august 17/RUNSWIM

4 miles
minnehaha falls and back
65 degrees
wind: 17 mph

Another windy day. I recited a few of my favorite wind lines while I ran — I am the wind and the wind is invisible and Who can see the wind?/Neither I nor you:/but when the leaves hang trembling,/the wind is passing through. Cool, fall-ish. Today the wind sounded like water. It made the leaves fizz and sprinkle and gush like a waterfall, the acorns sounding like a raindrops on a roof

I listened to the wind and the gentle whoosh of the cars on the road as I ran south, stopped at my favorite spot to admire the falls, then put in my headphones and listened to an audio book, Killers of a Certain Age as I ran back north.

Anything else? Gushing falls, a runner in a bright orange shirt, the dirt trail littered with acorn shells, the briefest flash of the river through the thick trees. No roller skiers or big groups of runners or regulars. No frantic squirrels or noticeable bird calls. No geese (yet). No overheard conversations or songs blasting from car radios. No rowers.

In theory (and from a distance), I love bats. Here’s another poem to add to my

collection of bat poems — bats:

Exodus/ Joseph Fasano

I don’t know why I should have woken today
remembering it, but I did:
1989, the lights turned down,
and we’d locked ourselves in a closet
in Goshen, New York,
my mother and I,
because a bat was trapped in the house.
This was before
life before alcohol before madness—
and you can imagine
what happened next,
you can hear her
squealing when something touches her shoulder
and she realizes it is not
my hand, or the hand of my father,
and the door bursts open and
a woman stumbles through a house
praying and thrashing her hands,
her nightgown catching on the furniture,
and a small thing
crouched in a closet,
dark and wild and
hearing it all,
wondering how the hell to get out of there.

this class sounds great!

Found this wonderful course description (I wish I could take the class!) via twitter. It shares some similarities with the course I teach at The Loft:

The Outside World in Words (Poetry) / Suzannah V. Evans

Delve into the outside world in this six-week course, where we will experiment with mapping the local environment in a variety of poetic forms. From rivers and trees to streets and weather, we will turn our attention to the rhythms of the human and more-than-human world, exploring the role of observation in poetry. Sticks, leaves, crows, graffiti, mud, and cycle paths will all form a part of our poetic investigation. Creative exercises, prompts, and constructive feedback will jolt you into new ways of thinking and writing about your surroundings.

3 big loops*
lake nokomis open swim
75 degrees

After yesterday’s choppy swim, I decided to wear a wetsuit. I didn’t really need it, but I liked swimming with the wetsuit. So much higher on the water! Faster. The little bit of chop not bothering me. This was my first wetsuit swim since last summer.

*They must have had a shortage of lifeguards — college kids heading back to school? — because they only had the orange buoys up. The course was a lot shorter. I swam 4 loops, but the distance time number of strokes matched up with a 3 loop swim.

At least 2 menacing swans, nearing from the side. Do they see me? Not sure, but they didn’t hit me. A few wandering canoes and several swimmers deciding to swim this lake like Cedar: going which ever way they wanted.

a little kid to an open swimmer: hey, do you have a spare pair of googles?
the swimmer: sorry, no

Anything else? I think I actually saw a fish — and not just a silver flash — below me. It happened too fast to be freaked out by it.

A great swim. I stopped at 4, thinking that would be enough since Scott was waiting and I’m swimming again tomorrow morning. Should I have done one more loop? Maybe.


bike: 8.5 miles
lake nokomis and back
75 degrees

Just checked and this is the first bike ride that I’ve done in over a month! I’m not riding my bike much this summer. Hopefully I can change that for the last weeks of lake swimming. The theme for today’s ride (and swim): WIND! So much wind. According to the weather app: 15 mph. I think the gusts were more. Every direction I rode: wind rushing past my ears, shrieking. It made the bike ride harder, but I didn’t mind that much. The trail was not crowded and I didn’t have to try and pass anyone on the way there. Only 3 people on the way back.


Just as I was about to hop on my bike and leave the lake I heard the following exchange between a Dad, his two kids, and Sarah (on the phone) as they stood by their bikes:

Dad: This is Sea Salt, right?
Kid: No, Sea Salt is at Minnehaha Falls.
Dad: Oh no!
Kid: Yeah, I was wondering why we were going this way.
Dad: What’s this place? Oh shoot! Sarah (he talks into his phone), you told us the wrong place. I heard you say Nokomis.

