mississippi river road path, north/south
What a day! Sunny. Light breeze. Warm. So long snow. Passed a woman early on, breathing heavily. Her loud gasps, almost echoing above the gorge, followed me for a few minutes. Celebrated with my shadow, both of us so happy to be outside this morning. Wondered what the workers in yellow vests were waiting for near the lake street bridge. Heard that same barking dog–the one I heard a couple of times a few months ago–pass by me in that same white truck. Weird. Stopped at the railroad trestle and took the steps down, below the trestle, still above the river. Hiked for a few minutes, climbing a few small hills–more like mounds. Heard a few woodpeckers. Turned around and had a wonderful view of the underbelly of the railroad bridge. Then started running again. When I was almost done, a squirrel decided to race me, not darting out in front of me but running beside me through the dead leaves. Was able to say good morning to the Daily Walker.
Here’s one other poem that I marked to remember from The Collected Works of James Laughlin:
THE LONGEST YEAR/james laughlin
Began with snowstorms, one after another.
In March a frantic night of wind took down
The huge sugar maple that showed a hundred
Rings when it was cut up for firewood.
Spring was dubious and too short, a hot
Summer too long. A child drowned in Tobey
Pond, it was horrible. Only in October
Were there a few perfect days with the leaves
Ablaze. Again before its time, baleful winter
Set in. Cars skidded on the icy roads.
At Christmas a false thaw deceived us
For a week before a deadly ice storm had
The branches of the trees cracking like
Rifle shots as they broke off all night.
It was a battlefield in the woodlot
Next morning. I didn’t count the days
Of that malevolent year, I only wished
Never to see such another. . . until,
Blessed miracles, it was true spring,
the lilacs blooming, the daffodils
Nodding, and you, Persephone, came up
From the world below to seek me out.
franklin hill turn around
Hooray for Fridays and good weather and good runs and conquering big hills and paying attention to the river and noticing your shadow and imagining it leading you down the hill and then, when it’s behind you on the way back up, imagining it gently pushing you forward until you are all the way up and not exhausted and for not being bothered by bad smells like burnt toast or earth thawing near the sewer and keeping relaxed and remembering to smile and listening to Lizzo singing about being 100% that bitch and not slipping on ice because there isn’t any ice and not feeling pain or fear or doubt and for the Daily Walker who is always there on the path no matter what the weather walking and saying “good morning” to you as you run by and for the sun that decided to come out today and sparkle on the water and warm my back and make me believe in the beauty of mid December mornings.
- Cry Me a River/Justin Timberlake
- The Flesh Failure/Hair
- Truth Hurts/Lizzo
- Don’t Stop Me Know/Queen
- Closer to Fine/Indigo Girls
- Landslide/Fleetwood Mac
- Get Lucky/Daft Punk
- Firework/Katy Perry
- I’m So Free/Beck
- TiK ToK/Ke$ha
- Can’t Stop the Feeling/Justin Timberlake
- Breathe/Anna Nalick
bike to lake nokomis and back: 8.8 miles
run around lake nokomis: 2 miles
And the heat wave continues. Decided to bike to the lake. Was planning to swim when I got there, but I cut my finger pitting cherries yesterday and I’m wary of open swimming with an open wound. So, I ran instead. So hot! Even in the shade. Managed to run almost all the way around. Stopped at 2 miles. Saw a few other people running. Mostly slowly and miserably. Ended my run near the fishing dock. A paddle boat was up on the grass with no one around. How did it get here?How long has it been here? Where are its paddlers? When I got back to the big beach, I returned to my bike and grabbed my water bottle. The ice had melted, but the water was still cool. Then I walked into the water. It’s warmed up fast! A few people were out swimming, doing wide loops around the white buoys. Standing on the sandy lake bottom so clear and clean with the water almost up to my chest, the sun reflected off of the waves, bright and sharp, hurting my eyes. Not nearly as pleasing as the sun-casted shadows of leaves dancing in the breeze near the bike rack that memorized me before my run. Leaving the water I felt cold. Mostly refreshed but chilled too. And wet. Dripping, not from sweat, but from a wet suit. Later, drying off my sandy feet at a picnic table. I heard the click click clack beep of a metal detector as a man slowly walked around the trees near the trail. I’ve seen people–only men, actually–in the lake looking for treasure, but not in the grass. Did he find anything?
Found a short story online called Water In Its Three Forms. I like the idea of organizing a short lyric essay/prose poem around the theme of water. So much of what I wrote about in today’s entry involves water!
swim at the ywca: 1875 yards
bike to ywca and back: 8 miles
Much of my bike ride was devoted to paying attention to the path and other people so I don’t remember noticing much else. It was very windy, both on the way to the y and on the way back. It was so windy coming off the Sabo Bridge that it almost took my breath away. Biked mostly on the greenway trail, which follows the an old railroad line, cutting across the city. You can take it all the way to Bde Maka Ska (formerly Lake Calhoun). A great, wide path. Easy to ride on with my bad vision. Much easier than the windy river road path.
