jan 29/SWIM

2 miles
ywca pool

Was planning to run on the track, but when we got to the y I realized I had forgotten my shoes and a running shirt. Oops. Luckily I remembered my swimming stuff and that the pool wasn’t too crowded. I’m fine sharing a lane with someone, but it’s difficult for me to circle swim. Sometimes, it’s hard to see other people when I have to pass them because of my vision.

Because I like making note of my vision challenges, both to share them with others and to document them for myself, I’ll offer three from today at the Y:

one: checking for an open lane. I looked as carefully as I could to see if there was an empty lane. When I saw what I thought was one, I checked it twice more to be sure. It looked empty to me. I got in, was adjusting my goggles, and suddenly a swimmer came from behind in my lane and pushed off the wall. This lane was not empty. It was no big deal, and the swimmer was happy to share a lane, but it’s frustrating to try carefully to see something and not be able to. Of course, this could happen to anyone when you’re not paying attention, but I was paying attention and this isn’t the first time this has happened. I’m getting better at not letting it bother me too much or remind me of what I’m losing.

two: finding my locker. I don’t always use the same locker in the locker room, and sometimes I don’t stop to memorize where it is. Luckily the Y switched from locks, where you bring your own combination lock, to keys with a shiny safety pin and the number of the locker attached. When I’m done swimming and I head to my locker, I stop for a minute to stand still and study the key, slowly making out the number on it. Then I carefully scan the lockers until I find mine. Like the empty lane that wasn’t, my need to study my locker key isn’t that big of a deal. But, it has been an adjustment, to slow down this much, and to look to others like I don’t know what I’m doing or that I need help. I don’t mind asking for help when I need it, but I find it stressful to be offered help when I don’t.

three: feeling older than I am. At the sink before swimming, I heard a grandmother talking with a young kid (her granddaughter, I assume): can you be my eyes for me and get that? My eyes aren’t working well today. I say these words to my daughter at least several times a week, which doesn’t bother me. I’m glad to have the help, but I’m 48, which is really young to have the eyes of someone in their late 70s or 80s.

All three of these challenges aren’t big, but they’ve required lots of adjustments and accommodations and extra effort. I don’t mind doing them as long as I can swim. And what a great swim it was! I felt strong and relaxed and almost in a dream floating above the pool floor shimmering with shadows. The mysterious white thing that I’d wondered about a few days ago was gone. Now, in another lane, something else — a string? strands of hair? — were hovering a foot above the bottom. The woman I was sharing a lane with alternated between freestyle, backstroke, and an extra froggy breaststroke. Near the end of the swim, a very fast swimmer arrived in the lane next to me. So much fun to watch him fly by and shoot like a rocket off the wall after a flip turn! Once as he approached, after lapping me at least twice, I kept my head underwater longer so I could watch his fast flip turn.

a moment of sound

Sometimes when it’s this cold outside (feels like -8), it’s harder to get outside for a walk. So instead, I go outside for a minute or two — a moment — and record a moment of sound. Today’s moment was at 1:30 pm in my sunny backyard. My favorite part: the wind chimes, the chirping bird, and that crunchy snow!

jan 29, 2023 / 1 pm / backyard

dec 12/SWIM

1.5 miles
ywca pool

After a week and a half off because of COVID quarantining (daughter RJP had it, not me), I was able to go back to the pool. Crowded. Did my usual swim — continuous 200s, breathing every 3/4/5/6 by 50s, not stopping until I saw Scott at the end of the lane. I felt strong and steady and happy to be using my muscles differently. My kneecap (or was it just above my knee?) felt weird once, but otherwise was fine.

