland. A few minutes later, it felt okay again.

10+ Things

  1. the clear, straight, sturdy shadow of the bridge railing
  2. from the top of the summit hill near shadow falls: the river burning white through the trees — I got distracted looking at it and almost fell of the edge of the sidewalk
  3. from the lake street bridge heading west: a bright path of light on the surface of the river, spanning from the bridge to the west bank
  4. the pale brown of a sandbar just below the surface of the river
  5. the underside of the steps leading up to the lake street bridge: peeling paint
  6. a “Tacos” sign where the BBQ sign used to be at Marshall and Cretin
  7. a big, beautiful wrap around porch with white spindles near Summit
  8. overheard: Katie didn’t know
  9. wind chimes!
  10. a tabby cat running across the street, headed straight for us — it seemed to be saying, Keep moving! This is my block!
  11. added 11 march 2024: overheard — one woman to another: After the costume change, I’ll shine and fly

haunted by haunts

In the fall of 2021 I worked on a long poem based on my 3/2 breathing rhythms and centered on the gorge and my repeated runs around it. I revisited the poem this past fall in 2023 and wrote around it, leaving only a few traces of the original — a palimpsest? I stopped at the beginning of 2024 with a message to future Sara: good luck. Well, here I am and I can’t remember what prompted me to open my haunts documents again, but I did and I’m back. Reading through an older version titled, “Haunts late fall 2023.” It’s a mixture of the old poem and my new additions, and I’m wondering why I got rid of so many of the old lines. It might be because I submitted parts of the poem to about a dozen journals with no luck. All rejections. It made me doubt what I was writing. But maybe I should try to keep submitting it instead of losing all of it? Maybe submit different versions, too?

Reading through the poem, I wrote a list of themes in my Plague Notebook, Vol 19!:

  • girl
  • ghost
  • gorge
  • trails
  • loops
  • echoes
  • bells
  • traces
  • remains
  • stories
  • bodies
  • habits repetitions

Bells. In the newer version of my poem, from late 2023, I got rid of almost all of the mentions of bells. But, I keep coming back to them, like in ED’s “I felt a Funeral in my Brain”: As all the Heavens were a Bell, / And being, but an Ear

bells

  1. starting a ritual
  2. the keeping of time — YES! bells as time/clock*
  3. tolling = death, the dead
  4. signalling the final lap in a race
  5. “fake” simulated recorded bells
  6. light rail bells elementary and middle school bells college bells
  7. the gorge world echoing of past bells
  8. echo = repeating, but not exactly the same, reverberation, ripple, eroding of the original sound from the strike
  9. Annie Dillard and each of us walking around as as bells not yet struck
  10. vibrations movement sound

A curious, “fun” fact that I’d learn in my research about the St. Thomas bells and that supported in my own observations: the St. Thomas bells are not always accurate in their time-keeping; they can be off by a few seconds. Someone has to re-sync them periodically.

A bell poem in the latest issue of Poetry (March 2024):

A Bell Is a Bearer of Time/ ALISON C. ROLLINS

*To be performed with bells on. All “writing” is performance, some performance is “writing.”

I am
a product
of my time.
Time is a body
that resembles
a sound without a scale.
Forever foreclosed fortitude.
In heaven, the dinner bell rings
as elegy. The porch-light stars turn
on their mothering moths. Betrayal
takes at least two, and wherever two
or more are gathered, I am there in
their pulsating timbre. To hear is to hunger
for the gendered race of sound. In my midst,
loneliness listens. In confidence, I am secreted
away. I was today years old when I learned the truth,
a browbeat bell is an idiophone. The strike made
by an internal clapper or an external hammer, a uvula—
that small flesh, conical body projecting downward from
the soft palate’s middle. Vocal, vibrating vulva. I am less a writer
who reads than a reader who writes. Therein lies the trouble, the treble clef of
conviction. Come now to the feast of hearing, where Hortense J. Spillers
gives a sermon: We address here the requirements of  literacy as the ear takes
on the functions of “reading.” Call me bad news bear. Bestial. Becoming.
In “Venus in Two Acts,” Saidiya Hartman asks, Must the future of abolition be
first performed on the page? Must I write a run-on of runaways?
Must you make out my handwriting? Evidence that loss has limbs.
The clawed syntax. The muzzled grammar. Don’t be afraid.
Kill me with your language. Learn how to mark my
words.*

During today’s run, the only bells we heard were not bells but chimes, wind chimes. Strange how close we were to St. Thomas without hearing the bells.

march 3/RUN

5 miles
lake nokomis, then falls coffee
60 degrees

Ran through the neighborhood, past the falls, over the mustache bridge, on the creek path, up the hill from lake hiawatha to lake nokomis, then turned around and took the sidewalk on the parkway until we reached Falls Coffee. A good run — warm and very windy. Lots of shadows on the path — people too. Crowded. Tried to stay loose and relaxed as I ran; I called it being “Shaggy loose.” It worked and my right calf didn’t hurt when I was running. It felt strange again when I stopped — a few flashes of discomfort, then anxiousness. But we ran 5 miles and walked 2 and I was fine.

