august 3/RUNSWIM

run: 3.8 miles
river road path, north/south
78 degrees
9:15 am

Before I went out for my run, I began to re-memorize the poem, Babel by Kimberly Johnson. I got this far:

My god, it’s loud out here, so loud the air
is rattled. Who with the hissing of trees,
the insect chatter, can fix devotion
on holy things, the electrical bugs so loud
the air is stunned, windy the leaves’ applause
redoubled by the clapping wings

of magpies?

I recited it in my head as I started out above the river, but even though there were many cars and people, it did not feel loud in that frantic, intense way. I felt the calm of the whooshing wheels of cars in no particular hurry, the click click scrape of ski poles from an assembly line of roller skiers — more than a dozen of them, all wearing bright orange t-shirts (is that a good name for a group of roller skiers? I’ll keep working on it.) No clapping wings or hissing trees.

Didn’t see the river. I looked once, but it was hidden by the leaves. Didn’t really notice the tunnel of trees either. I think I looked for stacked stones but I can’t remember if any where there. Heard no rowers below.

Raise your heads, pals (a favorite line from Dorothea Tanning’s “Woman Waving at Trees”): Spotted at least 2 airplanes, flying across the sky. I knew the first one was a plane. At first I thought the second was the moon. Speaking of the moon, Scott just told me about how some scientists (from UCLA, I looked it up later) have determined that some pits on the moon, which they identified in 2009 as having a constant climate in the 60s, might lead to larger caves which you could be used a base camps for longer stays on the moon. What? Cool. Another cool thing that I found in the article, which I probably learned at some point and should remember: A day on the moon lasts about 15 Earth days, and a night lasts about 15 Earth days. Can you imagine how different everything would be if our days and nights lasted that long?

I did some triple berry chants:


ice cream truck
ice cream cone
ice cream cake

creme brulé

chocolate (to me, it sounded like, chock uh lut)

Greeted Dave, the Daily Walker.

Overheard: It’s impossible to _______. It’s impossible to what? I thought about trying to imagine endings to that sentence but decided I didn’t want to think about what was impossible, just what was possible.

Turned around just past the 2 mile mark. Stopped to put in my headphones (Lover/ Taylor Swift).

Thought about the Apple+ show I started watching last week, The Morning Show, especially the line about how people are drawn to tragedy and the worst news, and that they don’t want more real news or facts, but entertainment. Then ruminated over: Do people watch the news when things are going well? If not, what do we do with that? Lots of other wandering thoughts about the need for hopeful stories, and how people in power try to hold onto their power by keeping everyone afraid. This flurry of thoughts is hard to sum up into a coherent statement — kind of like when you try to tell someone the plot of your dream and it’s too strange or non-sensical or not nearly as mind-blowing to them as it seems to you. And, like a dream, these thoughts lasted less than a minute. Then they were gone.

I also briefly thought about the CAConrad somatic exercise I wrote about in this log yesterday, and how creative writing comes from the focus, or the shift in focus, that tragedy/depression enables/requires/demands. How does moving outside, engaging in strenuous (but not too strenuous) activity enable us to shift our focus in ways that encourages creativity? How is this focus similar and different from the shift that happens when we are undone by tragedy?

Here’s a cool poem I encountered the other day, from the instagram account, The Kashmir Maibox:

M. / Claire Wahmanholm

M is for murmur and mutter—the ambiguity of the mobius strip, the marsh, the maybe trembling between two membranes. M is for mother, dark matter, the matrix that cradles the muscadine, marble, monosylla-ble, moon. Be menagerie, multivocal, madrigal. I carry your multitudes through midsummer, through marigolds and mayapples, through mud. I hide you in the middle of a maze, bury you like minerals in the mine of my body. You are marrow-deep, marine, mollusk in your mother of pearl hull. The months are a moat between you and melancholy, missiles, mourning. M is for the meteor magnifying through the telescope’s lens, the metronome unmuffling. M is for metamorphosis and mutant. I am more and more mountainous. I am a mare rolling in a midnight meadow, all musk and muzzle. M is for the migrations of monarchs, mule deer, mullet, for magnetic fields, for the way the world pulls you from me and you materialize. You are motor turned music, machine turned mortal. I am mended and marooned somewhere between mist and milk. I molt, am mangled. I molt, am myself. 

swim: 5 smaller loops = 3 big loops / 2800 yards
cedar lake open swim
80 degrees
5:45 pm

No buoys today. The air pump for blowing them wasn’t working. I thought there might be chaos in the water, but it was fine. No collisions. And I was fine, because I don’t need the buoys to see. I can’t usually see them anyway. It was windy again, with lots of choppy, wavy water. This time the waves rocked me instead of slammed into me. The sky was mostly blue with a few puffy clouds. The water was clear — I could see the sandy floor beneath me when I was close to shore. I breathed every 5 or 4, sometimes 6. A great swim!