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.

may 29/RUN

4 miles
minnehaha falls
57 degrees

A beautiful morning for a run! Sun! Shadows! A slight breeze! Ran with Scott to the falls — no stopping today. Mostly it was fine, but the last mile was hard. My left leg was tight. I kept going because Scott wasn’t stopping and I knew I could do it. And now, since I did do it, I know I can do it the next time. Because of my effort, I can’t remember what we talked about. But I do remember encountering some little kids on the path — I was too distracted by the old guy muttering, share the path, as they passed to hear them, but Scott did: the kid, pointing to some flower near the path: We used to have those, but now they don’t grow anymore. Scott was delighted by the way the kid said one of the words — now? — and tried to imitate them.

Oh! Just remembered something I talked about: Emily Dickinson’s “To Make a Prairie.” I was trying to recite it, but I could only remember 2 of the 3 things it took to make the prairie, a/one bee and reverie. Had to look it up: a clover! Of course.

seen: the fine spray of water coming off of the falls, making everything look hazy and dreamy
felt: that same spray, soft, cool, refreshing, barely perceptible
heard: the song, “Eye of the Tiger” from a painter’s radio at a house we passed by at the beginning of our run
smelled: our neighbor’s lilac bush, overpowering, sickly sweet, giving off intense floral energy
taste: anything? probably the salt from my sweat at some point

A few weeks ago, I requested Victoria Chang’s The Trees Witness Everything. Love the brevity of her form! Back in Jan 2022, I got an early, chapbook version of this collection. In the notes of that chapbook, she describes her project:

notes from Victoria Chang’s chapbook, Another Lost Year

Her project of using the different court poetry of Japan is inspiring me to do more with my breathing and striking rhythms: 3/2, 2/1, 3/3/3, and 3/3/3/4. Also, her use of Merwin titles makes me want to use titles/lines-as-titles from Emily Dickinson and other “vision” poets! Yes!

Here are a few:

Losing Language/ Victoria Chang

We were born with a
large door on our backs. When will
we know if it opens?

The Flight/ Victoria Chang

I no longer watch
the birds during the day. I
prefer to save them
for my dreams where an owl’s face
has more than one expression.

In the Open/ Victoria Chang

Weather is wet, it
doesn’t have joints. How snow just
becomes rain, what’s that
change called? Trees witness everything,
but they always look away.

Thinking more about my running rhythms, I’m realizing that I want to tighten up the form some more by limiting the number of lines and total syllables. I like 5, but that might be too few?

Late Wonders/ Victoria Chang

My face is now gone.
Instead, I have a hawk’s face.
None of the poets
notice, they only want fame.
Fame is a bucket of eyes.

and for this month’s focus on shadows:

The Time of Shadow/ Victoria Chang

The zookeepers feed
all the shadows light and meat.
The shadows wish so
badly to leave their bodies,
but they stay for the children.

Thinking about Chang’s use of Merwin titles and my interest in using ED titles, I am reminded of a discussion in Ted Kooser’s book, The Poetry Home Repair Manual:

You can open just about any book of poetry and find poets using titles to carry information. Just look at a table of contents and you’ll see how useful titles can be in suggesting waht poems will be about. . . .

In short, a title isn’t something you stick on just because you think a poem is supposed to have one. Titles are very important tools for delivering information and setting expectations.

The Poetry Home Repair Manual / Ted Kooser

may 24/RUN

3.3 miles
minnehaha falls and back
64 degrees

Another hot and hard run with heavy legs. Not enough water or iron or rest? My body adjusting to warmer, heavier air?

Ran with Scott to the falls. Windy, green. We talked about the runner’s high and I mentioned my log post from may 24, 2017 that included an early poem about the runner’s high. I’d like to edit it, or at least revisit the ideas in it. This revisiting will include trying to experience more runner’s highs. I also mentioned Jaime Quatro’s article, Running as Prayer, and the deepest level of the runner’s high. Scott said he preferred the word meditation to prayer: less Christian baggage. That conversation lasted about 15 minutes, I think. I can’t remember what else we talked about — oh, the wind, the value of having designated spots for returning your ride share bikes, side stitches.

