trestle turn around
Right before I started I saw some snow flurries but by the time I was running, they had stopped. Windy, humid. A cold 32 degrees. Began the run needing to lose my anxiousness. I did. Some parts of the run were hard; I’m not sure I’m completely over my sickness. But some parts of it were great. For a few minutes I felt like I was flying and free. I did a lot of triple berry chants on the way north. Stopped at the trestle to look down at the brown flat river. Then I put in the Fame (1980 version) soundtrack and ran back south. Timed it so “I Sing the Body Electric” was on as I ran up the last hill. As I sped up, I could hear some geese honking over the gorge, almost like they were racing me. Yes!
10 Things I Noticed
- mud — thick, gooey, dark brown — on the edge of the path and alongside the lingering snow
- sporadic geese honks throughout the run
- the path was almost completely clear, only a few puddles and strips of ice
- the wind was strong and in my face as I climbed out from under the lake street bridge
- under the bridge, a parked suburu was facing the wrong way
- some of the walking path was clear
- the river was open and brown. It looked less like water and more like a flat wall
- near the end of the run, I stopped for a minute to admire the view between the trees of the lake street bridge and the cars traveling over it
- faintly recall hearing some birds chirping in a distinctive way — was it cheer up cheer up?
- can’t remember if I heard the sound of my feet striking and sliding on the grit, but I felt it
James Schuyler, Hymn to Life, Page 9
Begins with Have much to thank you for, ends with the evening star seems set.
This page — wow.
You know well is suffering, sees it all but not the way before
Him, hating his job and not knowing what to change it for. Have
You any advice to give? Have you learned nothing in all these
Years? “Take it as it comes.” Sit still and listen: each so alone.
How often do people, when they’re suffering and tell others about it, want advice? How often do I? Sometimes. Mostly I want acknowledgment. Someone to witness what I’m feeling and to honor that it is real, true. Rarely do I want someone to tell me it will be okay or that I’m making a bigger deal out of it (whatever it is) than I should. I try not to give advice, often falling back on the classic, that sucks. More often than I should — should I ever do this? — I try to relate to the other’s pain, share a story of what I think is a similar experience. My daughter hates when I do this, it makes her feel worse. Often I can’t help myself. Slowly, I’ve been getting better at just listening, sitting still.
All wounds”: now what’s that supposed to mean? Wounds can
Kill, like that horse chestnut tree with the rotting place will surely
Die unless the tree doctor comes. Cut out the rot, fill with tree
Cement, score and leave to heal.
I think about this one in terms of grief, especially my grief over my mom’s death. It’s true that it isn’t as hard, and I’m not as undone as I was right after she died. But, what does it mean to heal? And, how often do things heal on their own, without any effort or attention? Maybe time doesn’t heal but…gives you more practice living with it? I’m sure this doesn’t totally apply, but I always think about what I’ve heard long-time and/or pro runners say about running long distances: it never gets easier, you just get better at enduring it.
Is the fog off the cold Atlantic. No one is at his best with
A sinus headache. It will pass. Stopped passages unblock
I appreciate that he put this detail in. Just before reading this page, I was having what I call, a sinus episode. Not quite a headache, but a strange ache and heaviness that descends. No sharp pain, but discomfort, a queasy uneasiness. Pressure. Sometimes feeling like a thick iron plate is pressing down on my face. I’ve been getting these ever since the pandemic started — are they anxiety? Maybe partly? They used to last all day, but now that I’ve learned to put on a breathe right strip, they usually go away pretty quickly.
Let the lovely spring, its muck and scarlet emperors, get you
Down. Unhibernate. Let the rain soak your hair, run down your
Face, hang in drops from facial protuberances. Face into
It, then towel dry. Then another day brings back the sun and
Violets in the grass.
Unhibernate. Face into it, then towel dry. I like this idea better than time heals all wounds.
In Washington, at the Reflecting Pool, the Japanese cherries
Bust out into their dog mouth pink. Visitors gasp. The sun
Drips, coats and smears, all that spring yellow under unending
Why does this poem keep returning to DC? I’ll have to look that up. I did (hours later). Not sure if this is the only answer, but he grew up in D.C.
I love his description of the intense, over-the-top ripeness and showiness of spring. I’m reminded of Ada Limón and her line, “the neighbor’s almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving their cotton-candied color blossoms to the slate sky of Spring rains” (almost remembered it word for word!). The difference is Schuyler’s sun and how it drips, coats and smears, all that spring yellow. This reminds me of living in Atlanta and the yellow pollen, coating every surface. Yuck! For me it just looked gross and stained everything, for others it made it very hard to breathe.
Only the oaks hold back their leaf buds, reticent.
Reticence is not a bad quality, though it may lead to misunderstandings.
I misunderstood silence for disapproval, see now it was
Are the oaks the last to bud here in Minnesota. I’ll have to watch in the next month. Is it reticence or patience, or maybe a desire to hang back and stay out of the fray of frantic growing and greening? I might be asking this of myself and not the oaks.
Reticent = reserved, holding back, restrained
Patience = not hasty or impetuous, measured
I’m not sure whether or not oaks are the last to bud here in Minnesota, but when they do, they aren’t reticent, and their leaves don’t hold back. Within weeks they have consumed the trees, then my view of the gorge. Never in pleasing, controlled shapes like maples, but a hungry, sprawling green everywhere.
Thank you, May, for these warm stirrings. Life
Goes on, it seems, though in all sorts of places—nursing
Homes—it is drawing to a close. Abstractions and generalities:
Grass and blue depths into which the evening star seems set.
Not sure what to say about this bit, but I wanted to leave it in.
note, 29 march 2023: Looking back at these lines I started thinking about vision — my vision as an old person’s vision — and how details are lost, things appear mostly in the abstract and as forms — outside, blue sky and grass.