may 15/RUN

5 miles
veterans’ home loop + extra
56 degrees

A beautiful morning, a difficult run. Not sure why, but I feel tired, fatigued. It might be allergies or warmer temperatures or low iron? Whatever it is, I found it hard to keep running in the second half. I stopped a few times to walk. Oh well, still great to be out there (somewhat) early, absorbing the gorge.

10 Things I Noticed

  1. the green is filling in, the view is disappearing
  2. heard some noises below me, in the ravine by the 44th street parking lot. Was it people camping down there now that it’s warm? I didn’t see any tents
  3. the hollow knock of a woodpecker’s beak, echoing out over the gorge
  4. the falls, gushing and roaring, spilling over the limestone ledge
  5. 2 people stopped at the stone slabs etched with Longfellow’s “Song of Hiawatha.” Were they reading the lines?
  6. crossing the small bridge just above the falls, 3 kids taking a selfie and a biker next to his bike
  7. running past the wrought-iron green benches sprinkled along the trail, I noticed the sun illuminating one half of each bench — perfect for a pair where one person wants sun, the other shade
  8. heard the fake dinging of the recorded bell on the train as it approached the station
  9. running over the high bridge that leads to the Veterans’ home, I could hear the fast moving water in the creek
  10. a runner was doing hill training at the locks and dam no. 1 — maybe I should try that?

I don’t remember noticing the river — was it sparkling in the sun? Also, didn’t see any regulars or roller skiers or big groups of bikes with their whirring wheels sounding like drones. No irritating bugs (yet) or path hoggers or big packs of runners — the most I saw was 4 who ran single-file as they encountered me. No radios blasting out of bike speakers or TED talks/MPR out of smart phones. No fragments of conversation to wonder about. No sewer smells or big fallen branches to hurdle. No surreys. Not even one good morning to anyone.

Yesterday I began listening to an old On Being interview with Braiding Sweetgrass author Robin Wall Kimmerer. Here are a few great passages so far:


Kimmerer: One of the difficulties of moving in the scientific world is that when we name something, often with a scientific name, this name becomes almost an end to inquiry. We sort of say, Well, we know it now. We’re able to systematize it and put a Latin binomial on it, so it’s ours. We know what we need to know.

But that is only in looking, of course, at the morphology of the organism, at the way that it looks. It ignores all of its relationships. It’s such a mechanical, wooden representation of what a plant really is. And we reduce them tremendously, if we just think about them as physical elements of the ecosystem.


…attention is that doorway to gratitude, the doorway to wonder, the doorway to reciprocity. 


What I mean when I say that science polishes the gift of seeing — brings us to an intense kind of attention that science allows us to bring to the natural world. And that kind of attention also includes ways of seeing quite literally through other lenses — rhat we might have the hand lens, the magnifying glass in our hands that allows us to look at that moss with an acuity that the human eye doesn’t have, so we see more, the microscope that lets us see the gorgeous architecture by which it’s put together, the scientific instrumentation in the laboratory that would allow us to look at the miraculous way that water interacts with cellulose, let’s say. That’s what I mean by science polishes our ability to see — it extends our eyes into other realms. But we’re, in many cases, looking at the surface, and by the surface, I mean the material being alone.

But in Indigenous ways of knowing, we say that we know a thing when we know it not only with our physical senses, with our intellect, but also when we engage our intuitive ways of knowing — of emotional knowledge and spiritual knowledge. And that’s really what I mean by listening, by saying that traditional knowledge engages us in listening. And what is the story that that being might share with us, if we knew how to listen as well as we know how to see?


…science asks us to learn about organisms, traditional knowledge asks us to learn from them.