moonrise, jul 2009

On Saturday night, I ran the north forty-five miles of the park alone. As darkness arrived four miles into my run, just as I’d intended, I heard hesitation creeping in. An owl alighting from a branch, the interplay of my shadow from headlamp and cross-shadow from the full moon, the wind rustling in the brush all prompted me to spin expecting the worst—a cougar stalking or flared porcupine chasing. After a few times of seeing only forest falling away behind me I transitioned into acceptance of the dark, solitary, nuanced silence.

I ran hard, sweating through the humid night as I crossed rivers, meadows, scree fields, marshes, forests, and glaciers. Then my mind/body gave up, not only on this run but for me in advance when thinking of the long one. It hurt deep in my glutes and my diaphragm ached from repeated peak performance and overexhalation. I needed sleep and had opted not to bring caffeine in order to achieve a high level of simulated suffering.

Most times my dreaming heart leaves my body to seek connection, it takes an endless march north. Elated in dismal submission I stepped onto the snowy meadows of Moraine Park. The Willis Wall loomed, illuminated steely purple by the bright white moon directly overhead. My soul left my body, leapt up into the sky, and broke open in excitement before crumpling on the ground in prostration.

The sun rose and I realized, I am not broken. After a few minutes of rest at the car, my mental stability restored, I realized I can do this.

These long runs cultivate in me a sense of longing to effusively expend love. I revel in the lonesome aspect of the runs and (not but) they allow me to appreciate closeness so vitally in my personal relationships. We are each full of paradoxes, seeming contradictions, and this is one of mine.

written aug 2012