march 6/RUN

3.45 miles
trestle turn around
48 degrees

Another run with no calf pain! Wore my compression sleeves again. My left IT band hurt a little and my legs felt heavy and tired, but no calf pain — victory!

IT fun: I think, I theorize, I twist, I triumph, is tall, is taught, is taut, is temerous*, is tiny, itchy tetherballs, iffy tire-swings, impossible teeter-totters

*temerous: this word appears several times in the great book I’m listening to right now: The Ten Thousand Doors of January

Today the river was brown. Is that all I remember about the run? There were a few moments it was easy, effortless, but mostly it felt difficult.

Heard lots of birds — lots of irregular, out-of-sync rhythms. A few drumming woodpeckers. My nose kept almost running. Thought I heard some voices down in the floodplain forest.

Ended at 7 Oaks. Recited “I felt a Funeral in my Mind” and thought about rhythms and interruptions and sense breaking through.

Before the run, I wrote about clocks, priming myself for noticing rhythms while I ran:

That 12-figured Moon Skull!

Today, I’m inspired by my march 6 entry from last year. Here’s what I wrote in that entry:

During the run I listened to the latest “Nobody Asked Us with Des and Kara.” They were talking about recent races, super shoes, fast times, and the future of track. Reflecting on how world records keep being broken Kara asked Des: “What do you think would happen if they took away the clock? Would the race still be exciting?” Des thought it could be, while my mind started wandering. First thinking about how I’ve been trying to forget the clock/watch and not care about pace — mostly, I’ve been successful. Second thinking about Clocks and how I’ve collected some lines (from poems and essays) about the clock, or what Mary Oliver calls it: 

The clock! That twelve-figured moon skull, that white spider belly! How serenely the hands move with their filigree pointers, and how steadily! Twelve hours, and twelve hours, and begin again! Eat, speak, sleep, cross a street, wash a dish! The clock is still ticking. All its vistas are just so broad–are regular. (Notice that word.) Every day, twelve little bins in which to order disorderly life, and even more disorderly though. The town’s clock cries out, and the face on every wrist hums or shines; the world keeps pace with itself. Another day is passing, a regular and ordinary day. (Notice that word also.)

Upstream/ Mary Oliver

So many places to go with the idea of the Clock. Mary Oliver’s ordinary versus extraordinary time. Routines, habits, delight in the daily, repeated events. The Moment between time and its tight ticks, or right before something has happened, or when time (and sense) are disrupted. The time of the day dream. Outside of time and its relentless march forward, towards Death, motivated by progress. Losing time, syncing up with time. What other ways to we have for measuring meaning that don’t involve time passing?

Yes, so many ways to think about the idea of time and clocks!

interjection: Listening to an Apple playlist, ’70s Movie Essentials, and the song, “Time Warp” just came on.

pace definitions (from Merriam Webster)

  • rate of movement, the runner’s pace, especially : an established rate of locomotionrate of progress
  • specifically : parallel rate of growth or development, supplies kept pace with demand
  • rate of performance or delivery : TEMPO, a steady pace, on pace to set a record, especially : SPEED
  • rhythmic animation : FLUENCY
  • a manner of walking : TREAD
  • any of various units of distance based on the length of a human step
  • GAIT, especially : a fast 2-beat gait (as of the horse) in which the legs move in lateral pairs and support the animal alternately on the right and left legs
  • verb: paced; pacing — to walk with often slow or measured tread, to move along : PROCEED, to go at a pace —used especially of a horse
  • to measure by pacing —often used with off: paced off a 10-yard penalty
  • to cover at a walk — could hear him pacing the floor
  • to establish a moderate or steady pace for (oneself)
  • to keep pace with

my new pace: rhythm

I sink in
to a

rhythm: 3
then 2

First counting
foot strikes

then chanting
small prayers.

I beat out
meaning

until what’s
left are

syllables,
then sounds,

then something
new, or

old returned.

My rhythm for breathing, running, and writing. . .and for possessing favorite lines:

from “Practice”/ Ellen Bryant Voight

original:
at night in order to weep, to wait
for the whisker on the face of the clock
to twitch again, moving
the dumb day forward—

mine, in 3/2 rhythm:
wait for the
whisker

on the clock’s
face to

twitch again
to move

the dumb day
forward.

original:
if I came back as a bird
I’d remember that—

mine: 3/2
You — when I
come back

as a bird
will I

remember?

my new pace: a ghost, haunting the trails, inhabiting and possessing words and worlds

Was talking with two of the other clarinet players in band last night about the Calgon, take me away! commercial. Neither of them had heard of it; they’re Millennials. Does a Calgon, take me away, moment disrupt or resist or challenge capitalist time or reinforce it, or both?

Ross Gay and stopping capitalist time: from 29 march 2023

you, too, might’ve been praying for a way to stop the march of so-called time, and poems, sometimes, might do that. Poems are made of lines, which are actually breaths, and so the poem’s rhythms, its time, is at the scale and pace and tempo of the body, the tempo of our bodies lit with our dying. And poems are communicated, ultimately, body to body, voice to ear, heart to heart.9 Even if those hearts are not next to one another, in space or time. It makes them so. All of which is to say a poem might bring time back to its bodily, its earthly proportions. Poetry might make nothing happen. Inside of which anything can happen, maybe most dangerously, our actual fealties, our actual devotions and obligations, which is to the most rambunctious, mongrel, inconceivable assemblage of each other we could imagine.

Gay’s explicit connection to time and against capitalism resonates deeply for me. Stop those clocks, those planes, that machinery we’re using to destroy the planet, the future.

ED’s new grammar of humility and hesitation

Emily Dickinson took the scraps from the separate “higher” female education many bright women of her time were increasingly resenting, combined them with voracious and “unladylike” outside reading, and used the combination. She built a new poetic form from her fractured sense of being eternally on inteIlectual borders, where confident masculine voices buzzed an alluring and inaccessible discourse, backward through history into aboriginal anagogy. Pulling pieces of geometry, geology, alchemy, philosophy, politics, biography, biology, mythology, and philology from alien territory, a “sheltered” woman audaciously invented a new grammar grounded in humility and hesitation. HESITATE from the Latin, meaning to stick. Stammer. To hold back in doubt, have difficulty speaking. “He may pause but he must not hesitate”-Ruskin. Hesitation circled back and surrounded everyone in that confident age of aggressive industrial expansion and brutal Empire building. Hesitation and Separation. The Civil War had split American in two. He might pause, She hesitated. Sexual, racial, and geographical separation are at the heart of Definition.My Emily Dickinson

I really like this idea of hesitation and humility and aboriginal anagogy as a sharp contrast to progress, aggression, confidence/hubris, and time as always moving forwards (teleology). I tried to find a source that could explain exactly what Howe means by aboriginal anagogy but I couldn’t. I discovered that anagogy means mystical or a deeper religious sense and so, when I connect it to aboriginal, I’m thinking that she means that ED imbues pre-Industrial times (pre Progress!, where progress means trains and machines and cities and Empires and factories and plantations and the enslavement of groups of people and the increased mechanization of time and bodies and meaning and, importantly, grammar) with the sacred.

Hesitant
humble —

Okay, now I should go out for a fun. Should I pay attention to rhythms? Chant in triple berries? Look for disruptions? Focus on my breaths?

On my run, I listened to many different rhythms not quite in sync with my own and thought about interruptions and disruptions and how my breathing rhythm is sometimes how I breathe when I run and sometimes my imagined rhythm — real, embodied and also not real, the rhythm I’d like to have.

Concluded the run with an idea that I spoke into my phone: “Regular” time is necessary — I want the conveniences it allows for! — but we need to safeguard that space outside of that time. Poets do that. I try to do that, to keep the door open to that time/space for others.

I’ll end with a wonderful time poem:

[My favorite time is in time’s other side]/ Etel Adnan

My favorite time is in time’s other side, its other identity, the kind that collapses and sometimes reappears, and sometimes doesn’t. The one that looks like marshmallows, pomegranates, and stranger things, before returning to its kind of abstraction. I used to be fond of time as it was a matter that helped us feel intelligent. Those days have gone to where days go, in their own cemeteries. Today I see eternity everywhere. I had yesterday an empty glass of champagne on the table, and it looked both infinite and eternal, though it left me indifferent. At least, I was in good company, and a day closer to all sorts of annihilations.

cemeteries for gone days — to see eternities everywhere — time that looks like pomegranates and marshmallows

feb 18/RUN

5.8 miles
down the franklin and back
31 degrees

A little icy, a little windy, a little crowded. Difficult to run together in these conditions, so Scott and I split up. The sun was bright and I saw some wonderful shadows of trees — gnarled and sprawling across the sky. Heard some geese, smelled some bacon.