10 Things I Noticed

  1. Miss Luna came about 20 minutes into my swim
  2. my nose plug kept shifting and I had to stop a few times to adjust it. I didn’t feel any water coming in my nose, but I could feel my air coming out
  3. after the first few flip turns, my nose burned from the chlorine
  4. looking straight ahead underwater, I watched as my hands made bubbles as they entered the water
  5. the woman one lane over was swimming breaststroke, her frog kick looked extra froggy
  6. a man in black swim trunks was walking the length of the pool by the far wall. Why?
  7. looking up, I noticed someone at the end of my lane. She asked to share a lane. Sure! I think I might have said yep too.
  8. the woman sharing my lane kicked a lot as she swam freestyle. I saw, but didn’t feel, the water churning as I swam past
  9. turning on the wall, pushing off, looking ahead and noticing the bubbles of my lane partner, and thinking about how I was gaining on her*
  10. orange: my orange bag, the orange sign saying No lifeguard on duty, Scott’s orange swimming trunks

*I’m not really that competitive (am I?), but I do get some pleasure in being faster and passing people. I don’t want to race them, just pass them. It makes me feel like I’m going faster.

In the middle of my swim I started thinking about the Ishihara plate I’m working on, the one about the test and why it, and the Ishihara plate as form, is important to me. I thought about how the draft I worked on this morning seems to offer a redemptive conclusion — I will choose to see my changing vision not as losing it, but it being made strange. Then I thought about how I don’t want to do that, to resolve it, to make it a moment of redemption. As I circled around the pool, I wondered how to make this Ishihara poem more messy and uncertain. Even as I do prefer to understand my vision as strange and not lost, I don’t want to conclude the poem with this idea. As I was thinking this — and in far less words than I’m writing now! — I thought of something else, how I find the Ishihara plate pleasing with its many circles and dots — I love polka dots! — and colors, but I also find it a little gross and upsetting. It looks like disease or cancer cells under a microscope. I’m thinking about cancer a lot right now. Scott’s mom just died of lung cancer, and we’re watching Walter White deal with lung cancer on Breaking Bad — FWA finally convinced us to watch it and wow, what a show! What to do with this idea in the poem? Not sure, but I’m also thinking about cancer cells as uncontrolled growth and the uncontrolled growth of the market as progress in capitalism, and then how the version of cone dystrophy I have is progressive — it gradually worsens, so here progress is not about getting better, but getting worse. Whew — that’s a lot! Not sure how, if it all, I’ll use this in the poem, but it was helpful to think about it in flashes as I moved through the water.

dec 11/RUN

3.4 miles
trestle turn around
31 degrees
10% snow-covered

Getting closer to my running goal for the year: 1000 miles. With today’s run, I have just over 34 miles left! Sloppy today — not so much on the bike trail, which was mostly dry, but the sidewalks and the roads. Everything slushy, almost melting. My socks splattered with mud.

Another good run. Started slow, stuck behind a runner who was going about my speed. I kept my distance (40 or 50 feet?) but I wondered if they were irritated by my constant presence. Or is that just me? A mile in, as we climbed the hill out from under the lake street bridge, I sped up and passed her.

I listened to an old playlist titled, bday2018. Lizzo, Justin Bieber, Little River Band, Lorde.

Greeted Mr. Morning! and waved at a bunch of runners. Slipped on a few stray bits of ice. Noticed the river — white, covered in snow. Didn’t look at the sky. (Checking now, it’s gray). Saw walkers, dogs, fat tires. No birds or squirrels or coyotes.

I’m working on my fifth colorblind/Ishihara plate poem. This one is about the Ishihara plate and why it’s a significant test for me. I want to do something with the circles and loops and the idea of taking this test and not seeing the number as the first big moment of recognition that there was something wrong with me. I dismissed it, thinking only that it meant I was one of those rare, quirky people who saw color strangely. But it was the first moment of acknowledgement that whatever strange things I had been experiencing for years weren’t just in my head. Others — my husband and kids — could see that I saw differently too. I feel like I keep writing this in different ways on this log, over and over, trying to find the right way to express it. Maybe that’s part of the circles/circling too? There’s something about the idea of inside and outside here too — this test made what had only been inner (my unexpressed/not-yet-understood thoughts about seeing strangle) outer (visible to the word, acknowledgement as a problem, or as a real thing that I was experiencing).

dec 9/BIKERUN

bike: 25 minutes
bike stand, basement
run: 1.25 miles
treadmill

Not too cold outside, but a bit icy, uneven. Today’s workout was all about adding another mile to my year total and getting a chance to move after sitting at my desk all morning while working on a poem. Watched a race while I biked, listened to Lizzo while I ran.

