april 27/RUN

4.1 miles
river road, north/seabury, south/river road, south/edmund, south
53 degrees
Deaths from COVID-19: 286 (MN)/ 55,118 (US)

What a morning! Rained early, then Sun! Birds! A slight breeze! Trees barely budding, glowing a yellowy green!

In the name of the Trees—
And the Woodpecker—
And the Breeze—Amen!
(variation on Emily Dickinson)

It’s easier to bury deep the panic and thoughts about getting very sick or someone I love getting very sick when the weather is like this and the trails aren’t too crowded and it’s not too hot or too cold and there aren’t swarming gnats yet.

My run felt good this morning. I remember looking down at the river, but I don’t remember what I saw—wait, how could I forget? It was gorgeous! Not sparkling or shining, but a mirror reflecting the fluffy clouds. I imagined that the water was another world, doubled and reversed, like in May Swenson’s great poem, “Water Picture“: “In the pond in the park/ all things are doubled:/ Long buildings hang and/ wriggle gently. Chimneys/ are bent legs bouncing/ on clouds below.” Love how “In the pond in the park” bounces on my tongue. I kept glancing over at the water and admiring its smooth beauty and how it looked like a mirror. I started thinking about the Greek myth (which I couldn’t really remember) about the hunter who looked at his reflection. I looked it up just now–of course it was Narcissus. Here’s an interesting article I found that discusses him and the idea of mirrors in water–it even has a picture of Salvadore Dali looking into the water.

At some point during my run, a biker biked by, their radio blasting “Everybody Talks.” (Had to look it up, it’s by Neon Trees.) I haven’t heard this song in a few years; it was on one of my running playlists for a while. Mostly I listened to it while I ran around the track at the YWCA. Just looked and couldn’t find any mention of it in this log.

Reciting While Running: Dear One, Absent This Long While

Started reciting my poem for the week, Lisa Olstein’s Dear One Absent This Long While. Not too difficult to memorize, fun to say. I don’t remember much about the rhythms with my feet, but I do remember thinking more about the words. As I recited the line, “so even if spring continues to disappoint” I wondered, is it “spring” or “the spring”? I couldn’t remember and I tried to think about which fit better and whether or not a “the” was necessary. Also paused at the line, “She had the quiet ribs/ of a salamander crossing the old pony post road.” At first, I kept saying “has” but then I realized it made more sense to say “had.” Also, why is there a “the” in front of pony post road here, but not a “the” in front of spring? I find it helpful to think more about the choices poets make with their words. It’s fascinating and I think it can help me make a better poet who uses better words and words better–which is always my goal in writing.

I decided it would be fun to record myself reciting the poem right after finishing my run and then listening to it while looking at the poem–which words did I screw up, leave out, add? This experiment was fun, although I am still way too self-conscious speaking into my phone. I want to stop caring if people see me doing it and what they think about it. Here’s the recording:

Dear One Absent This Long While, recorded 4/27

I’d like to try recording myself saying it again tomorrow after my run. Maybe by the end of the week I won’t feel weird doing it.

In addition to reciting this new poem, I also revisited Emily Dickinson’s “It’s all I have to bring today” and the second line. I tried running with the different rhythms that I figured out in yesterday’s log. “This, and my heart beside” I was struck by how the different rhythms also changed the emphasis. In the original, Dickinson is emphasizing, “This.” Some of my rhythms, like the triplet for “this and my”, put the emphasis on heart. It’s cool how much of a difference changing the rhythm can make on the meaning–not a deep insight, but it’s fun to find ways to actually understand poetry, especially those parts of it that seem so hard for me to get.

What else happened on my run?

  • Saw someone walking down the old stone steps
  • Later, saw a dog and its human crossing the path to also walk down the old stone steps
  • Greeted Dave, the Daily Walker with a “Hi Dave” and a wave and, “Beautiful morning!”
  • Greeted another biker on Seabury
  • Noticed the trestle as I ran by it
  • Inspected the progress of the leaves below the tunnel of trees in the floodplain forest. The green veil is coming–too soon!
  • A few rocks were stacked on the ancient boulder at the top of the path, near the sprawling oak and at the entrance to the tunnel of trees

Greeting the Welcoming Oaks

note: I’m adding this in later, but I had forgotten about it.

About 5 minutes into my run, as I passed near the overlook and through the Welcoming Oaks, I greeted every one of them. I didn’t count, but I’m guessing it was about 10 trees? “Good morning!” “Hello friend!” “Hello!” “Hi!”