july 20/RUN

5.8 miles
bottom of franklin hill and back
69 degrees / humidity: 84%

More progress! Running a little longer before stopping to walk, then running a little longer before stopping again. Increased my distance and time on my feet too. Step by small step I’ll get there.

Almost 9 am on Saturday morning. As I warmed up with a walk, it was quiet, calm. No cars or kids or other adults around. Just birds and my footsteps on the sidewalk. Ah, I love summer mornings!

During the run: hot, humid, lots of sweat. Greeted the Welcoming Oaks. Passed a group of runners in the tunnel of trees — good morning! Noticed an orange water station set up at the top of lake street, above the rowing club. Chanted triple berries — strawberry/raspberry/blueberry. Someone running up the hill turn around in front of me and descended again — hill repeats? Some bikers bombed down the franklin hill, others crawled up it. No rowers. The surface of the river seemed to have an oily skin on it. No foam or waves. Two runners passed me, one of them talking about his sister’s upcoming wedding. Waved at a regular runner, the white-bearded Mr. Santa Claus. At the bottom of the hill, two men fished in the river. Did they catch anything?

image: an older man running in BRIGHT blue shorts and matching long socks. As blue as a cloudless sky.

For the first half of the run, I listened to the quiet. Walking up the hill, I put in some music: Beyoncé’s “Cowboy Carter” and then the movie soundtrack to “The Wiz.”

july 12/RUNSWIM

run: 2 miles
lake nokomis
80 degrees

Ran with Scott around the lake before open swim. Hot! For most of it, I felt fine, but the last few minutes were hard. I can’t remember what we talked about — Scott mentioned something about selling a few subscriptions to his plugin during his band rehearsal last night — nice. I remember admiring the sparkling water and noticing some small waves, hearing many different birds singing, feeling the lack of shade in the stretch between the bridge and the little beach. Saw some geese and ducks — oh, here’s something I talked about: I mentioned to Scott how I wasn’t seeing many birds while I swam — no ducks crossing my path and no seagulls perched on the white buoys. I wonder why I’m not — are they not there, or am I just not noticing them?

swim: 4 loops
lake nokomis open swim
80 degrees

Warm, both the air and the water. Even so, it was refreshing after the run. The green slimy stuff was everywhere. Most of the swimming area at the big beach had globs of it on the surface. I told Scott it made me think of ectoplasm from Ghostbusters. Still gross, but I’m getting used to it, and now that I know it won’t get me sick, I don’t care that much. Some of it was dried out, a little more brittle, less slimy.

The water was rougher than I expected. No big waves, but enough chop that I had to breathe mostly on my right side and felt more tired at the end of each loop. Also, it was difficult to see much because of the swells.

My favorite part of the swim was the reflections on top of and below the surface. Above, the bright buoys made the water glow orange and green as I rounded them. Noticing this I wondered what reflections I might see on the underside of the surface. I swam a little deeper and looked up at the surface of the water from below: a reflection of my hands! Very cool looking.

My least favorite part of the swim was the algae and the thick branch that I swam into in the middle of the lake. First I was startled, then I had a flash of memory: Chief Brodie sees something in the surf and wades out; a charred dead body falls on him (from Jaws). Watching that movie when I was a kid still haunts me.

The color of the water was delightful. Mostly, I looked at it and thought green. Sometimes the green had hints of blue. Sometimes, when I was swimming near the ectoplasm-algae, it was bright green. And sometimes, when I noticed light streaming down from above, it had flecks of gold. Writing this last bit I realized that I haven’t seem much of the sediment this week — all the vibrating flecks looking like sparkles. I hope they come back (and the algae leaves!).

added several hours later: A few things I forgot: man walking in the shallow water with a metal detector, two women expressing concern about the algae floating near the start of the swim, and two women celebrating after checking their watches and seeing how far they swam. Finally, the “official” name for the green slime in the water is algae scum, according to the lake quality site. For the water quality at Lake Nokomis main beach, there’s a note in the special consideration section: “Stay out of algae scum if blown into beach area.” Well, I tried! Algae scum seems a fitting name for this gross stuff.

