Tag Archives: running

Running Start _ When Two Worlds Meet

November 15, 2013

I am once again walking Aquatic Park. It is the easiest somewhat natural location within walking distance from my apartment which I can navigate without getting lost. Invariably, then, unless I’m at the gym I get my exercise here. As I near a turn on the sidewalk which takes me through a paved, even stretch of trail past a playground, I see Caoilte up ahead. I move to catch up with him, so we’re walking next to each other.

“Hi,” I say in pictures. I would give the hand sign for greeting but just now a manifest person walks by us.

Caoilte beams at me. “You’re walking tall,” he says, light dancing in his eyes.

“Of course I am,” I affirm proudly, smiling at him.

“Do you still want to run with me?” he asks expectantly.

“Sure!” I say, honestly ready to try anything at least once. I do however send Caoilte a picture as a bit of a warning that I have terrible running form, am extremely out of shape as far as running goes, and have been told, with special thanks to patriarchy, that I run “worse than a girl.” Some of this is hardly my fault. I can’t practice running on my own, because it’s not safe to run with a guide dog. For obvious reasons guide dogs are trained to walk ahead of their blind partnered humans, and it’s too easy through the jarring motion of running while holding onto the dog’s harness and moving quickly to pull the dog off course while simultaneously getting ahead of him. That situation can be rather dangerous. Hence why I run in starts and stops lest I get ahead of my dog, and move like I’m expecting to take a nose dive at the ground at any second.

Caoilte thinks this over for a while. Finally he says, “If you run tall like you move when walking tall, you’ll have a smooth motion over the ground. As long as you can see me in front of you, and if you keep in step, you won’t trip on anything or fall. That way you won’t need to run as if you fear a lack of self-protection—keeping your head tucked in and leaning forward so you don’t get hurt makes sense when you’re alone, but slows you down, is more effort on your body while you are going a distance. If you get too far ahead of your dog, too many times, we can walk fast instead.”

This all sounds like an excellent idea to me, even if it’s nothing I have done before, so we take off and have a go at it. I have literally followed in the footprints of otherworld beings before, in those instances on hikes, and in doing so have avoided getting lost, stubbing my toes on rocks and twigs, or veering off the path. It is easy for me then to keep Caoilte in sight, attempt to not run in the somewhat defensive manner I usually do, and place my feet where he does.

I run, easily, for five minutes. Then it gets difficult. Caoilte is deliberately running at my pace, rather than his own, but I haven’t run anywhere since 1996, and unfortunately, that’s noticeable. I am out of breath and a bit lightheaded, and the world is a bit blurry. I keep running for about three more minutes anyway, and then Caoilte stops and turns around. “This is new for you,” he says, ”You look very tired. We should walk the rest of the way.”

I think to myself that yes, there’s a part of me who’d love to switch back to walking now. It’s a lovely idea. The rest of me is not having any of it. Tired? Me? Giving up? Walking? No way. “Thanks,” I reply, “But really I’m fine. I’ll keep going. I really want to try.”

Caoilte’s eyes darken into a look that is serious and stern. “You’re not fine. No amount of tenacity will ever make up for refusing to be honest with yourself and others. You have no need to prove that you can persevere. You have need to learn to care for yourself. We’re walking the rest of the way.”

“I understand,” I say accepting this, and I have no need to argue. I think over what he has said as we fall into step with each other, watching the water and the trees and the crows overhead, and the people we pass by. I realize that we are communicating in the silence without pictures, without language. We do not speak, and yet we are each understood by the other. This is what it is to be seen. It requires no explanations, justifications, or sequences of thoughts to be who we are. I realize this is what connection, genuine connection, is all about, and it can only exist in the presence of authentic honesty and the living of the truth we find within ourselves. I understand beyond thought, because it is now within my experience. I grow.

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Allegro’s Version of “My Favorite Things”

Allegro, Violet, and me

So, I discovered that after being sick all week I tend to get creative in a weird way. How is this possible, you might ask, aren’t I creatively weird already? No comment on that. But the following occurred yesterday after starting to feel better, and I thank for her posts on her dog Ani for the inspiration.

