august 6/SWIM

3 loops
lake nokomis open swim
68 degrees

First swim back since last Monday. I’ve missed it. Almost thought it wouldn’t happen; it was supposed to rain. Instead, cloudy. Hooray!

I had a rough start. Right before swimming, I couldn’t get my nose plug to stay on my nose. After taking it off and putting it on again several times, I decided it was good enough and headed out to the first orange buoy. A few strokes in, I had to stop. A leaking goggle. Fixed it, started again. A minute or two later, I could tell my nose plug wasn’t on fully. Stopped in the middle of the lake to adjust it. A few minutes after that, my eye began to burn — I hadn’t rinsed out all the baby shampoo I use to de-fog my goggles. I swam with my eyes closed for a few strokes then stopped to rinse my eyes and goggles out while treading water halfway between the shore and the middle green buoy.

I had hoped to recite Mary Oliver’s “Swimming, One Day in August” as I swam, at least the first lines: It is time now, I said,/ for the deepening and the quieting of the spirit/among the flux of happenings. But, it was hard to think about deepening and quieting when my eyes were burning and my nose plug was leaking. After completing 2 loops, I decided to stop and stand and rest at the big beach for a minute and then find a way to get deeper and quieter for my last loop. I think it worked.

10 Things

  1. seagulls! Maybe a dozen, standing in the water near the shore
  2. a gray morning with rain coming
  3. water temperature warmer than the air
  4. opaque water — no silver flashes
  5. a few boats in the water, mostly lifeguards in kayaks
  6. the buoys were off from my line of landmarks — the top of the building, the over-turned boat, so I swam wide and on the edges of the course as I kept the landmarks in sight
  7. smooth water — were there any waves?
  8. no vines or weeds or floating chunks of vegetation
  9. no sun
  10. at least one plane in the sky

A strange sensation. I keep having flashes of memory about the swim that seem like dreams. Was I dreaming as I swam, or did I dream about swimming last night? Maybe a bit of both?

Hard for me to believe, but it looks like I haven’t posted Mary Oliver’s poem, “Swimming, One Day in August” in its entirety. Here it is:

Swimming, One Day in August/ Mary Oliver

It is time now, I said,
for the deepening and quieting of the spirit
among the flux of happenings.

Something had pestered me so much
I thought my heart would break.
I mean, the mechanical part.

I went down in the afternoon
to the sea
which held me, until I grew easy.

About tomorrow, who knows anything.
Except that it will be time, again,
for the deepening and quieting of the spirit.

july 31/RUNSWIM

5 miles
bottom of franklin hill and back
65 degrees

What a wonderful morning to be outside! Cooler, sunny, calm.

My new morning routine is to get up, feed the dog, make my coffee, and then sit outside on my deck. Sitting there, I noticed a few birds swooping down from our new gutters. Uh oh — they’re trying to build a nest.

I felt pretty good on my run. Relaxed for the first few miles. Running down the hill, my left hip felt a little tight. Not too bad. Last night, Scott and I talked about signing up for the Oct 2024 marathon, for our 50 birthdays. Can my knees and hips handle it?

Listened to birds, acorns falling from the trees, kids calling out for Dairy Queen for the first half of the run. Put in headphones and listened to “Camelot” on the way back.

At the bottom of the franklin hill, I turned around. As I walked back up the hill, I recorded a few moments from the run:

moment one

Running through the tunnel of trees
a few minutes ago
a wonderful silence
no cars
I could hear myself breathing
everything still
no wind.
I was mostly in the moment
every so often a wonder
about when a car would come
and break the silence
cut into my calm.

moment two

approaching the trestle
I heard some kids
yelling, yeah! dairy queen!
another camp group
a dozen kids in bright yellow vests
as they biked past me
one of them chanted, dairy queen! dairy queen!

moment three

as spoke about moment two into my phone
a runner passed me
looking relaxed graceful
his legs rhythmically bobbing up and down

10 Things

  1. a still river
  2. a black shirt dropped near the porta potty
  3. one acorn dropping to the ground from a tree, thud
  4. another acorn being crushed by a bike wheel, crunch!
  5. 2 roller skiers, or the same roller skier encountered twice
  6. the Welcoming Oaks wondering where I’ve been
  7. a person asleep under the bridge
  8. a regular — Santa Claus
  9. another regular — Mr. Morning!
  10. a woman ahead of me, a dark shirt strung through the strap of her tank top, flapping as she ran

