A Relatively Long Run

Tales from my local running route


I never used to enjoy running before I started meditating regularly. Now I understand more about running - inwardly and outwardly - it seems a privilege. With the promise of spring, who would not want to run, just for the joy of having legs and lungs with which to run?

Old horses in muddy coats wouldn’t. They scratch on branches, and watch me running with their glazed cynicism, from eyes that have seen it all. Dogs would run any time, and they do: young ones in search of the ideal twig; old ones can’t remember why, but run a bit anyway. A man runs from behind an upturned barrow in the allotments, with a great big leek, a clutch of herbs, and a sweet smile. I wonder why, but I’ll never know.

I smile at those running faster than me; those walking smile at me; the sun claps many platinum hands for us all. I think of others the world over, running further and faster. I applaud them in my heart.

Many games spread out noisily on cold mud, with nets and whistles and people running. Slow social football meanders alongside the battle cry of lacrosse, and a furious clash of hockey veiled behind hedges.

Young gulls don’t bustle off like smaller things, but stare from railings, looking confused but interested. They cluster in the imposing shadow of the stadium. I dart about to avoid treading on the names and emblems of countries and people, etched into stone flags on the ground.

My eyes and mind are clearer for running. The castle gates look enchanting and all the more ornate as I pass through them.

The sweetest sight is a car I’m collecting, which someone has lent me: a place to sit down. How strange to greet so fondly an inanimate thing, devoid of cognition, and not even belonging to me. I confer on it the title of friend, as it willingly takes me home, to warmth and stillness.

Sumangali Morhall
February 2005