A few things to note: The distance between the falls and nokomis is probably about 3 miles on bike trails, which isn’t that far but would still suck. Also, I’m impressed that this dad didn’t yell or swear or lose it on Sarah. I’m not sure if this Sarah has an h or not, but I assumed she did because Saras without hs would most likely not make this mistake. It seems like the kids probably knew something was messed up, but I doubt they deliberately didn’t mention it to their Dad. Probably they were doing that thing where you know something’s wrong but you can’t put it into words until much later. What’s that phenomenon called? I bet there’s a name for it.

swim: 1 big loop (4 little, super choppy loops)
lake nokomis main beach
75 degrees
whitecaps, big swells

Ugh! So much wind. Swimming north wasn’t too bad. The waves were pushing me from behind. The biggest problem: big waves pulling me down lower in the water, making it harder to stroke. In the last loop I realized what to do: kick harder. It worked! I really don’t use my legs that much when I’m swimming. Swimming south was very hard — straight into whitecaps. I could only breathe on my right side. Difficult to sight anything or to swim fast. Now my shoulder is sore. Still glad I got out there. I like swimming in the morning when hardly anyone else is here.

I thought I saw a pink safety buoy in the water. Yes! Another swimmer: an older woman. She called out, this is fun! isn’t this fun? It was, even if I didn’t quite feel it at the time.

august 15/RUNSWIM

4.35 miles
marshall loop (cleveland)
60 degrees

Started re-memorizing “Babel” by Kimberly Johnson and was reminded of the first sentence, My God, it’s loud down here, so loud the air/is rattled, as I ran. So loud! The air buzzing, my footsteps amplified. Ran north through the neighborhood, across the lake street bridge, up Marshall hill. I enjoyed passing all the cars waiting for the light to change, wondering if they wished they were me, out in the air, not stuck in a car. Lots of sun, some shade, no shadow. My left hip is a little tight — I think it’s my IT band, which is irritating but not a cause for alarm.

My God, it’s loud: 10 Gorge Things

  1. the electric hiss of cicadas
  2. my footsteps on the asphalt — not a soft strike or a hard thud but something in-between, something loud, almost echoing
  3. deeper breaths
  4. a black-capped chickadee — fee bee fee bee, a blue jay trying to answer back screech screech
  5. water rushing or gushing or just falling at shadow falls
  6. dong dong dong dong dong dong dong dong dong (the bells at St. Thomas)
  7. crunch thwak — an acorn popping then flying out from under a car’s wheel
  8. walk walk walk walk — the crosswalk sign at summit and cretin letting me know that I could walk
  9. we’re almost to the bike trail! — a woman biker to the passenger in her bike trailer
  10. He’s the Wiz and he lives in Oz — the refrain from the first song I listened to when my put my headphones in on the bridge

Since I mentioned my IT band, it’s time for another round of fun with injury terms:

I T stands for iliotibial band, but why couldn’t it stand for…

  • ink tents
  • impish tattlers
  • iffy tables
  • incomplete tarantulas
  • illuminated truths
  • ill turtles
  • Icarus trend
  • implied tantrum
  • itemized tally
  • Italian treat
  • implacable tree
  • idiotic toadstool

3 loops
lake nokomis open swim
79 degrees

A somewhat chaotic swim. Choppy water with swells. On the way to the little beach, it felt like the water was both pulling me down and washing over me, making it hard to stroke and to breathe. On the way back to the big beach, the swells were bigger — more punching walls of water — and with the sun, it was almost impossible to see any of my landmarks. Also, several kayaks and one swan boat got pretty close to me. And the first green buoy was placed so far to the right that it wasn’t until the third loop that I figured out the right trajectory for swimming past it without needing to correct my course. Even with all that, I enjoyed the swim. It’s always great to be out in the middle of the lake!

My God, it’s loud: 9 lake things

  1. a woman near the lifeguard stand where swimmers leave their bags, talking VERY loudly about her kid and what they were doing at the playground
  2. 3 loops and an hour later, that same women still talking VERY loudly near the lifeguard stand
  3. a flock of seagulls, calling out as they flew above the water
  4. a flock of teenage boys, yelling as they played some game at the edge of the swimming area that involved touching something gross at the bottom of the lake
  5. kids playing in the water near the little beach
  6. water sloshing over my head as a wave hit me
  7. water spraying as my hand entered the water and I hit the wave
  8. the lifeguard to the flock of boys: please do not play on the rope!
  9. a general din on the beach from people talking, eating, playing music, laughing

august 12/RUN

3.5 miles
marshall loop (cleveland)
66 degrees

Continued the Saturday tradition of running the Marshall loop with Scott. This morning we ran up the hill between the river road and cretin without stopping. We talked about hospice and last stages of life and Project Runway and band board meetings. Hospice is amazing, by the way. Passed other runners and walkers, tried unsuccessfully to avoid acorns and mud from yesterday’s storm. We weren’t home when it hit, but according to FWA (and many other people on facebook) we got hail the size of quarters. No major damage, but tons of leaves strewn all over the deck, the sidewalk, the road.

