august 18/SWIM

3 loops
lake nokomis open swim
75 degrees
5:30 pm

Hooray for thunderstorms holding off until I was done! At the end of my third loop, I reached the beach, stood up, then heard thunder and the lifeguard telling everyone to exit the water. Great timing!

I had been tracking the storm all day. I knew it was coming after 6. I figured I would be able to do one loop, maybe two.

At the start of the swim, the sky was blue and I thought, there’s no way it’s raining during open swim. But within a few minutes, I started to notice the sky was darkening to my left. 1 2 3 4 5 breathe right, clear blue sky. 1 2 3 4 5 breathe left, dark blue. Then darker blue.

I swam faster, trying to outrun the storm. You could tell it was coming because the swells were getting bigger. No whitecaps, but biggish waves crashing into me. I was working hard — and getting to punch the water a lot, which I enjoy.

At the end of two loops, I stood in the shallow water and thought about stopping. Then I heard someone say, I’m going to do one more loop and I thought, yes, another loop sounds good. And it was, but also very hard. My legs were ready to be done way out in the middle of the lake. I’m very glad I made it back without any cramps.

I stayed on course the whole time, swimming right to the buoys even when I didn’t think I was seeing them. My legs, like rudders, correcting for when the wind blew me off course.

Saw at least one military plane, flying lower in the sky. Lots of seagulls swooping down. Some silver flashes of fish below. One prickly vine that grazed my leg, making it briefly sting.

Found this great essay about one of my favorite poem forms, the Abecedarius (which I’ve been calling the Abecedarian): Don Dada on the Down Low Getting Godly in His Game: Between and Beyond Play and Prayer in the Abecedarius (This article was mentioned in an excerpt of an interview with Matthew Harvey that I read).

I love playing with words, sometimes in the hopes of opening doors to new poems, and sometimes for distraction and escape. Yesterday, I was stuck in the waiting room of a medical clinic, which was both a “regular” doctors’ office and urgent care. I forgot my phone — what a bad time to forget my phone! — and couldn’t block out the sounds — the menancing coughs, the grunts and sighs, one angry man demanding a COVID test. I tried to read The Odyssey, but I was too distracted. So I got out my Plague Notebook, and decided to rethink the acronym, ER (I was not in an ER, but Urgent Care…close enough). Instead of Emergency Room, ER might mean:

  • End Racism
  • Endure Rain
  • Eat Radishes
  • Emit Radon
  • Erase Rust
  • Engulf Red
  • Enough Ruffage!
  • Early Run
  • Easter Roast
  • Ether Residue
  • Eggplant Ratatouille
  • Exam Review
  • Everything Ruined
  • Escape Room
  • Edible Road
  • Elephant Rug
  • Evergreen Rhyme
  • Escalating Risk
  • Expanding Rip
  • Elevator Rot
  • Empty Repair
  • Evasive Rock
  • Engineered Roof
  • Ecological Rap
  • Envelope Ripped
  • Epileptic Rooster
  • Enormous Racoon
  • Eleven Rainbows
  • Enchilada Recon
  • Elegant Rhinos
  • Electric Rump
  • Emerging Rest
  • Energy Rental
  • Eek! a Rat!

My favorites: Enchilada Recon, Electric Rump, Elevator Rot, Ecological Rap
Will any poems/lyric essays emerge from this? Probably not, but it sure helped me endure an uncomfortable hour in a crowded, coughing waiting room!