july 7/SWIM

4 loops
lake nokomis open swim
69 degrees / calm

Finally, the water was warm! Warm enough that I wasn’t freezing on the drive home, wrapped in blankets. And I didn’t have to take a long, hot shower to thaw out. Another wonderful swim. Strong, confident strokes. Steady, barely a break in the rhythm — 1 2 sight 3 4 5 breathe left 1 2 3 breathe right 1 2 sight 3 4 5 breathe left — once to adjust my nose plug, a few times to avoid drifting swimmers, and once to stand at the big beach between loops 3 and 4.

today, 4 loops = 3800 yards

10+ Lake Things

  1. getting ready to start, overheard: a tiny, older woman in wetsuit to another women in a tri-suit — are you ready to swim? the tri-suit replies: no, I don’t want to do this wetsuit: you don’t want to swim? tri-suit: no, but I have a race on the 14th
  2. a delightfully creaking swing, sounding almost like it was calling out or scolding me — creeaakkk creeaakk
  3. glittering sediment in the water
  4. pale, ghostly legs near the buoys
  5. lifeguards for the win: the course set up and open 5 minutes early! and the buoys were fairly in line with each other!
  6. no swans or geese or ducks or minnows (at least that I recall)
  7. loop 1: sun, a few clouds
  8. loop 2: less sun, more clouds, half the sky turning white
  9. loop 3: more sun again
  10. bubbles, bubbles everywhere from exhaling and piercing the water
  11. I added to the collection of sad, scattered hairbands at the lake floor by accidentally dropping mine at the end of the swim
  12. at the beginning: a metal detector dude, wading in the water!

A few random thoughts: I don’t miss the silver-boat bottom and even if it were still here, the course is set up in a way that would make it unhelpful for guiding me. I only breathe through my mouth when I swim because of my nose plug. Longterm, what kind of impact does that have on my swimming, breathing, fitness? It’s me, hi, I’m the problem it’s me: breaststrokers always seem to be trying to race me. They irritate me. Not that I’m complaining, but how come I never see any snakes in this water (or eels)?

During loop two, I recited Anne Sexton’s “The Nude Swim” as I swam. All this in us had escaped for a minute is still my favorite line, although I also like, we entered in completely and let our bodies lose all their loneliness. I also recited a bit from MO: It is time now, I said, for the deepening and quieting of the spirit among the flux of happenings.

scott’s big band concert

Last night, FWA and I went to Scott’s big band concert. It was outside beside a beautiful lake in a small town northwest of Minneapolis. It lasted for 2 hours. Sitting there, I witnessed the changing light — from bright to shadows to sun descending, sky suggesting pink. At one point, I turned to FWA and mentioned the pink then asked, is it pink? And he said, no and looked at me a little strangely. I responded, I love how my vision makes everything magical. It didn’t look PINK! but more like a whisper, a trace, the slightest hint of pink, as if someone was whispering to me, pink. Was I anticipating the sunset I expected? Or maybe just more attuned than FWA to the changing light, having given so much attention in the past few years to subtle shifts in color?

10 Things During the Concert

  1. at the end of a song, just as the singer was hitting a fabulous high note, a train passed nearby, its horn blaring, sounding like part of the music
  2. someone was smoking a pipe nearby — later Scott complained that he could smell it on stage; I smelled it, but it didn’t bother me
  3. a woman behind me cackling
  4. another woman in a flowing turquoise skirt walking by then stopping to listen to the Stevie Wonder medley then swaying to — now I can’t remember which Wonder song it was, Sir Duke?
  5. no bugs!
  6. birds! — high in the sky, one bird awkardly flapping its wings, frantic with speed
  7. birds! — shooting up in the sky like fireworks or static on a screen, one at a time
  8. the lake behind me — I could feel it but couldn’t see it because to turn and look would seem as if I was staring at the people behind me — oh, why didn’t they position the band shell in front of the lake!
  9. during the concert, people were playing basketball at the court next to the stage — I don’t remember hearing them, just seeing bodies moving back and forth
  10. in the distance, to my right, carnival rides — a spinn-y ride lit up in red and green and blue lights — as dusk neared, I watched the lights glow

It was a long night — we left the house at 3:45 pm, got to the concert venue at 5, waited around until the concert started at 6, then listened for 2 hours, and finally got home at almost 10. But I’m glad I went, and grateful that FWA came too. So many cool images to witness and remember.

july 1/RUN

4 miles
river road, north/south
64 degrees

Feeling a little off since yesterday afternoon — the slightest sore throat, a little stuffy, tired. Can’t decide if it’s allergies from swimming in the lake or something else (tested, not COVID). Future Sara, let me know.

