On the Run
I can feel it when I’m ready to run. My heart begins to race outside its broken-latched cage and my mind flees to far off places my feet have never navigated. My urge is to chase them- to drop the hurt and emotion and static pain that steeps like a teacup forgotten on a lonely sill. I want to leap and bound until my knees buckle at the joints, until my lungs feign exploding, until I’m whole again.
I know I’m escaping. It’s a defense I am familiar with, so much so that evading is like returning home: a clean slate, fresh tracks, and reoccurring problems, wiped clean and rigged into a soothing and messy loop. Sitting with the sweet pain of life can often be too much to bear. How do they do it? Those smiling statues… How do they stand so still?
I think about Cheryl Strayed’s last line in Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail: “How wild it was, to let it be.” And so I sink into my chair, fold my palms in my lap, and let defeat drip out of relented fingertips. And I start with one breath, and then another. And I keep breathing, letting the wild rage within me like a willful tide.
The unforgiving waves come next. My insides are rebellious, though my bones yield meekly to each throbbing shore-break. Inhale. Exhale. Is this how it feels to let it be? Sand is strewn in disarray amidst my muddied shore.
But I continue; one breath, and then another, and another, and another. Until finally I can stand up. And walk instead of run.
Photo credit: Jason Keller Hudson