When we ran together, Scott and I talked about the half frozen river and how it looked like a gray slushy. What flavor is gray slushy, I wondered. Scott suggested, all the flavors then added, I bet that would taste good. I wondered if this “everything” slushy would include blueberry. No, Scott said, blue raspberry. I mentioned how there is no consensus on the origins of the rasp in raspberry, which I had come across while reading a past entry a few days ago.

How I See

As I continue to work on this project, I want to return to ekphrastic poems. In an article for Lithub — Back to School for Everyone: Ekphrastic Poetry with Victoria Chang — Chang offers some helpful thoughts about the form:

how poets engage with visual art:

  • write about the scene or subject being depicted in the artwork
  • write in the voice of the person or object represented
  • write about their personal experiences
  • fictionalizing a scene within the art
  • write about the work in the context of its socio-political history

In essence, ekphrastic poems are a way to interact with the world and a way to respond to the world. The process of writing ekphrastic poetry also brings into question aspects of viewing, the culture of viewing, and the gaze, always asking the questions of who is looking at what, when, and why?

3 thoughts about Ekphrasis

1: I’m as interested in how someone is looking as who, what, when, or why they are looking.

2: Maybe part of the ekphrasis angle is the idea that sometimes the world looks like a painting to me — pointillism or abstract expressionism or?

3: the contrast between how a photo captures/stills the image in a way that my eyes never can

A view from the ford bridge, poorly framed. Not sure what color other people might see here, but to me it's all gray: light gray sky and river, broken up by chunks of dark gray trees. I like how the sky and the river look almost the same color to me.
8 nov 2023

original description: A view from the ford bridge, poorly framed. Not sure what color other people might see here, but to me it’s all gray: light gray sky and river, broken up by chunks of dark gray trees. I like how the sky and the river look almost the same color to me.

5 nouns/ 5 adjectives/ 5 verbs

nouns: river, water, shore, trees, sky, branches, a bend, surface
adjectives: winding, scraggly, soft, fuzzy, drab, dark, light, gray, wide, flat, contrast, wide
verb: stretching, reaching, standing, stilled, separated, cutting through,\

one sentence about the most important thing in image: The sky and the river are the same color; only the disruption of trees enables me to distinguish between them.

a second sentence about the second most important thing: Everything gray: light gray sky and river, broken up by chunks of dark gray trees.

a third sentence about the third most important thing: In this soft, wide open view, when everything is stilled, silent, nothing is happening.

The nothing that’s happening in this image is full of meaning. Here nothing = no things are doing anything/ nothing to see; nothing = a void, absence, unknowingness; nothing = a rest for my eyes, no movement, everything still, satisfied, stable.

The idea of no separation, no edges or divisions between forms, reminds me of a wonderful poem that I thought I’d posted already, but hadn’t. I think when I first encountered it a few years ago, it didn’t resonate for me. Now, I want to call out, yes!, with almost every line.

Monet Refuses the Operation/ Lisel Muller

Doctor, you say there are no haloes
around the streetlights in Paris
and what I see is an aberration
caused by old age, an affliction.
I tell you it has taken me all my life
to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels,
to soften and blur and finally banish
the edges you regret I don’t see,
to learn that the line I called the horizon
does not exist and sky and water,
so long apart, are the same state of being.
Fifty-four years before I could see
Rouen cathedral is built
of parallel shafts of sun,
and now you want to restore
my youthful errors: fixed
notions of top and bottom,
the illusion of three-dimensional space,
wisteria separate
from the bridge it covers.
What can I say to convince you
the Houses of Parliament dissolve
night after night to become
the fluid dream of the Thames?
I will not return to a universe
of objects that don’t know each other,
as if islands were not the lost children
of one great continent. The world
is flux, and light becomes what it touches,
becomes water, lilies on water,
above and below water,
becomes lilac and mauve and yellow
and white and cerulean lamps,
small fists passing sunlight
so quickly to one another
that it would take long, streaming hair
inside my brush to catch it.
To paint the speed of light!
Our weighted shapes, these verticals,
burn to mix with air
and change our bones, skin, clothes
to gases. Doctor,
if only you could see
how heaven pulls earth into its arms
and how infinitely the heart expands
to claim this world, blue vapor without end.

sept 19/RUN

3.6 miles
trestle turn around (+ extra)
65 degrees / 72% humidity

Out near the gorge, everything is busy today — wheels whooshing, hammers pounding, bobcats speeding by. All the sounds felt electric. I’ve wondered this before (and looked it up, but forgot the answer): is the moisture in the air causing everything to sound different — louder, more intense?

Having just written something about triple berry chants for my class, I decided to do them today. Strawberry / raspberry / blueberry. I think I chanted them for at least a mile. They helped keep my cadence up. Did they do anything else?

10 Things I Noticed While Chanting Triple Berries

  1. Dave the Daily Walker had on bright blue running shoes — nice!
  2. a rollerblader passed me from behind — no clicking and clacking ski poles to alert me to their approach
  3. minneapolis parks has trimmed back the bushes and wildflowers that were blocking part of the already narrow path that splits from the biking path and dips below the road
  4. a runner, only a little faster than me, entered the path in front of me at 32nd. Very gradually, he inched away, then turned off the trail again
  5. more yellow leaves, a few slashes of red, no orange
  6. human voices and the clanging of a dog collar down below on the Winchell Trail
  7. several openings in the otherwise thick trees — dirt trails descending to the Winchell Trail
  8. a noisy runner with an awkward gait — did he swing his arms awkwardly too?
  9. another runner, speeding fast. Almost a blur with feet thumping the ground
  10. at least one loud thud as an acorn fell

Running north, I listened to feet striking the ground, an acorn falling, runners joking. I stopped at the turn around put it Olivia Rodrigo’s GUTS then ran south.

At the halfway point, I took this picture. The river and the gorge are behind those leaves. In a month, I’ll get to see them again!

fall leaves, mostly yellow, several straight brown trunks, no view of the river
no view of the river, near franklin

march 21/RUN

3.25 miles
trestle turn around
32 degrees

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

  1. mud — thick, gooey, dark brown — on the edge of the path and alongside the lingering snow
  2. sporadic geese honks throughout the run
  3. the path was almost completely clear, only a few puddles and strips of ice
  4. the wind was strong and in my face as I climbed out from under the lake street bridge
  5. under the bridge, a parked suburu was facing the wrong way
  6. some of the walking path was clear
  7. the river was open and brown. It looked less like water and more like a flat wall
  8. 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
  9. faintly recall hearing some birds chirping in a distinctive way — was it cheer up cheer up?
  10. 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.

And someone
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.

“Time heals
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.

And there
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.

why
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.

Far away
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
Blue.

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
Sympathy.

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.

march 20/RUN

3.1 miles
ford bridge turn around
29 degrees

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).

The line,

life in
Contemplation, which is hard to tell from day dreaming,

I started chanting contemplation — con tem pla tion con temp pla tion
Then:

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:

con
tem
pla
tion
con
tem
pla
tion
won
der
ing
wan
der
ing

Maybe the
difference
between con
templation
and wonder
ing is the
difference
between 4
syllables
versus 3
even not
odd method
ical not
haphazard
exactness
instead of
spilling o
ver?

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.

sept 9/RUN

5.25 miles
bottom of franklin hill and back
64 degrees / drizzle

Rain today. On and off. When I started, it wasn’t raining, but in the middle of my run, drizzle. It was hard to tell because I was sweating and wearing a baseball cap. A good run. I was overdressed, with my pink jacket on. When I got to the bottom of the Franklin hill, I took it off and wrapped it around my waist.

Running down the hill I chanted,

Here I go
down the hill
Here I go
down the hill
Here I go
down the hill
Watch me fly!

Listened to all the sounds in the gorge running north, a Bruno Mars Apple Essential playlist on the return trip south.

