Coming out of the woods
I felt relaxed,
That little stream crossing and single track
Always has me thinking of snakes,
I’ve never seen one,
But I suppose it’s that part of my father
Who always tells me about rattlesnakes down in Texas.

Today was a beautiful run,
Under confused skies,
One moment angry winds and annoyed clouds,
The next perfectly sunny and calm.
As the sky turned from one to another,
It was beautiful watching the tall grasses dance
Their salsa all over the field.

This was my first time to Barkingfield Farm,
Renowned for its fox hunts back in the day,
Now it’s a piece of pristine land protected from developers,
Someday surrounded by McMansions.
The trails are mowed grass
Except that one stretch,
Almost an oasis made of trees hiding a narrow stream.

I was so relaxed, not breathing hard,
Feeling a mental release from the virus and distance learning,
When ahead, out of the grass, only thirty yards or so,
Jumped a fox.
I was not barking and she did not seem afraid,
Just standing there, looking at me plod along,
Until she decided to run.

She could have gone back into the tall grass,
But she didn’t,
The fox just trotted ahead, keeping a safe distance,
Looking back like my dog on a lead,
Making sure I’m still there, not wanting me to be too far away.
This was my first time running with a fox, but
Probably not her first time running away from man.

As she got to the edge of the field,
A corner where I would have to turn right to keep the run going,
She stopped, looked back, to make sure I was still moving,
And then jumped into another stand of trees,
Off into the safety of more thigh high grass.
I would run by that corner five more times,
She was not to be seen again.

We were not running together,
She was probably leading me on,
Or away,
Away from a den that was somewhere near.
Having her there, on my first run was special,
A moment where nature was not too crazy
And left everything to the imagination.

Kind of limping along,
Figuratively and literally,
Basketball being the literal culprit,
Motivation the figurehead of the former.

Today, frustration took over,
Putting a cranky back to the side,
Refusing to let a beautiful day
Be wasted inside.

With snow, ice, or rain on the way,
It seemed prudent to hit the trails today,
White Clay Creek called,
Patience answered.

A slow run, the kind where squirrels scavenging
Can be heard.
So slow, breath barely
Causing a fog.

It was great,
Softly running over crushed leaves,
Noticing the rocks, the roots, and
A new beaver dam.

This was the kind of run I’ve been missing,
No pace, no distance,
Just slow, under a rising sun,
Touched by the crisp air.

Tomorrow when the rain or ice comes,
I’ll be inside, hoping to breathe while swimming laps.
I’m sure I’ll be thinking about this run, too,
For it sure was beautiful.