Thursday, September 25, 2008


I used to think I ran in the dark. That was before, when I ran beneath streetlights and the houses lining the streets had porch lights with electrons coursing through their filaments.

I stepped off of the curb not knowing if my foot would land on concrete or fall into the abyss of a hole someone dug during the night without my knowledge on the corner of Sycamore and Center Way. I pushed the play button on my shuffle and the ominous tones of the song Elusive by Scott Matthews rang through my ears.

She’s a gambler spinning wheels
The poison victim but look of steel
The coldest heart you’ve ever felt
The coldest hands you ever held

The beginning of the song is the solitary sound of the strumming of just the E string, D-tuned to give it a lower tone. My breathing was already labored and my stride was choppy.

Something starts hitting me in the head and for a minute I think it is raining. What is strange is that the rain is dry, not wet. Slowly and a little painfully I come to the realization that I am running through a cloud of mosquitoes.

The moon is only a quarter of its luminous self; there is a lack of street light. The low tones of Elusive worked together with the mosquitoes and the dark to make the whole run and my attitude oppressive.

She’s elusive and I’m awake
Finally real there’s nothing fake
A mystery now to me and you
Open my eyes and I’m next to you
She said my destiny, lies in the hands that set me free

I turned the corner onto Oyster Creek and there was a light in the distance. U2’s God’s Country came on.

Desert sky
Dream beneath the desert sky
The rivers run but soon run dry
We need new dreams tonight

My eyes adjust to what little light there is and I have to watch my step and run between limbs. Sometimes I weave into the grass to avoid downed trees. There is no rhythm to my run but the work of it is changing my mood.

Sleep comes like a drug
In God’s country
Sad eyes, crooked crosses
In God’s country

As I leave the trail and pass downtown there is power and the light seems a bit unreal. The side walk is clean and straight. I get to the place where I think less about running and my mind wanders more.

The turn from Circle Way to Center Way reveals porch lights in long rows meaning the people inside are cool. It gives me hope even though I know when I step into my house it will be hot.

I am reading What is the What, the story of Valentino Achak Deng, one of the lost boys of Sudan. As I think about a hungry child running in the dark from death by a lion or the hand of a heartless human being, I wonder what I, running in the dark for my health and pleasure, have to complain about. Sara Bareilles’ song Many the Miles plays in my head:

There’s too many things I haven’t done yet
Too many sunsets, I haven’t seen