10 Things I Noticed

  1. a stinky sewer smell — not near the ravine, but down in the tunnel of trees
  2. a tower of stacked stones on the ancient boulder
  3. the coxswain instructing the rowers
  4. a rushing sound — either the wind through the leaves or water sprinkling out of the seeps and springs and sewer pipes
  5. so much goldenrod this year! golden yellow flowers everywhere. I wonder if that’s what’s causing Delia the dog’s itchiness?
  6. the leaves are starting to turn, mostly yellow, a few streaks of red
  7. park workers in their orange vests, their truck parked on the path — trimming trees?
  8. such an intense smell of pot as I ran by the lake street bridge porta potty
  9. the smell of cigarette smoke below the franklin st bridge
  10. I think the river was more brown than blue and it was gently moving

In the fall of 2018 (thanks past Sara for writing the date in the front of the book!), I bought Tanis Rideout’s book of poems, Arguments with the Lake. Working on my latest poem, about fighting with the lake, I decided to revisit it. Here’s one of the poems:

Shirley, Midlake/ Tanis Rideout

Hearts are bred to beat one billion times in an elephant
or in a mouse — mathematically simple difference of beats
per minute. Unlucky us with two billion more, slowed
by the hibernetic slumber of escape or blessedly sped by panic,
pain, a six a.m. jog around the block turning, always turning,
clockwise. By love, by sex. By want. So simple to be a fish.

I’m always giving it away. With each stroke, flutter, catch, kick
and the surging need to inhale, inhale, inhale, like I’ve never
taken a breath before.

The lake tries to soothe and slow, creeps cold into core, slips
into the sheltered bays of lungs, the hidden rivers around the heart.
It’s a fair exchange — beats per pleasure. For pain. Each of us is allotted
the strikes of the heart. I’m using mine, arguing with the Lake.

sept 7/RUN

5.9 miles
bottom of franklin hill and back
70 degrees / humidity: 95%
8:45 am

Back to warmer, more humid, mornings. Did my new regular routine with this route: run just beyond the bottom of the franklin hill, turn around, walk up the hill, put on a playlist, begin running again, much faster, at the top.

I don’t remember what I thought about as I ran. I started noticing my breathing pattern: 1 2 3 4 breathe. Then near the top of Franklin, I started chanting, 54321/54321/54321/123. And then, I changed the rhythm slightly and came up with words:

Here I go down the hill
Here I go down the hill
Here I go down the hill
Watch me fly.

To remember it, I decided to pull out my phone and recite it mid-flight down the hill:

chant, 7 sept

10 Things I Remember From My Run

  1. Reaching the bottom of the hill, the water was flat and still. No rowers or waves.
  2. I startled a squirrel as I ran by their hiding place in the brush.
  3. A group of women — I didn’t see them, only heard their voices — climbing the stone steps by the trestle.
  4. A unicycle biking up the steep Franklin hill! I noticed them after the turn-off to go above, so they might have only started there, but I like to imagined this biker biked all the way from the bottom on a unicycle. What a feat!
  5. That same unicycle encountering a skateboarder heading down the hill.
  6. A sewer smell, coming up from the ravine.
  7. Sweat dripping off of my face in big drops.
  8. The buzz of cicadas, the hum of the traffic on the I-94 bridge and the river road
  9. Saying Good morning! in my head to the Welcoming Oaks and out loud to an older jogger.
  10. Noticing the goldenrod lining the path as I walked up the hill.

Speaking of goldenrod, as I noticed the golden flowers on the edge of the trail and wondered if they were goldenrod or something else, I remembered Maggie Smith’s poem “Goldenrod” and decided I should memorize it. I also thought about Robin Wall Kimmerer and her chapter on Asters and Goldenrod.

Goldenrod/ Maggie Smith

I’m no botanist. If you’re the color of sulfur
and growing at the roadside, you’re goldenrod. 

You don’t care what I call you, whatever
you were born as. You don’t know your own name. 

But driving near Peoria, the sky pink-orange,
the sun bobbing at the horizon, I see everything

is what it is, exactly, in spite of the words I use:
black cows, barns falling in on themselves, you.

Dear flowers born with a highway view, 
forgive me if I’ve mistaken you. Goldenrod, 

whatever your name is, you are with your own kind. 
Look–the meadow is a mirror, full of you,

your reflection repeating. Whatever you are,
I see you, wild yellow, and I would let you name me.

july 15/RUN

2.6 miles
2 trails
80 degrees / dew point: 69
noon

Decided to take a break from swimming this morning; went for a run instead. Trying to think about the topic for next week for my class: breathing, rhythm, and pace. Did some triple berry chants, then some rhythmic breathing chants.

triples:

mystery
magical
serenade
history
remember
remember
remember
forget this
forget that
remember

rhythmic breathing: 3/2

everything’s/open
listen up/closely
everyone’s/looking
Can’t you be/quiet?

I know I did more, but I can’t remember them. I heard a black-capped chickadee doing their 2 note call. I tried to match up my feet and my words to the bird’s 2 syllables. I thought about the idea of trying to match my breathing and foot strikes to the rhythms of the gorge. Then I heard the electric buzz of cicadas, and I imagined the buzz as a shimmering shower of rapid beats. I don’t think it’s easily achievable, but the idea of listening to the gorge and then trying to breathe in time with it, is pretty cool — or trying to sync up breathing and foot strikes and heartbeats.

Here’s a great quote that I found (the quote on twitter, the original source from an interview of poets.org):

There is something very important and vital in poetic expression. The way that language is used to just connect us to parts of our experience, that can’t be captured in the linear, prosaic sense, and the instructional register, the command register. Poetry doesn’t do that. Poetry invites us to question, to discover, to delight, to be odd, to be frightened—all of these wonderful emotions that actually open doors inside us and to the world. 

One more thing: Scott send me a very interesting article about new research on woodpeckers and how they’re able to withstand the force of their constant drumming. A couple years ago, when I was researching woodpeckers and writing poems about their drumming, I mentioned learning (I can’t seem to find the entry right now) about how woodpeckers’s heads offer good shock absorption. According to this article about a recent study, that’s not true. Their heads act like hammers and the reason they’re able to endure so much pecking is because their brains are so small. Fascinating.

july 14/RUNSWIM

run: 3.6 miles
marshall loop
67 degrees
8:40 am

Another beautiful day! After all the biking yesterday, feeling tired today. The run felt good, but now I lack motivation to write or remember my run. Still, I’ll try. This week in my class, we’re shifting gears to talk about rhythm, breathing, and translating wonder into words. I decided I’d try to think in triples as I ran: strawberry/blueberry/raspberry/blackberry. Now I’ll try to summarize my run in triples:

singing birds
serenade
neighborhood
daycare kids
playground yells
lake street bridge
up the hill
one lane closed
passing cars
feeling tired
sweating lots
stop to walk
cross the road
avoid bikes
yellow vest
trimming trees
shadow falls
up the steps
down a hill
music on
Taylor Swift
Paper Rings
lifting knees
quick fast feet
ending strong
check my stones
wipe my face
breathe in deep

That was fun! Writing out, “singing birds,” reminded me of the birds I first heard as I walked out my door and up the block. Their 2 note song (not the black-capped chickadee “feebee”) sounded like they kept telling me to Wake up! Wake up! No rowers on the river, which was a pretty shade of blue. Admired how the trees along the shore cast a gentle shadow on the water.

Last night, or was it very early this morning?, I woke up and went downstairs to get some water. Something bright was behind the curtain. The moon? The moon! So big, so bright, so perfect hanging half way up the sky over my backyard. I went out on the deck and marveled at it for a moment. The moon, never not astonishing! Here’s an acrostic poem (I love acrostic poems!) about the moon.


Moon/ AMY E. SKLANSKY

Marvelous
Opaque
Orb.
Night-light
for the world.

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

Writing this the morning after. Arrived at the beach: so windy! The water was choppy, but not too bad. Tried to think about rhythms and breathing as I swam. I remember thinking about how chanting words can help in many different ways: connect you with your breathing, keep you focused and on pace, open you up and make words strange which could lead to new (and better?) words, and is a way to hold onto/remember ideas that come to you while you’re moving (try to remember the idea through a few words or a phrase). I thought about that for just a few minutes. The rest of the time, I was preoccupied with breathing, staying on course, avoiding other swimmers, and worrying that my calf and feet might be tightening up. Can I remember 10 things?

