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my body requested a slow, easy, short run today. i honoured the wisdom of my bones and sinews and moved unhurriedly across the landscape of the morning.  attentive, at first, to the sensations in my feet and ankles, my knees and hips and shoulders, the pattern with which my feet landed and lifted.  then shifting my awareness to my breath, bringing a sweet steady rhythm to the exchange between what is inside my body and what is outside.

marblecloud

the morning was cloud-filled; breathtaking formations sweeping across my heart and the sky.  a magick of cooling water vapour gathering on salt and dust in the air. beauty in the basic.

wheatthe earth, the fields, the sky, the trees, me. all smelling so loudly beneath the cloudy cloche. loamy, terpenic, grassy, grainy, astringent, sweet, petrichoric.  corn stalks pushed up to waist height and green wheat serenely stationary in the early air, potato fields densely green and awaiting blossoms. black flies a baby’s breath halo around my head.

immersed and indistinguishable from all that exists, at once vital and insignificant to all that is.  my self simply an energy, a vibration, in a sea of energy. prana. chi. life force. however you tend to think of it.  all energies needed to make the whole work, all vibrational frequencies of equal importance and necessary parts to the whole. the whole of it all. the one.

cloud

 

you and i are all as much continuous with the physical universe as a wave is continuous with the ocean.  ~ alan watts

115928509_1068189260242716_440431194216168819_nrunning over the last couple of weeks has been an undulating unfolding of flora.  rusty clover blossoms now in the shadows of stately queen anne’s lace, ditches lined with brown-eyed susans and bright white mallows.  wild rose bushes in various stages of disarray.  clouds of st. john’s wort, the spikey reaches of mullein, the darlingness of fleabane. stripey pink morning glories nestled in hot summer entanglements. it has been a splendorous orgy for the eyes and nose.

a week ago i changed my running route. it is the time of summer when my usual and preferred route passes through the path of the great migration of wee slugs.

the colour of the linen scarf my great aunt drew around her neck on dressy occasions, these wee creatures are soft bodied and on the move. favouring moving camp in the dampness of a heavy dew or after an overnight rain, they cross the road from one farm field to another in a grass-is-greener crisscross flash mob fashion.  the four tire ruts in the road are dotted dark with the demise of the unlucky multitudes and when the sun rises high enough many more become itsy bitsy toasted crunchies.

110684638_599583477652653_414808882364606361_nlanding on these wee beings in bare feet is a most unpleasant sensation; their demise underfoot saddens and nauseates me.  at some point, their migration becomes so populated that my timewarp running pattern cannot save them, or me. so, i head out eastbound and return westbound instead of the reverse.

today i wonder if i have a stress fracture in my right foot or ankle.

 

she always loved the things

that the rest of the world forgot

snails and slugs and the broken flowers.

i think that’s why she loved me,

i was another broken thing,

that the world had left behind

~ atticus

 

 

 

 

107047860_226862958296130_684358468428431952_ni checked this morning’s temperature and decided long pants and long sleeves might be in order for the run.  halfway down the driveway, in the still close air, it became quite clear that i was well overdressed for my distance run.

a shift in intention.  a short run would be a lovely run. as i set out, at a pace faster than i would normally — c’mon, what’s up with that legs?? — another shift in intention: to push myself on a short fast run.

and, it felt good. using my breath to regulate my heart rate, downregulating on the uphill, upregulating on the more level bits, i stayed at a pace that i could maintain.

my speed is around a humble 8 km/h. it is what i can generate and it serves my body and brain well.

as i run, though, i am aware that all is in motion.  the earth, on its early summer tilt, is twirling on its axis at about 1700 km/h, or .5 km/second, and orbiting the sun at about 30 km/s.  the sun, moving in its elliptical orbit around a galactic centre, travels at about 220 km/s and our galaxy, the milky way, is moving at a speed of about 2.1 million km/h.

it is an amazing thing, that we can imagine ourselves as solid and stationary, and yet we are literally hurtling through space toward the great attractor.  we are but a speck on a speck at the edge of a galaxy, also a speck in the space of all that is.

