Yesterday I ran in the afternoon, after work and before a massage. Getting back into the groove of daily habits isn’t easy. Pushing a boulder uphill is easier with momentum. E. says that from here this is what matters: the pushing on after a pause. Pushing on.
The path along the creek in the town where I work is picturesque regardless of the season. Yesterday the sun was shining. The weather has stayed below freezing for weeks, so everything seems sugar-coated: Christmas-card pine trees. There was a 5-foot snowman guarding one of the goalposts on the football field.
But about 2 kilometers in, I came up on what was left of a blackbird. A full wing and foot, and tendrils of red – I don’t know, sinews? entrails? – in the middle of the path. There were no paw prints or blood smears, so I’m assuming it was dropped by a bird of prey.
I used to take photographs when I came across dead birds on my runs. I didn’t think much about why. I stopped taking them when my sons pointed out how bizarre it was that I had so many photos of dead birds in various states of decay on my computer screen. Maybe, at the time, it was an unconscious act of memori morti: I suppose photography is a kind of meditation.
At any rate, it no longer seems necessary. The photo-taking.
I notice these things now without having to use the camera as a tool. I pause anyway.
E. and I managed to get ourselves up and out the door before dawn this morning. The first time in a month. The sky had the perfect amount of clouds to soften the cold, but leave the waning moon unobscured over the trees. The lake was silent. I talked too much. There are mornings when we get back to the trail-head and I think I need to do it again, “right”. Mornings like these.
Back at the house, I moved through sun salutations then settled down on the mat. Leonard contorting his back oddly to lie close into my legs for the six minutes of breathing.
I rest my hands on his rib-cage. Everything is impermanent. Everything is imperfect.
Snow falls from the crows’
settling in the treetops
for half an hour’s rest
and chatter – moving on, touch
and go, always touch and go