march 9/RUN

5.4 miles
franklin loop
35 degrees

Overcast and cooler today. Gray. Was able to run by the Welcoming Oaks and greet them because the walking path that splits off from the bike path just past the ravine and then winds through the oaks was open! Was grateful to be outside on a clear, dry path and not inside worrying about this week and how bad it might get as COVID-19 hits the US.

Not too many people crowding the path, which was nice. The river was beautiful from the Franklin and Lake Street bridges. Did a lot of triple berry chants, mostly: strawberry, blueberry, blackberry. Thought about how I draw the straw and blue out but don’t do that with black–that’s probably why I like putting it at the end of the chant. The east side of the river, first in Minneapolis, then St. Paul, was clear. Favorite part of that side is right before Meeker Island dam: everything seems more brown and there’s a lovely view of the river through the trees. Today the river was blueish gray. Favorite part on the west side lately: the part of the walking trail that winds above the Minneapolis Rowing Club. What a view! And, it’s nice to be fer away from the road.

Anything else I remember? I greeted Dave the Daily Walker as I was running faster up the final hill. Seeing him approach I wondered how out of breath I might sound when I said hi. It wasn’t too bad.

moment of the day

My moment of the day didn’t happen during my run but while I was walking Delia the dog around the neighborhood. Looking up, I noticed a huge bird circling in the sky. What a wing span! It looked white or light gray to me but that could have been because it was up so high. What kind of bird was it? Most likely a bald eagle, I think. I stopped and looked up for a few minutes, watching it make big loops. At first, the loops were almost above me, but soon they were farther away. I wondered why birds circle like this so I looked it up and discovered that it was because of thermals:

Thermals are updrafts of warm air that rise from the ground into the sky. By flying a spiraling circular path within these columns of rising air, birds are able to “ride” the air currents and climb to higher altitudes while expending very little energy in the process. Solitary birds like eagles and hawks often take advantage of thermals to extend their flight time as they search for food. Social birds that fly in large flocks also use thermals to gain altitude and extend their range during migration. The sight of dozens or hundreds of birds riding a thermal has been said to resemble the water boiling in a kettle, so the terms kettle or boil are sometimes used as a nickname for a flock of birds circling in a thermal updraft. The benefits of thermals are not limited to the animal world either as glider pilots often take advantage of them to gain altitude as well.

I want to see hundreds of birds riding a thermal and looking like water boiling in a kettle! Mostly so I can see them doing it but also so I can write about the boil of birds I just saw.

Thinking about a bird soaring and circling in the sky reminds me of a Mary Oliver (yes, I love Mary Oliver!) poem:

The Real Prayers Are Not the Words,
But the Attention that Comes First
/ Mary Oliver

The little hawk leaned sideways and, tilted,
rode the wind. Its eye at this distance looked
like green glass; its feet were the color
of butter. Speed, obviously, was joy. But
then, so was the sudden, slow circle it carved
into the slightly silvery air, and the
squaring of its shoulders, and the pulling into
itself the long, sharp-edged wings, and the
fall into the grass where it tussled a moment,
like a bundle of brown leaves, and then, again,
lifted itself into the air, that butter-color
clenched in order to hold a small, still
body, and it flew off as my mind sang out oh
all that loose, blue rink of sky, where does
it go to, and why?

There is no way I could write in such detail about the bird I saw today. It was too far up to see it’s eyes or shoulders or anything it might be carrying. And, even if the bird had been closer, I wouldn’t have been able to see such fine detail anyway.