10 Things I Noticed

  1. a silver flash below me — this has to be fish, right?
  2. one dark plane hovering in the air, hanging in the sky for a long time
  3. nearing an orange buoy, it shifted in the wind and the waves. Hard to get around it.
  4. the green buoy was closer than it often is to the big beach, so was the first orange buoy
  5. clouds, no sun
  6. far off to my right: steady, speedy swimmers, approaching the buoy at a sharp angle
  7. a lifeguard kayaking in just before the beginning of open swim, apologizing for the wait (even though it was just 5:30). My response, “no worries,” and I meant it. The lifeguards really have their shit together this year
  8. wiped out after the 3rd loop, I thought I tucked my cap under the strap of my suit. Nope, it must have fallen in the water. Bummer
  9. lots of muck and sand and a few little bits of vegetation under my suit when I got home and took a shower
  10. feeling both so much love for the lake, the lifeguards, and the other swimmers AND also feeling irritated by and competitive with any swimmers near me.

No ducks, or seagulls, or dragonflies, or swans (peddle boats)…not too many people at the beach — are they on vacation this week?

july 6/RUNSWIM

5 miles
bottom of franklin hill
69 degrees
humidity: 79% / dew point: 64
8:30 am

Even though the dew point was high, it was a good run. I tried my new experiment for the franklin hill route (which I first tried on june 22): run 2.5 miles to the bottom of the hill, turn around and walk back up it while paying attention.

recording:

thoughts while walking up the franklin hill

transcript:

july 6, 2022. 8:54 am. Just ran about 2 and a half miles to the bottom of the franklin hill, and now I’m walking up it, and it’s so LOUD. Everything is loud: the rumbling of the rushing cars and trucks above me on the bridge, the cars whooshing by, the bikes, the air is buzzing. It was doing this last night too when I was at the lake swimming. So much energy in the air, made it seem more intense.

The noise of the traffic is almost drowning out all the birdsong. Occasionally it pierces through the heavy curtain of sound.

When I was running earlier, I started chanting in triple berries as a way to get in the mindset [of being open to noticing]. I did strawberry/blueberry/raspberry, then wondering/wondering/wandering, wondering/wandering/mystery, and then, wonder where/wonder why/wonder when/wonder what. I wonder how that would work if I kept chanting it as a way to get into this trance? If I did, wonder what/wonder what/wonder what until I found something that I wondered about.

Heading under the Franklin bridge, I hear some roller skiers behind me. I love the sound of the click [of their poles]. *the sound of roller skiers’ poles hitting the pavement.* click? maybe a click clack? click? yeah. click click. I can’t quite tell. *me, humming*

note: I find it fascinating to listen back to my transcripts — how I don’t finish my thoughts; speak using run-on sentences with and…and…and; and hum without realizing it!

One more thing: As I was running, I remembered something I’d like to add for my class today in terms of wonder as curiosity: I’m calling it, “fill in the blank.” With this activity, you listen for fragments of conversation and try to imagine what the next word would be. I often hear unfinished bits of conversation as I run near others and I wonder what they were talking about or how they finished the sentence that I only heard the first half of. It’s fun, entertaining, a good way to use your imagination, and might lead to a story or a poem.

Here are 2 things I want to archive from twitter: a poem by Wendell Berry and a quote from Mary Ruefle, and one thing I heard from Scott about creativity and dyslexia:

1

To Know the Dark/ Wendell Berry

To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.

2

John Ashbery, in an interview… : “I waste a lot of time. That’s part of the [creative process] ….The problem is, you can’t really use this wasted time. You have to have it wasted. Poetry disequips you for the requirements of life. You can’t use your time.” — Mary Ruefle in Madness, Rack, and Honey

note: I’m a little confused by this notation but I assume it means that Mary Ruefle is quoting John Ashbery in her quote?

3

An article to check out about how people with dyslexia might think more creatively: Dyslexia Helped Evolutionary Survival of Humans, Research suggest. As with most poplular reporting on scientific research, I want to find the original study that inspired this pop article for Newsweek. A few lines caught my eye, including:

Schools, academic institutes and workplaces are not designed to make the most of explorative learning.

But we urgently need to start nurturing this way of thinking to allow humanity to continue to adapt and solve key challenges.

Yes, we need to radically rethink what skills are taught/learned if we’re going to survive the 21st century!

swim: 1 small loop
cedar lake open swim
80 degrees
6:00 pm

Swam across the lake with my 19 year old son! We’ve been practicing and building up his endurance for the last couple of weeks. Today he didn’t seem to have any problem swimming across and back. Hooray! It was fun to swim with him.

addendum: returning to this post a day later — Besides swimming with FWA, one of the best things about swimming at Cedar Lake last night was how clear the water was. It wasn’t absolutely clear, where you could see all the way to bottom 50 feet below, but it was clear enough that I could my legs and hands under the water (they were glowing white) and FWA as he did the breast-stroke. Then, as we left the beach, we both noticed the vegetation below us, growing up from some bottom that stretched endlessly and invisibly beneath us.

june 21/RUNBIKESWIMBIKE

run: 2.25 miles
river road trail, north/south
73 degrees
humidity: 87% / dew point: 73!
7:45 am

I ran north on the river road to the top of the hill just past the lake street bridge. Stopped for a minute, then turned around and headed back. Sunny, but with lots of shade. Forgot to look at the river.

73 for the dew point? That’s bad, or “extremely uncomfortable,” according to Runner’s World. Yes, it was. Do I remember anything other than being uncomfortably warm?

10 Things I Noticed

  1. rower’s voices from down below!
  2. 3 stones stacked on the boulder
  3. a man fully covered in black sweatpants and a black jacket, with a white towel around his neck. Aren’t you hot, I thought as I passed him
  4. dark in the tunnel of trees, difficult to see if other people were there
  5. the pedestrian part of the double-bridge between 33rd and 32nd streets is overgrown with vines and bushes and leaves. Makes it harder to see if someone’s coming the other way, and narrower, making it harder to pass. Thankfully, no collisions today
  6. the small stretch of dirt trail that I take as the path nears the lake street bridge is wet — I think there was a brief, strong storm last night, or was that a dream?
  7. a group of 3 fast bikers riding on the road, a cautious car following behind
  8. a darting squirrel
  9. a flash of movement of the leaves beside the trail – was the flash from the sun hitting the leaves just right, or a critter — a bird or chipmunk or squirrel?
  10. later in my run, encountered Mr. black sweatsuit with white towel again. He said a soft, “morning,” and I nodded my head as a reply

Wow. Finding 10 things today took some thinking and remembering and getting past my overriding feelings of heat and discomfort. Such a great exercise in noticing!

Oh — I almost completely forgot: I also chanted in triple berries. Lots of strawberry/blueberry/raspberry and gooseberry/blackberry/red berry to keep my feet striking steadily. Added in a few mystery/history/mystery, which didn’t quite work, and butterscotch/chocolate sauce/caramel, and please don’t stop. Now I wish I had done more of them. I love the triple berry chants.

At the end of my run, as I was walking back, I listened to my first lecture for the class I’m teaching. I’m asking the students to listen to it on their first walk or run outside. I’m doing this partly because I’d like to make outside be the classroom space as much as possible, and partly because I think listening while moving can help you hear/process the words differently than when you’re inside, sitting still. One thought about the lecture: will my voice put them to sleep?

Mostly I don’t use headphones, but I do like to listen to podcasts or music sometimes. It’s strange how ideas or stories I’ve heard while running get imprinted on where I was on the trail. Even now, years later, as I run below the lake street bridge, I often think of the first season of Serial. Running from downtown to the Bohemian Flats, I think about an episode of “On Being” with Eula Biss. Listening to music or podcasts while moving might seem like a distraction from giving attention to a place, and it can be. But it can also be a chance to create a map of a place, connecting ideas that matter to you with locations that you move through regularly. Does that make sense?

Many people have strong opinions about whether or not you should be listening to anything while you’re moving. Although I do move much more without headphones, I like wearing them too. In my first year of doing this running project, I wrote a series of four acrostic poems exploring this no headphones/playlist debate: Playlist/No Headphones, some reflections

note: I’m typing this paragraph an hour later. When I was writing about headphones and listening, I thought there was something else I wanted to say, but it had drifted from my mind. It came back, in the midst of thinking about podcasts.