75429317_600625027546033_1098563309383310718_nit took about 13.8 billion years of confluences for me to run this morning. this run, indeed, a miracle. a modest, quiet miracle of motion at .002 km/s.

i do not know how fast that horsefly buzzing around my head was traveling.

all that is important is this one moment in movement. make the moment important, vital, and worth living. do not let it slip away unnoticed and unused.  ~ martha graham

 

*my apologies for any errors in my astronomical knowledge

tuesrun

running into a void; running as void

104701746_629725940964667_5216301799963580231_non weekend past, i headed out for a leisurely run.  i roll my eyes when i say that; there is nothing in my experience that feels ‘leisurely’ when i move in a running sort of fashion. the morning was one in a series of lovely days we’ve been blessed with.

from the moment i shifted from the walk down the laneway to the run, my body felt good. i felt light, i was light.  the touch of my bare feet on the asphalt was but a whisper, a kiss, in the thich nhat hanh spirit.

it was a slow run, meant to simply move me along the surface, the gentle arc of the earth moving beneath me, with no effort to run fast/er or further. yet, before i realized it, i was past my intended turnaround point, adding my every 7 to 10 day 10% increase in distance a few days early.

just before my turnaround point, an oil delivery truck pulled into a laneway ahead of me and then, a kilometre into my return distance, the truck passed me in a boisterous whir and whoosh of engine calls and slipstream.  as it climbed the hill ahead of me i noticed what was agreeable in this stentorian beast and how the qualities of its calls changed as it climbed the hill, peaked,  and disappeared from sight.  once out of my sight, the call of the wild fuel truck lingered, fading, fading, fading. i could imagine it moving along the roadway and i became curious as to how long i could hear its song.

there came a moment when i could no longer be sure if it was still within earshot or simply lost to me.  beyond that moment was nothing. nothingness. emptiness. sunyata.

tuesdayrunamplification

a few days later i headed out into the oppressive heat and humidity which had been visiting our part of the world for a few days at that point.  each day collecting itself with a heat warning wrapped in a humidex number.   i love heat, but not so much high humidity.

damp before i ran a step, each stride was an effort, an exercise in squishing all my internal moisture out through every single pore of my body.  small rivulets collected and spilt forth from the back of my hairline, the bend in my elbows grew ever increasingly damp, my eyes stung with the salty fills from my brow, smudging the lenses of my glasses, my headband saturated.

my world became a soggy soft-focused sudoric steamy stretch of scenery through which i tried to breathe and move.

i thought about the sunbeams gathering in the droplets which hung so heavy in the air.  each tiny collection an opalescent prism, bending the rays of the sun into more intense heat, acting like ocean spray on barely clad beach goers.  the brightness of these flashpoints causing me to keep my gaze mostly downwards.

if these vehicles of humidity could do so much to amplify the heat and light of the sun, i began to wonder if they could do the same for the diffusion of odour particles moving freely through the air.  surely they could, for on this day i was profoundly aware of the smells. there no was wind to carry them, but there were these moisture beads — fragrance beads — to serve as conveyance.  the dung spread on farm fields, the oily diesel of passing trucks, the sheep manure, the sulphurous remnants of skunk adventures settling acrid in my mouth.

short runnings in my mind

todayrunon this day, a short, faster run in anticipation of 7 hours of a steel mace vinyasa conditioning course later in the day.

the humidity has taken a dip and there is a slight reprieve in the heat. it is warm, but not hot.  i set out at a pace faster than i normally do and settle my breath into the rhythm of this demand over the first half kilometre.  and mind falls into a quiet place and senses awaken.

after the first half of the run, when i turn into the glory of the sun on my face, i must push myself to maintain this faster pace.  it is my first run of the year where i find i fall into mindgames to make it happen, counting light standards, noting distance markers, reeling myself home as i count down.  the to-me-a-hill looks to subdue me and i know i must give in to that or do myself in, though my effort remains stronger, even here.  before i peak, i am panting and feeling a familiar tightness in my chest and shoulders. all the signs that i am working my edge.

it takes me longer to resettle the pattern of breath, stride, heartbeat after the not-hill, but it is do-able and again mind falls into a quiet place. ah, but only for a bit.

in the space of the run, that place between quiet/empty and fighting my winds, a new zone opens; a territory that has found the safety and gentle temerity to exist.  bits of my life begin to burble, breaking the surface of my mind in soft ways, lacking the turbulence of just weeks ago. it is okay.

postrunwhen we walk like (we are rushing), we print anxiety and sorrow on the earth. we have to walk in a way that we only print peace and serenity on the earth… be aware of the contact between your feet and the earth. walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet.

― thich nhat hanh

 

i have run four times since the last post. i am grateful for this consistency afforded by this tragedy called covid19.  my days are different. the places i spend time are different. this is the case for so many of us.