Allegro’s version of “My Favorite Things” from the Sound of Music

Chasing my tail, skidding after my hedgehog,
Eating my kibble and going on long walks,
Getting fuzzed up and then tugging on rings,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Running from mom when she’s trying to catch me,
Time on the couch every time that she lets me
Splashing in water and biting my leash,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Playing at keep away and watching mom find me,
Gnawing on bones to show off to her family,
Winning the island game, to race off with glee
These are a few of my favorite things.

Nibbling the grass that grows by the back gate,
Shredding old tissues while the humans are out late,
Running faster than mom, oh the joy that it brings,
These are a few of my favorite things.

When I’m left alone, and no one’s home,
When I can’t play ’cause mom’s feeling bad,
I sigh and I dream of my favorite things,
And then I fall asleep on my fuzzy mat.

Descriptions (from Allegro’s point of view):
Fuzzed up: Being rubbed, scratched, and pet all over to the song, “fuzz fuzz fuzz, fuzzing him up.” I go wild and crazy with joy and spin in circles and grunt. It’s great!

Running from mom: I don’t think this is the usual human/dog pass time.
She insists on chasing me. Loves it. Makes loud noises that are weirder
than the ones I make. But I love the game and I’ll run at her just to
get her to start a chase. She says it’s not a fair chase because there are too many blocks of concrete to smash into. Well you just don’t run at those! I always win. Yeah!

Ring: That cool round rubbery thing to tug on. It’s great fun, but could the humans stop trying to balance it on my nose? It’s called dignity, people!

Keep away: Making sure my toy is just out of reach so mom can’t throw it without dashing in circles and trying to intercept me. She looks so silly doing this. Actually she looks a bit like I do…haha!

Mom having to find me: What can I say, I know she’s blind. That’s why I’m here, right? So shhhh don’t tell Guide Dogs: sometimes I run across the courtyard and then stand perfectly still so mom doesn’t know where I am. It’s a great trick, except I can’t understand why she inevitably says “I see you!” and runs right at me. It’s like she can see anyway. Was that in the job discription?

Island game: a totally rigged game in which I run eagerly behind the island counter in the kitchen carrying a toy and mom runs from one side of the counter to the other in order to block me from leaving the kitchen. I try to escape but there aren’t any concrete planters in the apartment so mom is too fast! It’s hard to win and when her spirit friend played with her I was stuck in the kitchen for over five minutes. I started to freak out and they let me win that one I suspect. But sometimes I’ll win fair and square, usually by distracting mom or running through her legs. Okay, okay I admit to going in there on purpose just to start the game. I love it!

Running faster than mom: She can’t really run. She also loves it when I chase her. So I do. Something about equality when it comes to chasing and getting chased. Whatever. It’s not much of a contest but I humor her. She has a great time, so I do, too.

***

Now this is when I make a plea as a person who can’t see attempting to post a picture of my lovely labradorable to forgive me if “disaster” does not actually even begin to cover the description of the damage. Thanks!

Persisting Within

Trust, the very core of truth,
Can never die.
No human being thinks she is, she knows she is:
Know you are, and be it.

Wake each morning to pull your world-worn body out of bed,
Your spirit knows the way and soon will rise within.
Take comfort, love radiates outward, onward;
Walk your path and climb each tree to see beyond,
Know you will, and be it.

Be the tree, so strong, so sturdy, green,
Be the rock, defiant immortal being,
Be the sheltering wind;
Be that everlasting force which drops a leaf or lifts a bird in flight.

Run and run and run and never stop,
But when you stop:
Trust the very core of truth.
Go East, unbind your Present,
Know you can and do it.

This is how it is:
The struggle and the peace,
The battle and the rest.
Rest in peace and struggle in battle,
And though you live a thousand deaths, yet you will never die.