When I listen to podcasts, I always wear headphones, not broadcasting them to anyone else on the trail. For the most part, I prefer that others listen with headphones too. Yet, even as I write this, I’m reminded of how hearing someone’s irritating TEDtalk inspired a poem, and how I find some delight in hearing a song blasting from a bike speaker, especially if it’s accompanied by the Doppler effect.

Found this Anne Carson poem on twitter this morning:

Could I/ Anne Carson

If you are not the free person you want to be, you must find a place to tell the truth about that. To tell how things go for you. Candor is like a skein being produced inside the belly day after day, it has to get itself woven out somewhere. You could whisper down a well. You could write a letter and keep it in a drawer. You could inscribe a curse on a ribbon of lead and bury it in the ground to be unread for thousands of years. The point is not to find a reader, the point is the telling itself. Consider a person standing alone in a room. The house is silent. She is looking down at a piece of paper. Nothing else exists. All her veins go down into this paper. She takes her pen and writes on it some marks no one else will ever see, she bestows on it a kind of surplus, she tops it off with a gesture as private and accurate as her own name.

(added this later in the day):

bike: 8.5 miles
lake nokomis and back
87 degrees
4:30 pm (there) / 6:00 (back)

Biked without any problems. 2 distinctive memories, one of the way to the lake, one on the way back.

to the lake: Coasting down the hill between the double bridge and Locks and Dam No. 1, in the hot sun, I passed someone pushing a canoe on wheels. It looked awkward and like they were struggling. I tried to imagine the scenario where you would be pushing a canoe at this spot.

from the lake: Biking under the echo bridge, I heard 2 flutes playing a duet under the bridge, on the other side. It sounded very nice. I imagined calling out, “that sounds great” or “you’re awesome” but I didn’t.

This is the first time I’ve witnessed a canoe being pushed on the paved path or 2 flutes playing a duet under a bridge.

swim: 2 loops
87 degrees
windy

So much wind again. I’m getting used to it. I stayed on course. There was one point where I oriented myself in relation to another swimmer who was off course, so I got a little too close to the buoy, but otherwise, no problem. Again, I seem to swim straight towards the buoys even when I don’t see them, or think I see them. My googles leaked a little, and when I got out of the water there was a film over my eyes. Everything looked like it was fogged up, even though I wasn’t wearing glasses.

One memorable thing: Rounding the last green buoy, parallel to the big beach, I suddenly hit something hard with my hand. Huh? A green plastic bucket. As I flinched and lifted my head out of the water in surprise, I heard a woman laugh. Was she laughing at me? I doubt it. How did the bucket make it out this far?

I breathed every 5 strokes and had fun punching the water when it was extra choppy. Noticed a few planes and clouds above. An occasional flash below, and nothing else but brown, opaque water. Oh — a menancing sailboat, off to my left side. The first one this year!

addendum, june 22: I remembered 2 more memorable things that I don’t want to forget. One while I was swimming, the other while biking.

swimming: I kept seeing another swimmer out of the corner of my eye, but when I looked back again, they were gone. It was strange, because it happened more than once and felt very real, like they were there, and then they weren’t. Maybe it was the yellow buoy tethered to my waist?

biking: Biking back home on the river road trail, I passed a runner, running smoothly and quickly, snapping their fingers repeatedly. Why where they snapping? Not sure. In all the times I’ve passed a runner while biking (or while running), I don’t think I’ve ever heard them snapping!

may 3/RUN

2.85 miles
2 trails
56! degrees

In honor of an entry I posted a few years ago on this day in which I gathered triple phrases, I’m giving a summary in triples today:

Sunny day
crowded trail
noisy kids
singing birds
got my shoes
stuck in mud
almost fell
dangerous
overdressed
dripping sweat
apple watch
stopped again
my legs hurt
difficult
not much green
lots of brown
and some blue
sewer pipe
drip drip drip
muddy path
slip slip slip

This morning, I began listening to David Naimon’s interview with Jorie Graham for Tinhouse. Wow! So many amazing ideas. In it, she’s talking about her latest collection, Runaway. I checked it out of the library and look forward to reading it. Here’s the first poem in it read by Graham. I love how she reads and how much her reading helps me to slow down and sit with the words.

All/ Jorie Graham

After the rain stops you can hear the rained-on.
You hear oscillation, outflowing, slips.
The tipping-down of the branches, the down, the
exact weight of those drops that fell 

over the days and nights, their strength, accumulation,
shafting down through the resistant skins,
nothing perfect but then also the exact remain
of sun, the sum 

of the last not-yet-absorbed, not-yet-evaporated
days. After the rain stops you hear the
washed world, the as-if inquisitive garden, the as-if-perfect beginning again
of the buds forced open, forced open – you 

cannot not unfurl
endlessly, entirely, till it is the yes of blossom, that end
not end – what does that sound sound like
deep in its own time where it roots us out 

completed, till it is done. But it is not done.
Here is still strengthening. Even if only where light
shifts to accord the strange complexity which is beauty.
Each tip in the light end-outreaching as if anxious 

but not. The rain stopped. The perfect is not beauty.
Is not a finished thing. Is a making
of itself into more of itself, oozing and pressed
full force out of the not-having-been 

into this momentary being – cold, more
sharp, till the beam passes as the rain passed,
tipping into the sound of ending which does not end,
and giving us that sound. We hear it. 

We hear it, hands
useless, eyes heavy with knowing we do not
understand it, we hear it, deep in its own
consuming, compelling, a dry delight, a just-going-on sound not 

desire, neither lifeless nor deathless, the elixir of
change, without form, we hear you in our world, you not of
our world, though we can peer at (though not into)
flies, gnats, robin, twitter of what dark consolation – 

though it could be light, this insistence this morning
unmonitored by praise, amazement, nothing to touch
where the blinding white thins as the flash moves off
what had been just the wide-flung yellow poppy, 

the fine day-opened eye of hair at its core,
complex, wrinkling and just, as then the blazing ends, sloughed off as if a
god-garment the head and body
of the ancient flower had put on for a while – 

we have to consider the while it seems
to say or I seem to say or
something else seems to we are not
nothing.

Graham’s poem inspired me to create a writing/noticing experiment for my list:

Follow along as Jorie Graham reads her poem, All. Then one day after it has rained, go to the gorge with her lines: “After the rain stops you can hear the rained-on” and “After the rain stops you hear the washed world”. Listen. Can you hear the rained-on? What does the washed world sound like? Make a list of your answers.


march 10/RUN

5 miles
franklin bridge and back
17 degrees / feels like 7

What a gift this winter-almost-spring run is this morning! A reminder of why I love winter runner with its cold, crisp air and quiet calm. It was a little difficult to breathe, with my nose closing up on me (hooray for sinuses), and it didn’t always feel effortless. Still, I was happy to be outside with the world — the birds (pileated woodpeckers, geese, cardinals), the Regulars (Dave, the Daily Walker and Daddy Long Legs), and the river, sometimes brown, sometimes blue.

Before I went out for my run, I read a lot of different poems and essays about poetry and breath. Decided I would think about rhythmic breathing, running rhythms, and chants. I started by counting my foot strikes, them matching it up with my breathing of In 2 3/ Out 2 or Out 2/ In 2 3: 123/45, 123/45 then 54/321, 54/321. A few miles later, I thought about a verse from Emily Dickinson’s poem, ‘Tis so much joy! Tis so much joy!” that I imagine to be a prayer or a spell or reminder-as-chant. I started repeating it in my head:

Life is but Life! And Death, but Death!
Bliss is, but Bliss, and Breath but Breath!

With this prayer/chant, I matched the words up to my foot strikes in several different ways, none of which were 123/45 or 54/321.