My swim felt good. About halfway into it, I started to notice the shadows on the pool floor. Very faint. Coming from the leaves fluttering on the trees right outside the windows. Then I noticed the sloshing noise of my body moving through the water. And the fact that the blue line in the middle of the lane is 6 squares across. And the random stuff settling at the bottom, floating just above the white tiles and the metal drain. And the occasional click of my shoulder or wrist or knuckle or something, the noise amplified by the water. And the limbs of other swimmers as I passed by them. I spent most of the time trying to keep track of what lap I was on, but other thoughts did creep in. I can’t remember any of them now, but I do remember feeling like I was existing in a different sort of time, almost other-worldly. Pretty cool. Not as cool as open water swimming time, but still cool. I’m thinking that I should bring a notebook for these swims so that I can immediately record my thoughts, before they disappear.
A good run. Steady and slow. There was cool shade and when there wasn’t, my shadow kept me company. Glanced down at the gorge and all I could see was green and a few slashes of brown. No river. No sandy path. So much green–a sea of it. I kept thinking that it was hard to distinguish between shades of green and that maybe I should think about textures and shapes instead? Soft fuzzy greens. Sharp, spiky greens. Thick, heavy greens. Ran through some swarms of bugs on the way to the franklin bridge. They flew into my eyes and my mouth until I tipped my hat so low that all I could see was the ground. Scott had warned me about them, but I was already committed to my route and decided that experiencing the bugs might make for a good story or a good description. Does it? Not sure what to say about the bugs other than that they seemed determined to drown in the fluid in my eyes. Yuck. On the east side of the river, ended up following (not too closely) a runner ahead of me for a few miles. Would I have run faster if I hadn’t been trying to keep a big distance from her? Maybe. Towards the end of the run, I got to say, “good morning” to the Daily Walker. Always a great way to end my run.
Early on in the run, I remembered a poem I read this morning. It was about cottonwood trees. I wondered, when will the cottonwood trees start snowing cotton? Probably in June.
Cottonwood/Kathy Fagan/from Sycamore
The cottonwood pollen is flying again,
Adrift like snow or ash. It lines
The curbs, it sticks to my lips
Like down to a fox’s muzzle.
I made a poem about it years ago.
We were new then. We’d set fire
To our old lives and made love day
And night, mouths full of each other.
Back then, we were a match
For June: arrogant, promising, feverish.
For as long as we live, summer returns
To us. And snow, ash, they, too, return.
Scott and I started at the Guthrie, ran next to the beautiful, extra blue Mississippi river under the Hennepin Avenue bridge and over the Plymouth bridge through Boom Island and Father Hennepin park over the Stone Arch bridge and then back to the car. At the start of the run, I noticed so many intense shades of blue. The sky a purplish blue clashing with the steel blue river and the royal blue biking/walking signs on the path. Then I noticed the wind–such wind!–almost taking our breath away. 15 mph with strong gusts.
Scott stopped to take a picture on the Stone Arch bridge and I asked him to include me in the picture:
mississippi river road, south/minnehaha falls/north
The temperature may be below freezing but it still feels like spring. The water at the falls was gushing. The path was clear. The sun was shining. The elementary school kids were outside, gleefully shouting. Thought about my mom while I was running and looking over to St. Paul. Is this one of the reasons I like to have an obstructed view to the other side of the river? To see St. Paul, the city where my mom was born and raised (technically, she lived in West St. Paul, but close enough)? Running back towards the end of my run, I saw the shadow of a small bird flying behind me. It seemed strange and I wondered, how often do I see the shadows of birds? Not often, I think. I tried to keep my run steady and slow and my pulse low. It worked. A good run. Now, a good day.
6 degrees/feels like -3
mississippi river road path, north/south
What a run! It hardly felt cold, except for my hands which took about a mile to warm up. Sunny. Bright blue sky. Clear air. The snow on the path packed tight.
I was the only runner out there. Did I see any walkers? I can’t remember. Glad I didn’t wear any headphones because I got to hear the snow crunching. Two sounds. One that was steady, almost like grinding or styrofoam being crushed. The other that was softer and shorter. I like these sounds, maybe partly because they are a little annoying.
My shadow ran with me today. She was my friend, leading me along. About a mile into the run one of the tassels on my hat, which had been my mom’s cross country skiing hat before she died, hit my shoulder like it was tapping me, trying to get my attention. My mom saying hello? I imagined her there with me.
I don’t remember hearing any birds. I did glance down at the gorge a few times and saw the river. Was it flowing? I can’t remember. Noticed the silhouette of an oak’s gnarled branches against the deep blue sky. There wasn’t a lot of wind, only occasional gusts that picked up the fresh snow that fell sometime last night and swirled it around.
By the end of the run I was very warm. With a mile left, I was dripping sweat. After the run was over my face burned from the sweat that had frozen on my face.
Yesterday, when it felt too bright and too cold and I was stuck in a car, trying to drive, I wondered, like most everyone else I talk to, why winter is so long and when it will leave. But today, outside on the path, breathing in the cold, absorbing the blue sky, feeling the crunching snow, I remembered that I love winter and am fine if it stays for a few more months.