10 Things

  1. slick path or slippery shoes or both — mud, worn-down tread
  2. wind in our face, running south. Scott suggested that the wind was like a trainer holding a belt around your waist as you ran, which is something we noticed happening before the twins game last week with a player and his trainer and a belt
  3. flashes of pale blue, almost white, river through the thick trees
  4. plenty of puddles
  5. kids yelling on the playground
  6. spray coming off the rushing falls — water falling down and from the sides of the limestone
  7. a long queue for paying for parking in the minnehaha lot
  8. the surreys are back — bunched together near the falls overlook
  9. a cooling breeze heading north again
  10. minneapolis parks mowed a wide strip of grass near the trail by the ford bridge but left the meadow — good news for the bull frogs! Today I couldn’t hear them because of the wind and the traffic but I bet they’re there

Yesterday I posted part of a poem from Lucie Brock-Broido. Here’s part of another beautiful one:

from Periodic Table for Ethereal Elements/ Lucie Brock-Broido

A girl ago, a girlhood gone like a phial of ether
Thrown on fire-just

A little jump of flame, like grief, or,

Like a penicillin that has lost its will for killing
Off, it then is gone.

And, here’s a recording of her reading the whole poem.

may 6/RUN

7 miles
st. kates and back
60 degrees

Ran with Scott on a beautiful spring morning. Sun, shadows, a welcome breeze. We ran over to St. Catherine’s University, across the river. RJP has almost decided to go there (hopefully she makes up her mind tonight) and we wanted to check it out. I’m impressed and excited to visit her next year. We talked a lot more in the first half of our run; we were both tired the last 2 miles. Scott talked about some Threads exchange involving Drake, Kanye West, and a diss track. We heard a creaking tree and I said it sounded like the squeaking gate we heard yesterday afternoon while we were walking. The mention of the gate reminded me of Marie Howe’s poem, “The Gate,” which I recited for Scott (of course I did). We talked about many other things but I just remember discussing what a wonderful campus St. Cates is and how great it will be for RJP.

On the sidewalk just outside of campus, we encountered several sidewalk poems that are part of the Public Art Sidewalk Poetry project. Scott took a picture of one:

November/ Marianne McNamara and Scott’s feet

November/ Marianne McNamara (2009)

Autumn winds drag leaves from the trees,
clog the streets in dreary finale.
Bare branches crisscross the heavy sky.
Icy rain spatters, ink-blots the pavement.
I settle at the window, stare into the black flannel, search the woolly lining of the night for winter.

I was unable to read this on the sidewalk, so I’m glad I could find it online. How hard is it for someone with good vision to read? I like the idea of this project, but in practice, it doesn’t quite work. Scott suggested they should use black paint on the letters, to make them stand out.

10 Things

  1. smell: lilac, intense
  2. tree shadows, more filled in than last week
  3. a loud leaf blower
  4. a safety patrol on the corner near Dowling saying I hate you, I hate you — who was he talking to?
  5. the soft trickle of water falling from the sewer pipe near the 44th street parking lot
  6. mud and ruts filled with water at a construction site on the edge of campus
  7. feeling a fine film of dust on my face near the end of the run
  8. more than a dozen signs in the grass outside a liquor store, each one said the same thing: wine sale. Scott: I guess they’re having a wine sale
  9. running down Randolph encountering 3 or 4 sidewalk poems, none of them marked on the map
  10. noticing a faint white thing flying through the air, high above us: a bird? a plane? a trick of the light or corrupted data from my eye to my brain?