On this last day of July, a month about water, I want to include this passage from Roger Deakin’s Waterlog:

The following afternoon, under a blue sky fringed white with distant clouds on the horizon, four of us swam in 360 feet of turquoise water in a sheer-sided quarry on Belnahua. The island encricled a huge natural swimming pool, raised above sea level, whose waters were so utterly transparent that when we swam, we saw our shadows far down, swimming ahead of us along the bottom. All around, only yards away, was the deeper blue of the open sea, and the Hebrides: Fladda, Scarba, Jura, Lunga, the Garvellachs (the ‘Islands of the sea’, St. Coumba’s favourite place), Luing, Mull and Colonsay. The light and the skies kept changing all afternoon: from bright blue with distant dazzling clouds to deepening red and gold. Diving from the rocks into the immensely deep, clear, brackish water, intensified the giddy feeling of aquatic flying.

Waterlog / Roger Deakin (237)

I would love to swim here (or near here)– some day in my 50s, I hope. Last week I mentioned possibly seeing my shadow in the water, but barely because the water in the lake is opaque. I remember seeing (and writing about) my shadow in the pool last winter, how it felt like I was flying above the deep end. I love the idea of aquatic flying and the rare times I feel like I’m actually doing it.

swim: 2 loops (4 cedar loops)
cedar lake open swim
83 degrees

Always grateful for another swim. Was able to swim on course, even without the buoys. My calves felt a little strange, my nose was a bit stuffed up, but otherwise, a great swim.

Instead of listing 10 things I noticed, here’s the coolest thing of the night: the vegetation stretching up from the bottom of the lake. How tall is it, I wonder? On the last loop, rounding the far orange buoy at Hidden Beach, I swam parallel to the beach, right above the vegetation — is it milfoile? Whatever it is, it’s wonderfully creepy — a pale green, ghostly, reaching up toward the light or my torso. So much of it! When I have more time, I do a little more research about these plants, and try to describe them more too.


4.6 miles
bottom of franklin hill and back
63 degrees

What a beautiful morning! The first 3 miles of run felt good. When I stopped to walk up the last quarter of the franklin hill then started running again, my left knee and hip felt tight. I wonder if I need to cut back a lot on my running and focus on swimming and biking for the rest of July?

10 Things

  1. roller skiers! 15-20 of them all in a row — the clack of the skis, the click of the poles
  2. rowers! didn’t see them, but heard the bullhorn and the coxswain instructing the rowers
  3. a glimpse of shimmering water through the trees
  4. someone sleeping under the franklin bridge
  5. the sh sh sh of soft, sandy grit under my feet near the trestle
  6. several bikes flying past me on the way down the franklin hill
  7. greeting one runner as I passed him from behind — good morning!
  8. bright yellow and green shirts on runners I encountered
  9. a woman walker in a bright pink sweatshirt
  10. passing a woman running who was listening to some guy talking — was it Ant? Stage 10 of the tour de france?

That was difficult to come up with 10 things. Was it because the run was difficult? I’m distracted?

Listened to the traffic and my breathing as I ran north, Camelot as I ran south.

bike: 8 miles
lake nokomis
74 degrees

Biked with Scott to the lake. Nice! We took the trail on the way there, the streets on the way back. The streets were less fun — too many bumps and holes that I couldn’t see. Just a reminder that I bike so well on the trail because I’ve memorized the path, every curve, crack, bump.

swim: 3 loops
lake nokomis open swim
75 degrees

The first loop was smooth, fast, no swells. Excellent. But by the time I started the second loop it started to become choppy. No worries. I happened to notice that they had placed the first green buoy out farther than they usually do. Nice — since I saw it, I didn’t get off course at all. I might have seen a few silver streaks below me in the water — fish?! Saw some swans, lots of yellow buoys tethered to swimmers, a couple planes. No ducks or seagulls or geese.

favorite stretch: after rounding the last green buoy, swimming parallel to the beach, heading towards the first orange buoy and the start of another loop. Such a cool sight, seeing the orange buoy far off.

Glad I only did 3 loops. As I exited the water, I realized it was raining — sprinkling. It’s funny how hard it is to tell that it’s raining when you’re swimming.