We talked about Scott’s music project: an arrangement of “Helter Skelter” without using any past versions for reference. I asked about the difference between parallel and series circuits. Mostly, we were quiet today, partly because we were enjoying just running outside in the warmth, and partly because Scott was arranging music in his head and I was monitoring my calf mid-run.

My calf occasionally reminded me it was there during the run, but it was fine and I was loose. When we stopped, my ankle was a little tender, but nothing hurt. Still, I was anxious and concerned about what might happen. Spent the walk home talking through it with Scott. I felt a little sore and stiff during the walk home, but no shooting pain or pops or anything too alarming. I said to Scott that I feel like my body was trying to tell me something with all this anxiety and he answered, Maybe it’s not. And I thought, yes, maybe it’s not. Maybe I’m just dealing with the random aches, the occasional nighttime muscle cramp, that older runners get? Why does the story have to be any more complicated than that?

As we approached the playground at Hiawatha School — the one our kids played on for almost a decade — I said, I think my calf pain is minor, like the sinus pain I used to get in my face. Once I started using breathe-right strips, it stopped happening — no more pressure or sinus head-aches. Scott replied: You need to find the breath right strip for your calf. Now, hours later, it suddenly came to me: compression socks. Could that be the magic antidote to my calf pain (and my fears about calf pain)? Have I cracked the code? I’ll try it and see.

note for past Sara (or future RJP/FWA) and for anyone else interested: Writing some of this stuff about my anxieties over calf pain feels a little ridiculous, but it seems important to document the in-the-midst-of-it process of figuring out how to navigate the uncertainty of new (albeit minor) pain. There are lots of reason why, here’s one that I return to again and again: remembering how you felt and handled moments of vulnerability and uncertainty, when you’re overwhelmed and anxious, can give you more empathy for others in their own, often different, experiences of uncertainty.

notes from a pages document titled: “To Do: 2022/2023/2024”

brain mind self soul spirit Sara body
I You us we
pain fear uncertainty loss death grief
breath muscle machine
break rupture relent embrace reject reframe resist rewire

Back to the magic of the body and our efforts to understand and describe what’s happening / the power of language, of stories, to affect how and if we survive and endure — what stories do we tell?

Where does my body end, yours begin?

What if the soul was populated by selves? what if Sara was a city, not one Self? or a lake — Lake Sara? or a gorge? or a river — the river Sara?

What is the relationship between anxiety, the body, and the mind? Is anxiety the body asserting itself?

Running as a new relationship with my body, poetry as a rewiring of my brain/mind — not as rational scientist (even though I still do this), but as poet. Not fully rejecting the rational/scientific approach, but de-centering it.

wiring circuits: series and parallel
body circuits: pulmonary and systemic
ED: success in circuits lie

Yesterday I mentioned Natasha Badmann and her experiences running through the Energy Lab during the Kona Ironman. I found the spot in the race commentary, where she is interviewed:

The Energy Lab wasn’t taking energy, but giving energy. . . . I left my soul out there on part of the course . . . Exchange yourself with the island, see the beauty. . . . Running into the Energy Lab, I saw the strength of the ocean, the waves splashing up, and I said, This ocean, it’s endless. My energy is endless.

start at 8 hours and 52 minutes in / Women’s Ironman 2023

added this in a few minutes later: After the run, I got a pistachio scone at Falls Coffee. When I told RJP about it, she said, Feed 2 birds with one scone, which is PETA’s non-violent version of the classic expression. I like it! How else can I play with it?

Text 2 teens on one phone.
Diss 2 jerks with one own.
Scare 2 kids with one crone.
Film 2 scenes with one drone.
Seat 2 kings on one throne.
Put 2 scoops in one cone.
Whet 2 blades with one hone.
Buy 2 cars with one loan.
Seduce 2 Ferris’ with one Sloane. (too many syllables, but I couldn’t resist)

one more note, the next day: When I mentioned the scones/birds phrase to FWA on our weekly Facetime, he mentioned another one: Feed a fed horse. Oh, that’s good.



feb 25/RUN

5 miles
franklin loop
45 degrees

A regular run! It felt mostly fine, a few times strange. I told Scott that often when something is sore or stiff or hurts, it just feels strange to me. I need better words.