Worked all morning on a colorblind plate poem. This one is a cento and includes lines with colors from some of the almost 800 poems I’ve gathered on this RUN! log. Yesterday afternoon, I gathered them and discovered something: many — most? — of the poems I’ve gathered don’t mention color. Colors popped into my head as I pictured the images in the poems, but because of association and the colors I connect with certain things, not because color words were used. This was surprising to me.

The name of this poem is In (or inner if Scott can fit it in the colorblind plate), which refers to my inner color world, how I imagine color now that I can’t see it as well. Here it is:

draft of IN

Lines from the following poems:

Separation / W.S. Merwin
Ars Poetic / Aracelis Girmay
Cold Morning / Eamon Grennan
Becoming Moss / Ella Frears
Wild Geese / Mary Oliver
With A Song / Christina Pugh
Paean to Place / Lorine Niedecker
Trilliums / Mary Oliver
The Road Not Taken / Robert Frost
Forsythia / Ada Limón
Autumn / Linda Paston
Colors passing through us / Marge Piercy
A Rhyme for Halloween / Maurice Kilwein Guevara
Orange / Wendy Cope

Here’s one of the poems that I hadn’t posted yet. It’s a great one for winter; I might use it for my class!

With A Song/ Christina Pugh

There’s something about music: the wish to
be in the dark. Like I don’t know what person
this voice must belong to. At times I love
a secret, what sheers away from intellect.
Intrepid horn of birdsong when you won’t
see or know the bird. Or sometimes
I’m riding in the car on I-80, dipping
my eyes into the glamour of Ohio, its red
barns or white barns severally unpainted
by tactile fingers of winter weather.
White barns with green roofs. Sky-blue
with white roofs. Wait, isn’t sky-blue brighter
than any sky you really see? Canned sky,
you might reply, hyperbole of color. Platonist
Crayola blue. Would anyone trade a teal
feather for a trill? The highway will line
with mud and snow stripes along a fence,
then apple orchards spider in the ice.
A long stand of pines before the strip mall.
And still from the radio, an alto atremble:
I love not knowing who it belongs to.


dec 1/SWIM

1.5 miles
ywca pool

Back to the pool. Hooray! Swam a lot of loops — 99 laps — while breathing every 3, then 4, 5, then 6. Worked on breathing on my weaker side (left) when breathing every 4. Decided not to count, just swam until Scott entered the pool area and stood at the top of my lane. Not very crowded today. A guy in swim trunks to my right, swimming a lot of side stroke. It was fun to watch the wide sweep of his hands as he moved through the water on his side. Empty to my left, then Miss Luna arrived. Almost positive it was Miss Luna — the regular swimmer who swims with fins and paddles and does butterfly, and wears a pale green suit, with pale blue too, that makes me think vaguely of a luna moth. She wasn’t in pale green with blue today, but a similar suit. Same strong stroke, same fins.

They must have added chlorine since my last swim. Much clearer, sharper too. The blue of the tiles on the bottom that make the lines dividing the sides of the lane were a vivid blue instead of almost looking navy or black. Speaking of color, kept seeing yellow and orange when I lifted my head.

Felt strong and happy and buoyant, riding the surface, smoothly powering through the water. At some point, I started thinking about my color poems. I’ve written one about yellow, another about color in general. Before swimming, I started one about gray. Almost everything is gray or seems gray or leads to gray. Other colors are only pops, flashes, suggestions. I thought about making the poem mostly variations on the phrase, a gray day, or singing a song of gray, or gray area, or grayed out. Then I thought about having the poem visually mimic how I often see color. It’s frequently a flat or hazy gray until suddenly, to the side, a slash or pop of color appears, like orange or red. So, most of the words are gray, gray day, gray dreams, sing a song of gray, then off to the side, “orange” appears. Could this work? I’ll give it a try!

