The Running Manifesto

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Her mind is restless.

She is living with a sense of foreboding that she finds difficult to escape.

Running:

the welcome release valve,

the essential respite,

the place to gather thoughts and make sense of things.

Running gives a woman positive bodily integrity.

The sheer act tells the story of how a woman won’t be controlled

by restrictive laws or narrow thinking

that seeks to put her in her “place”

or shames her into choices

that someone else is making for her and her life.

She controls the pace because it is her race to run.

So why  run?

Run to stay empowered.

The goals?

To remain a free and self-determined woman.

And what is she training for?

Her Life

 

Day 14: This poem has pieces from a post of mine “Freedom of Movement” that I wrote on November 6, 2015- the year before election night. I must have had a sense that changes were approaching. In reality, they were already underway; the widgets were set in place in the 1980’s. 2016 was the beginning of the overt onslaught.

 

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Morning Deluge

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Held hostage by the gravity of sleep,

the ceiling fan spins its hum.

The alarm has been snoozed

My mind fogged is fogged by dreams

It starts as a tapping

and moves quickly into a steady beat.

I kneel at the window,

my eyes unfocused,

peering into the early morning darkness.

I only see trees swaying

Awake now, I stumble down  the hall

and in mere seconds

the sky has released a deluge.

The park is filling with an amber rain

Black puddles shine in my back yard

Overhead, thunder rolls and rumbles

Its vibrations felt by my feet

I pray for its passing

and the easing of the rain.

I long to run before my work day begins

The trail will be flanked by vernal pools

hundreds of frogs

-immaculately conceived-

will engage in their chorus.

In these few moments

A reincarnation of Old Florida reveals itself

Beckoning and Begging and Beseeching

to be Saved before it sinks.

 

Day 5:  Fine tuning this before the end of  a work day.  Written in the early hours.  Published now.

Capturing a Running Moment

 

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                                              Image courtesy of: Becoming Ultra

A long run at sunrise sounded promising

The forecast was for a record hot day

The dastardly humidity returning

Uninvited

April holds out as if a wall is erected

Attempting to deter the thick air

Sidewalks empty of  foot traffic

The road just beginning to buzz with four wheeled machines

The sprinklers performing their duty

in their usual quiet fashion

They hiss as I run past

My mind wanders

Planning the route as I go

Needing to run far enough so my legs don’t give out

The hidden side streets are a favorite detour

before the route to the beach

The boulevard is nearly empty

as I cross to the bridge that rises over the bayou

A woman driving her car eastbound

snaps a photo of the quiescent sky

I run to the nature park and to the path which surrounds me with mangroves

My feet sound different here

palpitating with the beat of my heart

I am unaware of where this path ends

while simultaneously mindful that this is the best I will feel in this moment

 I turn a corner

and I am full on with the salty brackishness

and the day’s rising

Simple in beauty

Conscious that this will be the highlight of my day

I turn to go

Heeding my pace

Aware of the many miles that lay before me

Day 28. Happy Friday!

Seeking Heaven

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I lie on my mat and ponder the wickedness in this world

Softly chanting mantras

Calling for light in dark corners

  Offering praise for the ones showing us the way

 I meditate

Cleaning the slate of my overworked and overwrought thoughts

I move my body

Stretching muscles

Mending tissues

Restoring cells

Experiencing joy in the work

Content that heaven exists

in the garden planted,

the mountains climbed,

the  paths run

and

the moments magnified by love

Day 20. Namaste

Hometown Run

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Photo courtesy of: Trip Advisor (Ward Hill Reservation)

The brisk  mid morning air rushed at my bare arms and legs

The nip a welcome amazement

A bit of bliss

I smile as if kissed

My heart in full surge

Feeling the urge

An unquenched desire to move through the breeze

The hills, rises, and turns feeling familiar once again

The tower bell tolled ten

Its chime a reminder of a lost moment

and the comforting rhythm to our days

 I cross at the light

forgetting the long span of street that lay ahead

Houses and yards void of winter’s white

Daffodils and crocuses rounding out the renewing green of lawns and red  brick pathways

The downhill speeds my pace-

I am used to its more arduous climb, not its effortless decent

I turn on the road where the cemetery lies in the grove

My legs just starting to slightly suffer

I approach a rare flat surface

Relief briefly in store

A left turn into town

Churches white-steepled, granite stoned and russet brick

One last incline then the finish

The high road to where the boys now call home

Day 14: Already Running, Hanging and Cooking with family and friends.

Thursday Tempest And a Run Delayed

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The city park glistens

Its puddles reflect the lampposts’ amber light

The rain pours off the roof

Pounding the patio tiles

And soaking my running shoes under the false shelter of the portico

Lightning cuts across the horizon in violent zigzags

Thunder causes the wine glasses to vibrate in their cabinet nests

Just as I think it abates and finally ceases

The roar and boom and the  furious deluge resumes twice more

and the darkness remains

Day 6. An early start to writing and a later start to running as newspapers-stuffed inside my shoes- dry my well-worn Sauconys.

Breathing Room

I ran this morning until it hurt. Perhaps I was inspired by my work colleague, M. whom I met on the trail somewhere after the 1 mile mark. She was heading North to Dunedin on a 30 mile run. We spoke at length about life as it is and the need for running. How we write lesson plans, letters, solve problems, and create new ideas as our feet guide us to known and often unknown destinations. Her goal inspired me to run further after a week of not running at all.  It was completely unplanned; I surely had plenty of time-more time than usual last week to get in lots of running. Yet, I found myself letting things unfold. Yoga and chakra meditation really called my name. The weather was cool-very cool and windy- and I welcomed the chance for a hoodie and windbreaker to walk in on Spring Break.

Spending time with myself and loved ones down here was the goal. My stepdaughter and I enjoyed lunch and long walks and big talks together; we grew closer than ever. Emily was down for a family obligation and managed to drive the extra 115 miles to see where I live, accompanied by lovely Lillian, her daughter. Her mid-week visit filled my soul and ironically, made me feel more grounded here. Showing her and Lillian the sights of St. Petersburg was truly a thrill.

Mountain Women on the city streets!

On Friday, I spent the morning walking the beach at Indian Shores, listening and looking. Seashore treasures abounded:

 

Peace was at hand at hand-at least for a little while.                                                                                                                                                     

Saturday dawned and we headed for a run on St. Pete Beach, where my father lives. He thought only my husband would be out and said I was a “good  surprise” so early in the morning. I decided to walk and talk with him. Simply wonderful! Later in the day, we joined him and others at a waterfront joint, enjoying the turquoise water,  slow-moving boats and surfacing dolphins. We celebrated a traditional New England St. Patrick’s Day dinner that night at our house.

Still, the specter of insecurity persists, seeping into conversations in the midst of sunshine and laughter. I continue to resist, shining my own light, becoming the change I wish to see.