10 Things

  1. so many acorns on the sidewalk and the trail! some crushed, some whole — dangerous. Already I’ve rolled a few times on them
  2. a weird whiny bird near shadow falls. Scott wondered if it was a grouse. It might be. I looked it up and listened and the Ontario, 1963 call sounds similar to what we heard today
  3. bright sun, broad daylight, yet the street lamps on the trail are on and so is the lamp on the bridge steps that neither of us have ever noticed before
  4. avoiding sprinklers on Summit
  5. the warning beep from the crosswalk sign in sync with the beat of a song coming out of a car’s radio
  6. on marshall between cretin and cleveland: more shade than sun
  7. the unpleasant whiff of the sewer as we passed near shadow falls
  8. a shell with a single rower in it — watching the oars gently enter the water and leave a trail
  9. getting dripped on once when the wind shook the tree we were running under
  10. crossing the bridge, looking down at the river, seeing a part of the old meeker locks and dam poking through the water

august 11/SWIM

2.25 loops (2 big + 2 little)
lake nokomis open swim
75 degrees

Open swim was delayed this morning by almost 30 minutes. A lifeguard shortage? Not sure. While I waited I, along with several others, swam a few little loops off the main beach. These loops were calmer and more relaxed than the big loops in the middle of the lake. I liked it.

a dead fish

Yuck! Wading near the shore, I saw something stuck in the shallow water: a BIG white fish, belly up. Was it a fish? With my vision, I can’t always tell. I’ve been known to see things wrong, like thinking a furry hat was a dead squirrel. I asked some other swimmers to check. Yep. One of them, named Sara (or maybe Sarah?) too, said it was a northern pike and too big to be in this lake! I looked it up and it might have been a northern pike, but it wasn’t as big as any of images I saw. Whatever it was, I’m glad I don’t ever see this type of fish in the middle of the lake! Maybe it’s one of the silver flashes I often see below me?

The water was warm and buoyant and choppy, especially on the way back. I strained my neck a little lifting it up over the waves to sight the buoys and my other landmarks. Because of my sore neck and needing to go to the bathroom (of course), I decided to stop after 2 loops.

Every so often I chanted the first lines of a Mary Oliver poem to myself: It is time now, I said, for the quieting and deepening of the spirit among the flux of happenings. And it worked, at least the quieting. Not sure I’d say I went deeper. The water was buoyant and my buoy had enough air in it, so it was more like my spirit was quieting and lifting. When I’m swimming I don’t want to sink, but float. This reminds me of some lines from a Maxine Kumin poem that I’ve written about on here before, “To Swim, To Believe”:

Matters of dogma spin off in the freestyle
earning that mid-pool spurt, like faith.
Where have I come from? Where am I going?
What do I translate, gliding back and forth
erasing my own stitch marks in this lane?
Christ on the lake was not thinking
where the next heel-toe went. 
God did him a dangerous favor
whereas Peter, the thinker, sank.

Perhaps to think is to sink, to forget to float? But maybe only when you are in the water.

august 10/RUNSWIM

2 trails
71 degrees

Another late morning run, just before 11. Warm, bright sun. I felt good during my run, not great, but good, especially considering this is my 4th day in a row running. Listened to Taylor Swift’s Lover as I ran south on edmund boulevard and raced a runner on the trail — I’m not sure they knew we were racing, and we weren’t really, it just seemed like it sometimes. When I reached the winchell trail, I took out my headphones and listened to my breathing, my feet striking the debris on the trail — pebbles, acorn shells, mushy mulch, and a few scattered voices from above.

10 Things

  1. the trickle of water out of the sewer pipe at 42nd
  2. a kid calling out above the oak savanna
  3. more trickling near the ravine
  4. thump thump thump — acorns dropping on the pavement
  5. a darting squirrel who noticed me approaching and quickly retreated into the trees
  6. the tree that fell in the ravine in may or june, still there draped across the path
  7. a man peering over the fence on the winchell trail — was he studying the sewer pipe and the water dripping out of it?
  8. a biker speeding down the hill above the tunnel of trees — did he just call out, wheeeee!!
  9. someone in the driveway at the house that posts poems on their front windows
  10. my shadow — I remember that she was dark and sharp, but was she ahead of me or off to the side?