the allegory of the cave, part 1

I want to read the cave parable and think about its shadows, but I want to read it in the context of The Republic so I’ve been searching my shelves for my copy. Which class in college did we read this for? Probably The Individual and Morality. Maybe a philosophy class? Anyway, it is very hard for me to find one book among almost a thousand. When we moved in I organized them, but over time, books have moved. Also, it’s dim in our living room and I have a lot of trouble reading book titles with my bad eyes. Yesterday I asked RJP to help, and she found it! Maybe I’ll try reading some of it out on the deck this afternoon. Reading physical books, as opposed to e-books, can be hard; there’s never enough light unless I’m reading it under my special lamp (designed for sewers and cross-stitchers and 80 year-olds with bad eyes and me). Reading outside in natural light helps.

an hour spent outside reading and dozing off and reading again . . .

First, two links that connect Plato and his cave with poetry:

Reading through the allegory, I came accross these lines:

. . . the eyes may be confused in two ways and from two causes, namely when they’ve come from the light into the darkness and when they’ve come from the darkness into the light. . . whether it has come from a brighter life and is dimmed through not having yet become accustomed to the dark or whether it has come from greater ignorance into greater light and is dazzled by the increased brilliance.

518a, The Republic / Plato, trans. G.M.A. Grube

Of course, I immediately thought of two of my favorite vision poems (what I’m calling them) by Emily Dickinson. And of course I have both of them memorized — but not her punctuation.

We grow accustomed to the Dark
When light is put away
As when a neighbor holds the lamp
To witness her goodbye.

A Moment — We uncertain step —
For newness of the Night
(We Grow Accustomed to the Dark/ ED)

Too bright for our infirm Delight
The truth’s superb surprise

. . .

The truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind.
(Tell all the truth but tell it Slant/ ED)

I remember Plato’s cave and the shadows and the inability to access Truth, but I didn’t remember him discussing how both too little light and too much light blind us. The emphasis, as I recall, was always on darkness = bad, ignorance, the problem. Was I just not paying attention in philosophy class?

Searching for “plato cave,” I came across a video about it and decided to watch it:

The School of Life

I’d like to write more about what I find to be missing (also what’s helpful) in this account, but I’ve run out of time. Here’s one more video for comparison that I just started watching. When I have time, I’ll reflect on both:

After Skool

may 1/RUN

4 miles
veterans home and back
57 degrees
wind: 14 mph / 28 mph gusts

Ran with Scott. What did we talk about? I remember Scott talking a lot at the beginning — it was something he was excited about — but I can’t remember what it was. I do remember him complaining about Spotify and how some of their new policies hurt independent musicians like him. I talked about shadows and wind and marveled at a tree branch creaking in the wind. Oh — and I complained (again) about my new yellow shoes. I tried them one more time and they still hurt my feet and make my calves ache. I need to remember: no more yellow shoes!

The water was gushing at the falls. We could smell something being fried at Sea Salt — it’s open for the season! I heard and saw a cardinal. I was dazzled by the bright white paint on the locks and dam no 1 sign — we both wondered if it was a reflective paint that made it so bright. A mile later, I could barely make out the bright yellow sign at 38th — the one I referred to as a bee last month. It was dull and blended in with the greenish-yellow trees behind it.

My favorite thing today: the wonderful shadows the new leaves made on the sidewalk. Tiny little jagged dots or points, making the tree shadow look like something other than a tree. What? Not sure. A strange, magical sculpture? Glitter shadow? The leaves made the shadows strange, the shadows made the path strange. First encountering them on the double bridge, I didn’t think they were shadows but some sort of blob on the asphalt.

During the run I had mentioned that I didn’t know what my May challenge would be but that it would be fun to have a theme that I could make a playlist for. By the end of the run, after witnessing the wonderful shadows, I had my topic: Shadows! As we walked back, I was already creating my playlist.

