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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

106296159_598401851100672_891954685164863832_nwe have all lived amidst a wellspring of uncertainty, perhaps finding fear and darkness at the source, perhaps finding opportunity. i have traversed all the points along and beyond this lockdown acquifer choosing largely to create and live my own covideology.

the shutdown in my part of the world was sudden and extensive.  i taught my usual 3 classes on friday — adult fitness, gentle yoga, kettlebell group training — and arrived home to the email that it was shut down, as was my work with private training clients.

i spent the first two weeks prepping for the return to work. i am not sure what i was thinking, but it had not set in that this might be a longer stint than just a couple of weeks. and, it has been.  and continues to be. and the short-term future remains unknown.

after that first two weeks, i created the list of the more extensive home and yard projects that needed or wanted doing that we had not had time for. as i write this, 14 weeks later, i rest content that i have tackled none of them.

on the other hand, i have delved into many online opportunities, taking courses in the neuroscience of behaviour change, functional aging, functional programming for female clients, targeted mobility training, foundational mace and mace flow, indian club swinging, energetic alignment & intuitive sequencing, living the 8 limbs of yoga, living from a place of surrender, the flight of the swans: buddhism in north america, and a few others.  i love to learn and these weeks have been a gift for those of us who have some sort of internet connection and are lifelong students.

i have also found a workout groove which, prior to this break, had become sketchy due to my work schedule and caregiving responsibilities.  if you’ve looked at the blog before, you will notice that i have been running with quite a bit of consistency for a few months now, slowly building my weekly distances and using the running experience as metaphor for some of the personal work that has been tumbling through me.

steelsummeri also picked up some virtual studio training with Flow Shala at the end of march and have been having a good deal of fun-bathed-in-sweat learning to work with the steel mace.

 

 

 

i love uncertainty, the feeling of being lost. when you’re lost, you’re free.~ marty   rubin

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

IMG_0653

it has been quite a while since my soles spent time communing with asphalt.

beginner’s mind.

the sky was grey above, the damp asphalt grey below. crows were repelled by my approach and bluejays screeched like clothesline reels. the return of gold finches was heralded with their singing.

the lichens hung, winter weary, from tree limbs. the fields were waiting on sunshine to green their blankets. pussy willows had already pushed from their sleepy sleeves.

beginner’s mind.

for_peace

the asphalt warm as it caresses the underbelly of my foot

a gentle south breeze slowly watlzing the laundry on the line

mating and nesting songs being passed in a stand of trees

foliage escaping once tight buds.

running. receiving. rejoicing.

hold fast to the mother

 

runhome

at the end of the run

i am not a runner.

yet every spring, song birds beckon me outside, to be their audience as they are mine. it is the same universal energy which led teenage me to cut high school classes in april and, for a short while in my adult life, led me to believe that ‘spring cleaning’ was actually a thing.

i generally wait until the morning temperatures reach 7°C; the encumberances of cold weather running do not suit me well.

today it was 14°C when i got up. and humid. go time!

the asphalt under foot was warm and the shoulder of the road was spring time soft; so pleasant to run on. the warm breeze from the south, the sweat gathering along my hairline, the birdsong.

running with the mind of meditation.

yoga for cool down.

a great start to friday.

may we all be happy just the way we are.

 

 

 

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