Wednesday, December 30, 2009

December 22, 2009, journal entry

Five miles.

Yesterday morning’s deep navy blue broke into a thick barrage of rain that fell heavily all day and into the night. This morning, with the longest night of the year behind me and the rebirth of Sun before me, Dawn brews as I slip into my running costume, bundled up in purple and pigtails with my found reflective vest, to celebrate Winter’s start of a new solar year as the spinning wheel of Seasons begins to weave more threads of daylight into her crazy quilt of darkness.

The road is a sheet of ice. The sidewalk, too. The thick rain that fell yesterday and overnight has become a centimeter of ice I cannot run over, under, around, or through. The treadmill tempts me, but I like being outdoors in my suburban safari in the fresh chill Winter brings as nothing clears my mind like the senses of touch, taste, sight, sound, and feel of air. It sets loose the wild landscape of my imagination, its magic making sentient the quiescence of rocks and trees.

I love running in Dawn.

I head back indoors and strap on my new REI YakTrax tractions to my broken-down Brooks, its coiled metal in a diamondback pattern. I nervously head back outside. I don’t mind running in heat and cold (I’ve run in more than 100 degree temperatures to -17), overbearing wind and calm, and drenching rain and snow, but, although I love the word ice, how it sounds, how it changes colors from refrigerator ice cubes to the white marbleized ice of a frozen pond and blue of deep ice, I hate running on it. I gingerly gage the slipperyness factor and am surprised at how grounded I feel. Stable. As I begin, I keep my pace slow to preserve my footing though I remember I have prepared for ice’s slippery, difficult path. My tractioned shoes crunch the ice, sound like crinkling notebook paper, and I begin to pick up my pace.

Shadows somnambulate in dark under street lamps which distort the silhouette’s length of my already long legs wrapped in darkness like my favorite black velvet and lace skirt. Soughing wind sucks and stretches my breath which is protected by my black scarf collecting spangled five-pointed crystals dressed in white.

I trace the lines of bare tree branches with my eye and then with my mittened hand. Their roots are deep though most limbs are now stripped of their leaves. A murder of crows…or is it the murmuration of starlings? Perhaps an unkindness of ravens?...shifts on layered high wires like black musical notes jumping lines on a staff. I bow to the marcescent leaves that hang on balustrades of tree branches.

Even in chill, my breath is plucky, stubbornly running the diameter of my lungs. I finish strong.

The Sun has begun her return to Earth, the shortening of days reversing, now lengthening like the ebb and flow of water. And she begins in the only way she can. In Winter and cold.

I am prepared.


All in calmness
the earth with half-opened eyes
moves into winter.
(Dakotsu haiku


GL, 12/22/2009. Prevail.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Favorite Flowers

Bouquet of St. John's Wort and Kale

GL, 12/27/2009. Prevail.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Winter Solstice Kaleidoscopes, 12/21/2009

Kaleidoscope on Chili Red Christmas Light in Rain through BlackBerry Viewfinder

Kaleidoscope on Gold Street Lamp in Rain through BlackBerry Viewfinder

Kaleidoscope on Green Traffic Light through BlackBerry Viewfinder

GL, 12/21/2009. Prevail.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

December 19, 2009, journal entry, and My Favorite Cooking Knife with Colorful Vegetables through BlackBerry Viewfinder

10 miles.

Today is tough. I never quite find the stride I usually slip into as I begin my run. My legs feel heavy and stiff like I am carrying cold grey stones, and rain steadily falls and wind blows while a white mist descends in grey. Perhaps I shouldn’t attempt 10 today after yesterday’s fast seven, but I want to try. I plan to focus on only the mile I find myself in.


I like how droplets of water hang from the buds of tree branches.

I like how firm chubby squirrels continue to scratch their way across grey cracked streets, up trunks of trees whose roots lift sidewalks, their sound reminding me of summertime sprinklers.

My muscles are chilled, but on the three steep hills I run, I look only at my next step, and I like how rain water and snow melt pass me, flowing down in the opposite direction. Rain and the mist from my breath obscure the lenses of my glasses, but I trust my feet.

Several times, I am splashed by cars passing by.

White lights now hover like my Lincoln Park hummingbird where the grapes of indigo and the deep-blue night sky lingered in summer.

Starlings shift positions on high wires, edging closer to one another and flitting to lower lines like children scampering down a slatted fence.

This isn’t my smoothest run, but I finish it. I feel strong. And drenched. Even the small journal I carry is wet, the edges of its pages warping, curved like the etched waves on my favorite RIVER silver pendant.


Unable to wrap it
and dropping the moon—
the winter rain.
(Tokoku haiku)


Today, I shall creatively color in white and grey rain.

GL, 12/19/2009. Prevail.

Friday, December 18, 2009

December 15, 2009, journal entry, What Snow Sounds Like

Four miles.

I knew snow was to fall through the night, but I am surprised at the four inches that catch the door I open like my breath in single digit temperatures. I probably should rest today, having run many mornings straight and I need to shovel my driveway path, but this is the first significant snow of Winter.

Five o’clock.