Doxorubicin: Infusion/ Lauren Paul Watson

The eye sees only three colors—cardinal in the garden, green bough, blue sky.
This morning, a wreck of brightness, not light,
but the memory of light. Not red but the memory of flying.
Here, a tenderness too bright to look on.
White breeze of a blanket settling on a chair.
A sequined purse turned disco and shattering
the room’s blue air. Someone is moving her lips
as someone else speaks opposite.
Someone is sleeping in a pickle of light.
Above me, outside, the cardinal, walking along the gutter,
stops high above my shoulder
like a fact that can’t be held.
Here, the body undoes itself.
The lung, its flutter. The sacrum’s
sacred shield. Every red cell.
The clouds come and go as themselves.
Who says when the body is better?
Why should I believe them?
Why, this morning, is the eye lidded down,
salt-smudged, confusion, watercolor and linen?
Can I not be the day’s exception?
Do I close my eyes or open them?

I like how she uses color here. Doxorubicin is used in chemo for treating cancers like breast cancer.

swim: 3 loops
lake nokomis main swim
78 degrees

A beautiful evening for a swim! I felt fast and strong and buoyant today. No buoy tethered to my torso leaking air and weighing me down. As usual, I saw most of the orange and green buoys (and barely) only just before I reached them. The buoy I could see the best was the first orange one as I swam from the green buoy towards it. Ran into one person — I think it was their fault, but it could have been mine. I don’t remember seeing any minnows or silver flashes or ducks or seagulls or planes. Saw one very menacing sailboat, 2 swans, and a canoe. I mostly breathed every 5 strokes. My nose plug only needed to be adjusted once. My goggle didn’t leak. Hooray!

The water was opaque — light brown? — and not too cold. Not too many swells, no waves washing over me as I tried to breathe.

Remember hearing the sloshing and slapping of water from other swimmers’ hands entering the water when I stopped mid-lake to adjust my nose plug.

Colors: dark green trees, light green buoys and swim caps, pink and yellow safety buoys, orange buoys, red kayaks, white swans, white sails, a white boat’s bottom, a silver roof top, blue sky, brown water, black wetsuits

No reciting poems or interesting thoughts or moments of wonder. Just non-stop effort and a chance to lose track of time.

august 9/RUN

5 miles
bottom of franklin hill and back
78 degrees
dew point: 60

Overcast. Cool for the first few minutes, until my body warmed up, then lots of sweat and a flushed face. Running through the tunnel of trees, stillness. The only sounds, my soft feet, my deep breaths. It lasted only for a moment, then the whirr of bike wheels from behind. Everything a deep green, thick. Calm.

Nearing Lake Street, I heard a song coming out of a bike radio that I recognized but couldn’t quite identify. I kept singing (in my head) a familiar line, hoping the song title would come to me. It didn’t. Now I can’t remember the line. Will it pop into my head later today? I hope so. All I can remember from the line is “time.”

Ran all the way to the bottom of the hill listening to soft stillness, the birds, and my body moving above the gorge. Walked back up the hill, put in The Wiz, and started running again.

Noticed the river in the flats: still, brown, stagnant. No rowers or waves or shimmering surface.

As I started to write this entry, I began a Crosby, Stills & Nash playlist. Maybe for the first time, I actually gave attention to the opening lyrics of “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”:

It’s getting to the point
Where I’m no longer fun anymore
I am sorry

Wow. Getting older, I feel these lines. I like how blunt and bare they are and how they contrast with the music, which seems softer, less sad.

another definition of poetry

A poem is something that can’t otherwise be said addressed to someone that can’t otherwise hear it. By this definition, poetry is deeply impractical and deeply necessary.

“Ars Poetica: Origin Stories” / Craig Morgan Teicher

august 8/RUNSWIM

3.15 miles
2 trails
78 degrees
humidity: 46%

Warm, but low humidity. Ran later, at 11:30. Some shade, mostly sun. Ran south on the dirt trail between edmund and the river road. Yesterday it was mostly wet and muddy, today dry and dusty. Crossed over to the river road trail, then down to Winchell just before 44th. I don’t remember much about the river except that it was white and very bright. The trees were green and thick. No leaning trunks today. Also no sleeping bodies passed out on the path.

Listened to more acorns dropping — clink clunk thump — and kids yelling as they biked or played at the playground for most of the run. After ascending the 38th street steps, I put in Taylor Swift’s 1989 and she welcomed me to New York.

