oct 17/RUN

6.2 miles
ford loop
49 degrees

Overdressed. Didn’t need the tights under the shorts or the long-sleeved shirt under the sweat shirt. Made the run a little more difficult. Still, a good run on a beautiful fall morning. Lots of yellow today. Very fall-y.

10 Things

  1. St. Thomas bells chiming
  2. I could see my breath at the beginning of the run
  3. the light making the yellow leaves glow
  4. at least 4, maybe 5, stones stacked on the ancient boulder
  5. a biker calling out to me as I ran on the St. Paul side, good job!Thanks!
  6. looking down at the river from up on the lake street bridge: a sandbar! I’ve read about the sandbars, and thought I saw one just below the surface, but today, there it was, fully exposed
  7. an inviting bench, perched above the gorge with an open view
  8. almost perfect moment: looking down at the water falling over the limestone ledge, sparkling in the sun, murmuring softly, framed by yellow leaves
  9. a west bound lane on the ford bridge closed off for construction, orange cones everywhere
  10. running up to the “edge of the world,” and stopping to admire the open view

I stopped on the bridge to take a picture of the sandbar:

A view from above the river, which is a blue-ish gray, with a white sandbar, strangely shaped, and a shiny circle of sun reflecting on the water. More on the strange shape of the sandbar: in its middle, where it is at its narrowest, the sandbar is covered over with water, making it look like 2 sandbars. Both above and below this spot the sandbar expands.
a sandbar in the Mississippi River below the lake street bridge

oct 8/RUN

4.25 miles
cleveland loop
44 degrees

Sunny and clear. Did I see any clouds in the sky? The only thing I remember seeing is a plane — just a small smudge of white — that I originally thought was the moon.

some winter layers: black running tights; black shorts; long-sleeved green base layer (REI, this shirt might be 9 or 10 years old, worn for almost every winter run); bright orange pull-over; baseball cap — twins, black with white polka dots; bright pink headband to cover my ears.

My second favorite Halloween house (Longfellow’s Lament will always be the best), the one that I thought would never happen again, is happening! A few days ago, Scott, Delia, and I walked by it — rats eating fake fingers, tombstones, a few disembodied heads, ghosts. Nice! This morning, running by it, I saw (and heard) someone in the yard setting up some creepy music. Yes!

10 Things I Noticed

  1. 2 rowing shells on the river
  2. a woman on the bridge taking a picture of the view
  3. crowded paths near St. Thomas
  4. several bright red trees
  5. the click click clack of a roller skier’s poles
  6. red leaves on the sidewalk fading into pink
  7. the smell of breakfast near Black Coffee — hash browns, toast, bacon, grease
  8. the bells chiming — maybe it was 10? — at St. Thomas
  9. the coxswain’s voice drifting up from below
  10. waiting at Cretin (on Summit) for the light to change, when it did and I started running again, I heard the footsteps of another runner behind me. Would they pass me or fade away? They faded away

Read Glück’s “October” again before I went out for a run, and intended to think about these lines, but I forgot once I started moving:

The light has changed;
middle C is tuned darker now.
And the songs of morning sound over-rehearsed.

This is the light of autumn, not the light of spring.

I wanted to think about how the morning song is over-rehearsed and how the light has changed. Then I wanted to think about the differences between autumn and spring light, which always seem similar to me, but not quite the same. Why not? Is it mostly what’s coming next — abundance or scarcity?

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.

dec 13/RUN

5.2 miles
franklin hill turn around
15 degrees/ feels like 8
100% snow-covered

Another great winter run! Beautiful cold air. Not crisp though–how cold does it have to be to have crisp, cold freezing-the-snot-in-your-nose air? The paths were slick and soft. Maybe next time I should wear my yak trax? Saw the Daily Walker early on. Who else? I can’t remember. A few walkers, several fat tires, a couple runners? Mostly it seemed silent except for the crunching snow, the construction noise, and the low steady buzz of the far off traffic. Heard some voices down below in the gorge–what were they doing? Stumbled over a few snowy ice chunks but didn’t fall or hurt myself. Spotted the dark trail of open water surrounded by the white river. Ran under a heavy gray sky ready to unzip from the weight of impending snow. Right after I finished, the light snow showers started. During the run, my left knee was a little sore and after, my left hip. Probably my IT band reminding me that she’s here and needs to be stretched more.