I’m Shadowing You

  1. I’m Shadowing You / Blossom Dearie
  2. Me and My Shadow / Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr.
  3. Shadowboxer / Fiona Apple
  4. My Shadow / Keane
  5. Shadow Dancing / Andy Gibb
  6. Shadow Song / Screaming Trees
  7. Shadows and Light / Joni Mitchell
  8. Silve Shadow / Atlantic Starr
  9. Total Eclipse of the Heart / Bonnie Tyler
  10. Help Me Make It Through the Night / Kris Kristofferson
  11. Sunshine in the Shade / The Fixx
  12. the Shadow of Your Smile / Astrud Gilberto
  13. Evening / The Moody Blues
  14. White Room / Cream
  15. Shadow Stabbing / CAKE
  16. I’m Beginning to See the Light / Ella Fitzgerald
  17. Twilight Time / The Platters
  18. The Shadow Knows / Link Wray
  19. yesterday / The Beatles
  20. Moonshadow / Cat Stevens
  21. Golden Years / David Bowie
  22. Candle Mambo / Captain Beefheart
  23. If You go Away / Neil Diamond
  24. We Will Become Silhouettes / The Postal Service
  25. Crepuscule With Nellie / Thelonious Monk

Discovered this poem on the Slowdown before my run. Oh, Dorianne Laux, what a gift your poem is today!

Life On Earth/ Dorianne Laux

The odds are we should never have been born. Not one of us. Not one in 400 trillion to be exact. Only one among the 250 million released in a flood of semen that glides like a glassine limousine filled with tadpoles of possible people, one of whom may or may not be you, a being made of water and blood, a creature with eyeballs and limbs that end in fists, a you with all your particular perfumes, the chords of your sinewy legs singing as they form, your organs humming and buzzing with new life, moonbeams lighting up your brain’s gray coils, the exquisite hills of your face, the human toy your mother longs for, your father yearns to hold, the unmistakable you who will take your first breath, your first step, bang a copper pot with a wooden spoon, trace the lichen growing on a boulder you climb to see the wild expanse of a field, the one whose heart will yield to the yellow forsythia named after William Forsyth—not the American actor with piercing blue eyes, but the Scottish botanist who discovered the buttery bells on a highland hillside blooming to beat the band, zigzagging down an unknown Scottish slope. And those are only a few of the things you will one day know, slowly chipping away at your ignorance and doubt, you who were born from ashes and will return to ash. When you think you might be through with this body and soul, look down at an anthill or up at the stars, remember your gambler chances, the bounty of good luck you were born for.

april 27/RACE

10k
Get in Gear
55 degrees
92% humidity

This morning, Scott and I ran the Get in Gear 10k. We haven’t run this race since before the pandemic. It’s right by our house and follows the ford loop route. We didn’t run fast, but it felt good and I felt strong. Strong enough to pick it up at the end. For years I’ve wanted to be able to enjoy the race as I ran it, instead of pushing hard and feeling miserable. This year, I’m doing it! Much more rewarding than a PR.

10 People

  1. Bethany had a loud voice with a strong Minnesota accent that cut through the wind. I know her name is Bethany because she introduced herself to someone about 25 yards ahead of us. I bet she was nice, but that voice! As we tried to figure out where to line up Scott said, not near Bethany! After finishing the race, Scott noticed her and her bright yellow shirt — oh look, there’s Bethany. As we ran, I mentioned how frustrating it might be to have a loud voice like that. Scott said: Bethany’s don’t care how loud they are
  2. a tall man in a bright yellow shirt who kept sprinting then stopping, sprinting then stopping. For almost 4 miles, he would run past us, then stop and walk until we caught up, then start running fast again. We dropped him on some hill — finally
  3. a shorter man taking deep, noisy breaths every few steps — I think he made a noise with the exhale — whoooooooooo whoooooooooo whoooooooooo
  4. a man before the race doing a lot of stretching and warming up — I don’t know the names of the stretches, but I’m sure they have names — he was almost skipping forwards, then sprinting, then skipping backwards. I wonder how fast he ran?
  5. a woman standing at a distance from the porta potties. Another woman asked, are you in line? and even though we thought there was no way she would say yes because she was so far from the line, she said yes, I think so
  6. the enthusiastic, slightly unhinged, volunteer handing out water — you’re so fast! great job! woo hoo!
  7. an older couple standing beside the course, cheering us on. When I said, thank you, one of them said, no, thank you!
  8. a woman just behind us, scuffing her foot on the road with every strike, scrape scrape scrape
  9. a guy cheering, good job! you’re almost there, when we still had 2 miles left
  10. 2 little girls before the race, meeting up, the one squealing in delight at seeing her friend arrive, Irene!
  11. remembered 2 days later: a woman, stopped, either coughing or dry heaving vigorously