Equal stress on each syllable/word, and the altering of the poem slightly:

Life Is But Life
Death Is But Death
Bliss Is But Bliss
Breath Is But Breath

Then in ballad form (I think?), with alternating lines of: stressed un un stressed / 3 stressed but silent beats (or not silent, but voiced by my feet, striking the ground):

Life is but Life
x x x
Death is but Death
x x x
Bliss is but Bliss
x x x
Breath is but Breath
x x x

Then in 6, with 2 feet of stressed, unstressed, unstressed (a dactyl):

Life is but Life is but
Life is but Life is but
Death is but Death is but
Death is but Death is but
Bliss is but Bliss is but
Bliss is but Bliss is but
Breath is but Breath is but
Breath is but Breath is but

Then in 4 again, one spoken beat, three silent:

Life xxx
Life xxx
Life xxx
Life xxx

Or, like “The Safety Dance”:

Life life life life
Death death death death
Bliss bliss bliss bliss
Breath breath breath breath

These were so much fun to do, and helpful in keeping me going as I grew tired. When I chanted them, my pace was about 8:40 and my heart rate was in the upper 170s (pretty standard for me). At one point, I pulled out my phone and recorded myself mid-run. Later, when I stopped running and was walking back, I recorded myself again.

Dickinson chant during run
Dickinson chant after run

It’s interesting to check back with the poem now and see that I had added words to make the rhythm more steady and even. Seeing how Dickinson wrote it, I want to try these chants on another run with the right words. How will I fit “And Death, but Death!” with my feet? Is this part of Dickinson’s disruption of rhythm?

I like the repetition of these chants and how, if you repeat them enough, they lose their meaning, or change meaning, or change the space you’re running through, or change you. It reminds me of some lines from a poem I recently wrote about running by the gorge and rhythmic breathing. It’s in 3/2, In 2 3/Out 2:

I

settle in-
to a

rhythm: 3
then 2.

First counting
foot strikes,

then chanting
small prayers.

I beat out
meaning

until what’s
left are

syllables,
then sounds,

then something
new, or

old, returned.

Wow, this is so much fun for me, thinking through how my running, and breath, and poetry, and body, and the words work (and sometimes don’t work) together. Very cool.

And, here’s a poem that doesn’t fit neatly with my running rhythm/chants, but fits with the idea of getting outside to move by the river:

How to Begin/ Catherine Abbey Hodges

Wipe the crumbs off the counter.
Find the foxtail in the ear of the old cat.
Work it free. Step into your ribcage.

Feel the draft of your heart’s doors
as they open and close. Hidden latches
cool in your hand.

Hear your marrow keep silence,
your blood sing. Finch-talk
in the bush outside the window.

You’re a small feather, winged seed, wisp
of cotton. Thread yourself
through a hole in the button on the sill.

You’re a strand of dark thread
stitching a word to a river. Then another.

march 8/RUN

5 miles
Veterans’ Home Loop
34 degrees

A bright beautiful morning for a run. Ran south to Minnehaha regional park, past John Steven’s House, over to the Veteran’s Home, through Wabun, then back north on the river road trail.

10 Things I Noticed

  1. the river was open, the water brown, the banks glowed with white snow
  2. there were big puddles on the sidewalk, but the trail was almost completely clear
  3. one huge puddle covered almost the entire trail between 42nd and 44th
  4. bird sounds heard: the song and drumming of a pileated woodpecker; a cardinal’s trill; the fee bee song from a black-capped chickadee; a goose’s honk
  5. kids were playing at minnehaha academy; I could hear their laughter. Also heard the teacher’s whistle for the end of recess
  6. some of the sidewalks around minnehaha regional park were covered in sharp, crusty snow that had frozen again overnight
  7. at Wabun Park, I had to stop and walk in the snow because the trail was covered in a thick, slick sheet of barely frozen ice. A fat tire slowed way down to bike over it. I liked the crunching sound of the fat tires as they crushed the ice
  8. a traffic jam at the 3 way stop near the entrance to wabun: 4 cars went by before I could cross
  9. just north of the 44th street parking lot, something orange near the WPA stone steps down to the Winchell Trail caught my eye as I ran by. A jacket? Graffiti on the stones? Not sure, but I think it was the sign on a chain stretched across the railings to block the entrance. I couldn’t see anything clearer, partly because of my vision and partly because I was in motion. It was almost as if my brain called out to me, “Orange!”, and that was it
  10. a wide open, brilliant view over to the other side

vision check

At least twice in the past week, when I’ve been running south on the river road trail, this has happened: I see a runner approaching from a distance. As I get closer, I check to see where they are, but they’ve disappeared. I can’t see them at all. I look again and they’re back. I must be losing more cone cells.

an experiment

It didn’t last for a long, but I tried chanting in triple berries (strawberry/blueberry/raspberry), then counted my rhythms: 123/45 and 12/345. I tried matching a few words to the rhythms, but now I can’t remember the words. I tried experimenting with these 123/45s and 12/345s a few years ago. I’d like to try again.

Found this wonderful poem on Two Sylvia’s Press in the chapbook, Shade of Blue Trees:

FIG TREE AT BIG SUR/ Kelly Cressio-Moeller

Each day leaning
into morning,
five-fingered leaves
wave in unison,
beckon jays
for branch-play.
 
The youngest leaves
arch green faces upward,
devour sun off the Pacific.
The golden elders
bow closer to earth–
the perfect shape
for water to run
 
as rain, as fog
down to the root line.
When afternoon rays
light them just right,
 
they become a ring
of open palms
giving the last
of what they have.

nov 7/RUN

3.15 miles
turkey hollow
50 degrees
humidity: 81%

Shorts weather. Overcast, everything a brassy yellow with brown and gray. A nice run in my new shoes. Cold update: almost gone. Just a thin layer of crud lining the throat, lungs, in the nose. Slighter harder to breathe when running.

Went to Gustavus Adolphus College for FWA’s first fall band concert yesterday. Very cool. I love that he’s attending the same school Scott and I did. It’s so great to go back and remember where my life began. Before the concert we walked around the arboretum/prairie, to a big sculpture of a bison on a small hill. As we walked the mowed grass trail, we saw a “river of birds” above our heads (love this phrase, river of birds, which is how a friend from band that we saw at the concert described it). Thousands of birds flying above us, their wings flapping like thunder. I think they might be starlings or swallows? An amazing thing to witness — the whole sky filled, looking like static. A few times, right above our heads, the birds would split up, with a mass of them flying left of us, another mass flying right.

At some point during my run, I began counting in 3s and doing triple berry chants: strawberry/blueberry/raspberry — raspberry/blackberry/gooseberry. I added in mystery and later: ri/ver/road ri/ver/gorge run/ning/path thir/ty/eighth (for 38th street steps) tres/tle/bridge. I stuck mostly with the meter: stressed/unstressed/unstressed. I should remember what meter this is, but I always forget: is it iambic or anapest. I started chanting those two: an/a/pest — i/am/bic Sometimes An/a/pest, sometimes an/a/Pest I/am/bic i/am/Bic

Just looked it up:

anapest = unstressed unstressed stressed
iambic = stressed unstressed
dactyl = stressed unstressed unstressed

So, it was dactyls, not iambic or anapest. I KNOW I’ve written about this a few years ago, and I’ve reviewed it many times. Will I ever remember? I think I should print it out and put it under the glass on my desk, so I can look at it all the time.

Anyway, as I was thinking about meter and form, I decided that I’d like to use triples — with dactyls and anapests — as the meter (or form?) for another poem about haunting, with the theme of a faint trail, the trace, the worn dirt as path and evidence of others, the residue/remains as offering (poem, an alleluia on the page, Mary Oliver).

Here’s a poem that fits with this idea of what remains (or refuses to die/leave?, that persists, offers up something unexpected or not quite locatable):

Perennials/ Maggie Smith

Let us praise the ghost gardens
of Gary, Detroit, Toledo—abandoned
lots where perennials wake
in competent dirt & frame the absence
of a house. You can hear
the sound of wind, which isn’t
wind at all, but leaves touching.
Wind itself can’t speak. It needs another
to chime against, knock around.
Again & again the wind finds its tongue,
but its tongue lives outside
of its rusted mouth. Forget the wind.
Let us instead praise meadow & ruin,
weeds & wildflowers seeding
years later. Let us praise the girl
who lives in what they call
a transitional neighborhood—
another way of saying not dead?
Or risen from it? Before running
full-speed through the sprinkler’s arc,
she tells her mother, who kneels
in the garden: Pretend I’m racing
someone else. Pretend I’m winning.

oct 10/RUN

3 miles
2 schools loop
50 degrees

Another beautiful fall morning. I thought about doing a longer run, crossing the ford bridge, running up the east side of the river, but I knew it would be annoyingly crowded on a Saturday morning. So I did what I often do on the weekends, ran around the kids old elementary schools: Hiawatha (K-2) and Howe (3-5). Started on the river road trail but soon crossed over to edmund. I don’t remember the view, only the multiple times I had to stutter step to avoid streaking squirrels. Inspired by a podcast I listened to yesterday, I tried to focus on my breathing and striking feet. I chanted triples. At first, it was difficult. I kept repeating “strawberry/blueberry/raspberry” but eventually I expanded my list:

  • delightful
  • bemusement
  • mystery
  • logical
  • circular
  • wonderful
  • difficult
  • diffident
  • caterwaul
  • symphony
  • musical
  • deduction
  • induction

I am a little out of practice with these. I haven’t spent much time chanting; I’m too busy trying keep my distance.

