Abandoned Exercise for Pleasure, Leisure, and Wonder


Tundras swans on our farm.jpg

This raw, early spring morning I got my kids on the bus and started running south. The sun is already well over the horizon at 7:20am. The plowed under corn field to the west of our house has become a pond. Three pair of giant Tundra Swans have taken up residence in the temporary lake for the past two days. They are startling in their size; 36 inches long, 80 inch wingspan.

I run on about a mile and then have to stop. Over night the wind shifted from the south to the northwest. When I drove home last night the ice was on the north of the slough and has now blown to the south. It isn’t an ice sheet anymore—it is about 5 acres of 2-5 inch ice crystals all bunched together. The wind blows the ice crystals together and they are jangling each other in the undulating water. I can’t run—the sound of my wind breaker, my own heavy breathing drowning out the sound of the ice, the ducks, the wind blowing through the dry prairie grass.

Enough high impact aerobic exercise. I just squat down in the grass and watch as the sun rises higher and hits the acres of ice crystals—patience rewarded with delight. I walk further down the road (forgetting to look in the scary brush forest where I suspect the Big Cat lives) and see a waddling critter making its way across the plowed field towards the slough. I sit down to hold Happy and we watch the muskrat cross a dirt driveway a few feet away from us. Happy would have preferred to eat the muskrat (which leads to a heated argument with Mike when I get home about how Happy learns to distinguish between rats we want her to kill and muskrats that I’ll smack her if she kills).

I get home and open a package that came in the mail. It’s book of poetry, Red Bird, by Mary Oliver. I open it to this page.

The Orchard
(click on Continue reading to see the poem)

The Orchard-- by Mary Oliver

I have dreamed
Of accomplishment.
I have fed

I have traded
Nights of sleep

for a length of work.
Lo, and I have discovered
How soft bloom

turns to green fruit
which turns to sweet fruit.
Lo, and I have discovered

all winds blow cold
at last,
and the leaves,

so pretty, so many
in the great, black

packet of time,
in the great black
packet of ambition,

and the ripeness
of the apple
is its downfall.


April is poetry month, did you know that? I've got to break out my favorite poems to share on my blog. :)

I liked the 'sweet fruit' part, but the end made me sad.

And, I'm tagging you! Read about it here: http://childplay.wordpress.com/2008/04/15/national-parks-week/


Tiff dear,

As soon as I learn how-- I'm gonna tag you right back. Don't you think every months should be poetry month??

Because of your national parks week entry- I logged on and will make reservations to take my kids to national parks in South Dakota in August. Promise!

I just found your blog, I look forward to reading more.

I actually work for a program at the U promoting health professional students to explore rural MN for their rotations.

We have programs for youth-adult in your area if health care is of interest to you.

Our Uthink blog is here: http://blog.lib.umn.edu/mnahec/mnahec_events/

OK, Have you ordered your bees yet? Would you believe that I still have your "bee gloves" in my car trunk? And you thought downsizing was such a good idea!!!!!(Just kidding) I just kept forgetting to drop them off for the bee guy on the way to Kasson. (just saw him out there last week)

Ok. So downsizing wasn't such a great idea. Don't drop off those bee gloves-- bring them back. The bees are ordered and will be here the first week in May. Will definately need those gloves. Have you seen my smoker? :-)

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Kathryn Draeger published on April 16, 2008 1:31 PM.

A bit of energy self reliance was the previous entry in this blog.

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