april 25/RUN

4 miles
dogwood run
52 degrees

Did a run with Scott to Dogwood Coffee on a beautiful spring morning. Wore my new running shorts. They’re blue and very comfortable, which is a big deal because it’s difficult to find good running shorts. We ran north to the bottom of the franklin hill, then back up it until we stopped to walk for the last stretch. I know we looked at the river, but I don’t remember what it looked like. Was it smooth? Blue? Any foam? I have no recollection. I do remember that there weren’t any rowers on it. No geese either.

I talked about a video I watched earlier today on how to write poetry for beginners by a poetry influencer. (I didn’t like it). Scott talked about some drama happening in the big band he’s in.

After the run, waiting in line at Dogwood, I overheard the woman ahead of us tell the barista her name was Sara. She asked his name: Scott. I just had to chime in that we were a Sara and Scott too! She mentioned that she just met someone the other day who had the same birthday as her. The only 2 people I know that have the same birthday as me are two of RJP’s former frenemies.

Anything else? Not that many people running . . . just remembered that we saw two people running up the franklin hill. One of them was accompanied by a roller skier.

Also: as we ran under the trestle something was crossing the tracks above us. A train? Nope a truck with special wheels for riding on the track. I turned around and ran backwards to watch it for a minute and discovered that running backwards is kind of nice. I liked how it worked by leg muscles differently.

random etymology: Happened upon the origins of gnarled:

We owe the adjective gnarled and other forms of the word to our friend Shakespeare, who created it in 1603. In Measure for Measure, he writes, “Thy sharpe and sulpherous bolt splits the un-wedgable and gnarled oak.” But gnarled didn’t come into use again until the 19th century. In any case, word experts believe it’s related to the Middle English word knar which means “knot in wood.”

gnarled

Today is Ted Kooser’s birthday. I’m happy to report that although I thought he was dead — having posted about it on 22 april 2022, he is not! I’m not sure why I thought he was, but all the results on my google search indicate that he is still alive. He’s a wonderful poet, and person according to what I’ve read from poetry people on 2022 twitter. Here’s a poem I read this morning on poetry foundation:

So This is Nebraska / Ted Kooser

The gravel road rides with a slow gallop
over the fields, the telephone lines
streaming behind, its billow of dust
full of the sparks of redwing blackbirds.

On either side, those dear old ladies,
the loosening barns, their little windows
dulled by cataracts of hay and cobwebs
hide broken tractors under their skirts.

So this is Nebraska. A Sunday
afternoon; July. Driving along
with your hand out squeezing the air,
a meadowlark waiting on every post.

Behind a shelterbelt of cedars,
top-deep in hollyhocks, pollen and bees,
a pickup kicks its fenders off
and settles back to read the clouds.

You feel like that; you feel like letting
your tires go flat, like letting the mice
build a nest in your muffler, like being
no more than a truck in the weeds,

clucking with chickens or sticky with honey
or holding a skinny old man in your lap
while he watches the road, waiting
for someone to wave to. You feel like

waving. You feel like stopping the car
and dancing around on the road. You wave
instead and leave your hand out gliding
larklike over the wheat, over the houses.

