march 8/RUN

3.25 miles
trestle turn around
50 degrees
15 mph wind/ 31 mph gusts

Sunny and warm today. Been running in the cold for so long now that I forgot what to wear when it gets a little warmer. So windy! Greeted Dave the Daily Walker near the beginning. Ran up the hill from under the lake street bridge, enjoying the sound and feel of the scratching grit. Was able to run on more of the walking path. Saw my shadow. Heard a woodpecker. Marveled at the sparkling water–couldn’t tell if it was blue or gray or brown, it only looked sparkly white. At the halfway point I took off my orange sweatshirt and ran south in a short sleeved shirt. The feeling of spring! Anything else I remember? Lots of runners in shorts.

Favorite part of the run: running south along the rim, above the rowing club. So beautiful hovering above the open water. Seeing a small motorboat speeding below, making the water ripple.


A few days ago, waking up in the middle of the night, I thought about Mary Oliver and some poem she had written about the sea as her classroom. What a great idea, I thought, I’ll remember it tomorrow when I get up. Forgot it, of course. But then, while walking with Scott, remembered it again. Was able to find the poem:

Breakage/ Mary Oliver

I go down to the edge of the sea. 
How everything shines in the morning light! 
The cusp of the whelk, 
the broken cupboard of the clam, 
the opened, blue mussels, 
moon snails, pale pink and barnacle scarred— 
and nothing at all whole or shut, but tattered, split, 
dropped by the gulls onto the gray rocks and all the moisture gone. 
It’s like a schoolhouse 
of little words, 
thousands of words. 
First you figure out what each one means by itself, 
the jingle, the periwinkle, the scallop 
       full of moonlight. 

Then you begin, slowly, to read the whole story.

Love the line, “nothing at all whole or shut, but tattered, split” and “the opened” and “a schoolhouse of little words”. Looked up whelk and it’s a large marine snail.

Thinking about the idea of the gorge as a classroom–if so, who is the teacher?

Here’s another school related poem from Mary Oliver, who hated school as a child. I read in her memoir, Upstream, that the only thing she was good at doing in school was being truant.

Just As The Calendar Began to Say Summer/ Mary Oliver (Long Life)

I went out of the schoolhouse fast
and through the gardens and to the woods,
and spent all summer forgetting what I’d been taught–

two times two, and diligence, and so forth,
how to be modest and useful, and how to succeed and so forth,
machines and oil and plastic and money and so forth.

By fall I had healed somewhat, but was summoned back
to the chalky rooms and the desks, to sit and remember

the way the river kept rolling its pebbles,
the way the wild wrens sang though they hadn’t a penny in the bank,
the way the flowers were dressed in nothing but light.

I love this idea of spending all summer trying to forget the lessons taught in school and the rest of the year trying to remember the river! It reminds me of my process of undisciplining/unmaking and remaking myself.

And, one more:

Mindful/mary oliver

Every day
I see or hear
that more or less

kills me
with delight,
that leaves me
like a needle

in the haystack
of light. 
It is what I was born for–
to look, to listen, 

to lose myself
inside this soft world–
to instruct myself
over and over

in joy, 
and acclamation.
nor am I talking
about the exceptional, 

the fearful, 
the very extravagant–
but of the ordinary, 
the common, the very drab,

the daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar, 
I say to myself,
how can you help

but grow wise
with such teachings
as these–
the untrimmable light,

the ocean’s shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?

Oh good scholar! Love this line and love the idea of being a student out by the gorge and a teacher who instructs myself.