This first July run was the same as most of my June runs: difficult, but worth it. The first half was fine, the second half hard. Sore legs, hard to keep going. I think a lot of it is mental, but I’m not sure how to fix it. For now, more swimming, shorter runs.

One thing that helped in the first half was reciting two poems: Still Life with Window and Fish / Jorie Graham and The Social Life of Water / Tony Hoagland. It was a good distraction. I think it might help if I figured out a task or project or activity before each run. That has helped me in the past.

10 Things

  1. greeted the Welcoming Oaks — good morning! good morning!
  2. admired the green view down to the floodplain forest — deep green, scraggly excess
  3. noticed the purple flowers lining the trail
  4. heard the rowers below — not yet on the river, but down below near the boathouse, laughing
  5. encountered a long line of unevenly spaced kids in yellow vests on bikes — lots of stragglers near the back
  6. not a single view of the river that I remember
  7. heading north: wind pushing from behind, heading south: in my face, cooling me off
  8. one bug almost landing in my eye
  9. several stones stacked on the ancient boulder — was it 4 again?
  10. the outline of an orange cat spray-painted on the sidewalk — even though it probably doesn’t look like Garfield, every time I see it I think, Garfield

Why was the cat named Garfield? The other day, when Scott and I were walking, I thought I heard a woman call out to their dog, Neil! Come here Neil! And I thought that that would be an awesome name for a dog, but not as awesome as Bob Barker.

Alice Oswald and color vision

I’m fascinated by something that I read in Alice Oswald’s interview with Kit Fan:

and this may again be an effect of thinking about the project with an artist, I was just thinking an awful lot about light and vision and the way … well, light as an insect, really, which is not just Homer, it’s also Dante. I always loved this part of Dante where he talks about the spiriti visivi, I think they’re called. And this idea that when you look at things, what’s happening is these kind of, you know, these creatures are sort of moving out from your eye to the world and moving from the world back into your eye. I was trying to sort of slow down my senses while I wrote this poem and imagine even a sort of passage between myself and the world was a creature, living creature of some kind

A Conversation with Kit Fan and Alice Oswald

And here are 2 places where that idea shows up in Nobody:

from Nobody/ Alice Oswald

page 19

There are said to be microscopic insects in the eye
who speak Greek and these invisible
ambassadors of vision never see themselves
but fly at flat surfaces and back again
with pigment caught in their shivering hair-like receptors
and this is how the weather gets taken to and fro
and the waves pass each other from one color to the next
and sometimes mist a kind of stupefied rain
slumps over the water like a teenager
and sometimes the sun returns whose gold death mask
with its metallic stare seems to be

blinking

page 30

When trees take over an island and say so all at once
some in pigeon some in pollen with a coniferous hiss
and run to the shore shouting for more light
and the sun drops its soft coverlet over their heads
and owls and hawks and long-beaked sea-crows
flash to and fro
like spirits of sight whose work is on the water
where the massless mind undulates the intervening air
shading it blue and thinking

I wish I was there

or there

I was planning to think about these lines as I swam at the cedar lake open swim, but when we got there it was too windy. No buoys, no lifeguards. People were still swimming, and I might have too, if I didn’t feel so tired and — not stuffed up, but congested in some way, like I’d swallowed too much lake water at the last swim. So many waves, almost 30 mph wind gusts.

june 30/SWIM

4 loops
lake nokomis open swim
65 degrees

Wow wow wow! What a wonderful swim for my birthday weekend. The air was cooler, but the water was fine and the sun was warm. Not much wind, so few waves, but the sun reflecting off the water sparked light everywhere. Felt strong and sore, then not sore, then sore again: mostly my neck from sighting and breathing. I didn’t wear my safety buoy and it felt strange, like I was missing something.