Today’s October Surprise

First: Watching the original 101 Dalmatians with Scott last night. I love the jazzy, be-spotted opening credits. I couldn’t read all the text (not even close) but I still enjoyed it. Interesting fact from Scott and Mental Floss: 30% of all Dalmatians are deaf:

Around 30 percent of all Dalmatians are inflicted with deafness as a result of their spotted markings. Breeding dogs with this coat can lead to a lack of mature melanocytes (melanin producing cells) in the inner ear. Without these, dogs can become hard of hearing. Dogs with larger patches of black are less likely to be deaf. 

Second: Running around Howe School, I noticed a quick white flash up in the clear blue sky. Was it the moon or a plane? Even though the upper regions of my central vision are all dark, I was able to tilt my head and see that it was a plane. Such a small thing, but the more I learn about my vision, the more astonished I am when I see anything that small in such a broad field of blue!

feb 19/RUN

4.2 miles
trestle turn around plus extra
5° feels like 4 below
50% snow and ice covered

A only slightly edited transcript of my notes about the run, dictated into my notes app on my phone.

A lot of slippery spots. Very sunny this morning. It felt really cold. About a mile in greeted Dave the daily walker. Almost yelled out to him, “it’s cold today!” He is hard-core–no coat again but some gloves. Running right before I got to the trestle I heard a beep beep beep beep beep beep beep sound. I wondered if it was the train and then after I crossed under the trestle and was still heading towards downtown, I heard the rumbling of a train. It lasted a long time. I thought about turning around and running back so I could see the train but I decided against it because I wanted to keep going north. I listened to the rumble and I couldn’t quite tell if it was coming from Saint Paul over to Minneapolis or from Minneapolis over to Saint Paul. I experimented with chanting in threes when I turned around and headed south again. Uppercut/ bowling ball/ sweaty brow Then I started chanting in triple berries: raspberry/ blueberry/ red berry/ green berry pink berry/ orange berry/ blueberry/ raspberry/ gooseberry/ mulberry I chanted them over and over again to try and keep a steady rhythm. I saw a couple other runners, a few walkers. I thought I heard some kids yelling in the gorge but then I realized it was geese honking.

thoughts about dictating running notes

  • Not sure if I like the notes app for this. It was a bit awkward and I think (at least I hope) it added in some random words.
  • I write much better than I speak.
  • I need to stop feeling so self conscious doing this. I also need to be more deliberate and thoughtful in what I say.
  • I still have to add in periods and capitals, which is irritating.
  • This is a good exercise for me. I need to get used to doing something that someday might be necessary.

The Blink Reflex/ Rick Barot

I have this notion that if you live long enough,
there are three or four great stories that you will have in your life.

A story of a journey or a transformation.
A story of love, which will likely mean the loss of love, a story

of loss. And a story of spiritual illumination,
which, for many, will probably be the moment of death itself,

the story untellable, its beginning and middle
and end collapsing with its teller into a disappearing conclusion.

I have believed long enough in my notion
to know that it is a romantic notion, that it erodes each time

I realize that the shard and not the whole
comprises a life, the image and not the narrative. Otherwise,

there’s no reason why all I remember of the airplane
I took as a child from one country to another

is the moist towelette packet we were given with our meal,
the wonder and absurdity of it. Or that, in love,

high in a tree in the dark, and high, he and I sat in the rain-damp
branches and ate 7-Eleven donuts. Or this, this piece

of a story that isn’t even mine, that isn’t even a story
but a glance of an experience, of the friend who held the stray

dog after it was struck by a car. Not knowing whether the dog
was dead, my friend called a friend

who worked for a vet. Poke the dog in the eye, this friend said.
Because if the animal no longer has a blink reflex,

it probably means the animal is dead. Decades after
college, when you could do such a thing, I typed his name

into a search engine to find out what became of the 18-year-old
boy from the tree. Like dozens of old keys

in a drawer, so many of the wrong people with the right name.
The child dead from leukemia, with a school gym

named for him. The wrestler who had a perfectly square jaw,
like a cartoon police detective in a fedora.

When I arrived at a page that was certainly
about him, I no longer knew the face, but I recognized the life

that he had had. He had transferred to
another college, gone to film school, and become a producer

of TV documentaries. A film about fishermen, the harsh fishing
season in Alaska. A film about Abraham Lincoln

and a film about the last days of Adolf Hitler.
A film about the Sherpas who go up and down the Himalayas.

What a beautiful poem. I love the title and the way the stories/fragments are woven together and the sweet, soft rhyme of “and high, he and I” and the playing with the romantic notion that we each only have 3 or 4 great stories.

feb 16/RUN

3.35 miles
river road, south/north
19 degrees/feels like 11
15% ice-covered

Ahhhhhh!! Winter running! Not too cold but cold enough to be able to breathe in fresh, cold, crisp air. A mostly clear path. Not too much wind. Not too many people. Everything quiet, still. Saw at least three people walking their dogs down on the Winchell trail. Encountered a fat tire biking alongside a runner. A few pairs of walkers. One or two other runners. Don’t remember hearing any birds cawing or chirping or honking. Not much traffic noise. Thought I heard some sloshing or dripping water at one point. Marveled at my new favorite view just past the oak savanna. One problem: I don’t remember there being so many bare trunks here between me and the river. Am I remembering the wrong spot? I love how the flat hill at the savanna–we call it the mesa–curves down to reveal the river.

triple berry chants

Did some triplet chants again: all berries. Without thinking, briefly chanted blueberry/ blackberry/ red berry. Then wondered why a raspberry is called a raspberry and not a red berry and why blueberries are called blueberries and not something else. Found a buzzfeed article that was a little helpful: The Delicious Origins of Summer Fruit Names

Here’s what is written about raspberries:

Like the strawberry, the raspberry isn’t a true berry in the biological sense of the word. And also like the word strawberry, we don’t know what its rasp- is about.

The word raspberry is found relatively late in English, attested in the early 1600s. An earlier form, raspis-berry, might give clues to its origins. In Middle English, raspise was a sweet, pink wine, possibly from the Anglo-Latin vinum raspeys. But this raspeys remains unexplained. Suggestions include the French rasper, “to scrape,” referring to the fruit’s rough appearance, and an Old Walloon word for “thicket.”

The listicle also mentions gooseberries and mulberries. And further down, it happens to mention the tree, sycamore. Another satisfying triplet. Maybe I’ll chant: gooseberry/raspberry/mulberry and then some trees: sycamore/cottonwood/? Need to think more about a third triplet tree.

to float, to haunt

At some point, thought about the article I read earlier this morning about the biomechanics of the run and the “double float” phase, which is when both feet are off of the ground. I usually think of this as flying but is also cool to think of it as a floating. What else floats: clouds, hot air balloons, ghosts, bodies in water, buoys, bubbles. I like the idea of being a ghost, floating and haunting the trail that I’ve traveled so many times in the last five years. Haunt is such a wonderfully rich word: to frequent, visit often; to continually seek the company of; to trouble; to reappear continually in; to visit or inhabit as a ghost; to stay around or persist, to linger; a place habitually frequented

feb 11/RUN

5 miles
stone arch bridge, one way
25 degrees
50% snow-covered

After noticing how pretty it looked in the (bohemian) flats yesterday afternoon, decided to run north on the river road to stone arch bridge today. Scott had a meeting downtown, so he could drive me home. One way runs are great. Yesterday afternoon the path looked clear and dry but it must have snowed a little last night because a lot of it was covered in soft, slippery, energy sapping snow. And, there was a blustery wind too. Still a great run. Still very glad to have done it.