december challenge

I’m not sure what my challenge for this month will be. I’m in the thick of working on these color poems and prepping for my finding wonder in the winter writing class in late January (so excited to teach this one!). Should it be about orange? Or the poet that just wrote a collection partly about her degenerative eye disease — Julia B. Levine — titled, Ordinary Psalms? Or joy, inspired by recently purchasing Ross Gay’s Inciting Joy and my desire to explore what gray joy could be? I’ll give it another day, but I’m leaning towards Gay and joy. In the meantime, here’s one of Levine’s psalms from Ordinary Psalms:

Psalm with Near Blindness/ Julia B. Levine

i. 
The world mostly gone, I make it what I want: 
from the balcony, the morning a silver robe of mist.

I make a reckless blessing of it—the flaming, 
flowering spurge of the world, the wind 

the birds stir up as they flock and sing. 
Edges yes, the green lift and fall of live oaks,

something metal wheeling past, 
and yet for every detail alive and embodied— 

the horses with their tails switching back and forth, 
daylilies parting their lobes to heat— 

I cannot stop asking, Sparrow or wren? Oak
or elm? Because it matters 

if the gray fox curled in sleep 
is a patch of dark along the fence line,

or if the bush hung with fish kites 
is actually a wisteria in flower. Though 

even before my retinas bled and scarred 
and bled again, I wanted everything 

different, better. And then this afternoon, 
out walking the meadow together,

my husband bent to pick a bleeding heart.
Held it close as I needed 

to see its delicate lanterns, 
the shaken light. 

ii. 
Deer, he says, our car stopped in traffic. 
And since I can’t see them, I ask, Where?

Between the oaks, he answers,
and since I can’t see the between,
                                                                I ask, In the dappling?                        
He takes my hand and points 
to the darkest stutter in the branches 
                                                                and I see a shadow 

in the sight line of his hand, his arm, 
his blue shirt with its clean scent of laundry, 

my hand shading my eyes from glare. 
There! he says, and I can see 
                                                              the dark flash of them 
                                                              leaping over a fence (or is it reeds?), 

                                                              one a buck with his bony crown, 
                                                         and one a doe, and one smaller, a fawn,

but by then it seems they’ve disappeared 
and so I ask, Gone?
and he nods. 

We’re moving again,

                                                               and so I let the inner become outer 

                                                               become pasture and Douglas firs 
                                                               with large herds of deer, elk, even bison, 

                                                               and just beyond view, a mountain lion 

auburn red, like the one we saw years before, 
hidden behind a grove of live oaks, 

                                                                                        listening.

Oh, I am so excited to find this poem and the brilliant work of this poet! I can relate to so many of her words! The silver mist of the morning, the edges mostly gone, the emphasis on movement, her husband helping her to see, the inner becoming outer. Some differences too (probably partly because I imagine my vision isn’t quite as bad as hers): I don’t think the world is gone, more shifted, italicized, transformed. And I don’t need to know exactly what type of tree I’m seeing. I’d like to be able to tell the difference between a deer or a bush — sometimes I can’t — but the fine details matter less.

My thoughts on this last bit, about seeing exactly what’s there, are partly inspired by Levine’s response in an interview about the psalm. She says:

As I worked on it, this poem felt to me like a meditation on one particular dilemma of near blindness: that is, in the absence of a clear visual image, how the mind fills in, and what relationship this kind of seeing” has to spiritual notions of “vision” as opposed to a medical/anatomical definition of “sight.”

To explain further, there are some absences of visual perception that I actually like: I don’t see how dirty my house is, or whether or not my clothes are covered in blonde dog hair, and my friends and family all look very beautiful to me since I cannot see their wrinkles or whatever else might be considered “flaws.”

But I have loved the natural world since I was a small child and it is my inability to see it accurately that pains me. So, in the poem, I am interested in both how tounderstand what I do “see” as a amalgam of my own mind and memory, plus the relational construction that primarily my husband lends to me, and finally, what I can actually perceive. The result of this perceptual construction can sometimes feel like an important “truth” as opposed to visual fact.