29.05.20

the strongest winds yet of my recent running adventures. i did not notice them. not because this work of embracing the winds — my winds — has come to fruition, but because my internal winds were raging.  my head on a loop replaying, reimagining, reifying a series of events in my life.  i would, by moments, notice this and shake it away, but i was drawn back in without noticing.

i ran further than i intended.  the internal storyline stronger than my ability to notice my turnaround point.

101940196_1748808758592637_5045965275715862528_ni was finally drawn out of my head when i noticed a mama fox and her two young ones inside the treeline. the two fuzzy cubs came tumbling down the bank to the ditch when they heard me approach. mama stayed back, vigilant in her supervision.  one of the cubs immediately climbed back up to mama, but the other, with breakfast in mouth, ran with gleeful pride i assumed, in the ditch along side me for about 100m before veering off into the trees.

it was so easy to settle back into my heart after this encounter.  woman who runs with the foxes.

01.06.20

102957559_594905741143782_2889852222374412288_nanother chilly breeze day, but one i could pace into with a settled heart.  birds and blooms, and overcast skies.  robins drawing worms from the damp earth as if quilting the landscape and slugs stretching long across the pavement.

i was coming in and out of the presence of this run, lapsing into short reveries about the spaces that surrounded me, brief thoughts of the day ahead.

at my turnaround point, a large dog i did not see gallumping down a laneway toward me, broadsided me, knocking me off balance but not off my feet.  he jumped repeatedly on me, not responding to any commands and as his owner eventually made his way down the lane, the dog did not respond to his commands either.  i caught his collar and handed him over.  my hands smelled of dog mouth, you know that smell?  and my clothing was striped with manure. i was irritated for a few minutes, trying to get back into a rhythm of feet on asphalt, smooth breath in and out. i adapted to the odours and headed home.

run interrupted.

03.06.20

out a bit later than usual, hoping for a couple of extra degrees of warmth. not so much in luck — long sleeves, long pants in the brisk air. asphalt underfoot throwing off frosty feels.

traffic.  as the province reduces covid restrictions, traffic has picked up.  i run on the road as there is no paved shoulder, dodging offside just as needed but with trepidation and vigilance for the tossed remains of people’s passings. oh, that sounds hilariously macabre. so many toss garbage — beer bottles, pop cans, fast food detritus — from their car windows, making barefoot running offside, where i cannot always see what is there, a bit dangerous.  as the second car passes and the wish that they were not there crosses my mind for the second time, i find a chuckle and pause, internally, a moment, to take myself more lightly. i am running on the road. what should i expect.

traffic. wind. dogs. gurus for my journey.

05.06.20

warm. humid.  a tropical breeze and asphalt like in-floor heating on a late autumn day.

all the quiet today. so very lovely. little thought, lots of sensing, words and labels arising as i type this.

101989535_4156160834408991_6834478443334205440_na wee bit of distance added to this slow run day.  breezes carrying spring smells. delicate apple blossoms on roadside trees, wild strawberry flowers, fresh fields, lilacs finally opening.  the rain of yesterdays coaxing a verdant landscape into lush greens, too many shades to name.  butterflies flitting, bright delights to my eyes.  the birds harmonizing with the wind and a distant dog barking. sheep and horses and cattle, cats, and all manner of creatures. the sound of my breath and the beating of my heart, louder on that hill-to-me.

the crunch of gravel as i head back home. i catch a glimpse of myself reflected in the side porch windows and think i look like an old woman who thinks she runs.

102563898_2669639033314675_4473349129027715072_ni am exactly that.

i am as nowhere as i can be.  ~ the avett brothers

 

100996223_618549779004400_365691180781928448_nthe to and fro of pine limbs, trampolining in the gusts and a morning sky gauzy with pillowy pewter-lined clouds greeted me. the gray and coral marbled asphalt, like ill-fitting jigsaw puzzle pieces strewn upon the earth, welcomed the steady chatter of my feet.  all manner of happy birds, oblivious to my presence, nooked in swaying trees, filling my body with trilly notes.

no push in my body this morning, just a presence and the ongoing peace making with the wind.  partway into the run, the draperies were drawn aside and the sun shone through. i became aware of my shadow self, running just in front of me, leading me into the places i needed to travel.

