oct 7/RUN

3.1 miles
trestle turn around
43 degrees / mist

Even though I had been sitting at my desk in front of 2 big windows this morning, I hadn’t noticed that it was raining. Oh well, by the time I was ready to run the rain was mostly done. Just a fine mist and dripping trees. I guess I wasn’t the only one who hadn’t realized it was raining/had rained: my neighbor had their sprinkler on and was watering their lawn!

Yesterday I mentioned that I should try doing a warm-up inside before going out for my run. I did, and it worked! I could feel my muscles activating and no kneecap slips. Excellent!

A beautiful, muted morning. Quiet, cooler, soft. Even the glowing oranges and reds seemed softer, more subtle in their show. I felt really good — strong, relaxed, making an effort but not working too hard. Flying or floating or bouncing off the trail in a steady rhythm.

To test how hard I was working, I tried (and mostly succeeded in) reciting Robert Frost’s “Nothing Gold Can Stay” and Gerard Manley Hopkins’ “Spring and Fall” out loud. In an easy run, you should be able to carry on a conversation without any problems, or in this case, be able to recite a poem without needing to take a breath every word. I stumbled over a few words, but that was my memory’s fault not my lungs’.

I think I saw Santa Claus at the beginning of my run. Good mornied! Mr. Morning! Heard the rowers down below and the geese up above. Glimpsed the river though the thinning leaves. Dodged some walkers. Squeaked on the wet leaves.

Thought about stopping at the halfway point and putting in my music; decided to keep listening to the gorge or my breathing or my thoughts.

Started reading Louise Glück’s Averno before my run. “October” is the second poem in the collection. I’m thinking about reading the entire collection. Should I?

Averno = a small crater lake in Italy, regarded by the ancient Romans as the entrance to the underworld.

Here’s the first poem of the collection:

The Night Migrations/ Louise Glück

This is the moment when you see again
the red berries of the mountain ash
and in the dark sky
the birds’ night migrations.

It grieves me to think
the dead won’t see them—
these things we depend on,
they disappear.

What will the soul do for solace then?
I tell myself maybe it won’t need
these pleasures anymore;
maybe just not being is simply enough,
hard as that is to imagine.

This poem makes me think of one of my favorite Emily Dickinson poems, “We Grow Accustomed to the Dark”:

We grow accustomed to the Dark –/ Emily Dickinson

We grow accustomed to the Dark –
When light is put away –
As when the Neighbor holds the Lamp
To witness her Goodbye –

A Moment – We uncertain step
For newness of the night –
Then – fit our Vision to the Dark –
And meet the Road – erect –

And so of larger – Darkness –
Those Evenings of the Brain –
When not a Moon disclose a sign –
Or Star – come out – within –

The Bravest – grope a little –
And sometimes hit a Tree
Directly in the Forehead –
But as they learn to see –

Either the Darkness alters –
Or something in the sight
Adjusts itself to Midnight –
And Life steps almost straight.

There are many different ways I think of these poems together, but right now, I’m thinking about Glück’s first line, This the moment when you see again, as the moment in ED’s poem when we fit our vision to the Dark and Life steps almost straight. This moment, for Glück, is the moment after a great loss and after you have been changed by it. This idea of being changed/altered comes up several times in “October,” especially in 4:

The light has changed.

The songs have changed.

So much has changed.

And yet the notes recur. They hover oddly
in anticipation of silence.
The ear gets used to them.
The eye gets used to disappearances.

You will not be spared, nor will what you love be spared.