I have loved the natural world since I was a small child and it is my inability to see it accurately that pains me.

Interview with Julia B. Levine

I love the natural world, but I’ve never needed to see it accurately in the ways that Levine seems to be invoking. I’m not interested in critiquing her perspective, but in positioning mine in relation to it. Also, I’d like to understand more of what she means by accurate. The more I (attempt to) study how vision and sight work, the more I’m fascinated by how much guesswork it involves for everyone, even “normally” sighted people. The brain filters, guesses, fills in. What does it mean to see nature accurately? Also, what about other senses? Can they enable us to access parts of nature that our limited/biased vision can’t? Losing some sight and the ability to easily, and more quickly, with much more detail, sucks, and I struggle with it. But I’m also interested in ways of knowing/understanding/recognizing/becoming familiar with beyond central vision and fine detail. I ave a different project than Levine, but I deeply appreciate her words.

nov 29/WALKBIKERUNSHOVEL

a walk with Delia
longfellow neighborhood
27 degrees / snow
100% snow-covered

Took Delia the dog for a walk around 2 blocks. She needed the exercise, I wanted the fresh air and to see the conditions of the sidewalk. Too much snow. If I hadn’t tweaked by foot on uneven snow a few weeks ago, I’d be more willing to risk it and go for a run by the gorge, but not today. Everything white and gray. Walking north the snow felt like sharp shards. I breathed deeply. Oh, that cold air! Brittle, abrasive, cleaning me out. Taking these breaths in the cold air, walking in the soft silence, or almost silence, are some of my favorite things to do.

…a few hours and 6+ inches of snow later

bike: 20 minutes
bike stand basement
run: 2.2 miles
treadmill, basement

Lots of unshoveled/unplowed snow and uneven ground outside. Watched a running race while I biked, listened to a “Taylor Swift fitness” playlist while I ran. In between, I listened to 2 versions of another colorblind plate poem. This one is about the various strange ways I see color and how those shift depending on some things I can predict, some I can’t. I’m calling it, “Shifty.”

shovel: 32 minutes
deck, front sidewalk

The snow has stopped. I’m not the greatest at guessing, but I’d say there’s at least 6 inches. Okay, I had to do some digging (excuse the pun), but I found a snow total for St. Thomas, which is about a mile from my house. 7.5 inches. Yikes. That snow was no joke to shovel. Almost too much. Listened to Mexican Gothic and got to the part, almost 8 hours in, where the big secret of the evil house is revealed. Surprising and interesting and gross too — I won’t spoil it for anyone who might be reading this and hasn’t read the book.

Today’s song of gray

I can’t quite remember what it was now, but something made me think of gray air and breath. Searched for “gray breath” on Poetry Foundation and found this poem. This past summer, I watched a lecture from Aimee Nezhukumatathil in which she began with this poem:

First Grade/ Ron Koertge

Until then, every forest
had wolves in it, we thought
it would be fun to wear snowshoes
all the time, and we could talk to water.

So who is this woman with the gray
breath calling out names and pointing
to the little desks we will occupy
for the rest of our lives?

Earlier today, I had another poem I was thinking of posting as today’s song of gray — granite. I’ve decided to post it too because of the wolf and snow connection:

nunatak/ Jane Lovell

a stone ridge exposed by wind,
a lip of stone curled at the glaucous wind,
its harrying across blown snow;
a skyline ridge, blade-and-socket spine
of something fossilised, claws sunk
in the hidden world below;
a ridge of stone, a pebbled egg
abandoned in its cleft, the embryo
a shock of livid skin in frozen oils;
a granite ridge, its icebound edge
orbited by tracks of lupine shadow
swerving out across the void.

nov 27/RUN

3.4 miles
trestle turn around
32 degrees

Another beautiful morning. Sunny and calm and not too cold. Clear trails, no big groups of runners. No fat tires or roller skiers either. Exchanged greetings with Mr. Morning! Remembered to look at the river. It was open and blue. At one spot, it shimmered. I listened to Taylor Swift’s 1989, then Reputation instead of the gorge.

