Trails with hills,
Fox hunting, and lots
Of suburban naturalists
Walking with their fleece,
Cell phones, and foo-foo
Breeds of dogs thinking that they are
Reconnecting with the wilds
Before heading to a microbrew
Or indie music playing coffee house
To brag about how they roughed it today
And how they need to exercise more.

Hah, Hah, Hah.

Duh.

They will complain about fox hunting,
Horse shit
On the trail, and
Whatever else these hipster family startups
With their pack and play learning stations,
Baby backpacks, beards, and road apple
Senses of entitlement
Can find wrong with a little piece of heaven that
Casts an analog version of something they saw online.

Perspective is the key for me
As I log slow ass miles on unfamiliar terrain.
I’ve got to remember that I’m no better
Never testing the wilds like some do,
Skitterish about snakes,
Too bothered by bugs
To get out there and go all out Walden or Muir.
No,
Eff that,
I’m slogging
Taking the beauty of these fields
And letting it buffer the waste filling my muscles
Without checking my social media,
Without worrying if a fox hound gets within fifty yards
Of my pure bread, long hair mountain-bred puppy mill bullshit
Breed of a dog.

“Control your dog!”
“Control your dog!”

No,
Eff that,
You shut up and walk your dogs
And while you’re at it,
Tell your overly coiffed, digitally addicted husband
To pay attention to the screaming kid strapped to his back
So it will allow me to hear the dogs barking off
In the woods.
Their call is much more soothing than that of your screeching kid
Who is destined to hate nature
Because you guys are polluting the environment
With your personalized formula of toxic waste
That oozes from a can of highly carbonated selfishness
And forces hazmat crews to clean up
After you try to turn this beautiful land
Into Sesame Street, Barney’s House, or
Whatever television edu show you are watching raising the little
Bullhorn on.

Give me Syd and Marty Croft. They seem more natural…

Maybe I should be surprised that a young family
Would act this way,
They don’t know better,
I mean a nature preserve with wide open trails
Has got to be scary to these pseudo hikers
And their early Sunday jaunt over hill and dale.
I bet they even used sunscreen and concentrated on rehydrating.

Just saying…

Sitting to write
With Blind Willie Jefferson humming
The most haunting song ever,
Dark was the Night.
My bourbon is cooling in the freezer,
The Phillies are trying, and
All day I’ve been trying to get my head around
The run I took this morning.

This first day of the “Eff-It” list started,
“No exercise excuses,”
With me trying to decide about going to the Y,
Pounding out some minutes on my basement bike, or
Hitting the roads for a run.
The list’s streak was in trouble as fasting was hitting
A critical breaking point with only three hours to go.
A run seemed the best option.

The humidity was down,
Clouds blocked the sun,
Morning traffic at 9:50 had moved on, and
The roads felt like they would accept my plodding pace,
Potential hunger defeatism, and
Sheepish lungs, who long ago lost their endurance.
Besides, I could easily kill an hour and get myself
Closer to the peanut butter smoothie I dreamt about last night.

Runs have a way of taking a person places.
The more adversity encountered the more interesting the journey.
Since I live in the rolling hills of Chester County,
There are plenty of ups and downs along any route I take.
One minute in and the steepness of my neighborhood
Attacked my determination with full force
Making me question my choice to run outside
Instead of hitting the climate controlled air of the Y.

Somehow nature allowed me to continue and my legs
Stretched out for an easy downhill only to be confronted
By they hill across the way.
It sucked and by the fifth mailbox, I was breathing rocks,
Thinking how sad it is, for this used to be nothing but a warm up.
Negotiating the incline became a series of power deals
Where my will gave into to my legs and
My legs agreed to stick with the run.

In ten minutes, I hadn’t gone anywhere yet, but the run took over.
Thoughts of adding feet to the run in an effort to get to an hour
Rose from self-talk to real life action.
I took to the cul-de-sacs of the neighborhood next to mine
Running for as long as I could, before walking to catch my breath.
I saw old people pruning bushes, rows of cookie cutter condos,
Pregnant ladies walking on paved sidewalks, and a woman
On a big tricycle working with therapists to overcome the ravages of a stroke.

I found myself thinking less about agony,
Thinking about all kinds of stuff really.
Gump, Apple Watches, the kids whose father worked at the car dealership,
The one that burned to the ground.
I dodged the weeds in the abandoned site as my legs took me further from home.
Then a water crew guy yelled, “Give me two, buddy.”
I nodded and kept going thinking how wrong it is that I’m off all summer
While he digs in whatever weather comes this way.

A turn up another hill took me towards the Italian Social Club.
Only a mile and a half from my home and nearly an hour into the run,
Lot’s of cul-de-sacs, hills, and walking,
I found myself on a road that I had never been on before.
Nearly thirty years in this town and I had never run down this hill.
My mind was like a camera,
The sagging roof on the Boy Scouts clubhouse,
The abandoned trailer, and kids were playing next to their home,
A mushroom house converted into an apartment,
There were weeds and isolation was everywhere.

And I was pissed.
Five minutes by car are million dollar homes.
These kids are growing up in an area
Just two minutes from where they go to school
And I guessed most of my town knew nothing of this street.
The idea of their living here pushed me further down the hill
Where I planned on turning around and head back home.
This would not be, as the run back up looked to be too much for my heart.

Next was a dirt road next to the railroad tracks. Across the rails was a trailer Park that I pass on my way to school each morning.
It looked different from this side, larger, lower,
A creek, that I heard flooded regularly, snaked through without a care
For the damage it might cause.
My feet crunched with each step,
The homes along the track seemed nothing more than permanent tiny homes
Stuffed on this route to be hidden from the renaissance less than a mile away.

Somehow, I found a groove on this soft pavement.
Another mushroom house was being renovated,
There were tires strewn about, and dust
From the concrete plant drowned the weeds next to the train tracks.
The leaves looked like frosted Christmas decorations
Instead of nature’s deep green that they should have been.
It struck me, I had no idea of the concrete plant, its white powder everywhere
Except under the hose spewing water without an attendant or a current purpose.

Finally, I arrived at something I knew.
The edge of town, the high school fields, a beer garden, a fancy pottery store.
I turned right and ran up the hill, the houses looking well kept,
The yards manicured,
The people the same as the other street, only in better situations.
Another right turn and I was heading towards home.
I let the water guy know I had done his two,
He wished me a Happy Father’s Day and twenty minutes later I was walking my dog.

Running took me somewhere today,
Further from thoughts of fitness, marathons, and split times
And closer to the realities of economic injustice and my lack of awareness
About the struggles of people around town.
Maybe I covered seven miles today, I refuse to run with my phone,
In terms of enlightenment
I think I ran that marathon I’m training for.
Charlie Patton is singing, “I’m Goin’ Home.”