Sunday, November 19, 2006

And Straight On 'Til Morning...

It’s not like exercise is my thing, but with a free-flowing diet of bite size snickers and dark chocolate kisses and sweet tarts and trinity triple chocolate ice cream, well, exercise wasn’t a bad idea.

The first night of jogging was glorious – seven out of ten retreat attenders in a group. The joy of solidarity helped ease the muscle pain and the griping lungs.

We all agreed that it was wonderful to run as a group, all looked forward to doing it again on a regular basis, and all knew that this was the last time we would all be in work-out agreement.

The more sensible stopped running at night; the half-sensible cut down the number of jogs; the insane started counting the miles in double digits. I was in the middle group, running every couple of nights or so.

The best night, there were three of us, and instead of turning left at the end of the access road – which would have led us toward the lights and comfort of the nearest town – we turned right.

Away from streetlights, into the unknown, into the dark.

Oncoming headlights were blinding, forcing the pace to slow so the sensation of sneaker on asphalt could keep us on the path. The weeds to one side whipped the legs of the one who veered too close to the edge. The swamp on the other side warned the errant jogger with a squish.

But once the cars disappeared and the lights of society were far enough behind, the sky became alive.

Orion’s outline filled out with muscles and flesh of countless stars. The three sisters stood in a group of women, nattering to the crowd. The dippers dripping with astral soup; the ram leapt over blockades of galaxies.

We ran face up, my companions and I, our feet bouncing off the earth, our imaginations bouncing off the sky.

I’m sure there is a metaphor in there; a pack of artists running away from civilization, but running together – a combination of unified isolation running into beauty.

And even more meaning could be found in the group turning back towards home, carrying the memory of the heavens back to the light of men.

But to be honest, I don’t care about the metaphor.

I just liked reveling in the stars.

Just my thoughts,



Linds said...

I thought you'd like to know that I read this post aloud to Nate and we had a friend over - an English teacher and literary fiend - and when I finished, she exclaimed "I love his writing!" We were talking about Henry James before that. So apparently this Art Within thing works. :)

bagley818 said...
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bagley818 said...

I second - LOVE your writing! It was a perfect encapsulation of the evening run. Glad I was there to drink in the stars. Thanks for keeping me going longer than I would have by myself. -JB

Elizabeth Beachy said...

Should I resent being referred to as insane? :)

Gaffney said...

Note to all: Please think of Henry James while reading my posts; or at least Jesse James.

And Elizabeth, there are a lot of really nifty insane people out there, and I'm sure I meant it as a compliment...

Nathan said...

Good grief! How did you guys find time and energy to run this year? Last year both were in short supply (we were too busy writing!).

Elizabeth Beachy said...

The runs generally ocurred between 10 and midnight. :)

Gaffney said...

You are so right, it was nearly impossible to find time to run. Between the days of deep sea diving, golfing, picnics at the beach, whale watching, water skiing, clambakes, three-legged-races, sun tanning competitions, treasure hunting, Sponge Bob Square Pants marathon, scrap booking, stock car racing and pumpkin carving, we barely even had time for the spa treatments, facials and Swedish massages! (Especially since Coley insisted on the massages being daily -- what a taskmaster!) But still we found time for our health, and jogged.

Oh, and some people wrote. Party poopers.

Nathan said...

Sniff. Art Within ain't what it used to be. Dang kids with their rock and roll music.