Sunday, September 4, 2011

#360: Sabbath Run: Eyes Up, Chest Up

72 Degrees. 3.49mi/40:19. 8:17 AM.  Pegasus. Intervals: 1:00/mile. Splits:11:35, 11:34, 11:20. 62% humidity.

Diffused dawn glows in the bedroom curtains,
Squinting, I check the clock,
7 AM,
I am alone.

In the peaceful kitchen, she washes the dishes,
Sunday morning coffee brewing by the stove,
The fragrance wraps my face in its hands, and kisses me good morning.

Shorts, socks, shoes, shirt,
The full armor
Harder to skip the run once you're dressed for it.

I pad out to the kitchen,
Eyes up, chest up,
Drawn by the aroma of freshly ground beans,
And the promise of a good morning kiss.

French roast, granola, yogurt, blackberries,
Breaking the fast on a Sabbath morning,
Smiling silently from across the room as she reads the news,
And the dogs play tug of war on the couch.

Bowl empty,
Cup empty,
One more kiss for luck, and out the door.

The air is cool,
Cooler than it has been for many days,
But thick, somehow,
The damp seems to press against me as I walk through it,
Resisting me like a swimmer,
Just enough to remind me that it's there.

Jog a little, walk a little
The joints lubricating themselves
The blood flowing to the big muscles,
The butt, the thighs,
My ankles swing free and start to run,
The Papillons on the corner yap through the fence at me as I start my wrist watch,

And suddenly,

I've got all the time in the world.

An elderly walker smiles as we pass,
Exchanging proud good mornings,
All those drawn curtains are sleepy folks,
Missing this steely, sweaty morning.

The hills rise and fall quietly here,
Easy climbs up, gentle rolls down,
Rhythm of the land. rhythm of the feet.
Music of breath draws me forward into the morning.

Slowly, slowly,
All the first mile, I'm still getting warm,
Landing softly on the foot,
Swinging the arm smooth, fingers lightly furled,
Eyes up, chest up,
Like a winter engine pumping cold oil over shafts and valves,
Coming slowly to life,
Slowly, slowly.

A handful of golden leaves crunch underfoot,
The promise of Autumn,
On a late summer morning,
A sound I haven't heard before,
One I'll be hearing differently from now on.

From behind, a young runner in blue breezes past on the grass,
He does not greet me as he glides by,
His mind elsewhere,
The soles of his shoes wink at me till he crests the hill,
And is gone,
Untempted, I hold my pace.

Further along, a slower runner trudges around the corner and slips in ahead of me,
He is working hard, much harder than the boy in blue,
He hears me crunching behind him, and turns his shoulders to see who is following,
Just an old Fat Man,
Shamed, he presses his tempo and slowly floats away during my next walk break.

A handsome couple greets me as I move from sidewalk to street,
She smiles sweetly, he hails me loudly,
Half cheery neighbor welcoming the day,
Half old lion warning off a stranger,
His pride is safe from me this morning,
I "Good Morning" them and return to the sound of my run.

One last walk break, then the press for home,
Ignoring the young men with their tireless legs,
Ignoring time, distance, and pace
I race against myself, a Fat Man running for his life,
Picking up the tempo as the familiar hills and curves start to roll toward home.

No need for the numbers on my wrist,
My heart beats out the minutes,
My legs are the pendulum,
Tick-tocking the seconds to that tree, the next hydrant, another block;
Faster, faster, holding my form,
Eyes up, chest up,
Skipping across the asphalt like a flat rock on a calm lake,
Breath, two, three, Breath, Step, Breathe, two, three, Breathe, Step,
The rhythm of the morning, the music of the run,

Around a corner,
Breathing hard,
One more light post,
One more driveway,
Don't quit yet,
One more hill.

At the crosswalk, I stop my watch.
Shirt soaked,
Shorts sticking,
I squeeze the sweat out of my headband,
Into a warm, salty puddle on the concrete.

Walk it out, cool it down, check the time,
Not bad.
Not a bad way to start a holy day.
Not a bad way to remember the Sabbath.

The dogs greet me at the gate,
Inside, she is just coming out of the bathroom,
Soft and clean, I blow her a sweaty kiss,
She towels off to dress for church,
As I hang my clothes on the porch to dry.

Later, after the sermon, we exchange Peace,
Kissing softly, leaving me the taste of her lipstick,
I turn to Christus Rex,
Hanging above me in his crown,
No more nails, just royal robes and a gentle smile,
Eyes up, chest up,



With thanks to Antonio Brown @antoniobrown84

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