1

The water was clearer, lighter. Less greenish-blue and empty, more greenish-yellow and full of living things — particles, vines, sediment — and light. Shafts of light everywhere underwater — not straight down, but at angles and coming up from the bottom not down from the sky. An illusion, but fun to imagine the light source as down below. The opposite of Lorine Niedecker’s “ocean’s black depths” (Paean to Place) and Alice Oswald’s “violet dark” (Nobody). I noticed the shafts of light the most in the stretch of water between the last green buoy and the first orange one.

2

After I finished my 4th loop, swimming just inside the pink buoys, I looked underwater — clear enough to see the sandy, rocky bottom, but not clear enough to see any hairbands. Writing this reminded me of what I witnessed before the swim: minnows! As I waded in the shallow water, dozens of little fish scattered as I approached. None of them nibbled at my toes, or if they did, I didn’t feel it.

3

During the first loop somewhere between the first and second orange buoys an alarming thought appeared: what if I fainted in the middle of the lake? In the past this thought might have caused panic which I would feel in my body — a flushed face, harder to breathe, hot tingling on the top of my head. Not today. No physical effect. Within a few minutes the thought was gone. Is this because of the lexapro? FWA says that sometimes he feels the lexapro working — he’ll start having overwhelming thoughts but instead of spiraling, he feels himself become separated from those thoughts — they become abstract and distant. I wondered about this as I stroked then connected it to Alice Oswald’s Homeric mind and the idea of thoughts not just living in our head but traveling outside of our bodies from there to there.

3

I only saw the orange buoys when I was right next to them. I was almost always swimming straight at them, so some part of me knew they were there, just not my eyes. No panic or fear or negative thoughts as I looked at the nothingness of water and sky and a vague, generic tree line.

june 23/SWIM

3 loops
lake nokomis open swim
67 degrees

Yes! A wonderful morning swim. As usual, always a mix of excited and nervous before the swim, but once I entered the water, all of it went away. Not always easy — sometimes my back hurts or a shoulder or a foot — but almost always wonderful. I love the dream I enter below the surface and the confidence I feel slicing through the water and the warmth of muscles worked after. Nothing feels as natural as swimming across this lake.

10 Things

  1. the crooked line of orange buoys — the one closest to the big beach much further north
  2. the faint outline of vegetation reaching up from the bottom of the lake, just below me
  3. swimming through a net of green milfoil near the white buoy
  4. only the occasional flash of other swimmers — a bent, bare elbow, a black wetsuit, a yellow safety buoy
  5. the brief flash of “buoy” or “orange” or “triangle” in my head, then nothing — I listened and believed and swam towards it
  6. one menacing sailboat — an orange and red sail
  7. open, empty water with vague trees in the distance
  8. above the surface, vivid blue, below the surface, green with hints of blue and the faintest idea of yellow
  9. my hands stretched out in front of me in the water — pale, glowing, a sharp contrast with the dark water
  10. shafts of light illuminating the particles in the water, everything constantly moving

the best moment: Rounding the final orange buoy for the third and final time, heading back to the big beach, the sun came out from behind the clouds. Suddenly the water was a vivid blue when I looked up to sight or turned my head to breathe. When I went back under, everything a beautiful, rich green: blue, green green green green green, blue, green green green green. At some point a cloud came and the blue grew darker, not quite purple. I thought about Alice Oswald and Odysseus and purple robes and being purpled.

Alice Oswald and Nobody

Was thinking about this before my swim:

Well, as you know, I’m quite fascinated, even obsessed, you might say with Homer. And one of the things that really tantalizes me in Homer is what is the Homeric mind? Because I think it’s very different from a literary mind. And it seems not to be inside the skull, but to be out in the world. So, there is a particular simile in the Iliad, which actually that first bit of the poem is based on, where it talks about two goddesses coming from heaven to the earth. And they’re very physically described. They kind of fall down from heaven to the earth. And then when they land, they take little pigeon steps, steps like doves or pigeons. So you can really picture them. But the way their flight moves from heaven to earth is as a man, you know, as the mind flutters in a man who has traveled widely, so you can turn it the other way around and say the way a man thinks is like this incredibly physical flight of two goddesses coming down to earth a bit like pigeons. And that’s always really interested me, that for Homer, the mind has the limitations of a pigeon, if you like. It is this kind of … this physical thing that moves. So, if you imagine a place over the sea, your mind actually has to get there. So, even though it may be as fast as the light, it is physical movement.

