So I’ve been doing this thing…
Every morning I wake up, throw on my running shoes (and as many layers of clothing necessary given the weather) and go for a run.
This is my chance to disconnect. I don’t bring my phone. No earbuds. Instead I listen. I connect with my own physical body through the motion of running, and to my physical environment with all of my senses.
The Rarámuri “running people”tribe of Mexico have a saying: “When you run on the earth, if you run with the earth, you can run forever.” I can’t run forever, but I like the idea of connecting with the earth. In our climate-controlled screen-centric existence, it’s easy to feel divorced from our planet, environment, and surroundings. I’ve noticed that if I go too long without picking my head up to look around, and feel the outdoor air on my skin, I start feeling a little off.
So when I run, I try to re-connect. I pay attention.
As a practice of paying attention, last fall I started recording the things I notice while I’m outside, in the form of haiku.
Roughly seventeen syllables, nearly every day.
You must understand, though, this isn’t the Colorado foothills I’m running in every day. It’s southern Manitoba. The past winter I was running before the sun came up against -30 windchill. Not what most people think of as poem-inspiring. On those days, writing haiku became a challenge. Could I notice something new? Could I see the same old trails differently than I did the day before? (Hint: there’s always something new to see.)
Some people use photography as a tool for noticing the world. Others draw. Because I don’t like hassling with camera while I’m running, and don’t have much time to process after a run, I’ve found that chewing on a short poem and quickly jotting it down while I get ready for my day suits me well.
Fresh Track in the Snow
Now I’m excited to let you know that I’ve collected my first batch of haiku! The first 100 poems, written from Oct 15, 2017 through Mar 22, 2018. These are a record of my encounters with the fall and winter worlds from the trails and roads that I call home.
Read them at RunHaiku.com.
I’ll be adding to this collection and updating this site as this project continues. I hope you enjoy them, and that they inspire you to get outside, and to pay attention.
Thanks for reading.