A few time my calf felt strange…but what does that mean? It felt like it was trying to talk to me, like it wasn’t used to moving, like it was complaining. During the run, once or twice, the smallest flare of something that wasn’t quite pain yet. After the run, tight, a little sore along the outside of my calf starting near the knee and moving down. Here’s some information that I might want to look at: Calf Muscle Tightness

While we ran, we talked about Scott’s latest work project involving wrangling a lot of data about water quality and temperature and more and turning it into a user-friendly widget. I talked about Courtney Dauwalter and listening to your body and pushing your limits and the memory palace. Near the end of the run, we encountered people protesting Israel’s invasion/war against Palestine on the bridge. I almost called out from the river to the sea! but didn’t — do I wish I had? yes, I think so. Saw some Palestinian flags and people with signs. A few minutes later, we heard a bullhorn from up on the bridge — were they marching to the capital?

earlier today

While reviewing the feb 25 entry from 2022, I came across a reference to the memory palace. I’d like to do something with this idea — an experiment, a poem, something else? Found a helpful discussion of it in a Paris Review article about Wordsworth:

The idea of the mind as a palace or church, whose individual rooms can be explored with training, is familiar from the memory treatises of antiquity and the Middle Ages. The “memory palace” as a mnemonic device was widely used before the advent of printing to organize and remember vast amounts of information. By memorizing the spatial layout of a building and assigning images or ideas to its various rooms, one could “walk” through the imaginary building and retrieve the ideas relegated to the separate parts.

The Celestial Memory Palace/ Aysegul Savas

I mentioned the memory palace in a feb 25, 2022 entry. In a feb 25, 2020 entry, I also wrote about place, the house:

I’d like to put this poem (A Skull) and the idea of the skull as a house beside the two other poems with houses that I posted on feb 22.

Two different, yet connected, versions of imagined place. Can I do something with these?

Here’s a delightful poem from a chapbook, Cheap Motels of my Youth, that I just got in the mail:

I Heard a Fly Buzz/ George Bilgere

I stumbled out in to the kitchen,
got the coffee maker started,
did the dishes from last night,
and then you came out in your robe,
wondering why I was up so early,
and I realized I’d misread the clock,
I’d actually gotten up at 7, not 8,
and suddenly I had a whole hour
bestowed upon me by the gods
who dole out our span to time.

And this was long ago, years ago, but
I still have that hour, I’ve guarded it
zealously, and when the time comes
and the darkness is closing in, and perhaps
I even hear a fly buzz—I’ll take out
that hour from the secret place
where I keep it, I’ll show it to all of you
gathered around my bedside
and I’ll cry out, Look! Another hour!

And that fly will pause in its
goddam buzzing, and all of you—
and that means you, Michael and Alex—
all of you will be forced to smile
and say, Really? That’s just awesome!

And I shall continue with my reminiscences.

I love this poem — the way it gently references Emily Dickinson, the delightful story it tells, his use of goddam in the second to last stanza, the calling out of his kids in the poem, how the first stanza is all one sentence, and that last bit about reminiscing as what he’d want to do with his bonus hour.

I like his use of goddam, and I wonder: how often do women poets use goddam? It seems like a swear word male poets would use. What are some good examples of women poets using goddam in their poems? I looked up “women poets goddam” and came across Nina Simone’s “Mississippi Goddam.” Listened to it — wow — and found this article for later: The long story behind Nina Simone’s protest song, “Mississippi Goddam” Kept scrolling in my search and found a link to a Book Notes series in which authors create a playlist for their books. Cool! What does this have to do with goddam? Nothing, but I love that I found this site, especially after creating a playlist for my windows month.

Okay, time to stop wandering. I think I’ll go study and memorize Emily Dickinson’s “I heard a Fly buzz — when I died”

Almost forgot: still playing around with the tiles for the two main muscles in the calf: gastrocnemius and soleus

Glass moon curse suite

feb 11/RUN

5 miles
Veterans’ Home and back
32 degrees

Another weekend run with Scott. Usually we run on Saturdays, but yesterday we were in St. Peter, so we ran today instead. Colder, windier, sunny. Sharp shadows. My favorite shadow: running under the ford bridge, a big shadow crossed over my head. A bird? No, a bike up on the bridge.