10 Things

  1. right before starting to run: a dark brown, almost black, squirrel sitting up on its hind legs — did it have an acorn? I couldn’t tell
  2. pale, dusty dirt on the boulevard path
  3. the squeaky groan of the bed of a big truck tilting down to drop off some type of giant machine on the road
  4. passing by a walker on the narrow winchell trail — right behind you! — as water dripped dripped dripped out of the sewer pipe below
  5. running on the tips of my toes as I traveled up the short, very steep grade near folwell
  6. 3 or 4 small stones stacked on the ancient boulder by the sprawling oak tree
  7. passing by the old stone steps that lead to the river, the flash of an idea: why not take these steps down to the river? another flash: bugs, heat, no time to stop. So I didn’t
  8. another groups of kids in yellow vests biking on the trail, the leader/adult calling out, stay on your side of the lane!
  9. doing quick steps to avoid the tree roots just barely sticking out of the dirt on the trail at the top of edmund
  10. listening to the line in Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood”:
    Did you have to do this?
    I was thinking that you could be trusted
    Did you have to ruin what was shiny?
    Now it’s all rusted
    and thinking about shiny vs. rusted, and rust in the fall, then I noticed some rust on one of the big metal tubes all around the neighborhood that the city is using for their sewer work — Scott says these tubes get placed vertically in the ground and the workers stand in them as they do their work

The World / Marie Howe

I couldn’t tell one song from another, which bird said what or to whom or for
what reason.
The oak tree seemed to be writing something using very few words.

I couldn’t decide which door to open—they looked the same, or what would
happen when
I did reach out and turn a knob. I thought I was safe, standing there, but my
death remembered

its date: only so many summer nights still stood before me, full moon, waning
October mornings: what to make of them? which door?

I couldn’t tell which stars were which or how far away any one of them was, or
were still burning or not—their light moving through space like a long late

and I’ve lived on this earth so long, 50 winters, 50 springs and summers,
and all this time stars have stood in the sky—in daylight when I couldn’t see
them, and

at night, when most nights I didn’t look.

This idea that stars are there all the time, even in the day when we can’t see them, seems to be (at least in my limited experience) a favorite of poets. Also: the moon!, the fact that stars are dead by the time we see them, so we’re looking at ghosts, and the realization that ponies are not baby horses (I encountered this revelation, sometimes with the annoying phrase, I was today years old when I realized that ponies aren’t baby horses, from poetry people). All of these, sources of wonder and delight. I suppose they are for me, well maybe not the horses/ponies thing.

Currently I’m reading Andrew Leland’s The Country of the Blind and it’s amazing. His descriptions of becoming blind, or being in this state of living while losing sight, not living with lost sight, resonate a lot for me, especially the idea of doubting your own vision loss and his experiences with eye doctors:

(note: I didn’t have time to transcribe this page, but I will come back to do it and put in alt text for others who already can’t see the image, and for me who will soon not be able to.

swim: 3 swell loops
lake nokomis open swim
82 degrees

So many swells in the water today. For most of it, I felt like I was being pulled down into the water. Not very buoyant. I wondered if I would able to do 3 loops. But as I got deeper into the swim, I felt stronger and more able to keep going.

10 Things

  1. little minnows near the shore — hello friends!
  2. being rocked — not roughly or gently but in a way that made it difficult to push through the water
  3. getting stuck behind a woman swimming backstroke and getting way off course — is she swimming backstroke? is that the green buoy, way over there?
  4. racing a wetsuit on the back end of the first loop. Did he realize we were racing, or was it just me? I won
  5. the far orange buoy was much closer to the little beach than it has been all season
  6. spotted one swan, no sail boat or wandering canoes
  7. sighting other swimmers by the bubbles their feet made under the water
  8. the orange buoys looked like they had white patches as I got closer to them — the sun was shining extra bright on them, I guess
  9. no birds or planes that I remember but one zooming dragonfly
  10. felt like I was on a people mover for the last stretch between the last green buoy and first orange one — swimming so fast, pushed along by the swells behind me

Recited Mary Oliver’s “Swimming, One Day in August” in my head as I swam the last loop and realized something. She writes:

Something had pestered me so much
that I felt like my heart would break.
I mean, the mechanical part.

