may 31/RUN

4 miles
minnehaha falls and back
68 degrees
wind: 16 mph / gusts: 25 mph

Windy today. Ran south to the falls without headphones, stopped in the park and put in headphones, then took them back out when I reached the Winchell Trail.

10 Things I Noticed: Sounds

  1. my breathing — often jagged
  2. the wind howling past my ears
  3. a few kids at the playground — not too loud or too exuberant. Were they subdued by the wind? — either their spirits or voices?
  4. a faint bagpipe from somewhere over on the other side, in St. Paul — a Monday after Memorial Day ceremony?
  5. the falls rushing and gushing
  6. the sewer pipe trickling
  7. my left foot striking the ground a littler harder than my right
  8. “Eye of the Tiger” (when I briefly put my headphones in)
  9. “I Knew You Were Trouble”
  10. cars whizzing by

I thought it would, but the wind didn’t bother me that much. Everything was green and fuzzy in the grayish light. Lots of squishy mud on the Winchell Trail and leaning trees. Evidence from last night’s thunderstorm. The river was such a pale blue that it almost looked white. No rowers. No roller skiers. No groups of runners. Lots of people at the falls. As I passed by a woman with a young kid, I wondered how they were enjoying the falls, with all of the big wind gusts. No turkeys or black-capped chickadees. I do remember (now that I wrote that last sentence about birds) encountering a bird on the Winchell Trail. They were on the path just in front of me, not wanting to have to move. Half-heartedly they hopped from the sidewalk to the fence and back. Finally, they decided I was too close and flew on the other side of the fence and down the bluff a bit. I remember seeing the blur of their body as it flashed across my peripheral. I’m not sure what kind of bird it was, but I think it was a robin. I always think it’s a robin or a cardinal.

The other day, I discovered that Harryette Mullen wrote a collection of tanka poems as part of her daily practice of walking and writing poetry. Very cool! It’s called Urban Tumbleweed, and I’m planning to use it in the class I’m teaching at the end of this month.

Here’s some of her introduction:

Merging my wish to write poetry every day with a willingess to step outdoors, my hope was that each exercise would support the other.

She wrote a tanka a day, inspired by a walk, for roughly a year.

This is a record of meditatios and migrations across the diverse terrain of southern California’s urban, suburban, and rural communities, its mountains, deserts, ocean, and beaches.

I just began reading through them. So wonderful!

The morning news landed in the driveway, folded,
rolled, and rubber-banded, wrapped in plastic
for protection from the morning dews.

When I first read this tanka, I thought the last bit was “for protection from the morning news” — meaning the walker was protected from the harm of the morning news. This misreading seems to fit with another of her tankas:

Instead of scanning newspaper headlines,
I spend the morning reading names
of flowers and trees in the botanical garden.

Here are 2 others that struck me:

Chain-link fence, locked gate protect this urban
garden. Fugitive fragrance of honeysuckle
escapes to tempt the passing stranger.

Why should I care about my neighbor’s
riotous dandelions? Does he concern himself
with my slovenly jacaranda?