A Conversation with Kit Fan and Alice Oswald

I’m still looking for where in the Iliad these goddesses/pigeons are. And I’m still figuring out what AO might mean here. But it is helpful to read it beside these two parts of Nobody:

1/ page 1

As the mind flutters in a man who has travelled widely
and his quick-winged eyes land everywhere
I wish I was there or there he thinks and his mind

immediately

as if passing its beam through cables

flashes through all that water and lands
less than a second later on the horizon
and someone with a telescope can see his tiny thought-form
floating on the sea-surface wondering what next

2 / page 30

When trees take over an island and say so all at once
some in pigeon some in pollen with a coniferous hiss
and run to the shore shouting for more light
and the sun drops its soft coverlet over their heads
and owls and hawks and long-beaked sea-crows
flash to and fro
like spirits of sight whose work is on the water
shading it blue and thinking

I wish I was there

or there

Is the Homeric mind restless? I wish AO would say more about what she means by the literary mind and its lack of movement. I agree, but I’d like it spelled out. Does my mind work this way when I’m out moving by the gorge, or swimming across the lake? Does it move through or above the water? Maybe it became a fish.

Here’s one more line from the interview that I want to respond to:

. . . feeling of characters who have been eroded by the weather and by the sea is really what I’m feeling in this poem. It’s a poem that just opens itself to the elements and gets kind of washed, it gets its features washed off. . . . I think that’s all part of the erosion, really, it’s like even the forms of visible things have been almost worn down to their abstract shapes.

A Conversation with Kit Fan and Alice Oswald

Visible forms almost worn down to their abstract shapes — that’s how much of the gorge looks to me. Soft forms: trees, trash cans, big boulders.

june 22/RUN

3.15 miles
river road south/north
67 degrees
93% humidity / dew point: 65

Very tough on the legs! That dew point — ugh! Another difficult run. Still glad I did it. I heard some chattering birds and water gushing out of the sewer pipe near 42nd. Ran over puddles, slippery leaves, mud, recently re-tarred asphalt, dirt, roots. I remember looking at the river through the trees but I don’t remember what it looked like — probably a very pale blue or white, like the sky.

Inspired by all of my time with Alice Oswald lately, I’m thinking of starting Nobody again this afternoon. Listening to an interview she did with Kit Fan, back in 2020, I’m intrigued by what she said about her approach to writing it:

[The poem] sets out really to drown the reader. I wanted it not to feel like a sort of intellectual exercise where you would emerge kind of clarified and simplified, but literally to be as if you were inhaling water. … I find the people who I think get most out of it are those who don’t expect it to be conveying a thought, but expect it to be more like the experience of being outdoors, where you simply are assaulted by all kinds of different tunes and beings.

A Conversation with Kit Fan and Alice Oswald

And here, AO talks about color:

Well, I always feel that the Odyssey is a very bright emerald green because it has this incredible sort of vegetative life in it. It’s like a plant that just cannot stop growing. You know, the sentences grow all over the place. So, even though it’s a poem about the sea, I actually feel that kind of bright green of spring leaves in it. But I mean, I did kind of quite terrifying things to my mind when I was writing this poem, because I got quite interested in theories of color and sort of trying to watch what my mind was doing, particularly looking at colors in water and how your mind will tell you that’s green because you know it’s a leaf, but actually when you look at it, it’s not because it’s in a black river. And so, just trying to notice what the mind does and try, as I’m always trying, to get away from my own mind and out into the world. I was trying to see what colors are beyond my mind. And I think they probably don’t exist beyond the mind. So, it was actually an experience of almost unsettling all my perceptions really.

And being stuck, and going nowhere — is this similar to my looping!?

So these stories don’t get anywhere. They’re all stuck. And I like sort of, you know, Celtic patterns that just go on and on doing the same thing. So I didn’t want to make a poem that got anywhere, really. I wanted a poem that was stuck, whose stories couldn’t quite move forward, that had simply been tossed about by the weather, really.

later (5 pm): At the risk of making this entry too long, I’d like to add a few thoughts/notes after reading part of AO’s Nobody again, having read it before in 2022. It was very helpful to listen to AO’s lecture, “Interview with Water” and listen to/read the transcript of her interview with Kit Fan.