It is early, snowing.

White lights Dark.

I need to find my reflective vest, but I like how in my eggplant-purple Adidas jacket, I am absorbed into the deep-set eyes of morning, blending with dark.

Cracks in dark streets, a horizontal forest of branching, hold inches of snow like a child in a lap.

The light half of the year is still bowing to the dark side. Soon, during Winter’s Solstice ceremony, Sun’s maximum position, low in the sky, will wassail to rebirth, and shadow sprites will flicker about in Her wake like the snow my feet lifts behind me.

Programmed traffic lights flash red and yellow like a blinking television screen as the hour is early.

Sun’s presence ebbs, waits to flow.


What Snow Sounds Like


The shadow of my stride that darts, shortening and lengthening beneath street lights.

Black absorbing color, neither emitting nor reflecting light.

White’s blending of colors.


Not the step of my stride lifting snow like crackling fire.

Not snow plows and shovels scraping concrete that sound like the murmuration of starlings on power lines.

Not the skein of geese, an arrow in the sky.

Not the intake and outtake of my breath.

White frost that collects on my black scarf in movement.

The water droplets of my breath in cold air.


falls on snow—
and remains silent.
(Santoka haiku)

GL, 12/15/2009. Prevail.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Kaleidoscope on Mosaic Tiled Reading Lamp, 12/15/2009

Kaleidoscope on Purple Glass Tile in Mosaic Reading Lamp through BlackBerry Viewfinder, 12/15/2009

GL, 12/15/2009. Prevail.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

December 12, 2009, journal entry

Eight miles.

It has been cold this week, each of my morning runs in the somber dark of positive and negative single digit temperatures. I leave at a later time than usual so today’s run is a warmer chill, bank and supermarket signs flashing 13 to 18 degrees like twinkling Christmas lights.

It is grey today from clouds, sky’s ceiling slackening, but the cold chill is a harbinger of Winter snow to come.

The wind crouches and stretches. When I turn to head up a mile-long hill, my chin feels the chilled frosty air that collects on my black scarf, trailing me like cooled water vapor in a car’s exhaust.

At five miles, I decide to keep going and move on towards six.

Crows overhead nimbly stencil their shape on grey white cloudiness.

Grey-brown squirrels scratch streets and tree trunks, ever present as Seasons chilly rotate to Winter.

At six miles, I run to Hazel’s Creek and layer miles one on top of the other. In late summer, the farmhouse on the property disappeared though the red barn still stands surrounded by clots of reeds, and a new soft cover of orange bark pads the path. Its small pond is frozen over, and frosty curtains of cattails and tree branches sheen. My total today will be eight. I’m gonna start rebuilding the miles after my respite following my race, once again patching together routes like crafting words into sentences.

My hands become cold in my “windshield” gloves. Start to feel numb in the draft like stinging words. Still, I sketch a bold silvery line up one more hill, feeling strong despite being chilled to the bone.


I love how I have been running. The air I inhale runs the full height of my lungs, Earth dandling my feet, the fire in my blood and muscle creating watery sweat even in icy mist.


Today, I am the animated, exhilarated sky of dawn and don a shirt, velvet in blue, red, orange, purple, green, gold, and strips of diaphanous grey. My long purple skirt in gauzy layers are shadows that flicker in light, my tights teal in red Danskos. My favorite chains of silver twist and turn to my pendants of dragons, rivers, and trees, glittery patches of ice, and the silk scarf I wear is a magical, majestic purple.


A hundred miles of frost—
in a boat, I own
the moon
(Buson haiku)

GL, 12/12/2009. Prevail.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

December 8, 2009, journal entry, White Frost on Black Scarf

Four miles.

I know this morning’s run is gonna be cold so I add an extra shirt and a scarf, and I trust my hands will be warm in my insulated “wind-shield” gloves. At six in the morning, I am ready for the cold dark and duck when it tries to strike my face. My breathing is regular, not caught in gasps, and my ears are covered by my black headband, my pigtails sprouting on top.

I have dreaded the closing dark of Winter as the Wheel of Seasons relentlessly turns, but constantly I have been surprised at how time slows in the light and shadows that flit and move during the crepuscular morning hours like sparrows in summertime sprinklers.

Yesterday morning when I headed out early, the temperatures dipped like swallows in streetlights and trees, but the wind bit, an injured dog. At times, I felt like I was running in place with the wind pushing me back and the cold pulling me forward, a cantilevered seesaw.

It is still bitterly cold with the official temperature at one degree Fahrenheit, though the wind chill drops numbers along an angled shoulder into negative digits, and I am surprised as I see the waning moon that tugs away the quilt of clouds permitting the cold that prohibits the light of stars. The huge night’s sky becomes dunes of jet black-blue.

Sun isn’t ready yet, and without the light of stars, I decide to follow the path of street lights. Sidewalks, inconsistent, rupture from the roots of trees, although the streets are smoother, and the steps I choose resemble the series of lines in grey pencil I sketch on paper.

I am not running alone as I hear the steps of my orange pine needles that match my stride blown down the street by the wind, although Saturday’s starlings moving on telephone wires like black and white eyebrows that twitch, chattering like noisy raindrops, are silent.

