Spring is sprung (noisy runners)

I went for my first barefoot run of the year, today.  Spring is sprung. Why the first? If the ground is too cold, your feet go numb and all of the essential cutaneous feedback that is so desperately needed for barefoot running is lost in the numb of the cold.  One of the things that…

Impressionist running

Coleridge once wrote in a letter to his friend, Thomas Poole, ‘Those who have been led to the same truths step by step thro’ the constant testimony of their senses, seem to me to want a sense which I possess – They contemplate nothing but parts – and all parts are necessarily little – and…

A Runner’s Work

A Runner’s Work. It’s Christmas Eve.  The sun is going down.  I haven’t run for nearly two months.  I have felt elementally tired, missing out on gifts of runs on St Andrews beach and elsewhere.  I have hated not running, but not enough to start again. I have been here before.  I get tired of…

"I dance on this embodied earth" (2006)

Devil’s Dyke, with the last of some low-lying cloud            In 2006, the summer continues. The air is warm without the thunderous punctuation of rainstorms that we’ve had in more recent years. As the days, and eventually, the weeks go by a sky that had felt like lead, was beginning to…

Sillages – (a podograph from 2006)

Sillage – noun (from the French)  (a) A surge raised in the sea or other piece of water by the passage of a vessel. (b) The air current caused by the passage of an aircraft. (c) The sound of the surge of water. (d) in perfumery – a veil of scent that a person leaves behind when…

The Smell of Rain (Petrichor and a Runner’s Memory)

Rain seeps down into the concrete to release its complex scent.   The air’s heavy with a glitter of damp scents. Petrichor: the smell of rain rises from the ground. The concrete seems impermeable.  The tarmac, the grey and pink flagstones, the pebbles, even, have all been brought to life by something in the air.  Their…

Running the Stones of Venice

‘Was the carver happy while he was about it?’My first run in Venice was an ‘improvised’ one.  I sat on the southern coastline of the city overlooking the wide canal of the Guidecca.  The sun was setting, I had eaten a fine meal, had a glass of cool, shimmering vino bianco and was watching the…

The Infinite Space of the Present (Wordsworth vs. Pater)

The moment.  The present: an infinite space, that once sensed, the mind flees from itself and dissolves to become the body.  ‘But don’t you get bored?’ I was asked yesterday.  A sensible question when you tell someone that you’re running eight hours a week.  I get bored thinking about it, but never while I’m doing…

Howards End & the Giant Claw-Digger

A giant claw-digger gnaws at the structure like a stop-motion tyrannosaur as it devours this block of flats.  The geometry of its numerous parallel floors is disrupted by the torn open rooms and the cranial lumps of grey concrete which hang disordered from metal threads.  This magnificent broken tooth of a building is falling apart,…

Unthinkingness and the ‘little death’ (or, Lacan & the Long Run).

There is always the barely conscious desire to find empty space. Not a deserted Rose Garden in Greenwich Park, but the highest and broadest and deepest and emptiest place possible.  The greater the space, the greater the likelihood of your believing that you have been transported to this weird afterlife where the sun has long…

A Legion of Wasps

About suffering they were never wrong, The old Masters: how well they understood  Its human position: how it takes place  While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;  How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting  For the miraculous birth, there always must be  Children who did not specially…

How can a cloud evaporate into a cloud?

So you wake up, and you have no idea what the day has waiting for you.  The pace is recognisable; the landscape is a familiar Sunday.  Then you go for a run and instead of the pain and exhaustion that you have been trying to run through for weeks, your veins suddenly run champagne. It…