Before the poem begins, AO describes the similar (using similar like she does in “Interview with Water” — not the same, but resembling but varied, like water by currents) stories of Agamemnon, whose wife was not faithful and Odysseus, whose wife was.

This poem lives in the murkiness between those stories. Its voice is wind-blown, water-damaged, as if someone set out to sing the Odyssey, but was rowed to a stony island and never discovered the poem’s ending.

Nobody/ Alice Oswald

It helped me to read that beside AO’s words in her interview with Kit Fan:

. . .the poem is very much a kind of strange reading of the Odyssey. The Odyssey I see is a beautifully patterned wedding hymn about Odysseus’s marriage to Penelope and how they are driven apart by the Trojan War, and then they come back together. But embedded in that story, you’ve got the opposite story, which is the wedding of Agamemnon who goes off to the same war and comes back and is murdered by his wife whose taken another. And it’s that reverse Odyssey that I was writing in this poem, partly because the poet who is abandoned on the island is part of Agamemnon’s household. So, from his point of view, the Odyssey is being seen differently, from that other, much darker story. 

A Conversation with Kit Fan and Alice Oswald

Her use of darker here, reminds me of something she said in “Interview with Water”: “when you look at water, it allows you to exist twice but more darkly.”

june 19/RUNSWIM

2.5 miles
2 trails
64 degrees

A quick run before meeting my college friends for lunch. Cooler today. Heard the rowers. Spotted: at least 2 bright yellow shirts, one bright pink. City (or county or park?) workers were out re-tarring a few more spots on the trail. Hooray for less craters! Last week, they finally filled in the big crack that had white spray-paint around it, making it look like a tube sock or Florida (I’ve written about it before). I wonder if they’ll finally fill in the hole that’s been getting deeper every year? The one that would definitely twist your ankle if you stepped in it. I hope so.

I don’t remember hearing any birds or roller skiers or laughing kids, but I do remember the squishy mud on the winchell trail and the bug bite I got as I walked home.

color in/on/under water

Listening to Alice Oswald’s lecture, Interview with Water, I came across this great passage about color. First she’s mentions that poets performing The Odyssey always wore blue robes, then she mentions a line from book 8:

Odysseus
with his strong hands picked up his heavy cloak
of purple, and he covered up his face.
He was ashamed to let them see him cry.
Each time the singer paused, Odysseus
wiped tears, drew down the cloak (8:84-89)

Then she references something she said a few minutes earlier —

I keep a bucket of rainwater under my window and it delights me that green leaves reflected in a black bucket are not quite green. I don’t know what color they are. At certain moments, early in the day, they might be called pre-green, but then the clouds change or the wind moves the surface mark and all at once they seem bright dark and blind silvery then foggy emerald.

— and says this:

To go back to that bucket of water — to wave a blue gown above it and ask, What is that color which Homer calls porfurium? It is not blue exactly; it gets translated as purple but purple is a settled color whereas Homer’s word is agitated. It derives from the sea verb porfurion which means to roll without breaking, so it is already a fluid word, a heaped up word, a word with underswell, not a pigment but an emanation from the nature of water. To get a true sense of porphyrion you need to see the sea in it and for Homer the sea is unhuman full of strange creatures missed colored unplowable and this is my favorite word it is a peritone meaning unfenced. If you want to imagine the colour of Odysseus’ gown you will have to swim out into the unfenced place, the place not of definitions but of affirmations. Yes I’m afraid you will have to find your way to the p volume of Johnson’s unwritten dictionary. There you will discover a dark light word an adjective for edgelessness — a sea word used also of death smoke cloth mist blood between bluish purple and cobalt mauve. It appears mid-ocean when the wind perhaps makes a network of backblowing glitters that the underswell moves sideways as when a big sea swells with noiseless waves. It is used of the heart meaning his heart was a heaving not quite broken wave. It indicates a surface but suggests a depth a mutation of flatness or noiseless sheen, a sea creature, a quality of caves, any inlet or iodine or shaded stone, a type of algae or rockfish, anything excessive or out of focus or subliminal — for example: a swimmer seen from underneath, a rotting smell, a list of low sounds, an evening shadow or sea god, a whole catalogue of simmering grudges storms waves and solitudes or deep water including everyone who has drowned in it. To be purpled is to lose one’s way or name, to be nothing, to grieve without surfacing, to suffer the effects of sea light. to be either sleepless or weightless and cut off by dreams — find yourself in the silence underneath an overhanging way that or thereabouts is the color of a bluish violet ultramarine gown so the great poet sang.

