A Bit of Running Advice

So today I went running and while running, stride by stride, I thought it would be a nifty idea to take a new route from my usual one of leapfrogging over fences and through the backyards of fellow suburbanites and occasionally surging in through their unlocked backdoors while they stare in surprise with their forks in their hands and food suspended in midchew as I dash by them in the suddenly silent midst of interrupted conversations of what did you do at school today and how about those Leafs/Jays/Raptors or cold today, isn’t it, and please pass the butter, and out through the front door with the family toy poodle nipping at the back of my ankle trying for my Achilles Heel, but little does the little dog know that to get to that it has to get into my soul and for that it is simply not equipped psychically to dive deep into that sea of flotsam and sunken cities of memory and find my insecurities like wetting my pants at nursery school or, worse, wetting somebody else’s, and just how would that happen, exactly;  so as I was running, I, as I said, took a new route from the one elaborated above, which for all the excitement inherent in that approach, had come to feel a little boring, as there are only so many strangers’ homes you can streak through and get an adrenaline rush before the thrill wears off, so I left my house in my brand new sneakers and stopped traffic;  that is, I was wearing brand new sneakers and I STOPPED traffic, rather than  I was WEARING stopped traffic, as that would mean I would be splattered in the grille of a vehicle stopped by me, or I would perhaps be squashed between two vehicles and that would be no good thing, and how would I be narrating this exactly;  and as I ran and stopped traffic, surprised eyes stared out at me from mundane tasks like shovelling the driveway and then I realized I had only my sneakers on;  well, so what?  What else does a runner need in this world except for his running shoes?  So on I went jogging though I felt a bit cold below the waistline, I must admit, and so I will, and in fact just did admit, and after I got down the street  I pried loose a manhole cover and climbed down the rusty, skinny ladder, landing in runny, filthy water filled with dirty icy flotsam and jetsam, and so I merrily splashed along getting my aerobic fix until I heard ahead of me a chiming chorus of bells, bells, bells, bells, like in that Edgar Allen Poe poem, and then I realized that was just in my head but what an interesting incongruity that forms so it stays, bells in my head chiming and that’s when I turned the corner and came upon a fancy parlour, vaguely Edwardian, with fin de siecle European aristocratic types with white military jackets and monocles and medals and wigs and waxed and teased moustaches sitting around the mahogany table discussing politics and art while sipping port and smoking cigars and pipes, and they took no notice of me whatsoever even though I pulled up a chair and sat with them and availed myself of a Havana cigar and smoked it in their company and listened intently to their imperialist intrigues as they began  talking up, bit by bit, the First World War, perhaps not realizing what they were getting into, which I tried to avert by pointing out that it was to be a horrible catastrophe in which Europe nearly commits suicide and unleashes in full the mechanized slaughter of modern warfare, and which would lead to an even bigger war later, so let’s all just get along, shall we, but they took no notice of me, as I said, so I smoked my cigar quietly and wondered, did they not listen to me because I’m naked?  Because I’m wearing running shoes?  My cigar finished, I continued my journey, leaving world history to unfold as it has and continues to, though not for lack of trying to alter it for the better, and I emerged from another manhole cover 100 metres from the one I entered and arrived home safely 93 years after the Armistice and 20 minutes after the beginning of my run, refreshed and reinvigorated.

So, as an avid runner, I would suggest altering your route on occasion—it keeps things interesting.

A Walk in the Woods

I wrote this piece on commission for someone very close to me.  She encouraged me to put it up on this site, and…..why not?  This is my first real posting, and I think that it is a good way to clear the mind and enter the strange and figurative forest of my musings.  Enjoy……

A Walk in the Woods

 Footfall by footfall, the crunch of fallen twigs underfoot.  Unnumbered shades of green, a deliciously deciduous verdance of leaves, vines and mosses adumbrated through the mist onto the canvas of your eyes.  Rain-sodden leaves droop from the silhouetted columns of great trees, ferns fan upward from the forest floor, rich carpets of moss cling to trunk and rock, deep green grass sponges underfoot and squeaks against your shoes as you pass through this ancient grove….

Through the mist you part with your steps you see this shaded scene clearer;  in the foreground drips water from the ferns;  great and ancient oaks gnarl upward, cloaked in their full heads of summer leaves, reliving their yearly gift of youth before they grow in fall and winter old, each year a lifetime;  from one oak you catch a flitter in the corner of your gaze and see a squirrel scurry out from a knothole and up into the leafy branches.

On the air you smell the rich green wetness of vegetation;  as you step by an oak tree you see emerging from the crags of bark near the tangle of roots boring downward into the wet soil wild mushrooms clinging for life in the dark shadows and corners of the forest floor—you break one with your hand and the edge of the soffit, dry and wrinkly, crumbles away revealing the white wet ripeness of its pith—and  you wonder what mystic secrets to which it might be key, what fevers it contains, what flavourings, mushrooms the great mysteries of the forest growing in dankness and in darkness, storing in their caps and stems it seems the mystic subconscious of the forest’s very thoughts—and you continue walking though the grass as the mist rises as the sun burns away the clouds above, recalling what it can of the rain, what the forest cannot absorb into its cells in time, and the mist is recalled in curtains of rising vapour wavering upward, aquarelling the forest with the its invisible brushstrokes in the appealing and suggestive haze of an Impressionist painting.  As the sun’s rays wink through the tangled wickerwork of canopy above, so below forms in response a shadow forest of trunks and penumbral branches and leaves, throwing twisted and tangled bars of shade over fern and blade and fur of moss.

You stop, pause and breathe.

As you make your way through the forest the trees thin out until you make it to a lightly wooded glade, with taller grass and lies waving in the soft breeze now kicking up, centred by an ancient weeping willow whose vines sway gently in the breeze as though it were fanning itself.  The clouds have broken up and the sun pours golden upon you.

Love is in the air.

You can smell its fragrance in floral pheromones, hear its strains in birdsong, see its colours in the scarlet plumage of a cardinal showing off its proud bearing, its feathered endowments, from atop a bentbacked poplar in the glade, seeking to woo a mate.

The breeze blows the leaves and as they crinkle you are sprinkled in rainwater shaken off the trees at the edge of the glade just behind you.

And you watch while the bees make love to the lilies, bending the stems under their light and shifting weight as they land on petal and stamen and adjust their footing as they,  their antennae caressing as they spread pollen stuck on the hairs of their legs, spread the sperm of flowers while performing floralingus, lapping up nectar to be consummated into honey.

You feel a great peace as this scene colours your eyes like the staining of glass on arched windows, as it imprints itself on your mind.  Satisfied and at peace, you make your way home.