Monday, November 16, 2009

patterns in nature

Tue, October 30, 2007
I ran today in the crisp late afternoon and noticed how much the season is waning towards winter. The oak leaves have finally reached that wonderful color of oxblood leather, and everything is drying up to blend in dull golds and earth browns.

I have always noticed how much things in nature resemble one another but it is much more striking to me now that I am working closely with some amazing wild species. Is that a dried milkweed, or the feathers of an owl? Is that a leaf, or a chipmunk? A log- or a crouching bird? A vulture, or hawk, no... a bole in the fork of a tree...

With things becoming laid bare and visible with dropping of leaves, it is easy to become fooled by what you see. I ran at the hour just before dusk, when the sun was low and a liquid red. I reached the top of a rise in the woods where the sun hit an old stone wall and bathed it in light the color of cherry juice; I ran to the wall and stood on it, facing the sun to let my skin soak in the rose glow. I wanted to radiate that color, always. The forest I had just run through was unrecognizable, momentarily, swallowed up in this amazing light. Full of creatures imagined and real, all in stirring leaves and crooked branches, tumbled stones and twisted paths through the underbrush.

As I ran my periphery spoke of things running with me, running beside me... a wolf in a copse, a faerie hidden beside a leaf. Gnomes crouch by stumps, shy as I flash past. Sometimes at that hour I lose the path, and soar over the most amazing carpet of pine needles, certain in my sense of direction where the path may appear next; leaping over logs with imagined wolves at my heels.

The other day I was out a little later than I intended, and the light began to fail before I made it back out into the cemetery or the field, two of my favorite exits. Such little light, playing tricks on me under the dim canopy of pines who do not surrender to the season. Out of the corner of my eye I caught movement... leaf in the breeze? Wolf in the hedge? Who is to say? A little surge of fear, a tiny thrill of escape gave my feet wings and I flew through the copse to reach the field. There are no wolves here...
...or are there?

There is magic in the old woods of Massachusetts, surely as there is in my heart. This is why I run. It is for me like hiking, but faster; my brains have no time to keep up, there is only me, the crisp air and my feet. All my heart concentrates on what rock I must bounce to next, and not linger on what ails me. It is freedom, it is love, it is delight and desire all wrapped up in one. I am free, I am light, I am perfectly fluid, flying through the field of milkweed and queen of the meadow, with my hair flowing back from my face...ahhh.

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