Before my run, I fit the draft I did of my yellow poem into the colorblind plate form. I think it works pretty well.

yellow, plate 2

I haven’t come up with the single word hidden in the colorblind plate yet.

I’m nearing the end of my month of singing a song of gray. Here’s a gray poem about tombstones and spirits by Edgar Allen Poe:

Spirits of the Dead/ Edgar Allen Poe

I

Thy soul shall find itself alone
’Mid dark thoughts of the gray tombstone—
Not one, of all the crowd, to pry
Into thine hour of secrecy.

   II 

Be silent in that solitude,
Which is not loneliness—for then
The spirits of the dead who stood
In life before thee are again
In death around thee—and their will
Shall overshadow thee: be still.

   III 

The night, tho’ clear, shall frown—
And the stars shall look not down
From their high thrones in the heaven,
With light like Hope to mortals given—
But their red orbs, without beam,
To thy weariness shall seem
As a burning and a fever
Which would cling to thee for ever.

   IV 

Now are thoughts thou shalt not banish,
Now are visions ne’er to vanish;
From thy spirit shall they pass
No more—like dew-drop from the grass.

   V 

The breeze—the breath of God—is still—
And the mist upon the hill,
Shadowy—shadowy—yet unbroken,
Is a symbol and a token—
How it hangs upon the trees,
A mystery of mysteries!

Speaking of gray and Poe, I encountered this line from his short story Eleonora:

They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night. In their gray visions they obtain glimpses of eternity, and thrill, in awakening, to find that they have been upon the verge of the great secret. 

Eleonora/ Edgar Allen Poe

nov 26/RUN

5.6 miles
fairview loop
42 degrees

A little warmer today so I wore the late fall, early winter layers: black tights, black sorts, long-sleeved green shirt, orange sweatshirt, black and white polka dot baseball cap. Sunny, quiet. Almost all of the trail and sidewalks were completely clear. Only a few spots of ice on the Marshall hill just before reaching Cretin. Managed to get greens at all of the stoplights climbing the marshall hill– no quick breaks for me. Had to stop at the two on Summit.

10 Things I Noticed

  1. heard the bells at St. Thomas at both 10 and 10:15
  2. was dazzled by the light burning bright off the river
  3. felt the wind pushing me from the side as I crossed the bridge
  4. the strong smell of bacon or ham as I neared longfellow grill
  5. a few stretches of ice on marshall, some patches of wet sidewalk that looked like ice but was only a trick of the light
  6. a bus stopped, a few passengers getting out
  7. statues at the end of the walk of fancy houses on Summit: pineapples, lions
  8. a kid’s voice somewhere below in the ravine leading to shadow falls
  9. a runner stopped on the bridge to take a picture of the river as it shimmered with a wide swath of bright light
  10. a woman and a dog carefully making their way under the chain closing off the old stone steps

Climbing the short hill that starts at the Monument and ends at an entrance to Shadow Falls, I suddenly had a thought about yellow that made me stop and pull out my phone to record it:

Thinking about colors and yellow and then I was thinking about how sometimes it used to be this warning, this shout, like watch out, be careful and now it’s become more of a whisper or a soft cry or more hushed and it’s increasingly getting that way so colors are more muted and muffled… [the other voices in the recording are 2 bikers and 2 then 2 runners].

yellow/ 26 nov 2022

Not sure what happened with the recording here, but I remember saying more about how distant yellow seems now. I never see it as bright, but faded, from the past, or through the gauzy veil of my damaged cones. Sometimes only the association with objects. I might not see that something is yellow but I know that it is because I know safety vests or crosswalk signs or the middle light on a stoplight are yellow. Orange works differently for me. It’s not faded, but it often only appears as a blip or flash or slash or flare in my peripheral vision. Again, yellow offers a soft, constant glow. I was also thinking about Van Gogh and his idea that every color is ultimately a variation of gray.