The mechanical part? I realized that her heart breaking is a good thing here and that her mechanical heart is the one that follows the beat of organized, tightly contained time, broken down into hours and minutes and seconds so we can be as efficient and productive as possible. Yes! Swimming in the lake can break me open and out of time’s rigid boxes.

august 7/RUN

3.15 miles
2 trails
66 degrees
humidity: 84% / dew point: 62

The temperature isn’t that high, but the humidity and dew point are. Now, having finished my run, sitting on my deck, I’m dripping sweat while the trees drip rain from yesterday’s showers. Reminds me of a poem I just memorized, “The Social Life of Water” — All water is a part of other water and All water understands and Puddle has a long conversation with lake about fjord. A line to add? Sweat sings a duet with tree while deck listens.

oh no! Still sitting under the tree, the wind suddenly picked up and it began to rain drips all over my keyboard.

A good run. My left hip felt a little sore or tight. Listened to dropping acorns for most of the run, then put in a playlist for the last mile.

10 Things

  1. Mr. Morning! called out good morning! from across the road — he was on the river road trail, I was running on Edmund. Good morning! I called back
  2. the bright headlights of a truck parked on the wrong side of the street
  3. most of the dirt path was wet, a few parts were muddy, but one stretch was loose, dry sand — how had it avoided the rain? was it sheltered by a big tree?
  4. the river was white through the trees. It waved to me in the wind
  5. the coxswains’ voices — first, a deep one, then a higher-pitched one — drifted up from the river. I tried to find the boats, but I couldn’t — less about my bad vision, more about all the green blocking my view
  6. brushing my elbow against some leaves on the side of the trail — wet, cold, refreshing
  7. a chattering of sparrow lifted from a lawn as I ran by
  8. another regular — the woman with shoulder-length hair who walks and always wears a short sporty skirt with sandals. This might be the first time I’ve seen her this summer
  9. a minneapolis parks riding lawnmower hauling ass on the bike path — wow, those vehicles can go fast!
  10. almost forgot — acorns! thumping the ground every few seconds, littering the trail, some intact others already ravaged by squirrels, crunching under car wheels

The early signs of late summer / coming fall are here: dropping acorns and the dull din of non-stop cricket chirps.

august 6/SWIM

3 loops
lake nokomis open swim
68 degrees

First swim back since last Monday. I’ve missed it. Almost thought it wouldn’t happen; it was supposed to rain. Instead, cloudy. Hooray!

I had a rough start. Right before swimming, I couldn’t get my nose plug to stay on my nose. After taking it off and putting it on again several times, I decided it was good enough and headed out to the first orange buoy. A few strokes in, I had to stop. A leaking goggle. Fixed it, started again. A minute or two later, I could tell my nose plug wasn’t on fully. Stopped in the middle of the lake to adjust it. A few minutes after that, my eye began to burn — I hadn’t rinsed out all the baby shampoo I use to de-fog my goggles. I swam with my eyes closed for a few strokes then stopped to rinse my eyes and goggles out while treading water halfway between the shore and the middle green buoy.

I had hoped to recite Mary Oliver’s “Swimming, One Day in August” as I swam, at least the first lines: It is time now, I said,/ for the deepening and the quieting of the spirit/among the flux of happenings. But, it was hard to think about deepening and quieting when my eyes were burning and my nose plug was leaking. After completing 2 loops, I decided to stop and stand and rest at the big beach for a minute and then find a way to get deeper and quieter for my last loop. I think it worked.

10 Things

  1. seagulls! Maybe a dozen, standing in the water near the shore
  2. a gray morning with rain coming
  3. water temperature warmer than the air
  4. opaque water — no silver flashes
  5. a few boats in the water, mostly lifeguards in kayaks
  6. the buoys were off from my line of landmarks — the top of the building, the over-turned boat, so I swam wide and on the edges of the course as I kept the landmarks in sight
  7. smooth water — were there any waves?
  8. no vines or weeds or floating chunks of vegetation
  9. no sun
  10. at least one plane in the sky

A strange sensation. I keep having flashes of memory about the swim that seem like dreams. Was I dreaming as I swam, or did I dream about swimming last night? Maybe a bit of both?

Hard for me to believe, but it looks like I haven’t posted Mary Oliver’s poem, “Swimming, One Day in August” in its entirety. Here it is:

Swimming, One Day in August/ Mary Oliver

It is time now, I said,
for the deepening and quieting of the spirit
among the flux of happenings.

Something had pestered me so much
I thought my heart would break.
I mean, the mechanical part.

I went down in the afternoon
to the sea
which held me, until I grew easy.

About tomorrow, who knows anything.
Except that it will be time, again,
for the deepening and quieting of the spirit.