We talked about ones and zeroes and the differences between null, zero, and false in coding. I mentioned how when it gets to the brain, seeing is about signals firing and not firing. Then we talked about a recent controversy with Margaret Livingstone’s research on animals, which led us to a discussion about scientific experiments as material practices, the ethical dilemma of using knowledge gained from unethical experiments, and then a mention of Newton’s experiments on himself — shoving something in his eye to learn about color. Some fun discussions!

I forgot to notice the falls or look down the river, I recall seeing someone in yellow running on the Winchell Trail. I smelled the smoke near the house that always smells like smoke. I heard a dog’s collar clanging behind us. Felt the cold wind almost taking my breath away.

before the run

Started rewatching Margaret Livingstone’s lecture about artists and vision. Also found her book, Vision and Art — the “read sample” is helpful here.

Near the beginning of the video, Livingstone emphasizes this idea: “Visual information processing is not image transmission.” She adds: you don’t transmit information up to your brain because there’s nobody up there to look. In her book, she elaborates on this idea, giving it a name: the homunculas fallacy — homunculas means “little man.” The fallacy: some little man is up in your brain “looking” at the image. I love this name and the idea of a little man; I’d like to put it in a poem!

feb 3/RUN

5 miles
ford loop
38 degrees

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

10 Things

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

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

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

blurb

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

jan 27/RUN

4.15 miles
franklin loop
34 degrees / humidity: 82%

Another run with Scott. As we ran north we talked about jazz band and soloing and COVID and how some people are still isolating and how it’s never going away but we’re learning to be out in the world again. Then I talked about muddy trails and no snow and Scott imagined possibilities for his new projects, including an arrangement of Porkpie Hat.

10 Things

  1. slippery mud — almost fell!
  2. crossing the franklin bridge, the water looked like dark glass
  3. the shore was glowing white
  4. the edges of the water were gray and icy and looked cold
  5. crossing the lake street bridge, the water was dark gray with small waves
  6. also on the lake street bridge: a sandbar that stretched out from the bridge footing
  7. most of the lamps on the bridge were lit, only a few had been stripped of their wires
  8. no eagle on the dead tree limb near the bridge
  9. the sky was gray and gloomy, the tree line was a soft, pleasing brown
  10. spotted: a small white strip of something on the trail. Was it a ruler? I couldn’t quite tell

jan 26/RUN

2.1 miles
river road, north/dorman/loons coffee
37 degrees / humidity: 90%

Ran with Scott up the river road and over to a coffee place. The air was so thick with moisture, which made it harder to breathe. Otherwise a good run. We talked about The Muppet Movie, which we watched last night, and how it didn’t dumb down (or try to purify) the characters or their relationships. Then I rambled on for a few minutes about what a rich, messy character Miss Piggy was and how there was such a variety of representations of love within the movie.

10+ Things

  1. encountered and greeted a woman in a bright red jacket, almost the same color as Scott’s
  2. passed a woman in a blue jacket — she’s a Regular that I should name. I see her often. The thing I remember most is that she’s always wearing a long skirt or dress. In the winter, she also wears a ski jacket and tights, in the summer just the dress. I’m not sure what to call her — all dressed up?
  3. near the tunnel of trees the river is still white
  4. everyone else the river is open — a deep dark gray
  5. heard some cardinals, at least one black-capped chickadee
  6. the ghost bike — June’s bike — at the trestle was wreathed in dried flowers
  7. the ravine, between the 35th and 36th street parking lots had an open view and was only half covered in snow
  8. 4 stones stacked on the ancient boulder
  9. bright orange striped barrel blocking the way down the old stone steps
  10. a lone black glove, looking forlorn on the biking path
  11. a SUV honking unnecessarily and repeatedly at a pedestrian near Minnehaha Academy

Here’s a poem I don’t want to forget by Jane Hirshfield:

To Opinion: An Assay/ Jane Hirshfield

Many capacities have been thought to define the human— yet finches and wasps use tools; speech comes into this world in many forms. Perhaps it is you, Opinion.

Though I cannot know for certain,
I doubt the singing dolphins have opinions.

This thought of course, is you.

A mosquito’s estimation of her meal, however subtle,
is not an opinion. That’s my opinion, too.

To think about you is to step into
your arms? a thicket? pitfall?

When you come rising strongly in me, I feel myself grow separate
and more lonely.
Even when others share you, this is so.

Darwin said no fact or description that fails to support an argument can serve.

