Monday, March 29, 2010

Running Mercies, Traveling Plans, Poems

I awoke at 0645 and freaked out briefly thinking it was Tuesday (0600 is my rising time Tuesday, because that is my first day of the work week, and I face about two and a half to three feet of charts that want something from me before the pressure-cooker really starts rattling).

But it wasn't. I rejoiced that for the first time in a week I had fallen asleep and stayed all night in the same bed without the help of anything but God and Advil. Then I was spared having to face the dreaded treadmill by the unexpected appearance of the sun after an all-night rain. Well, it was probably an all-night rain; as I said, I slept uncharacteristically soundly. Here's what I observed on my run:

1. The longer the rain, the more earthworms on the sidewalk. I hate stepping on earthworms, simply because I don't know if they suffer or not. I sometimes rescue them if the rain is over and I think it is safe for them to climb back into the earth. But today I didn't, because it is supposed to keep raining and they might just have to find the sidewalk again, and there were far too many anyway. I wish them well; they are an honored part of the great chain of life.

2. Sun and rain can coexist for considerable stretches in this part of the world. I don't know that it ever stopped raining the whole time I ran. Lots of blue, lots of gray, and at the end, I was able to stop and find the rainbow that pretty much always has to be there in that kind of weather. I love sun and blue-black clouds in the same sky. I always have to stop and stare.

3. The creek is fast, deep and brown now. The creek is to Dallas what the Willamette is to Portland: Runs through the heart and gives it some of the best of its personality. I dreamed about the creek and the ways to get down to it that don't actually exist last night. I think I will miss it if we do move to the Portland area. I'm unlikely to live so close to natural water at play ever again.

4. I have a favorite song I like to listen to as I sit on the porch and cool down after a run: James Taylor and Yo-Yo Ma's rendition of "Here Comes The Sun". It was especially appropriate today. It's from YYM and friends' album "Songs of Joy and Peace" which I recommend with all my heart to all. It is a song I hope someone can find and play at my funeral. I wish I could be at my funeral with James and Yo-Yo and sing along; I love it that much.

So, speaking of sun and rain, we spent much of the rest of the morning working on vacation plans online. We need to warm up, and so decided on a trip to south Florida. Everglades, Keys, beach. It helped that the fare is $218 round-trip, and will add a LOT of air miles. I have called my brother to borrow a couple of his Jimmy Buffet novels and we are taking suggestions from friends who have been there. It will be the off-season there (we try to pick off-seasons, but not too off). We are taking suggestions from those who've been there, so feel free.

Here are two poems from the past couple of years, one sparked by a run near the creek, the other by loopy weather.


Rickreall, I married on your bank
A boy who grew up wading in your water,
Catching your crawdads,
Moving pipe on a farm that drank you.

I became a nurse so that boy
would not one day work both that farm
And a full-time job.
But we never made that move.

I don’t regret nursing or not farming.
Nowadays I sign little pieces of paper
So people can swallow little pills
That they hope will make them feel

The way they might naturally feel
If they had grown up beside you,
Raised by the people who raised him,
Or if they’d married that boy.


Moment in Yellowstone

The fountain at our feet was nothing special
by Yellowstone standards—
a butterscotch hole bubbling
with hot, noxious water.
Not surprising if people once thought
this was where the vapors of hell
condensed and boiled to the surface.
But the pools just beyond it were liquid
opal and peridot, iridescing in the
sun pouring over our shoulders.
And the pines beyond them radiated back
that same sun’s green-gold rays.
But between us and all of that heat and light—
Not on the ground, no, but
falling, driving,
straight across the whole sunny scene.
Ridiculous, stunning.


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