april 25/RUN

6.1 miles
hidden falls scenic overlook loop*
32 degrees / feels like 25 degrees
wind: 12 mph

*a new route! river road, south/up to wabun/over ford bridge (south side)/mississippi boulevard, north/hidden falls scenic overlook/mississippi boulevard, south/ford bridge (north side)/river road, north

Ran a new route today. It’s nice to check out a different part of the mississippi river. I’ve walked on this trail at least once, and biked it several times, but never done this exact loop. Up above, it’s steep and without many fences or railings. Very cool. Noticed a few squirrels, a darting chipmunk. Heard: a robin, crows, some cardinals, the teacher’s whistle at the Minnehaha Academy playground, trickling water. Ran straight into the wind crossing back over the ford bridge.

Before my run, I began gathering notes and quotes and poems about entanglement to put under the glass on my desk. Hopefully it will help me write this poem by the end of the week. While I ran, I wanted to try and think about fungi as hidden, always in motion/doing (a verb, not a noun), and below. Had flashes of thought about what’s beneath us, and how I’m often looking down through my peripheral, even as I look ahead with my central vision. At some point, I decided I didn’t want to try and think about entanglement, but to stop thinking and see what happened. No brilliant thoughts, but now that I’m done, I feel more relaxed and happy and motivated to keep working.

I almost forgot, but then remembered when I was reviewing my notes: several times, I heard the creaking, squeaking branches and thought about old, rusty, long hidden/forgotten doors being opening — a trap door in the forest floor. I didn’t imagine past the open door or the idea that it led to the river basement (using basement here like ED in “I started Early — Took my Dog”). Still, I enjoyed thinking that I could access this door and something in my moving outside was opening a long shut door.

The idea I have right now for a poem involves playing off of these lines from Mary Oliver:

Listen, I don’t think we’re going to rise
in gauze and halos. 
Maybe as grass, and slowly. 
Maybe as the long leaved, beautiful grass

And this bit from Arthur Sze in an interview with David Naiman:

I began to think I love this idea that the mycelium is below the surface. It’s like the subconscious, then when the mushroom fruits pops up above ground, maybe that’s like this spontaneous outpouring of a poem or whatever.

Something like this?

Maybe like mushrooms, we rise
or not rise, flare
brief burst from below
then a return 
to swim in the dirt…

I want to think more about what fungi do and how mushrooms grow, and how to think about that in relation to human subjectivity/agency and a self that is connected/joined but not subsumed by this connection.

The other thing I’d like to think about more is this line from Tsing:

In this time of diminished expectations, I look for disturbance-based ecologies in which many species live together without either harmony or conquest (5).

These disturbance-based ecologies involves ecosystems that develop in the wake of a disturbance, like matsutake mushrooms that grow on pine in forests that have been clearcut. They aren’t part of what Tsing calls the cycle of promise and ruin, or deplete then move on, but something else, the something that comes in after a place has been abandoned by Progress.

Mushrooms/ Sylvia Plath

Overnight, very
Whitely, discreetly,
Very quietly

Our toes, our noses
Take hold on the loam,
Acquire the air.

Nobody sees us,
Stops us, betrays us;
The small grains make room.

Soft fists insist on
Heaving the needles,
The leafy bedding,

Even the paving.
Our hammers, our rams,
Earless and eyeless,

Perfectly voiceless,
Widen the crannies,
Shoulder through holes. We

Diet on water,
On crumbs of shadow,
Bland-mannered, asking

Little or nothing.
So many of us!
So many of us!

We are shelves, we are
Tables, we are meek,
We are edible,

Nudgers and shovers
In spite of ourselves.
Our kind multiplies:

We shall by morning
Inherit the earth.
Our foot’s in the door.