feb 19/RUN

4 miles
to lake nokomis
8 degrees / feels like -5
5% snow-covered

The first time in a long time: a one-way run! Scott picked me up at Lake Nokomis. I was able to run past the falls, on the parkway, to the creek path, almost to Lake Hiawatha, and then end at Lake Nokomis. It was cold, but the wind was mostly at my back, and there was the shining Sun. The path was clear of ice and people. Excellent. I woke up feeling stuffed up — another sinus infection or something worse? I’m assuming that it’s a sinus thing since I was able to run without a problem.

I don’t remember looking at the river even once. In fact, I don’t remember looking at much, or hearing or smelling many things. I guess I got lost. Let me try to list 10 things I noticed.

10 Things I Noticed

  1. 2 runners spread out on the path ahead of me, staying a constant distance away. We must have been running at about the same speed
  2. Thin sheets of ice lining the sides of the path, near the creek, by the river
  3. My shadow, somewhere
  4. the 2 runners turning off by Becketwood, taking the paved path that turns back into the neighborhood
  5. the annoying, insistent, whining buzz or ringing near the DQ of some sort of construction equipment
  6. no clear trail on the walking path (or, what some older woman called it as we tried to carefully pass her on our bikes about 7 or 8 years ago: “the people path”) that passes by the golden grove of trees and the duck bridge
  7. sprinting across the street as the light turned yellow (and making it safely, with plenty of time). Hearing a horn honk at the pickup truck first in line at the light — had they not noticed the light had turned because they were distracted by me running by a few seconds before?
  8. the lake was completely covered in snow, no open spots
  9. mostly the wind was at my back, but sometimes it pushed me from the side
  10. being passed by 2 runners near the falls, one of them called out “morning” as they passed. I called out, as usual, “good morning” — not sure why I always add the good to my morning when everyone else always says, “morning”?

Okay, I managed to think of 10 things. No bikes, no birds, no laughing kids, or big groups of runners, no sound of water, no shimmery light reflecting off the river, no music blasting from a car or a bike, no smell of pot or burnt toast, no overheard conversations.

Here’s a poem I found through twitter last week. The title is a form of poetry that I’ve never heard of before.

epithalamion: a poem written specifically for the bride on the way to her marital chamber.

Epitalamion/ Rebecca Lehmann

When I was a girl in Wisconsin, I dreamed I ’d marry
a man from Michigan. Then I did. When I was a man
from Michigan, I dreamed I ’d marry a begonia,
flowers choked with pollen. When I was a flower
from Michigan, I dreamed I ’d marry a comet
swooping around Jupiter, warming as it
hurtled toward Mars, growing a slick ice tail.
Remember Roethke’s boyhood in Michigan,
all the bogs and swamps and German ladies
pruning roses in hothouses while Midwestern
snows settled on dormant backyards?
When I was the snows of Michigan,
I dreamed I married a hothouse.
Remember the snap of the branch
in the dark fecund hothouse.
I used to smoke so many cigarettes.
When I was a cigarette in Michigan, I dreamed
I  ’d marry the sidewalk. When I was the sidewalk,
I dreamed I ’d marry Milwaukee. When I was Milwaukee,
I dreamed I ’d marry Lake Michigan.
All around me, photos document my heteronormativity.
When I was Lake Michigan, I dreamed I  ’d marry
a sea lamprey. When I was a sea lamprey,
I dreamed I ’d marry the side of a trout
darting through algae. When I was an algal bloom,
I dreamed I ’d marry a farmer. Quit listening.
Say no to who I am. When I was a farmer,
I dreamed I married the government.
When I was the government, I dreamed I married
every gnarly bluff east of the Mississippi.
There’s the Mississippi, Old Man River,
the Big Muddy, etc., etc. When I was a muddy
old river, I dreamed I married a pumpkin patch.
When I was a girl in Wisconsin, I arranged pumpkins
in my front yard to sell to tourists from Chicago.
When I was a tourist from Chicago,
I dreamed I married a pastoral fantasy.
I cracked open a rock and it was loaded
with crystals. When I was a crystal, I dreamed
I ’d marry the sky. When I was the sky, I dreamed
I ’d marry a girl from Wisconsin. When I was pregnant,
I dreamed I married my fetus. A muddy river
separated us. I woke up hungry, narrating
an epic poem. The Odyssey did not foretell my marriage.
When I was Odysseus, I dreamed I married
all of Penelope’s hanged maids, even though
I hanged them. Their dangling feet twitched
across our wedding night. When I was
a hanged maid, I dreamed I married the law.
But there was no law. When I was
lawlessness, I dreamed I married a chorus.
Their song split open Lake Michigan.
At its bottom, a baby gulped the new air.