Oh, I love so much about this poem — everything?! You can listen to him read it at poetry foundation (poem title is link). I want to spend more time with his writing.

april 15/RUN

5k
trestle turn around
67 degrees

Ran in the afternoon with Scott. Wore my warm summer attire: black shorts and tank top. Wow. Feels like summer. Tried my new bright yellow running shoes — Saucony Rides. Love the color, but not the fit. My feet and right calf hurt now. Guess these shoes will just be for walking. Oh well.

There was some wind, but mostly it felt refreshing. There was only one stretch where it made running more difficult.

We talked about how the first mile is the hardest, how my shoes weren’t working (poor Scott had to listen to that a lot), and what a badass Helen Obiri is — moderate pace for most of the marathon then unleashing a 4:40 mile near the end.. Then I mentioned an edited version of my birding poem that I’m planning to submit to some journals.

Right before descending below lake street, we encountered another, older runner. I said that I liked his orange shirt and then asked Scott if the shirt was actually orange. It was a gradient, Scott replied. It started orange then magenta then red — at least I think that was the order of colors. Well, I just heard ORANGE in my head, I said. Then: orange shirt
old guy
struggling

Scott pointed out that it was in my running rhythm — 3/2, with an extra 3. Nice.

Random Thoughts Recorded Earlier Today on a version of the wind: air

from Living Here/ Cleopatra Mathis

In the world of appearances, teach me
to believe in the unseen.

from long entry dated 16 august 2022

Of course, appearances refers to more than vision or looking; it’s about “the world of sensible phenomena” (Merriam-Webster). And, to be seen or unseen, can mean much more than what we perceive with our eyes. But how often is appearance/seen reduced to vision and sight? (rhetorical question — my answer: too often or all the time or most of the time).

To appear can mean to be present, to attend, to show up for something.

To believe in the unseen — believing in that which we can’t prove? Believing in something that I know is there but that I cannot see? An orange buoy?
What does it mean to be unseen? To not be seen with our eyes? To not be consciously aware of what some part of us might be seeing or sensing?

belief trust faith confidence acceptance conviction

Mostly, we can sense the wind, or at least see the evidence of it all around us — swaying trees, swirling leaves, flapping flags. But what about air? Air, which we often mis-identify as emptiness?

april 13/RUN

10k
hidden falls and back
66 degrees
wind: 13 mph / gusts: 25 mph

Another run with Scott. Today, too hot! We ran around 11, which was too late. So much sun and no shade. It’s time to adjust to running much earlier.

Of course, I’m writing this right after the run, when I’m feeling wiped out, so my perspective on it is skewed.

We talked about the Beaufort scale and songs that might fit with the different levels of wind. Scott recounted the history of the man behind Chef Boyardee. That’s all I remember.

10 Things

  1. wind — strong enough that I took my hat off on the ford bridge and held it so it wouldn’t blow off my head
  2. ripples on the river — I mentioned to Scott that they were referred to as scales on the Beaufort scale
  3. wind chimes, all around the neighborhood chiming
  4. soft shadows
  5. after months of not being lit, the street lamps along the river road are finally lit again
  6. on your left! a biker passing us on the bridge
  7. the water fountains aren’t working yet — we kept stopping to check, but no water yet
  8. a few LOUD blue jays
  9. swarming gnats!
  10. bright yellow and orange and green running shirts on other runners

before the run

Reviewing a link I posted earlier this month — Historical and Contemporary Versions of the Beaufort Scale — I started thinking about different versions of the Beaufort Scale that I could do. On the run, I’d like to talk with Scott about a wind song Beaufort scale that describe/ranks the wind using song lyrics. I’m thinking that Summer Breeze might be on one end and The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald on the other.

Other versions of the Beaufort Scale might include poetry lines — yes, a wind cento! — and things experienced while running.

