Observations, Halucinations, and Total Eclipses of the Mind

This weekend on my long run which turned out to be longer than expected I noticed the rain that was slanting its way in front of my path. Sure I could have taken the approach of being miserable in a downpour but I relish in climate conditions to run in. That is another subject. I was looking at the pattern that was made up by the wind and rain. I realized that it was the same pattern that I was disrupting with my motivated body through the Solon Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks. Well with the new natural art work in front, to the side, behind and falling on top of me I started to think about the fantastic scenery, sensations, encounters and near hallucinations I have had in my running.

I do a lot of running through neighborhoods on my shorter routes and have enjoyed the way the houses are set up. It is amazing to discover a somewhat complicated pattern to the constructions. There would be one split level to the left then a ranch then a mirror image of the first then a two story colonial then repeat. Of course there are subtle differences that make each house unique like a big window or one car garage and a breeze way instead of a two car garage. It is great to see how a very well planed and organized neighborhood can grow with chaos and becoming something even more beautiful. Then I will turn the corner and find that the next development is completely random. Then I get to see how similar designs can get. One thing to really note is the modifications done to front porches. I have seen the most creative ways of converting these fine attachments into three and a half season rooms.

It is amazing to just run through cities. Last winter I was in Pittsburgh over the weekend it was about 20F out that Sunday and I decided to drive the middle of the downtown area. I ran to one end and ran up and down every block. I saw the palace of glass a couple of times. It is about three-square blocks in size. It was trippy running down streets with reflective glass on each side of me. I was running and taking in the sights and making good time of it too. There are several churches in Pittsburgh that are just beautiful. I made my way down to the warehouse district and ran down to one end and then looped back. Just as I was leaving the warehouse district several police patrol cars coming my way from the opposite direction started the complicated maneuver there one swerved right the other to the left and the two behind did similar motions like they were trying to block the street. At this moment I was slowing almost to a halt because I had committed some infraction upon the city. Maybe running in freezing weather on a Sunday morning was grounds for incarceration. I had been getting some “are you insane” looks. Then all a sudden the officers kicked it into reverse toward respective parking spaces in each side of the street. They exited the patrol cars and went into the restaurant for some breakfast. Thanks guys for the scaring me to death and then entertaining me with your automotive ballet. I hope your breakfast was delicious because it was well deserved. I proceeded to cross the bridge over toward PNC park and saw the statue of Roberto Clemente, and moved on the Heinze Field and ran around there. At that point it was about time to get back the car. It was the best two hour tour of Pittsburgh you could ever imagine.

Many of my long runs are in the Cleveland Metroparks. These facilities are fantastic and are a tribute the commitment the region has put into nature preservation, recreation, and physical fitness. I think of the Metroparks like a miniature Blue Ridge Parkway with better all purpose trails. Just like the Blue Ridge Parkway the color change in the fall is spectacular and makes running an almost psychedelic experience with the leaves falling. I actually like it best then the leaves have already fallen because I can see tinkers creek rushing by. It is almost refreshing to have it running along with me or working against me. I can feel accomplished with the natural competition. Just this past weekend in my down pour I discovered two water falls. They were fantastic and I am sure I would not have noticed them if the leaves had been up. A weird part was when I snuck up on a family of deer. Would that be a herd or flock, I don’t know. Either way, we snuck up on each other the I am sure I was giving the same startled look as were staring at each other just a few feet away. I ran on and the grazed.

Speaking of wild life. Not too long ago on an early morning run. I saw a dark small four-legged animal. You might think cat, raccoon, or squirrel but I knew exactly what it was and I stop right in my tracks. I am not afraid of cats or deer. They tend to run away. Dogs are usually just posturing and react to firm responses. Squirrels are harmless and just get can’t make up their minds. No this animal would have ruined my day for sure. It was no bear because I said it was small. That being said I did once encounter a bear cub in the wild once. No this furry fiend was a skunk and he had all the right of way he wanted. If I that sucker wanted me to turn around then I was going the other direction. He went across the street and left my sight. Take my advice people take a dog bite, scare a deer but don’t make a skunk mad.

My most spectacular running observation was almost like a hallucination. I have had a few like during the Marine Corps Marathon when I was sure I was running up or down hill but I could not tell which or when I went running through the blizzard last Easter it looked like warp speed. This was 28 August 2007 when there was a complete lunar eclipse. I was it start when I walked the dog (Booger). By time I started running I it was about a quarter of the way done. I started running kind of staring up at it. The familiar terrain helped me from killing myself because I could not stop looking at the moon turning to a blood red. The light bending around the earth just enough to illuminate the moon but not to reflect off of it was fantastic. It is moments like this that can make you feel small in a very big universe but I was so happy to be part of it and there to observe the event doing one of my favorite things I almost broke myself. I was running up Broadway Ave looking to the right and over my shoulder when I hit a crack in the sidewalk. I stumbled and recovered. For the most part I laughed it off. The Eclipse was near full but sunrise was coming quick. I knew my view was to be over soon. I am sure there were people on the west cost that got the same experience I did but in reverse. I will forever remember that run.

By this point I am on my way back at about mile 10 when I realized that the slanty rain is now a down pour. Again an new art work kind of like A Dali in fast motion. I can’t wait for more observations and haluciantions.