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Hangin' with my hound

Friday, March 19, 2010

Love Letter

He banged through the screen door and the heat was like being pressed into a pillow. Immediately the moisture dried from his lips and his eyes felt scratchy. The man (runner, ironman...) tilted his water bottle to his lips and tried to offset the baking effect. He could feel the water streaming down his throat, being incorporated into his body and then being whisked off the surface of his skin in a swift arc. He might as well fling the water directly into the air...

Dipping the brim of his cap against the shimmering orb that hung above the horizon, he turned into the street and started to run. He pulled the sulphurous air into his lungs without demure. This was good for him... in six weeks he would be (running... riding...) in Kona and it would be hot there too. This was good for him.

At first the joints and muscles felt a little stiff, a little tight. He talked to his body, kept the head wobbling loosely, asked the spine to feel the balance, the fine engineering between pelvis and shoulders. As he swung into the run, his joints oiled. His stride loosened and he could feel the muscles now, light and springy. He lengthened out and his breathing deepened. The awkward cold stage was nearly gone. He rolled his neck in pleasure and felt the satisfying fly;the almost impossible feeling of skimming the earth, of being a machine of running (man of iron), of being untouchable, unbreakable and uncatchable.

Finally the last fiery crescent of the sun was sucked beneath the horizon. The temperature dropped noticeably and the colours leached out of the landscape. The man (runner, machine) had passed beyond the edge of the neighbourhood and was on a winding road through the bush. The road surface was smooth and as the dusk deepened the cool darkness stroked gentle hands down his hot face. It was so good. He allowed his mind to reach out around him. He had been running steadily for an hour now and full darkness was almost upon the world. It was amazing how much you could see by starlight. The road ahead of him was touched with a silvery magic and he could sense the small and timid creatures in the bush beside him. They stirred and stretched. Night-time was the time to get busy for the possum, the echidna and the small hopping creatures. Day was too brutal... but night was velvet, gentle and sweet.

He drew that sweet night air deep into his lungs. It had a taste now – different from the flat, metallic taste of the baking daytime air. Night air was nectar. He tasted blossom, earth and dew. He turned his face up to the gorgeous night sky and the stars were densely crusted – like a fistful of glitter thrown across black silk. His body (iron, machine) crossed and opened, limbs swung in perfect rhythm with pulse and breath. The strike of his feet on the roadway was a metronome for the music that stirred all around him as the bush came to life. He felt a part of the world. For millennia there had been men running through the darkness, chasing their goal.

The darkness welcomed him. It cooled him and the sweet air fed him. Night running was his favourite time.

1 comment:

  1. What a magnificent love letter! I find myself wondering if you're in love with running, with the freedom of being alone in the outdoors, with night time itself, or with some man who loves all of these things as well. Wonderfully written.