Greeted Dave the Daily Walker as I ran up from under the lake street bridge. Admired the curved wall and fence on the Winchell Trail between the trestle and franklin bridge. Noticed the river flowing quickly. Not looking slush slow today. Reaching the bottom of the hill, running past Annie Young Meadow, I heard water gushing through the limestone cliff, close to where a mudslide had closed the road for almost 2 years. At the top of the hill near the turn off to Wilson Library at the U, the sun came out and so did my shadow. Hello friend! Then I noticed the river was no longer brown but blue. Not steel blue but blustery blue. Beautiful. Attempted to run up the steep hill with the I-35 bridge. Made it about halfway, then walked a few minutes. Ran again all the way to the stone arch bridge and watched the roaring, choppy, churning water of St. Anthony Falls.

Had some thoughts about my How to Be project and the ways running fits into it but cannot remember them now. Right before heading outside for the run, I thought about the importance of surrender. Paying attention by letting go. Not trying to control but to breathe.

Speaking of breathing, I just remembered something about my run. To regulate my pace and breathing, I chanted. Strawberry/ Blueberry/ Raspberry. Over and over again. One foot strike for every syllable. As I ran down the franklin hill I decided that blackberry fit better than strawberry and chanted that: Raspberry/ Blueberry/ Blackberry. I chanted this mostly in my head. A few times, I mouthed it and at least once, I whispered it. Very helpful in keeping me steady and in a dream-like state. Considered switching in other 3 syllable words but never did.

Triplet Words/Rhythms/Dactyl Meter

  • Beautiful
  • Terrible
  • Wonderful
  • Mystery
  • Decadent
  • Diffident
  • Dental Care
  • Vision Quest
  • Telephone
  • Underwear
  • Prototype
  • Punching bag
  • Summer time
  • Radical
  • Reticent
  • Waterfall
  • Avalanche
  • Certainly
  • Understood
  • Icy cold
  • Ignorant
  • Buttercream
  • Factual

Interesting note found in my research about dactyls: “Strawberry (as the word is pronounced in East Tennessee—elsewhere it’s two longs and a short).” So East Tennesseans say it the British way, I think. Speaking of East Tennessee, I was just listening to an episode of Dolly Parton’s America and learned that East Tennessee was originally a part of the Union during the Civil War. Maybe I knew that at one point, but I had forgotten.

may 4/RUN

2.25 miles
mississippi river road, north/south/north
71 degrees

Is everyone in Minneapolis out biking today? It seems like it. I’m glad I ran instead. I would have been scared to be on such crowded bike trails with my bad vision today. Not being able to bike as much as I’d like sucks. Did a combination of running and walking because I just ran 6 miles yesterday. So warm and sunny! My legs felt sore. Do I remember much of the run? Big groups of bikes on the road and the path. Not too many runners. Lots of traffic. The river was beautiful. What a day!

some 3 beat phrases:

what a day
it’s so hot
lots of bikes
stopped to walk
sun beats down
not much wind
green abounds
afternoon
legs are sore

eat my shorts
dive right in
shut your mouth
eat your greens
take the steps
on your left
river road

Summer Haibun
Aimee Nezhukumatathil

To everything, there is a season of parrots. Instead of feathers, we searched the sky for meteors on our last night. Salamanders use the stars to find their way home. Who knew they could see that far, fix the tiny beads of their eyes on distant arrangements of lights so as to return to wet and wild nests? Our heads tilt up and up and we are careful to never look at each other. You were born on a day of peaches splitting from so much rain and the slick smell of fresh tar and asphalt pushed over a cracked parking lot. You were strong enough—even as a baby—to clutch a fistful of thistle and the sun himself was proud to light up your teeth when they first swelled and pushed up from your gums. And this is how I will always remember you when we are covered up again: by the pale mica flecks on your shoulders. Some thrown there from your own smile. Some from my own teeth. There are not enough jam jars to can this summer sky at night. I want to spread those little meteors on a hunk of still-warm bread this winter. Any trace left on the knife will make a kitchen sink like that evening air

the cool night before
star showers: so sticky so
warm so full of light

I’ve talked about it for a while but I’d finally like to try writing a few haibuns about my running routes. A goal for this month! This example from Aimee Nezhukumatathil is beautiful. I love the line, “There are not enough jam jars to can this summer sky at night.”


may 23/RUN

5.1 miles
67 degrees/81% humidity
the franklin loop

3 miles in, I decided to stop and walk on the franklin bridge. I’m glad I did. Looking out over the Mississippi, I saw one of the biggest birds I’ve ever seen. To me and my questionable vision, it looked almost like a mini-plane floating way up in the sky. Wow, what a wing span! Could it have been a broad-winged hawk or an eagle or a kestrel or a falcon? No idea, but it was cool to see. Tried rhythmic breathing while chanting in my head:

raspberry/coulis
strawberry/custard
mundane is/monday
terrible/tuesday
wonderful/wednesday
terrific/thursday
fabulous/friday
saturday/so so

Not sure how it works for me, but I’ll try it again next time I run. Didn’t see the Daily Walker but was able to greet a few other runners. Didn’t see many bikes or roller-skiers or dogs. Smelled some lilac bushes. Heard the hum of traffic and the shuffle shuffle scratch scratch of my feet on the gritty path. I finished at my favorite part of the path and before the mosquitoes found me, I enjoyed stopping and peering down into the gorge. And I realized: I’ve been writing about the gorge in the summer as having a thick, green veil that blocks your view. That’s not quite right. The trees are thick and you can’t see the river, that’s true, but they don’t totally block your view of what’s down below. Part of what makes it feel so mysterious is how the trees are spaced out, offering quick flashes of more than green. When I look closely, I can see the steep slope and the trunks of the trees reaching above and below me. Even as I can’t see the floor of the floodplain forest, I feel it and how high above it I am. I’d like to spend more time studying this spot and figuring out how to better describe it.

bonus: here’s a great list of the birds found near the Mississippi River Gorge. What’s a mergenser or a tern? I need to find out.

may 19/RUN

2 miles
59 degrees/79% humidity
mississippi river road path, north/brackett park

Overcast. Thick, heavy air. Buggy. Relentlessly green. Cool but clammy. Went on a quick run with Scott. Kept it nice and easy and talked most of the way about the book I’m reading on rhythmic breathing. Earlier today, while I was waiting for Scott to wake up, I did a writing experiment with rhythmic breathing:

For slow, easy runs breathe in for 3, out for 2. 

In 2 3.
Out 2.
Blueberry
crumble
Raspberry
tartlet
Vanilla
custard
Strawberry
ice cream
Beautiful
dreamer
Primary
colors
Mystery
novel
Forbidden
forest
Untimely
death — update, 19 may 2024: just noticed that this only has one syllable. How did I not notice that before?
Let it be
over
Long lost love
refound
Terrible
headache.

For fast runs, breathe in 2, out 1.

Refried
beans
Oven
fries
release
doubt
embrace
me
Sara
smile
Sunshine
bright
Flowers
bloom
Tempers
flare
Striking
feet
Flailing
arms
Yelling
font
Famous
fig
Noisy
bar
Smoky
room
Salty
beer
Bathroom
line
Early
heat
Maple
tree
Thunder
thighs
Coming
storm
Nervous
dog
Gangly
knee
Giving
up
Staring
out.

So much fun!

dec 1/7 MILES

37 degrees
franklin hill turnaround + extra

7 miles on a beautiful morning. Next week it’s supposed to get much colder but not today.  Great weather for running! As I neared the big Franklin hill I decided to mix up my running rhythm and create a chant in 6/8 time with triplets instead of 4/4 time with straight quarter notes. It was hard to quickly compose sentences with this rhythm so I went for 3 syllable words. After trying out:

mystery beautiful mystical marvelous wonderful magical

I settled on a 4 bars of 6/8 with the words:

raspberry
strawberry
blueberry
chocolate

Occasionally I added in a fifth bar/word: delicious

This chant worked well for keeping me focused and steady. It especially helped me run up the Hill.

Towards the end of the run I encountered by favorite person on the path: the Daily Walker. I always see him, all year round. He’s very dedicated with his walking.