sept 8/RUN

2.5 miles
2 trails
80 degrees / wind gusts, 26 mph
11:00 am

Too windy for a swim at the lake, so I ran instead. Who has seen the wind?/ Neither I nor you:/ But when the leaves hang trembling/the leaves are pasing through. Hot! Heard a few black capped chickadees singing the feebee song and was reminded of the creepy theme from The Shining. Listening to the theme later, I don’t quite hear the connection. What I remember most from the run was feeling warm. I also remember thinking about the latest poem I’m working on and trying to work through where to go next. I stopped at the dirt trail near Folwell, after the short, steep hill and before the paved trail returns below, to record some thoughts. And I remember that when I stopped, I noticed a very small, square plaque at the bottom of the bench.

a small plaque at the bottom of a bench. The inscription reads: "WWDD - contemplation station for the fearless and free"
close-up of plaque on bench near Folwell
a bench facing trees and the river with a small plaque on it, near the ground
Rachel Dow Memorial Bench

I have run by this bench hundreds of times, stopped and sat once or twice, even wrote about it, but I’ve never noticed this small plaque on it. How did I see it today? I love these little surprises, just waiting to be found! I had no idea what this plaque meant — WWDD? I looked it up and found a facebook page for the Rachel Dow Memorial. Wow. She was loved by so many. I read a little about her life — a passionate, social justice minded, free-spirit — and her death — she fell through the ice at the river and died of hypothermia. Maybe I’ll write a poem about her and the others I’ve found through their plaques. All of them share with me a deep love for this river. And maybe one day, I’ll have a plaque there too.

Here’s a draft of the poem I’m working on right now. The inspiration for it: a few entries in which I describe how I love choppy water and punching the waves; the idea that lake swimming differs from sea, river, and pool swimming; and the line about two story rollers in the poem, Wave After Wave.

Untitled Poem About Punching Waves/ Sara Puotinen

Listen pal, this isn’t
the sea. Hell, this isn’t
even a proper
lake. Just a dredged out
cranberry marsh with
an average depth of
fifteen feet. And those
aren’t waves. No big rollers.
No white horses
thundering to shore.
Nothing pulling you
under, dragging you
down. Still, people drown
here and when water
meets a strong wind, which
happens more often
these days, it’s ready
for a fight. Me too.
Neither of us hard
with anger but
restless overfilled
with energy and
the need to spend it
somewhere. I square my
shoulders and head straight
into a small swell

That’s what I have right now.