For always there are healed weary, whom despair, so cautious, passes by.
If that is you then be the tree,
Through which the lightning strikes a hard intense rewakening.
Love all, find all, feel all.
Trust the very core of truth.

Your spirit is an undefeated spark,
Just look at the sea, the waves refuse to leave the water,
They hurl themselves against the sand
And though they crash,

They’re never lost.
All things survive the storm,
All things move on,
Look within, you know you can, you’ll do it.

The Unexpected Origins of Caoilte Mac Ronan _ Song of Sun and Sea

The little boy, only eight summers old, burst through the doorway of the house at his mother’s call, but only after she had hollered his name at least five times. His thick dark red hair was wind-blown and tousled, and he was very much out of breath. Once again his mother was hollering, now from much nearer by, to get back outside with those shoes before she got to him first.

“What have you made of the morning, mo leanbh?” she asked, attempting to continue to scold. Attempting, that is, because just at the corners of her eyes danced a hint of a smile even while her lips turned into a frown. The boy had never been able to learn the art of a seer, but he knew the secrets hidden in a person’s face better than anyone. It always surprised his mother, but he did not know why. All you had to do was open your eyes and look. No one bothered to look. But he had, and it was there he met a person’s soul.

He had seen the smile and knew his mother’s anger would only be for show. “I was out running, ma. I went to the edge of the woods,” and here he pressed on hastily, lest his mother interject with the familiar warnings about the woods, “I did not see the shadows of the tallest trees, the sun being so bright just after dawning, so I just kept running. I made it to the fork in the river. When I got back it was still morning, so I ran it all again.” he finished proudly.

His mother only shook her head. “Ten miles, go sábhála Dithe sinn! Isteach leat, in with you and wash your hands and feet. I have hot tea for you when you’re done,” she thought for a while as the boy left his shoes outside and came in to scrub the dirt and sweat off himself. “I fear we won’t have you to ourselves much longer,” his mother continued.

“Will I get to join the older boys and learn how to fight, then?” the boy asked eagerly. “I already run faster than any of them.”

His mother sighed. “One should never run too quickly out of childhood. You would put an end to your growing before it has begun. No, you will wait until the next year like all the rest. Three times three is the year of power, when potential comes into it’s own.”

The boy listened intently. He had never heard his mother say so much at once, with such earnestness, conveying so much meaning. “What truth in the direction of your words do you wish to share, ma?” he asked quietly, sensing his mother meant to say more than repeat the druids’ law of three. He took a long sip of tea and patiently sat waiting for his mother to sift through her thoughts for whatever story wished to be told. For when she got that pensive look on her, a story was in formation. The boy loved the outdoors, loved to run, loved to play games with the other boys, especially the older ones. But if truth be told, he cherished his mother’s stories most .

“I am glad you are sitting down, son,” she said finally. “It is time you learned your origins.” A chill ran through the boy’s body, and he made sure he was sitting tall and making eye contact. This would not be like his mother’s other stories. This would be different, lasting, changing.

“Do you know the meaning of your father’s name,” she asked for effect, for the boy would know. “He is called Ronan, little seal, and here is the why of it. You see, he is a child of land and water. His mother was a selkie.”

The child gasped audibly. He had not been expecting this, but felt he should have. He had never known or met his grandmother. But he had heard his share of stories of the wild and strange seal folk who danced out on the rocks at midnight, their eerie song floating out over the waves like a soundscape’s shadow. Were their song something seen and not heard, it would have glowed iridescent and luminous in the darkness. “Tell me of her people and how she came here.” the boy encouraged, softly.

Across from him, his mother sat still and silent, as if the story wrapped itself so thickly around her that speech would be difficult. Finally she brushed her long wavy hair out of her clear blue eyes, eyes the boy thought now were so unlike his hazel eyes which mirrored tones of the water or land depending on which he was near. Taking a breath slowly, his mother began:

“Once, fada ó sin, long long ago, lived a small and young selkie girl by the name of Bean Álainn, Beautiful Woman.”