ford bridge turn around
First day back after getting slammed with a 24 hour bug (a test for COVID was negative). For the first time in a decade?, I slept all day Saturday after being up all night sick on Friday. Yuck! The run was hard. I felt sore. But I was able to get outside, breathe in fresh air, hear a woodpecker drumming, see the river shimmering, move! Stopped to walk briefly after turning around under the ford bridge and encountering a stretch of slick ice. When I started again, I decided to chant triple berries to keep my rhythm steady. Strawberry Raspberry Blueberry Strawberry Raspberry Blueberry, over and over for at least a mile. Close to the end of the, nearing the oak savanna, I thought about a line from today’s Schuyler excerpt and the difference between contemplation and day dreams (below).
Contemplation, which is hard to tell from day dreaming,
I started chanting contemplation — con tem pla tion con temp pla tion
con tem pla tion
con tem pla tion
won der ing
won der ing
When I was done and walking home, I took out my phone and spoke a little poem into it:
ing is the
Is anything there, in this fragment? Not sure, but it was fun to have it appear in my ears at the end of a run. I didn’t even realize I’d brought the Schuyler with me on my run! As I write this last bit, I’m thinking about the movement and associations in Schuyler’s poem, how he travels from idea to idea. I think 4 counts is a tidier, more exact, everything in it’s proper place kind of a beat. While 3 counts offers more movement, freedom, the ability to shift from thing to thing to thing without needing to pin anything down in one place.
James Schuyler, Hymn to Life, Page 8
Begins with Hoo” he calls, ends with So much, too much. Tried something new today; I listened to Schuyler’s recording as I read the page.
Another day, and still the sun shines down, warming
Ever since I read a line from Ada Limón’s poem “Privacy,” I’m still standing, as I’m standing still and not as I continue to stand, I always read still in both ways when I encounter it. So, still the sun, is not only even so the sun, but calm/quiet/peaceful sun
Life in action, life in repose, life in
Contemplation, which is hard to tell from day dreaming, on a day
When the sky woolgathers clouds and sets their semblance on a
Glassy ocean. At first I thought that Schuyler had made up woolgather, like Gerard Manley Hopkins did with his golden grove unleaving, but then I looked it up. It’s a word! “to indulge in wandering fancies or purposeless thinking; to be in a dreamy or absent-minded state: said esp. of ‘the wits’, etc.” (from the online OED, accessed through my public library).
What are the differences between contemplation and day dreaming? And, is it day dream or daydream — is that another instance of me turning a verb (the day dreams) into a noun (a daydream)?
Only its edge goes lisp.
I love how he uses lisp here. I anticipated limp. The idea of the day going soft, getting quieter instead of stale or stiff or injured is more interesting to me.
On no two days the same.
Is it the ocean’s mindlessness that troubles? At times it seems
Calculatedly malevolent, tearing the dunes asunder, tumbling
Summer houses into itself, a terror to see.
Here I’m thinking of nature’s indifference to humans. On the podcast You’re Wrong About, Sarah Marshall and her sometimes guest co-host, Blaire Braverman, explore survival stories and the comfort they find in recognizing that nature is not out to get us, but is indifferent to us. It might kill us, but not out of malevolence. I’m also thinking about Carl Phillip’s indifferent willow in his poem, In Swept All Visible Signs Away.
They say there are
Those who have never felt terror. A slight creeping of the scalp,
Merely. How fine. Finer than sand, that, on a day like this.
Trickles through my fingers, ensconced in a dune cleft, sun
Warmed and breeze cooled. This peace is full of sounds and
Movement. A couple passes, jogging. A dog passes, barking
And running. My nose runs, a little. Just a drip. Left over
From winter. How long ago it seems! All spring and summer stretch
Ahead, a roadway lined by roses and thunder.
So much movement — wandering — here! From the terror of nature to only feeling terror as a creeping of the scalp, which is fine like the sand and that trickles through my fingers at a beach filled with sounds and movement: a couple jogging, a dog running like my nose which now only drips from a winter ended. Wow!
“It will be here
Before you know it.” These twigs will then have leafed and
Shower down a harvest of yellow-brown. So far away, so
Near at hand. The sand runs through my fingers. The yellow
Daffodils have white corollas (sepals?). The crocuses are gone,
I didn’t see them go. They were here, now they’re not. Instead
The forsythia ensnarls its flames, cool fire, pendent above the smoke
Of its brown branches.
It will be here before you know it, and it will be gone too soon. Sand as time passing too quickly. The flower we wait to see all winter will bloom and die without us noticing. Somehow, we forgot to check that one week they were out. It all happens too quickly.
sepals = The outer parts of the flower (often green and leaf-like) that enclose a developing bud.
From the train, a stand of larch is greener than
Greenest grass. A funny tree, of many moods, gold in autumn, naked
In winter: an evergreen (it looks) that isn’t. What kind of a tree
Is that? I love to see it resurrect itself, the enfolded buttons
Of needles studding the branches, then opening into little bursts.
Have I ever seen a larch? Do they even grow in Minnesota. Looked it up. Yes:
the Tamarack (also known as Larch, or Tamarack Larch) is a deciduous conifer — a tree with needles that drop in the fall. There are around 10 species of Larch in the northern hemisphere; this one is native to Minnesota and doesn’t mind our cold winters and wetland soils.
When the needles begin to form in the spring, the trees are covered in cute, soft tufts that slowly lengthen. Our trees are relatively young (planted in 2012), but eventually they may grow up to 50 feet tall. You might catch a glimpse of these golden beauties in mass as you head north or east of the Twin Cities later in the fall.
Mississippi Watershed Management Organization
a little more (added an hour later): Just finished Rebecca Makkai’s latest book, I Have Some Questions for You. It was excellent — wonderfully complicated and messy and compelling. I finished it a few hours before it was due on a 3-week loan from the library. These days it is a huge accomplishment to actually finish a book before it is due. I can still see words (as opposed to hearing words) enough to read the pages, but it takes a very long time. I get too tired — I often fall asleep after a page — or distracted. The words rarely look blurry; I just can’t seem to read a lot of them. I am very happy to have finished today because this book is new and very popular and if I had put it on hold after it was returned (it’s an ebook that is automatically returned), I wouldn’t get to finish it for months. Hooray!
One other thing to note: I was struck by how Rebecca Makkai emphasized eye contact several times. I might have missed a few, but I tried to screen shot the instances I noticed. I’m collecting examples of the idea that to “look into someone’s eyes” is to truly see them, or to connect with their humanity, or to see the truth, or means you are telling the truth. Here are the examples I found in her book — because I don’t want to spoil the book for anyone, I won’t give any context for these):
I’d been waiting four years to see Omar, to look him in the eyes. I didn’t want or expect anything from him; I just wanted to see his face.
even if I couldn’t quite tell the color of his cheeks, I could see it in his eyes
I stood beside her, sweating, hands on hips, made eye contact with
her in the mirror.
meaningful eye contact across the dining hall, the kind that said We’d both do best to keep our mouths shut?
The few things I know: She was facing him when he slammed her head back, more than once; they were eye to eye.