Anything else? Only remember feeling/seeing vegetation once: at the start of the swim, heading towards the orange buoy for the first time, I crossed over some milfoil growing up from the bottom.

An excerpt from a new book, Elixir, about water: In the Ladies’ Pool

june 27/SWIM

3 loops
lake nokomis open swim
85 degrees

The air quality was terrible this morning, but it felt okay during the swim. Very choppy and difficult to breathe on my left side. I didn’t mind; I like the choppy water and the challenge of swimming directly into the small swells. Crash! There was some chaos in the water as one swan boat pedaled right through the course. The water was filled with small particles that almost glowed. A cool visual effect. I felt strong and sore after 2 laps — mostly my back. I took a minute break then headed out again for my third lap. It would have been easy for me to stop after 2 loops — it was choppy, I was sore, I had already swam for 40 minutes — but I’m glad I did the final loop.

Found this beautiful poem on twitter this morning:

When You Learn To Swim/ Souvankham Thammavongsa

It will be different here. You can take a leap
off this ledge ten feet and never touch
ground. You can hover in what

could be air, lean back further and further a
and something that feels like faith
will lift, will hold you up. But it isn’t faith,
it’s some kind of ophysics, law, a rule of matter
put in place, set in place
as old and as constant as that sun:

that unsettled speck, that shadowless thing,
that thing to have

wordle challenge

3 tries:


I decided to do nothing with the rhymes treating them as one does the unfortunately frequent appearance of crafts adults require children to fashion from pipe cleaners and plastic beads.

When is it art, when craft?

Gotta dream boy
Gotta song
Paint your wagon
And come along

about: reasonably close to; almost; on the verge of; on all sides; around the outside; in many different directions — here and there; near; concerning

june 24/RUN

3.1 miles
marshall loop
72 degrees / dew point: 59

It seemed warmer than 72 out there this morning. Ran with Scott. First Scott talked about Russia and Wagner, then I talked about the You and I and how we start as one and become the other as we acknowledge each other. This discussion was partly inspired by encountering one walker who called out good morning! and another who instead of offering a greeting ignored us and almost ran into me. What else do I remember? Rowers! Scott counted at least 6 shells on the river. Mostly I only saw them, but for one brief moment I heard the coxswain’s voice.

wordle challenge

4 tries: handy / drain / brand / grand
For the third day in the row I had to choose between equally fitting options. This time, brand or grand? I chose incorrectly.

a refreshing shandy
the pro cyclist Indurain
Rembrandt teeth whitening (brand)
Grand Old Days — the start of summer in St. Paul

She defeated him handily.

Yesterday I came across Annie Proloux’s book, Fen, Bog, and Swamp, and I’m certain that she disagrees with the phrase/metaphor, drain the swamp.

Mostly I don’t care, but I have 2 brands that I especially like. For swimming, TYR, and for running, Saucony. I used to mispronounce both of them. It’s tear (cry) not tire, and sock-a-knee not something that rhymes with Marconi.

Before I got into watching pro cycling or running and before my vision made it almost impossible to track the ball, I loved watching Grand Slam tennis. My favorite was always Wimbledon — Jennifer Capriati, Monica Seles, Steffi Graf, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, and Roger Federer.

handy dandy notebook
down the drain
brand spanking new
you’re a grand old flag, you’re a high flying flag

Somewhere along the way, what is marketed as handy and convenient is not always user-friendly.

a drain, a sewer, a causeway, a sluice

I hate shopping at Target. Endless aisles, filled with only 1 or 2 brands. The illusion of choice.

In 2008, we almost moved to Grand Rapids, MI. We had already picked out a house to rent, almost signed a lease, told neighbors we were leaving. Then I was told I might be able to have a full-time position at the U. Scott and I walked along Lake Michigan and had a gut-wrenching talk. I decided to turn down a guaranteed job for the possibility of a preferable one.

Crossing Water/ Tony Hoaglund

In late summer I swim across the lake to the stand of reeds
that grows calmly in the foot-deep water on the other side.

It is like going to a florist’s shop
you have to take your clothes off to get to,

where nothing is for sale
and nothing on display

but some tall, vertical green spears,

and the small, already half-shriveled pale-purple blossoms
sprouted halfway up the sides of them.

