Monday, December 26, 2011

Living in a Prayer

everybody looks like someone I just saw 5 minutes  ago
if i looked too far in the mirror i know i'd have to run
from copper harbour way down to acapulco
where the sun shines on the moon and the moon gives it back to everyone
i'm living in a prayer

Greg Brown, Covenant

Assiniboine River, December 26, 2011

I loaded the shuffle with Greg Brown and headed out for my first double-digit slow dance in a while.  I ran parallel to the Assiniboine for much of the way, south side outbound and north side home bound. The sun was shining hard and walkers, cyclists and runners were out in strength, all smiles and nods with full eye-contact. Why is it when you walk the streets of this city we avoid eye contact, we even become highly uncomfortable with any pretence of eye contact,  but here on the trails it's expected.  It's even worse in Toronto. In Toronto one could walk naked and no one would see you, you're invisible.  There's a different vibe on the trails I suppose. On city streets we're on a schedule, the clock's ticking, we're late. On the trails time slows and our thoughts are pleasant.  We smile and nod and reflect it back through our eyes, like the sun shining on the moon, only to have the moon give it back to everyone.

I ran on the roadway in my neighbourhood because the sidewalks are slushy and uneven.  All but one car gave me a wide berth and slowed as they approached.  I remember the one car, the big black suv with two men.  They passed me within 18 inches at about 60 k/hr.  I wonder what goes on in their heads?  Why is it always men?  And what's with the suv culture?  This man was passing through my neighbourhood on a street full of runners and walkers and he doesn't slow.  We made eye contact and his eyes were angry as if to say what right do you have to be on the street, his street. I returned my thoughts to Greg Brown and moved forward refusing to be sucked in to this negative space.

Bill Clement Parkway Bridge, Assiniboine River looking east, December 26, 2011

At Assiniboine Park the children ran and played.  The big old toboggan slide was swarmed with moms and dads and kids... all yelling and playing.  "Watch me dad" with an emphasis on "me" as if to say watch ME make YOU proud dad. Watch ME. The laughter of the children is a glorious sound, it's contagious.  It gives me strength to keep moving outbound, past the park, through the forest, to the bridge.  A slow drink of water at the skating rink shelter.. why does water always taste better after a few miles of running?  The simple answer is ..because your thirsty, stupid... but it's more than thirst... water is a life force and I feel ... we feel... the life force as we sip the water, the cool clean water from the fountain.

I ran 10 miles today and it was a good day, a good day to be alive, living in a prayer.  


Saturday, December 24, 2011

In Winnipeg at Christmas

There's lots of snow
Very clean, and crisp and hard
And glittering like a Christmas card
Everywhere you go

Rose Fyleman 

In Winnipeg At Christmas; a quaint little pre-global warming poem about Winnipeg at Christmas. I checked my blog entry for this time last year just to see what was up. The weather was -29 with a -41 wind chill.  Today's run was +1, no windchill, blue sky, and a gorgeous warm sun. Snow?  What snow!  It's not a brown Christmas, but the snow on the ground is pretty darn skimpy, non-existant in some places.  I even saw a Winnipeg first for December 24th... a runner in shorts and a toque!  I pointed at his bare legs as I approached and gave him a thumbs up sign and a big smile.  His return grin was ear-to-ear.  I didn't see any bare-footers though. I expect it would have been a reasonable day for a bare foot trot.  Yes indeed, In Winnipeg at Christmas... a good place to be, a palace of friendliness.  

I had a gorgeous little 6 mile slow dance down the Disney Trail this afternoon, you know the one, all the fire hydrants are painted to represent Disney characters.  This trail reminds me of cottage country, all sweet and eclectic. It's a runner friendly route, cars slow, home owners smile and give a wave, it's a very welcoming little patch of Winnipeg.  I approached a couple of runers slowly from behind and had an impromptu chat about the weather. We parted with a cheerful wish for a merry Christmas and I took the lead.  Yes, even at Christmas time I'm still a little competitive (I blame it on testosterone and as such, I can't help myself).

I wish you all a very pretty merry Christmas.  By pretty I mean, loving and peaceful, family and friends, good cheer and good food, hopeful and fulfilling, health and good karma. Stay to the right of the trail, pass on the left, and give a little whistle as you approach someone from behind.  And, for heaven's sake, smile and nod at your fellow runners and walkers... it's contagious.

So, as my perfectly beautiful niece Miranda from Calgary would say ...

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all... and a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2011, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures and without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform or sexual preference of the wishee.

(By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.)

It's a good day to be alive, in Winnipeg, at Christmas.