100569460_772063373534226_4537950251817893888_ni moved my awareness to the tidal movements of fluids running through the channels in my brain. brine-swelled pulses delivering oxygen to the recesses not yet fully awakened from my good night’s rest. conveying the goodness of sunshine through the complexity of vascular highways, collecting the dregs and dross from the neuronal salt mines.

this has always been my primary reason for running; the neuroprotective whatfor in my elevated heart rate is the black caviar of my efforts.  and now affixed, to run with my shadow self, partnering the purpose.

of late every day brings a stronger wind.

good timber does not grow with ease. the stronger the wind the stronger the trees.
~ thomas s monson

100598778_259263781976768_4473273679337226240_nthis morning’s chilly breeze reddened my knuckles and billowed my lungs. there was a corridor of contrails that drew me into my run, the roadside littered with bobbing robins. and so it was that when i turned east to head home, the sun relieved my hands of their chill and infinite silence existed between the bird calls of the morning.

this moment – every moment – a gift. this moment that is 13.8 billion years in the making. so many events had to happen simultaneously for this moment to be, for me to be in this moment, running in the sunshine with the kindest of intentions toward myself.

simply mind-boggling. outrageously incredible.

in every moment, the Universe is whispering to you. you’re constantly surrounded by signs, coincidences, and synchronicities , all aimed at propelling you in the direction of your destiny.       ~  denise linn

 

22.05.20

home again after the run

many times in my life i have referenced ‘the wind is not my friend.’  prone to earachesas wind rushes past them, haired fuzzed and in-face issues, and the dread of its challenges on run days; particularly this.

recent heart lessons echoed this morning as i pulled on my running togs:  if i am to be kind to myself, i must befriend the wind.

as i turned at the end of the laneway, into the stiffish breeze, the usual fight and resistance did not arise. instead, i understood that i must move into the wind, spread my long wings in a vulnerability, a welcoming embrace, in order to be lifted.

98006482_2742620762691652_2982428679071596544_n

and so, for the first half of the run, i allowed myself to soar, running with, instead of against, this friend. new friend.

at the turn around point, the whoosh fell away from my ears. i became aware of the throaty calls of ravens, the vireos’ curious insistent question: ‘where are you?’ the trees, swaying and bouncing, rhythmically sighed the songs of wind instruments. the wind at my back, pushed me into a skitter along the arc of the earth and dropped me at the laneway with a pounding heart, alive with this new day.

99249765_252481352629006_3034283120611295232_n

this is your chance. this little, short human life that you have is your opportunity. don’t blow it . . . my teacher said that making friends with myself meant seeing everything inside me, and not running away or turning my back on it. because that’s what real friendship is. you don’t turn your back on yourself and abandon yourself, just the way you wouldn’t give up on a good friend when their darker sides began to show up

~ pema chodron

 

 

98086954_239874040673475_8335437881128517632_nout the door noonish for a run on a beautiful day.  much later than i prefer to run, but early morning today had other responsibilities.

a sun with enough heat that short sleeves were sufficient and a westerly wind with just enough ooomph in it to billow against a good-run mindset.  scarce birdsong at this time of day and some light traffic.  plenty of farming equipment rolling along the road and kicking up red dust in the fields that came in waves across my running path.

the first kilometre was that.  wind and dust. a stomach a bit too heavy with morning food. a head full of the early morning stress, looping like an old reel to reel tape player. the first kilometre was that. a story line dragging me down, sitting tight across my shoulders and ratcheting rigid my jaw, labouring my breathing, congesting in my log-heavy legs. a misery i created. the first kilometre was that.

grateful was i to become aware. i did not need to bear this burden.  these obstructions, of my own making. i could simply drop this weary load on the roadside.  i could, in fact, allow a bit of self-compassion to well up. i could be kinder to myself. and so, i was.

99131829_875738756274411_2059805425410244608_nmy heartbeat and breath fell into a steady, comforting rhythm and the warmth of the sun touched my whole being.  the earth lifted to meet the regularity of my foot fall.

the run. was so good.

i came home.

 

we can make ourselves miserable or we can make ourselves strong. the amount of effort is the same.

~ pema chodron

 

dreaming of roses

spring is slow in revealing its resplendence this year.  just of late, buds have attached themselves to winter bare limbs and the hummingbird feeder remains unattended, though the table has been set.

i will call today my first run of the season, though i have ventured out two other times since our world became more insular. first run because it was more joyful than i anticipated, requiring less discipline to get there and get home again.

17.05.20the sun played peak-a-boo in a cloud-dappled sky and even with a heavy frost in the early hours, the asphalt had loosened its grip on the winter chill and felt warm underfoot. birds were insistent in calling out their spring delight and the breeze, first against my left cheek as i headed out, then my right as i returned, was just right in its temerity.

 

signs of life, springing forth, among the detritus of winter and the pall of a novel corona virus.

it may be that when we no longer know what to do,
we have come to our real work
and when we no longer know which way to go,
we have begun our real journey.

~ wendell berry

 

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