Decide on a topic for the day related to dirt. Before the run, spend a few minutes (or hours) being curious about your chosen topic. Watch videos, gather poems, skim scientific studies. Type up your notes in the draft of a log entry with the heading, “before the run.” Right before heading out for the run, decide on something or some things related to this topic that you want think about as you run. Go out for a run and try to think about these things. Either record some of your thoughts while you run, or just after you finish on your walk home, or right when you return home. Type up your thoughts in the log entry, under the heading, “during the run.” Finally, add in any new thoughts you’re having and/or reflections on the the before and during run sections. Put these under the heading, “after the run.”

assessment of experiment: Spending time with dirt in this way was fun. I learned a lot and found many different ways to explore what’s beneath my feet — in poetry, creative writing, science and pop-science. I think I’ll try this again, with a few tweaks:

  • More restrictions on the before the run: a time limit (30 minutes?) or focusing only on one thing (topic/poem/article). This part took too long and gave me too many ideas.
  • At least sometimes, be more deliberate about what to think about during the run. A word, or a line from a poem, or a question that directs my thoughts more concretely
  • Variation: start with too many ideas, then see what sticks OR start with no ideas and see what happens.
  • Find a way to document thoughts during the run: record them into my phone while I’m running, bring a notebook, try a mnemonic device?

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