Yesterday’s post about sweat (and exercise) reminded me of this poem I wrote a few years ago about running. One of the most sensual experiences I have ever had was running in a warm, soft rain. I can still recall the exact feeling of the rain on my skin and the way my body moved through it. I felt like sex itself, honestly. What a gift and a pleasure it is to move the body.
::: ::: ::: :::
Ode to an Autumnal Morning Run
I am not fleet of foot,
Like Artemis or Athena.
I run like a beast;
My compact body hits hard.
I am Atalanta’s adept;
Solid and capable
Learning to fight my own battles.
I used to run in quarters,
Afraid of what I could not do.
But my goddess body knew better.
Now I run in thirds.
On my path, the bittersweet covers the trees
As fear used to cover me.
Pulling at my life, and letting me hide.
Like Persephone I rise from my grave of fear
Wipe the dirt from my eyes
Spit it from my mouth.
I learned in the dark-
I learned of my dark.
I am no longer scared-
The dark is sacred, too.
I see my serpentine self everywhere as I run
the sinuous vines and branches.
I feel her, too
As feet, ankles, knees, and hips roll forward
Aware of the shift of each movement
Both ecstasy and pain
My heart throws itself against my rib cage
Not just from the work of running
But also for the aspen leaves
So dense with yellow
I want to eat them
So rich red and fiery orange
I would paste them to my skin
And make more beauty of my sweating messiness.
This I was also afraid of
I have breathed so many of the wrong things
But running has made me strong.
Strong enough to breathe without fear.
Strong enough to endure.
Strong enough to finish.
And to start again
With each footfall
::: ::: ::: :::
I still run, but only in the Summer and early Fall on our local bike path. In the winter I’m a cyclist, which isn’t quite the same, sensually. Either way, I’m glad to be living in a body that loves to move and can do so with ease.