excerpt from Yellow Lullaby/ Leontia Flynn

A spill of sunlight and a yellow dress.
A yolk.
A yellow flower.                                                
A candle flame.
A moth-light, moon-like,
in the nursery’s darkness . . .

nov 22/RUN

5.5 miles
franklin loop
27 degrees

Warmer this morning. Hardly any ice or snow on the path. My foot is only slightly sore at the end, but otherwise okay. Sunny and bright. A blue sky. As I reached the river at the beginning of my run I heard then saw a lone goose. Thought about color, especially yellow and gray. Listened to my breathing. Focused on taking deep breaths in through my nose, out through my mouth. Was good morninged by Mr. Morning! He called out from across the trail, Good morning! and I called back.

10 Colors I Noticed

  1. the yellow dotted lines on the bike trail
  2. the orange spray paint around the cracks that need to be replaced
  3. a pale blue sky
  4. a dark blue trash can
  5. the dark gray pavement that seemed to have a hint of blue
  6. the silver river — or was it white gold? through the trees, the river burned a bright white
  7. beige or sepia-toned ice on the river
  8. the grayish-dark brown of the bare trees
  9. the slab of white snow decorating one side of the ancient boulder
  10. the dark greenish-gray of a fir tree

In other color news: an essay I wrote 5 years ago popped into my head while I was running — “My Purple Toe” — and I thought about how the toe in it is not purple but lavender gray

Update on my foot: Scott and I had to go pick FWA up from Gustavus, so I’m writing the rest of this later in the day. A few hours in the car, not moving much, my foot felt stiff and sore again. I walked around a bit and it felt okay. I asked Scott if that’s what happens with his foot and he said yes. Does this mean I have plantar fasciitis? I hope not!

Today’s gray theme: more on the color gray

[Here on this edge I have had many diminutive visions.]/ Diane Seuss

Here on this edge I have had many diminutive visions. That all at its essence is dove-gray.
Wipe the lipstick off the mouth of anything and there you will find dove-gray. With my
thumb I have smudged away the sky’s blue and the water’s blue and found, when I kicked it
with my shoe, even the sand at its essence is pelican-gray. I am remembering Eden.
How everything swaggered with color. How the hollyhocks finished each other’s sentences.
How I missed predatory animals and worrying about being eaten. How I missed being eaten.
How the ocean and the continent are essentially love on a terrible mission to meet up with itself.
How even with the surface roiling, the depths are calmly nursing away at love. That look the late
nurser gets in its eyes as it sucks: a habitual, complacent peace. How to mother that peace, to wean
it, is a terrible career. And to smudge beauty is to discover ugliness. And to smudge ugliness is to be
knocked back by splendor. How every apple is the poison apple. How rosy the skin. How sweet
the flesh. How to suck the apple’s poison is the one true meal, the invocation and the Last
Supper. How stillness nests at the base of wind’s spine. How even gravestones buckle and swell
with the tides. And coffins are little wayward ships making their way toward love’s other shore.

nov 21/SWIM

1.5 miles (2700 yards / 108 laps)
ywca pool

Very glad to be able to swim this morning. My foot, which has been sore the past few days, feels much better today. Swimming instead of running will help even more. I swam my usual continuous 200s. Decided not to count the laps and just keep swimming until Scott came to the pool and stopped at the end of my lane. A few workouts ago, I asked him to stop at the end of my lane instead of going straight over to the hot tub to wait for me to be finished. I explained that it’s hard for me to recognize him — I might not be able to do it. Now I don’t have to worry. It’s not hard for me to see a person with bright orange shorts at the end of my lane. Just another strategy for dealing with not being able to see that well.