Myoe wrote: Bright, bright, bright, bright, the moon.

Last night there were whole minutes when you released me.
Ocean ocean ocean was the sound the sand made of the moonlit waves
breaking on it.

I felt no argument with any part of my life.

Not even with you, Opinion, who drifted in salt waters with the bullwhip kelp
and phosphorescent plankton,
nibbling my legs and ribcage to remind me where Others end and I begin.

Good joke, I agreed with you, companion Opinion.

jan 6/RUN

4.15 miles
bottom of franklin hill (short)
32 degrees

Another Saturday run with Scott. Last night, we got a light dusting of snow which made everything frosty and a little slick at the start. Scott talked about the latest mash-up he’s arranging with the theme from Taxi and Green Day’s Brain Stew, Chicago’s 25 or 6 to 4. Then I talked about my latest focus on doors and windows and how it is allowing me to engage with things (poems, essays, ideas) that I’ve collected previously but were buried in a file folder or a log entry.

As we ran down the hill I mentioned something I had read in an essay by George Orwell, Why I Write. He describes how when he was an undergrad at Berkeley* he wanted to be an intellectual, but when he was supposed to be reading Hegel he would always be looking out the window, admiring the flowers instead.

*Scott didn’t hear anything after I said Orwell went to Berkeley; he was confused, believing that Orwell never left England. I checked the essay when I got home and realized that there were two versions of “Why I Write” in the document, one by Orwell, one by Joan Didion. The reference to Berkeley was from Joan Didion. Sometimes I get frustrated with Scott’s attention to details, but he’s usually right and I’m grateful that he caught this mistake (which was my fault, but not totally; the essays were placed one after the other in a document that was not well marked. His almost always being right can be irritating, but that’s more my problem than his, I guess.

Here’s the quote:

During the years when I was an undergraduate at Berkeley I tried, with a kind of hopeless late-adolescent energy, to buy some temporary visa into the world of ideas, to forge for myself a mind that could deal with the abstract.

In short I tried to think. I failed. My attention veered inexorably back to the specific, to the tangible, to what was generally considered, by everyone I knew then and for that matter have known since, the peripheral.

Why I Write/ Joan Didion

I love her mention of the peripheral. That’s where I spend all of my time too — literally and figuratively.

10 Things

  1. stretches of the trail were slick and my feet slipped a few times
  2. the knocking of a woodpecker — the sound echoed through an empty field
  3. the ice chunks on the river yesterday had melted and were replaced with swirls of foam
  4. the quiet thuds of a faster runner approaching from behind
  5. after he passed us, he kicked a big branch off to the side (we were grateful and impressed that he was able to do it while running fast down the hill)
  6. there was a thin layer of snow on the top of the concrete wall next to the river
  7. the suspended path on the other side — in the east river flats — looked inviting — I’d like to run it before it’s closed for the winter — maybe it already is?
  8. passing by the ghost bike hanging from the trestle
  9. the curved fence above the big sewer pipe was easy to see below us — no more leaves blocking our view
  10. passing a guy walking a dog on the sidewalk, saying good morning — realizing it was not morning but afternoon — 12:30 — we went out for the run a little later than usual

At the bottom of the franklin hill, Scott used my phone to take some video of the foamy, fast-moving water. Here’s a short clip:

fast moving foam / 5 jan 2024

Here are two passages from Virginia Woolf’s Street Haunting that include windows and doors:

But when the door shuts on us, all that vanishes. The shell–like covering which our souls have excreted to house themselves, to make for themselves a shape distinct from others, is broken, and there is left of all these wrinkles and roughnesses a central oyster of perceptiveness, an enormous eye. How beautiful a street is in winter! It is at once revealed and obscured. Here vaguely one can trace symmetrical straight avenues of doors and windows; here under the lamps are floating islands of pale light through which pass quickly bright men and women, who, for all their poverty and shabbiness, wear a certain look of unreality, an air of triumph, as if they had given life the slip, so that life, deceived of her prey, blunders on without them. But, after all, we are only gliding smoothly on the surface. The eye is not a miner, not a diver, not a seeker after buried treasure. It floats us smoothly down a stream; resting, pausing, the brain sleeps perhaps as it looks. 

That is true: to escape is the greatest of pleasures; street haunting in winter the greatest of adventures. Still as we approach our own doorstep again, it is comfortingto feel the old possessions, the old prejudices, fold us round; and the self, which has been blown about at so many street corners, which has battered like a moth at the flame of so many inaccessible lanterns, sheltered and enclosed. Here again is the usual door