Squatting softly in the cool, tea-colored water,
hearing my own breath move in and out,

leaning close to see the tattered, soft-edged
purses of the flowers,
with their downward hanging cones and coppery antennae.

—This is more tenderness than I had reason to expect
from this rude life in which I built

a wall around myself, in which I couldn’t manage to repair
my cracked-up little heart.

Each time I make the trip, I get the strange idea that this
is what is waiting at the end of life–

long stalks slanting in teh breeze, then straightening—
flowers, loose-petaled as memory, gray
as the aftertaste of grief.

Tonight, I’ll lie in bed and feel the day exhaling me
as part of its long sigh into the dark,

knowing that I have no plan,
knowing that I have no chance of getting there.

I will remember how those flowers swayed and then held still
for me to look at them.

Oh, I love this poem! And I love Tony Hoaglund. I know that he died several years ago (in 2018), but I didn’t know the cause. Looked it up: pancreatic cancer. Just like my mom.

june 22/RUNSWIM

3.15 miles
2 trails
77 degrees
dew point: 61

So warm! Still glad I went out for a run, but it was hard. My knees are sore, my legs sluggish. Heard lots of birds, a roller skier’s clicking poles, talk radio blasting from someone’s car, faint voices from below, water trickling out of a sewer pipe. Encountered bugs — mosquitos? gnats? — near the ravine. Passed by a person on the folwell bench, reading. Was greeted by one walker: good morning! As I ran on the Winchell trail I thought about the importance of giving some gesture — a greeting, eye contact, a stepping over to make room — when nearing another person. Without it, you’re saying to them, to me you don’t exist.

When I finished my run, I pulled out my phone and recited Alice Oswald’s “A Short Story of Falling.” Only two mistakes: I gave it the wrong title and I said “in a seed head” instead of “on a seed head.”

“A Short Story of Falling” / 22 june 2023

wordle challenge

Bad luck with the wordle today. I almost had it in 3, but I had too many choices that could be correct. I had 4 tries but at least 5 options.

6 failed tries: slant / dates / waste/ haste / paste / baste

Even though I failed the challenge, I decided to do something with words: find connections to Emily Dickinson!

slant: Tell all the truth but tell it Slant

dates: I do not know the date of mine/ It feels so old a pain

waste: Just Infinites of Nought/As far as it could see/So looked the face I looked upon/ So looked itself on Me (Like Eyes That Looked on Wastes)

haste: We slowly drove—He knew no haste (Because I could not stop for Death)

paste: We play at Paste/ Till qualified, for pearl (We play at paste)

baste and taste:
Now You Too Can Bake Like Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson: A Poet in the Kitchen

swim: 4 loops
lake nokomis open swim
89 degrees

At the end of the swim another swimmer called out, these conditions are the best! (or something like that; I can’t quite remember). I agreed. Calm, pleasingly warm water, well-placed buoys. I could barely see the buoys, but I still swam to them without a problem. Lots of swans in the water, a few menacing sailboat — one with a bright orange and red sail.

I swam for a loop and a half then briefly stopped at the little beach for a quick rest. Swam another loop and a half and stopped at the big beach. Got out to go the bathroom, then one more loop. Taking a 5 or so minute break between loops 3 and 4 really helped. I should remember to do that more often.

I’m writing this swim summary the next morning. Can I remember 10 things?

10 Things

  1. at least one plane
  2. half a dozen swan boats lurking at the edges
  3. one swan stuck in the dead zone between buoys
  4. streaks below me — fish?
  5. irritating swimmers: 2 fast women that kept swimming past me, then stopping to get their bearings, then swimming again. With my slower, steadier stroke, I kept getting passed by them, then passing them when they stopped, then getting passed by them again when they restarted their swim
  6. both the orange and green buoys closest to the beaches (orange to the little beach, green to the big) were not that close to the shore
  7. no waves
  8. no ducks
  9. breathed every 5 strokes, sometimes every three, once or twice every six
  10. hardly ever saw one of my landmarks from the past few years: the overturned boat at the little beach

june 7/RUN

4.3 miles
minnehaha falls and back
68 degrees

A few degrees cooler this morning, but still warm.

I’m listening to a very (too?) long audio book right now and I’m trying to finish it before it’s due back at the library in 7 days — The Covenant of Water, 31 hours. I decided to listen to it for the first half of my run. Sometimes I like listening to audio books while I run, not so much today. My mind kept wandering and I had trouble paying attention to the story. Plus, because I had headphones on, I felt disconnected from the gorge and the trail.