10 Things I Noticed While Swimming

  1. a few more things on the ground, at least one stringy thing floating in the matter — I was in a different lane, so that might it explain why there were more things. It could also be that it’s time for them to clean the pool again
  2. no chlorine stings
  3. crowded — most lanes had 2 people
  4. the woman sharing the lane with me was a great swimmer. I liked watching her freestyle as I approached her, and the way she shot off the wall
  5. 2 Regulars — Mr. Speedo, the older white man who is lanky and probably has been swimming for 1/2 a century, and who wears a dark speedo and the oldish white woman in the pale blue and green suit who sometimes wears fins or booties on her feet, mitts on her hands. Today, after about 30 minutes in the water, she started swimming butterfly. It might be a stretch, but I think I’ll call her Miss Luna after the luna moth which is pale green — this luna moth is not a butterfly, but people often mistake it for one
  6. predominant color I noticed again: orange. I think a lot of the orange I see are the small sandwich board signs that are orange and read, caution wet floor, or someting like that
  7. looking straight ahead through the cloudy water, I could just barely see my lane partner approaching. She was in a solid dark suit and was streamlined, making me think of a small shark — surprisingly, this didn’t make me nervous
  8. at one point, Miss Luna and the shark were swimming at the same speed, on either side of me. It was fun speeding through the two of them — like what, a rocket?
  9. one distinctive noise — the squeak of my nose because my nose plug was not on properly
  10. 2 older women in the locker room discussing the big snow storm in upstate New York. 2 things in particular I remember: first, that the football had to be moved somewhere else and two, about how after a big storm there are always tons of pictures on social media of people who are stuck and can’t open their front doors

Today’s gray theme: gray variations

The Nomenclature of Color/ Richard Jones

Absinthe green: Laura’s eyes.
Bishop’s purple: Evening skies.
Cornflower blue: Dreams of the wise.
Dragon’s-blood red: My mother’s dark sighs.
Elephant’s breath: Imagination.
Forget-me-not blue: The dust of cremation.
Guinea green: Ruination.
Hessian brown: The dust of creation.
Iron gray: The paradox of clouds.
Jade green: The bride’s necklace.
Kingfisher blue: Justice and grace.
Lavender gray: A widow’s shroud.
Medici blue: The heart that is jealous.
Nile blue: The color of water.
Onionskin pink: A poem for my daughter.
Pearl gray: The wedding gift.
Quaker drab: The virtue of thrift.
Raw sienna: Dirt we sift.
Seafoam green: The rowboat adrift.
Tyrian rose: Love’s ardor.
Ultramarine blue: Heaven’s color.
Venetian pink: Hell below.
Wedgewood blue: The little we know.
Xanthine orange: The taste of life.
Yvette violet: The lips of my wife.
Zinc orange, zinc blue, zinc white: The colors of houses in paradise.

Iron gray
Lavender gray
Pearl gray

Doing a google search about gray, I found this article with 6 Popular Gray Paint Colors: Agreeable Gray, West Coast Ghost, Seize the Gray, Balboa Mist, Comfort White, and White Metal.

from “ode to gray”

Gray in the wild opens and spills. Put two grays together and you’ll see the color each one hides within, the “endless variations” noted by Van Gogh. I think of the handful of river pebbles I once snuck into my pockets on a day trip to a waterfall: they were dusty gray when I got home, but underwater, each concealed a secret separate life as green or red or blue. So many things that seem gray on the surface have a treasure to unlock—myself, I hope, included.

from To Theo van Gogh (a letter from Vincent Van Gogh to his son)

As regards black in nature, we are of course in complete agreement, as I understand it. Absolute black doesn’t in fact occur.2 Like white, however, it’s present in almost every colour and forms the endless variety of greys — distinct in tone and strength.3 So that in nature one in fact sees nothing but these tones or strengths. 

The 3 fundamental colours are red, yellow, blue. Composite: orange, green, purple.

From these are obtained the endless variations of grey by adding black and some white — red-grey, yellow-grey, blue-grey, green-grey, orange-grey, violet-grey. 

It’s impossible to say how many different green-greys there are for example — the variation is infinite.

But the whole chemistry of colours is no more complicated than those simple few fundamentals. And a good understanding of them is worth more than 70 different shades of paint — given that more than 70 tones and strengths can be made with the 3 primary colours and white and black.4 The colourist is he who on seeing a colour in nature is able to analyze it coolly and say, for example, that green-grey is yellow with black and almost no blue, &c. In short, knowing how to make up the greys of nature on the palette.