running 10-02-2010

the first proper run since a chaplinesque fall while running over an icy bridge before christmas (legs up, arse down, codeine, hobbling etc.). god, it's good to be properly outside again: the big sky, the flooded river, the space, the quiet, the... well, i don't know the word. and i think not knowing the word is the probably the point. a less grandiose version of wordsworth's presence that disturbs me me with the joy of elevated thoughts... a motion and a spirit that impels all thinking things, all objects of all thoughts, and rolls through all things... except it's more an absence than a presence, more material than spiritual... and trying to articulate the feeling is like staring at the mona lisa through the eyepiece of a camcorder.

halfway through the run it began to snow. fat flakes driving almost horizontally over the meadow like the air had become a huge diagram of wind.

perhaps it's some viking genes somewhere. i'm uncomfortable in the heat, but when the weather gets what other people call bad i'm suddenly at home outside. getting wet, getting dirty, getting cold makes me feel a part of the landscape in a way that a pleasant walk after sunday lunch simply doesn't.

running only increases that sense. indeed i keep remembering a brief passage in richard wrangham's catching fire (see below) where he describes human beings as the running animal, pointing out something i'd never thought of before (because most of us are so sedentary these days), that other animals can run faster over short periods, but we can run for hour after hour if we're fit. and there are very few animals that can do that. so maybe it's not viking genes, maybe it's just human genes.

now i'm just looking forward to more miles and those longer runs upriver where the buildings give way to green.

[photo by pcgn7 @ flickr under creative commons]