Even in my distracted state I still managed to notice a few things:

10 Things I Noticed

  1. Mr. Walker Sitter was perched on his walker just above 42nd street ravine
  2. the falls roaring gushing rushing down the limestone
  3. more bikers than walkers or runners on the trail
  4. the surreys lined up, ready to take over the trails
  5. an older woman, biking, calling back to some other bikers, did I miss the turn-off? Oh, here it is!
  6. a sprinkler watering the flowers near the fountain which no longer works and the low limestone wall with “Song of Hiawatha” etched on its top
  7. the dirt trail leading into the small wood on the hill up to ford parkway, looking both inviting and buggy
  8. approaching a guy who had been running when I saw him far ahead of me, but now was walking. Right before I reached him, he started running again
  9. a big black something on the ground — an oversized glove? a hat? a knee brace? I couldn’t tell
  10. most of the dirt on the trail between edmund and the river road was tightly packed, but a few stretches where loose and sandy

Wordle Challenge

5 tries: tough/wheat/haste/hated/hater


Middle-aged, it’s tough to watch
wheat gently waving in the wind
without haste and not want to slow down yourself
but as a kid I hated anything slow —
snails, sermons, that quiet time right after lunch
when you were supposed to be still on your cot.
Wedged between other writhing bodies
all of us desperate to be done with this dark room
we felt the dripping of each second
and despised it.

Today’s Water: Water Sign :: Cancer

In comes and goes in waves, but today I’m not worried that I have cancer. This irrational and rational fear took hold of me a few years ago and it’s been hard to shake, especially as I witness family and friends struggle with and die from it. Yesterday I read about a friend’s ovarian cancer and the terrible life-extending drugs she has to keep taking post-chemo to prevent the cancer from coming back. They cost $24,000 a month. Her insurance covers it, but what if it didn’t? What would she do? Would my shitty insurance cover these costs, if I had cancer?

Ode to Money, or Patient Appealing Health Insurance for Denial of Coverage/ Katie Farris

I don’t know what money is. Moss? The mink’s crescent
teeth? Or maybe money is
the morning I woke
at dawn to wander
past the orange
blossoms, a smell with four
dimensions, touching me through
time. Is that


My uncle, Christopher Marlowe,
mad, drank the visions until he died.
You bury

To determine a family’s net
value, make a list of assets, then subtract
liabilities. Asset: Geraldine Fox’s 1948 degree in
chemistry. Liability: William Marlowe’s propensity
for hurting his daughter. Am I doing this right? Is this

       the gold standard? 

Asset: seeing light that isn’t there,
like a ship passing through the narrow harbors
of my eyes, scraping—
is burying treasure a cash

I once buried a half-
decayed skunk I fished from my Uncle Christopher’s
garbage can, covered in bees. X marks the spot.

In sum: perhaps the moon’s an insurance adjuster.

America’s optimistic to dye its money
green. Leaves are green
because of chlorophyll, which is the machine
that turns sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide into leaf, stem, and root. All
the little blades of grass left behind by the lawn mower like Civil
War soldiers. Same as cash.

                      A heavy-bodied moth

caught between glass and screen casts its shadow down
into the palm of my hand: one dark coin.

I’ve been thinking about buying and reading Katie Farris’s collection about her breast cancer, Standing in the Forest of Being Alive, even before it came out in April. Maybe I should get it and read it this summer?

june 6/RUN

3.1 miles
trestle turn around
72 degrees
dew point: 61

Ran with Scott this morning. Another warm, thick, still morning. We followed Scott’s getting-back-into-running training plan: run 15 minutes, walk 2, run 15 minutes. Our walk started right by the trestle. My left hip felt a little stiff, my left knee harder to lift at the beginning, but I mostly felt fine. My big right toe isn’t hurting anymore.