Beaufort Scale

force / name / for use at sea / for use at land

  • 0 / calm, still / sea like a mirror / smoke rises vertically
  • 1 / light air / ripples on water / direction of wind shown by wind
  • 2 / light breeze / small wavelets / wind felt on face, leaves rustle
  • 3 / gentle breeze / crests begin to break, scattered white horses / leaves and small twigs whirl, wind extends small flags
  • 4 / moderate breeze / small waves, fairly frequent white horses / wind raises dust and loose paper, small branches move
  • 5 / fresh breeze / moderate waves, many white horses, some spray / small trees in leaf start to sway, crested waves on inland waters
  • 6 / strong breeze / large waves, white foam, spray / large branches in motion, whistling wires, umbrellas used with difficulty
  • 7 / near gale / breaking waves blow in streaks / whole trees in motion, inconveniant to walk against the wind
  • 8 / gale / moderately high waves / twigs break from trees, difficult to walk
  • 9 / strong gale / high waves / slight structural damage, roof slates removed
  • 10 / storm / very high waves / trees uprooted, considerable structural damage
  • 11 / violent storm / very high waves / widespread damage
  • 12 / hurricane / air filled with foam, spray / widespread damage

I’m struck by how mild the wind is here in Minneapolis by the river gorge. The roughest wind I’ve run (or swum) in is 6, which is about 31 mph. That’s only a strong breeze and when umbrellas are used with difficulty. And that’s only halfway up the scale! I’m a wimp, I guess.

Looking at this a different way, I think there’s a lot more levels between light breeze and strong breeze. maybe I should try to notice and describe the differences between leaves rustling and leaves in a whirlwind? Or wind felt on my face as a soft kiss versus wind whipping my hair?

during the run

Scott was excited about the idea of creating a Beaufort scale with songs/song lyrics. So far:

0 / In the Still of the Night / Dion
1 / In the Air Tonight / Phil Collins
2 / Summer Breeze / Seals & Croft
3 / Sailing / Christopher Cross
4 / Dust in the Wind / Kansas
5 / Breezin’ / George Benson
6 / Blowing in the Wind / Peter, Paul & Mary
7 / Windy / The Association
8 / They Call the Wind Maria / Paint Your Wagon
9 / Ride Like the Wind / Christopher Cross
10 / Tear the Roof Off the Sucker / Parliment
11 / The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald / Gordon Lightfoot
12 / Rock You Like a Hurricane / Scorpion

This was fun and a great distraction as we ran!

april 8/RUN

10k
the flats and back
48 degrees
wind: 10 mph

Because of the ran yesterday, Scott and I did our long run today. It was wet and dark and so humid that we could see our breaths. First we talked about anxiety — Scott’s was about missing some notes at a rehearsal, mine was about waking up with it, feeling it in cramped feet. Then I described a New Yorker article I was reading before we left about forensic linguistics. My description included misplaced apostrophes, devil strips, and Sha Na Na. Wow. Scott spent the last mile of the run trying to remember the name of the guy who was always on 70s game shows, had curly yellow hair, and shot out confetti — Rip Taylor.

We greeted Dave the Daily Walker — Hi Dave! — and listened to some cool-sounding bird. Heard a seep that had turned into a little waterfall below the U. Smelled the sewer. Watched the river move so slowly that it didn’t look like it was moving. We walked part of the franklin hill then ran the rest.

According to my watch, the wind was 10 mph 18 mph gusts. I don’t remember feeling much wind, or hearing it in the trees, of seeing it move the leaves. In fact, the wind was so calm that the water looked still. Not smooth, but no waves, not even ripples. Am I forgetting?

Here’s a wonderful little poem about wind by A. R. Ammons that I found on a favorite site, Brief Poems:

Small Song/ A. R. Ammons

The reeds give way
to the wind

and give
the wind away

A note about the total eclipse: it didn’t really happen here in Minnesota — it was overcast and we weren’t in the path of the eclipse. Oh well. Here’s a pdf of Annie Dillard’s “Total Eclipse” which I must have read for a writing class but that I can’t find a copy of in my files.