Posts Tagged ‘running’

When I think of encouragement,

I think of Jack Pera,

who stood every year

at the top of Imogene Pass—

in snow, in sun, in sleet, in fog.

On race day, a thousand plus runners

would reach the top,

weary, having climbed

over five thousand feet in ten miles,

and Jack, he would hold out his hand

and pull each of us up the last foot,

launching us toward the long downhill finish.

I remember how surprised I was

the first time, and grateful,

grateful to feel him reaching for me,

grateful to feel his powerful grip

yanking me up through the scree.

“Good job,” he’d say to each one of us,

cheering us though we were sweaty

and drooling and panting and spent.

After that first race, I knew to look for him

as I climbed the last pitch,

trying to make out his form

at the top of the ridge.

And there was. Every time.

“Good job,” he’d say

as he made that last steep step

feel like flight.

There are people who do this,

who hold out their hand,

year after year,

to help those who need it.

There are people who carry us

when we most need it,

if only for a moment.

When I heard today Jack had died,

I couldn’t help but imagine

an angel waiting there above him

as he took his last breath,

an angel with a firm grip and a big smile

holding out a hand, pulling him through that last effort,

telling him, “Good Job, Jack. Good job.”

And may he have felt in that moment

the blessing of that encouragement,

totally ready to be launched into whatever came next.

Good job, Jack Pera. Good job.

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running and running

but the finish line keeps moving

until at last

the wise voice asks

are you sure this is a race?

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One More Step




after crossing the finish line,

we keep on running—

joy, the reason to run

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Love reign o’er me, rain on me, rain on me.

—Pete Townshend



And it does rain, not just a sprinkle

but sheets of rain, pelting rain,

a punishing, unapologetic rain,

and I huddle beneath the thin shelter

where some government agency

must have once thought a map should be.

But there is no map. The metaphor

is not lost on me. I watch the rain

turn to hail. It makes an angry music

on the metal roof as it covers the dirt

with white.


We who pray for rain do not pray

for it to be like this—we imagine

perhaps something tender, something soft,

something gentle like the voice of a lover,

like the hum that wraps us when words

are lost inside kisses. But rain, like love,

rules us in ways we could never predict.


The road is no longer dusty nor dry,

and after twenty minutes I leave my thin canopy

and run into the drizzle. Everywhere is puddle,

a playground for those who are fond

of such play. I play. The sky is gray

and rumbles as if to say it will do

as it damn well wants. The rain

is cool, and my body churns until

my skin is hot again, so hot that when

the rain comes down hard again

this time I do not hide.


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If you must know, I was scared,
running above tree line in a snowstorm,
unable to see more than twenty feet in front
of my slipping feet. And no one else around.

So why did I keep running? Was it courage?
Determination? Stubborn foolishness?
When the story ends happily ever after,
it is easy to forget there was another possible ending,

but sometimes these alternate worlds
invite themselves into our thoughts,
strange tides of what if? and what then?
Though they are unpleasant, I welcome them.

Why not? I am safe, and they are like
the mean girls, the ones who say the cruelest things,
but because there is no truth in what they say,
it’s not so hard to just nod my head and smile.

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Four Runnings

in the field
a starting line


one step,
one more step,
one, one, one


watching the bird
watch me watching
the bird


bouquet of rain
every breath
a baptism

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In the heart of the city
the boy runs,
he leaps and arrives
in every puddle
until he is drenched,
dazzlingly wet.
His laugh is the laugh
we forget is always here
waiting to be laughed
come sun, come rain.

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