By a series of small leaps, I manage to make it five miles tonight, through moonlit neighborhoods of hill country where I am saved several times from Death by Dog, often by only a single chain link or a patched-up hole in a plank fence.
Keep in mind, this area is a chaos of foxhounds and terriers so lonely they would eat your feet if you let them. The moon burns a hole in a passing cloud. The sky, 7 at night, is still a blue that baby boys would recognize.
In another place I am threatened by a thin wood cow fastened to a mailbox, which nearly takes my ear. Is this a dangerous neighborhood? They say that goats live in the fields.
I remember running once in a foreign country at night, and suddenly hearing a menagerie of animal sounds around me. Only when I got home did I see on the map that I’d been running the parkway through a zoo.
The worst that could happen, and the best, is getting lost. You build your lungs up that way. For ten minutes I lose myself in cul-de sacs, later realizing they surround a dense forest.
I finally make my way back and around them, then turn toward home, covering fine, fresh-laid gravel, moist, moss-filled grass, five-foot sidewalks fronting tall houses, and strips of dirt along the roadside trailing the edge of a long park.
My feet are happy. No matter how the ground changes. Looming above me, one iron tower stretches media wires to another, playing hopscotch with the wind. Or trying to. The wind laughs, rolls once around the wires, turns backward with a tired but knowing glance, and moves on.
–January 17, 2011