October 19, 2014 by scratchtype1
“Hey, I like your shoes!” is what an aid station volunteer, near the turnaround point of a race, shouted to me this morning, even if I wasn’t running in the race, which had brought me to a stop. Almost 20 minutes earlier, I had begun running from the north end of White Clay Creek Preserve, dressed in a somewhat outlandish and garishly-colored outfit. Thin brown gloves because of the chill, a red long sleeved tech shirt from the 2009 Philly Marathon, the mostly green Sport Kilt, black compression sleeves for the lower legs because of the chill, and the black Xero Connects because all the leaves on the trail made it very difficult to see upon what exactly my feet would be landing.
So out of all that glorious menagerie, it was the Xeros that got the compliment. No matter, the racers had laid claim to part of the the route I thought to run, where I would run down into Delaware some before turning around on an out-and-back. I shrugged my shoulders, restarted the watch and turned away from the creek, towards where London Tract Meeting House resides and then turned north on the little road that goes by it. The funny thing about creeks is that often if you run pretty much alongside them, the route will be flat. But now away from the creek, I ended up finding some hills. Hills steep enough that they hurt going up, and they hurt going down. Not actual hurt or pain, but just tough both ways, although some of the downhills were gentle enough to run fairly smooth. The road itself was fairly rough, and I was glad to be wearing the Xeros because of it.
When you run alone, you run with thoughts. You run with thoughts when you run with others, but that thinking is different when two people are talking. While I ran this morning, I thought some more about the words I wrote in an email this past Thursday, words that were mostly composed in Esperanto, with me sometimes having to think in English first, then translate. I wrote to this person some about a photo she had taken, a photo of books and a cup of tea, about the sea of words. I wrote in response to that, about how sometimes we float upon the surface of them and how sometimes we dive deeply into their depths. I wrote that in Esperanto, as that is the language she and I share.
On Friday she had written back that she had found what I had written to be moving and inspiring and asked if she might use them for a photo of hers. When I read that, I initially thought she meant to use them with the photo I had thought of while writing them. I said that she could use them, but then found a surprise this morning after I woke up from a night of troubled sleep and nightmares. She had added another and photo to her photostream, The photo has 3 books stacked with each book above another book slightly rotated and in front of them a wooden carving of a head. The lighting is such that the shadow of the wooden head hides the 2 botoom book titles in shadow. The third book title is too much askew and out of focus to see although there is enough light. The top book’s cover shines some from the light.
I find it to be cleverly-done and arranged. That’s not unexpected, she is quite intelligent and many of her photos show a certain skill in selection and arrangement.
Still, it proved to be quite unsettling in a good way while I woke up today and got ready to go run. A few tears formed in my eyes, wondering at the amazement of how much is expected, yet so much unexpected. I thought I would run mostly flat today, instead I found hills. After the one downhill coming back led to the fastest of all the miles I would run when I turned around for the back of the out-and-back, I later was running during the 6th mile and pulled off the trail to let 2 other runners coming towards me by. The lead runner said, “I like the kilt!” I smiled and said, “Thank you.”
Then mile 6 was done and there was only a mile more to go. At first I was on the slow end some, but somehow my feet kept getting faster and the stride longer, until I felt a sensation of flying over the leaves, dirt and stones. The kilt billowed around me from my movement and the wind that gusted through the trees. I just ran until it almost seemed the thoughts just fell out of head behind me and were never heard by me, that they fell behind me and would end up in the White Clay and eventually the depths of the ocean. I just ran, listening to the leaves tremble and feeling the patches of light through the trees.