10 Things I Noticed

  1. birds, 1: several little birds on the path, reluctant to fly away, forcing a biker to slow down
  2. birds, 2: more of these little birds — sparrows? finches? — stopped right in front of me a few minutes later
  3. the white bike — a memorial for some biker killed by a car years ago — hanging upsdie down under the trestle
  4. green green green
  5. cottonwood fuzz lining the sides of the path, a pale green, looking like corroded copper to me
  6. a few puddles of water near the sidewalk edges — did it rain last night, or had nearby grass been watered?
  7. hi dave! hi sara! hi scott! I was impressed that Dave the Daily Walker remembered Scott’s name, so was he
  8. only 1 or 2 small rocks stacked on the ancient boulder
  9. the cracks in the paved trail that they just redid 2 years ago are spreading and deepening, splitting the trail in two. I made note of a small hole that I’ll need to remember to avoid next time I run this way
  10. a woman in a BRIGHT pink shirt and BRIGHT green pants — wow! I wonder if this is the same woman in the BRIGHT pink pants the other day?

No bugs, no roller skiers, no view of the river. No music, no packs of runners, no irritating encounters. No rowers, no overheard conversations, no drumming woodpeckers.

today’s wordle challenge

3 tries / wrong place SCOUT

Here a few “poems” with these words:

They call her wrong place scout
because she always seems to find the place
no one was looking for (or wanted).

wrong place scout

I was in the wrong place
but it must have been the right time
I had found the wrong camp
but stumbled on the right line
I was near the wrong guy
but he must have said the right words
He led me through the wrong door
but out into the right world.

There is no wrong
place to be when
you are scouting mystery.

I forgot about the dark
bird I saw rooting
in the hydrangeas looking
like it landed in the wrong
place until today
when I learned
about the purple martin scout
and decided that that was what it was.

Even though the finished products of this wordle challenge aren’t the greatest, the experiment was fun to do. I thought about different meanings of scout and listened to/studied the lyrics of Dr. John’s “Right Place, Wrong Time.” I also learned about purple martins and remembered a strange bird I watched in my back yard the other day. Bonus: I became aware of the existence of “Minnesota’s Largest Purple Martin House” in Audubon, Minnesota. Wow.

Here’s a water poem that is by one of my favorite poets and will be etched on NASA’s Europa clipper as it travels to study one of Jupiter’s moons:

In Praise of Mystery/ Ada Limón

Arching under the night sky inky
with black expansiveness, we point
to the planets we know, we

pin quick wishes on stars. From earth,
we read the sky as if it is an unerring book
of the universe, expert and evident.

Still, there are mysteries below our sky:
the whale song, the songbird singing
its call in the bough of a wind-shaken tree.

We are creatures of constant awe,
curious at beauty, at leaf and blossom,
at grief and pleasure, sun and shadow.

And it is not darkness that unites us,
not the cold distance of space, but
the offering of water, each drop of rain,

each rivulet, each pulse, each vein.
O second moon, we, too, are made
of water, of vast and beckoning seas.

We, too, are made of wonders, of great
and ordinary loves, of small invisible worlds,
of a need to call out through the dark.

june 5/RUN

3.1 miles
2 trails
79 degrees
dew point: 62

Hot, thick, very poor air quality. There’s a warning about the bad air until midnight: “fine particle pollution” from wild fires in Quebec. I don’t think it really bothered me as I ran.

I ran south on the dirt trail in the grass between edmund and the river road, crossed over to the trail, then headed down to the southern entrance of the Winchell Trail. Ran north until 38th, took the steps up, returned to trail past the ravine, through the tunnel of trees, then crossed over the edmund at 33rd.

Listened to cars whooshing by, kids heading to school, water sprinkling out of the sewer pipe for the first 2 miles. Listened to a Bruno Mars playlist for the last mile.

Before the run, I was thinking about water and The Odyssey — I was reading it all weekend — and how much Odysseus and his men ache for home. And I was imagining how restless they’ll be if and when they get home and stay for too long. Restlessness and staying reminded me of a few things:

Mary Oliver’s restless water and her satisfied stones in The Leaf and the Cloud:

It is the nature of stone
to be satisfied.
It is the nature of water
to want to be somewhere else.

Faith Shearin and the ones who stay, including Penelope:

Odysseus spent years trying to come home
but Penelope never left. He was seduced

by women with islands and sung to by sirens;
he held the wind in a bottle. But Penelope
slept differently in the same bed, weaving

and unweaving the daily details while men
she did not love gathered in her kitchen.
Her face grew thinner, her son grew taller.