Interview with Water

Wow! So many wonderful things to do with this passage! For now, I want to think about how color works underwater. In an hour, I’m heading over to deep (at least, deeper than Lake Nokomis) Cedar Lake to swim across it. How will color work as I swim? Below water? Above? Is this agitated, moving purple similar to how I see all the time? (Yes, I think.)

swim: 4 cedar loops (= 2 nokomis loops)
cedar lake
72 degrees

The first swim at Cedar Lake! As I’ve mentioned here before, Cedar has a very different vibe than Nokomis. Hidden away, at the end of a gravel road. A small beach. No buildings, the only bathroom a port-a-potty. Chill lifeguards. Today the water was cold but (mostly) calm. Not too many swimmers. 2 lifeguards on kayaks, 2 orange buoys, too much vegetation growing up from the bottom of the lake. I overheard another swimmer mentioning the vines too.

color: Inspired by Alice Oswald, I tried to think about the color of the water. Cloudy, not clear. I could see the vines and the bubbles from my breathing and my hands entering the water but not much else. Not purple or blue but green — not dark green but pale green. Maybe some pale blue — yes — and light gray. Occasionally a shaft of light from above, a dark vine below. Textured bubbles. Not much to see, but not nothing there. Instead, everything small, packed, too dense to decipher. No color and too many colors. Impossible to pin down with “green” or “gray” or “blue.” Not grief, but uncertainty.

june 7/RUN

4 miles
minnehaha falls and back
62 degrees

Another beautiful morning. Felt drained by the sun, but still managed to push through a few moments when I wanted to stop. Walked a little. My mantra: keep showing up. It might not get easier but I’ll get better at handling it (it = heat and humidity and doubt and the desire to stop). Listened to my Color playlist for the second half, the birds for the first half. Sparrows and woodpeckers and cardinals. The falls and the creek were gushing. I read the other day that, after 2 years, Minnesota is no longer in a drought. Hooray for the farmers! And the flowers! And the trees!

Today, the green was cool, then scraggly. Sprawling, stretching, overstepping. Almost consuming the narrow dirt trail on the grassy boulevard between edmund and the river road.

something for future Sara to remember: On Tuesday, I went to open the lime green umbrella on our deck and noticed something dark in the corner. With my bad vision, I thought it was a leaf at first. Then I saw something that looked like wings — a bat. I dropped the umbrella cord and ran inside. A few minutes later, Scott cautiously opened the umbrella then freaked out when the bat flew out. He staggered back and rammed into the handle of the door — hard. Knocked the wind out of him. Since then, he’s been having intermittent back spasms, which he describes as “charley horses” in his back. I would be freaking out, but he’s handling it fairly well. The worst part: trying to sleep — too painful in the bed, and we don’t have a recliner. Maybe he cracked a rib, maybe it’s a strained muscled. Hopefully it heals soon.

What I remember is seeing the bat wings as it flew away, looking like a Scooby Doo cartoon. Since then, I’ve cautiously opened the umbrella — no bat! Every time I bird flies overhead, their shadow crossing my legs, I wonder — a bird or a bat? A thought: bats as fully fleshed shadows. What if the dark forms we think are shadows are actually bats? That’s both a creepy and delightful thought!

june 5/RUN

5k
trestle turn around
66 degrees

A quick run before taking FWA to buy his biggest purchase ever: an A clarinet. Not an easy run, but a sunny day with fresh air and clear trails. More cool, refreshing green coming from the floodplain forest. Everywhere, mundane, flat green. A green greeting: saying good morning to a runner with headphones on who didn’t me coming. A green sound: a bird’s clicking jaw somewhere below.

A green chant to keep me going:

Sycamore
Cottonwood
Slippery elm

Spoken in my head over and over. It helped me in the tougher moments when I wanted to stop and walk.

green

Even as green is my favorite color, I do not like when green takes over everything. Green = busy doing things, producing, connecting, crowds/crowded/crowding out.

log entry on 28 oct 2019