Always Having Fun with Medical Terms: I T Band Again

  • Impossible Tangrams
  • Interested Termites
  • Indistinguishable Twins
  • Indifferent Theses
  • Infamous Tattletales
  • Imprecise Tailors
  • Incanting Taylors
  • Impeded Traffic
  • Impeachable Tyrants
  • Icicle Tinsel
  • Invigorated Triathletes
  • Insatiable Tricksters
  • Ill-fitting T-shirts

Wow. Is IT the best acronym ever? Maybe.

excerpts from October
Louise Glück

Is it winter again, is it cold again,
didn’t Frank just slip on the ice,
didn’t he heal, weren’t the spring seeds planted
didn’t the night end,
didn’t the melting ice
flood the narrow gutters
wasn’t my body
rescued, wasn’t it safe
didn’t the scar form, invisible
above the injury
terror and cold,
didn’t they just end, wasn’t the back garden
harrowed and planted—
I remember how the earth felt, red and dense,
in stiff rows, weren’t the seeds planted,
didn’t vines climb the south wall
I can’t hear your voice
for the wind’s cries, whistling over the bare ground
I no longer care
what sound it makes
when was I silenced, when did it first seem
pointless to describe that sound
what it sounds like can’t change what it is—
didn’t the night end, wasn’t the earth
safe when it was planted
didn’t we plant the seeds,
weren’t we necessary to the earth,
the vines, were they harvested?

The brightness of the day becomes
the brightness of the night;
the fire becomes the mirror.
My friend the earth is bitter; I think
sunlight has failed her.
Bitter or weary, it is hard to say.
Between herself and the sun,
something has ended.
She wants, now, to be left alone;
I think we must give up
turning to her for affirmation.
Above the fields,
above the roofs of the village houses,
the brilliance that made all life possible
becomes the cold stars.
Lie still and watch:
they give nothing but ask nothing.
From within the earth’s
bitter disgrace, coldness and barrenness
my friend the moon rises:
she is beautiful tonight, but when is she not beautiful?

nov 8/RUN

3.2 miles
ford bridge turn around
25 degrees

Heading south at the start, ran straight into the wind. Even though I was listening to a playlist, I could hear chainsaws below in the oak savanna. Must be clearing out dead limbs. Sometime soon, I’ll have to check out what they’ve done. Stared down at the river through the bare trees. Sparkling in the sun. The river is beautiful in November. As I continued south, I noticed how much of the Winchell Trail I could see. No leaves on the trees to hide it. The ravine below the double bridge at 44th looked empty and endless. Made it to the ford bridge and turned around. No wild turkeys here today. What did I think about? Can’t remember. Noticed a jogger with a bright yellow shirt on, glowing in the distance. Oh, I almost forgot–the leaves! Leaves swirling in the air looking like birds, circling the sky then dive-bombing me. I was hit in the face at least twice with their brittle sharpness.


All day I tried to distinguish
need from desire. Now, in the dark,
I feel only bitter sadness for us,
the builders, the planers of wood,
because I have been looking
steadily at these elms
and seen the process that creates
the writhing, stationary tree
is torment, and have understood
it will make no forms but twisted forms.

Found this poem through a podcast about Louise Glück: No Forms but Twisted Forms. I love twisted forms–on trees and in poetry. I’d like to think some more about this poem. In the podcast, one of the speakers mentions the idea of looking and not looking away, of being still and staring at twisting and writhing. I like these ideas of staying, staring, being still, not turning away from that which is painful, uncomfortable.