And my own thoughts and words about restlessness in the wordle experiment for today:

details: 5 tries, trend/plane/neigh/skein/ENNUI, 2 poems

The latest trend
among those trapped in a post-pandemic plane
is to neigh with horsey impatience
softly scream into a skein of restlessness

The Horse Girls
on the plane between child and young adult
wild neigh and reserved whinny
they skein obsessions
out of their edgy ennui OR out of their ennui

So, I started the run with all of these thoughts still lingering. Within a mile, I started thinking more about restlessness and water. At the end of the run, I pulled out my smart phone and recorded some of those thoughts:

june 5, 2023

transcript: June 5. Just finished my 2 trails run, a 5K. Today I was thinking about restlessness and water and the idea that usually water is restless, constantly moving. But today, in this thick humid morning with haze and poor air quality, it is everything else that is restless, and the water that refuses to move. The river stills. The sweat hovers on my chin, refusing to fall, to bring relief. We are restless: the cars, impatient, as they move past me on the road. Even my legs, as I try to run down hills, refuse to move with any speed. Contrast between the restless and the still.

I remember looking at the river and seeing haze. The only water that was moving at all was the water steadily dripping out of the sewer pipe.

Another thing I just remembered from before my run: I briefly thought about a vision poem I encountered last week and have wanted to post here. Today’s the day!

Motion/ Jessica Goodfellow

Because my husband is going slowly
blind, the lights in our house have motion
sensors. As I walk through the rooms
I am the star of the show, lit one-by-one by
spotlights as I go. Desiring the dark,
I must sit motionless. One itch, one twitch,
and up come the houselights, rendering
me suddenly—again—audience of me.

Tonight we are sitting in the dark
beside the Christmas tree. Its strands
of blinking lights remind my husband
of his childhood, when he could see.
I find it funny they don’t remind him of
the blinking lights that ring the edges of
his eye field, proof of his rods and cones
one-by-one dying. Not ha-ha funny, the other kind.

There are things ha-ha funny about going
blind though. Like that time he walked
wearing a three-piece wool suit into the deep
end of a swimming pool in a hotel in Italy.
I wasn’t there—he told me later.
I was at home, turning lights on and off
through only my anxious pacing.

Sitting by the Christmas tree, I squeeze
my husband’s hand—squeeze and release,
squeeze and release—my hand blinking
in his. It’s such a tiny motion the sensors
don’t detect it. Someday my husband will
sit in the dark and wave his arms wildly
and still be in the dark. One-by-one every-
thing happens, every disappearance appears.

june 3/RUN

3.75 miles
marshall loop
70 degrees
humidity: 78%

Hot and sticky. Sprinklers everywhere. Ran through one just before I reached the lake street bridge. Crossing, I glanced down at the rowers on the river. Rowers! I couldn’t hear them, and I could barely see them over the bridge railing, but they were there. Was it a nice day to row, or too hot and windless? The trails were crowded with groups of runners taking over the paths.

Listened to the sprinklers, water falling over the limestone at Shadow Falls, birds for the first 2/3 of the run. Put in my headphones as I walked up the steps of the lake street bridge and listened to Billie Eilish and Dolly Parton and Elton John as I ran (with a few walk breaks) home.

Now, after the run, I’m wiped and can’t think of much to write about the run or water or anything, really.

Just one more thing. Before I ran, I read through this Carl Phillips poem — not a slow, close reading, but a quick one. As I ran, I occasionally thought about rivers and what kind of subjects/selves they are and how loving them is different than loving lakes (which is something I focused on 2 years ago).

Sunlight in Fog/ Carl Phillips

Maybe what a river loves most

about the banks that hold it—that appear to hold it—

is their willingness or resignation to being

      mere context for the river’s progress

or retreat, depending. And maybe how the cattails

and reeds flourish there means they prefer

      a river-love—how the river, running always away

the way rivers tend to, stands as proof that reliability

doesn’t have to mean steadfast, how the river

itself would say so, if a river could say…I’ve forgotten

entirely what it felt like to enter his body

      or to be entered by his. But not how he’d spend

long afternoons—as if to look away had become

impossible—just watching his face get routinely

      blurred by the river’s motion, like an

inside-out version, psychologically, of a painting

where the model sleeps beneath a portrait

      of himself not sleeping, if that makes

any sense…Not, I mean, that he wasn’t capable

of love, but that—like history already mistaking itself

      for myth again—he loved a river.