But, as the dark tries to hold me back, cold moves me forward, restoring balance.

In the vestibule of morning, the single digits of cold do not scare me although I am chilled to the bone as I finish while the Sun stretches and yawns, its skein of silver turning to ribbons of light.

White Frost on Black Scarf, 12/8/2009

(The only issue I have with the frigid cold is in my purple-mobile as I drive. The heater I blast on high sends my dashboard collection of berries, leaves, and stems throughout my car like debris on water’s edge. No worries...I happily regather them each time.)

GL, 12/8/2009. Prevail.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Kaleidoscope on Outdoor Christmas Lights in Dark through BlackBerry Viewfinder

Kaleidoscope on Round White Christmas Light Bulb

Kaleidoscope on Round Green Christmas Light Bulb

Kaleidoscope on Round Yellow Christmas Light Bulb

Kaleidoscope on Round Orange Christmas Light Bulb

Kaleidoscope on Round Red Christmas Light Bulb

Kaleidoscope on Round Pink Christmas Light Bulb

Kaleidoscope on Round Purple Christmas Light Bulb

Kaleidoscope on Round Blue Christmas Light Bulb

GL, 12/6/2009. Prevail.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Haiku 15


Hanging in branches
Spiderwebs, patches of white.
A composition.


In long thin shadows
Forest floors admit sunlight.
Vertical layers.


Trees’ branched desolate
Branches and branches again
Holding next Spring’s buds.

GL, 11/23/2009. Prevail.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

November 29,2009, journal entry, The Steps of My Stride in the Seattle Half Marathon

Tree Branches in Twilight through BlackBerry Viewfinder

13.1 miles.

The Seattle Half-Marathon.

A couple of months ago after my strong Sundae Sunday 10 miler, I printed a half-marathon training schedule, thinking I would run a fall destination race and selected the Seattle Half-Marathon.


After my pre-run morning ritual cup of coffee and before the 7:30AM start time, as I chat with other runners, I think the drizzling rain is perfect for distance with temperatures in the low 40’s. I am not even slightly tempted to jump the fence that separates the runners from spectators like an orderly row of trimmed bushes to lie in grass. Today, I am ready to run. I have my power gel, journal, and pencil but no watch to keep time. I lost the sports watch I’ve worn only once, but I really haven’t used one in years since I broke my wrist in a spectacular fall that bruised my entire left arm blue, black, and purple and reddened my knee in a vivid Autumn crimson.


I run shoulder to shoulder with thousands of runners, watching my stride so I don’t trip on curbs and cracks in the street or the gait of another. I am feeling fantastic as I start, and my legs feel strong in the first few miles, although I know I must keep some reserves for mile eight when I will head straight up the steep, rain-slick Madison hill.

But I decide stay present in the current mile I run, not looking too far ahead. This is how I have been running all spring, summer, and fall as I watched tomatoes, greens and pumpkins, lilacs, lupine and sunflowers, and maple, oak and aspen leaves grow and turn, rotating through their collections of colorful seasonal costumes and jewelry. I breathe misty air the full length of my lungs, from top to bottom and feel my muscles red and strong.

The Steps of my Stride in the Seattle Half-Marathon

My pigtails, black running skirt, and eggplant purple Adidas jacket with my mini journal and pencils (unused until the end) bouncing in my pocket like my collected talismans of acorns.


Typical Seattle drizzling rain in the salty darkish early hour.

Yellow reflective lane markers in parallel lines along the middle of downtown streets and holiday lights blinking, winking like rain on puddles.

The clattering of thousands of running shoes on downtown streets to the grey I-90’s freeway express lanes, sounding like a dropped stack of multi-colored acrylic dishes hitting the floor.

The thundering of 18-wheelers and cars trilling by at 65 mph on either side of the express lanes.

Entering the freeway tunnel, runners inhaling the echoes of our cheering voices.

The winding avenue alongside the muted grey-blue lake, silvery fog layers hovering above like my Lincoln Park hummingbird.


The smell of lattes six miles in. A latte sounds delicious.

Wet muted green, red, yellow, and orange leaves sticking to concrete like cobbled pavement.


The fragrance of decomposing foliage and humus in parks, the boulevard, a path that zigzags like a pile of pickup sticks.

Birds settling on high telephone wires.

The rush of adrenaline in my blood at the top of steep hills.

Trees. Trees. Trees. Today I have grown taller from [running] with the trees. (Karle Wilson)

My Brooks running shoes, damp and broken. I ran hard.

The huge smile that opens on my face as I put the silver medal around my neck.

A great race, ran all right-brained with the help of some muscle memory and a gauzy layer of glitter.

Official chip time 1:47:43.

Split 1 (10k or 6.2 miles) 54:39, split 2 (6.9 miles) 53:36.

228th out of 4266 women.

33rd out of 543 in my age division.

Silver Medal on Paper through BlackBerry Viewfinder

(I never did read that half-marathon training schedule I printed.)

GL, 11/29/2009. Prevail.