jan 6/RUN

4.5 miles
minnehaha falls and back
14 degrees / feels like 6
100% snow-covered

On Tuesday and Wednesday, we had a big snowstorm. 14.9 inches of snow in total. Schools went online — which is what they do now instead of snow days; students still have to show up, but just to their computers. Because it kept snowing, the city of Minneapolis didn’t declare a snow emergency and begin plowing side streets until it was over on Wednesday. The result: a mess. Today, they’re on day 3 of the snow emergency (plowing the odd side of the street) and walls of snow have appeared at the ends of sidewalks and where streets cross each other. These walls made for a slow start to my run as I climbed over them on my way to the river. The river road trail was plowed, but still covered with a hard pack of snow. I wore my yaktrax, which helped. I didn’t mind running on the snow and was able to sight and avoid all of the big, hard chunks of snow on the path. I didn’t slip, but once I almost rolled my ankle on some snow as I turned a corner at the falls.

10 Things I Noticed

  1. lots of soft ruts in the street — snow almost the color and texture of sand
  2. the river was completely white and still
  3. the dark, sharp shadows of bare tree branches sprawled across the white path
  4. kids having fun at the school playground — I couldn’t see them, but heard their exuberant voices
  5. a strange clanging, clunking, banging noise coming from the school –was it kids? — or Becketwood — a furnace?
  6. the falls weren’t falling, but frozen
  7. as they neared a tight curve by locks and dam #1, several cars slowed way down
  8. a smaller parks plow cleared off the walls of snow at the entrance to the trail near the falls
  9. the snow was so white, the sun so bright, that it all looked blue — the palest shade of blue
  10. a congress of crows calling out to each other. I remember thinking that they sounded much more pleasant than bluejays

overheard: Unfortunately, even though I tried to hang onto all of the words I heard as I ran by two walkers, I’ve forgotten some of them.

A woman to her walking companion: “Not all bosses are like that, Sheldon. My boss doesn’t do that…”

I wondered what her boss doesn’t do. Then, I thought about her frustrated tone and wondered if it was frustration over a boss who didn’t do things they way she wished, or Sheldon for assuming all bosses did things in the same way or for appreciating how his boss did things. The question became: for her, who is the asshole, the boss or Sheldon? All I had to go on were her words and her tone, which didn’t seem like enough. I imagined (but knew I’d never do) stopping to ask her: Excuse me, I’m not trying to be nosy, but what doesn’t your boss do? I thought about how not knowing was an opportunity to reflect on how we communicate and what clues we give with our inflections.

relying on my practice

A great run one day after my colonoscopy. A few days ago, I had mentioned that I was stressed out about the procedure. It went fine. In fact, there were parts of it I actually enjoyed — maybe “enjoyed” is too strong of a word? I’m glad it’s over, but it wasn’t that bad. Mostly because I’m healthy and they didn’t find anything wrong, but partly because I used the noticing skills I’ve developed from my practice of running and writing about it on this log to distract me. Is distract the right word? Maybe keep me focused on remaining present? Or occupied with something other than worry? As I waited in the crowded (but not too tightly packed) waiting room, I took notes of what I noticed. I kept paying attention (but without the notebook) when I headed back for preop and as they wheeled me into the operating room. Maybe I could turn it into a poem?

More than 10 Things I Noticed Before My Colonoscopy

  1. lime green chairs
  2. an older man, restless, tapping on the table like he was playing a keyboard or typing on a computer
  3. a nurse calling out, Sue
  4. the steady hum of the machine that circulates the air
  5. the sound of someone watching a video on a phone — the volume was low, so all I heard was a constant buzz of voices
  6. a woman with a mask below her nose walking by
  7. nurse: Sherry with Barb
  8. the hum of a copy machine or a printer
  9. Julia
  10. Tanika
  11. Isaiah (a little kid in pajamas walked by holding a woman’s hand)
  12. Mark
  13. Brandon
  14. the soft sound of someone folding a crease into a piece of stiff paper
  15. the rustling of a winter coat or nylon pants
  16. Scott’s keyboard keys clicking
  17. a deep rumbling voice
  18. a person walking by wearing bright red sneakers. I wasn’t sure if they were red or orange, so I asked Scott
  19. a cart with a blue cover being pushed by a nurse through the waiting room
  20. someone playing music — I could tell it was music, but not what kind or any of the words that were being sung
  21. a woman wearing a bright yellow stocking cap walked by
  22. Bridget
  23. Nancy
  24. the woman with her mask down coughing and sneezing and blowing her nose then making a call and saying something about 4%
  25. someone saying the phrase, Dad Bodies
  26. Wendy
  27. Travis
  28. feet shuffling, the low hum of murmuring voices

A few other things: 2 of my nurses were also named Sara/h — one was Sara, the other Sarah. My doctor’s sister is Zara. He told me the name means “flower.” When I was wheeled into the operating room, they were talking about how amazing air fryers are. As I drifted off to sleep I heard one of them saying, It’s the best appliance I have. Better than a microwave. I use it 6 or 7 times a week!


I’m continuing to work on my colorblind plate poem about orange. One key theme: I see orange everywhere. Here’s something to add to that: as the nurse (Sarah) was putting in my iv, she told me to look at the orange leaf (which was her way of saying look away so you don’t see me poking you and freak out). I turned and noticed a photograph of gray rocks with a bright orange leaf resting on them. Orange! Later, after I left the room I wondered if I had remembered correctly. Was it orange or red. But then I thought that it didn’t matter because I still thought of it as orange. This fits with my sighting of the red (which I though might be orange) sneakers (#18).

Found this poem on twitter this morning:

Blink/ Donna Vorreyer

A blur of movement where it does not belong,
a white floater in the window’s darkening eye.

A plastic bag, I think, caught in an updraft
or a bit of the dying yucca’s autumn fluff,

but I discover it is a hawk, all muscled breast
and feathered intent, settling to perch in the tree

outside my window, to survey the yard then
fly again, gone as quickly as it came, the same way

joy arrives. Without warning. Sometimes
unrecognizable. Never promising to stay.

Here’s what Vorreyer said about the poem: “If @MFiteJohnson hadn’t sent me the picture, I might have not believed it actually happened, but I have a poem keeping company with hers in the new issue of @pshares, something I thought I would never say. It’s a small poem about being in the moment, something I want to do more.