running and poetry

{Found this among the stacks of drafts and decided to pull it out. Critiques welcome!}


The woods are January-quiet, and smaller than in the summer. (In the summer, you can get lost in the foliage and winding trails, but here, now, the paths are bare.) The air is icy hard, even the gold-liquid sunlight takes on a silvery glint that catches on the snowflakes as they fall. Only the trails catch the snow without melting it, so I follow the winding white over well-worn footpaths. From the ridge I can see over the river and all the trails beyond – silver-white ribboning between the damp dead trees. One set of footprints leads before me, gentle on the new, hard snow.

I stop at the bridge (which is a crossroads), panting a little for air, then listening. All is quiet, so I break the silence by yelling.

“I hate Mondays and I hate college and I-want-to-go-home and I’m sick of not feeling useful and I don’t know what to do with my life!!”

Then the woods ring with silence I gain. I grow quiet to match and the swift rush of the brown river beneath the bridge beneath my feet becomes apparent.

Quietly this time, taking in all the paths.

“God, which way should I go?”

I hadn’t really meant to ask that question the way I did.

Up. Go up.

So I do, and when I reach the top of the ridge I realize the lonely set of footprints had gone up too.

And the woods breathe so clean and meld the earthy wintry dull browns with a new clear white and I dare not speak any more so I don’t break the beautiful hush of the air. To my left gleams a sharp late-afternoon sun through pewter clouds, ice and silver and gray swept across the sky all on the same brush.

I have to stop again, and take it all in.

At my feet there is a seed pod the shape of a heart. It adds to the beautiful everything on all sides. Like a poem, I think.

This is how God writes poetry… this silver day is his poem.

A few lines, a few minutes. For my eyes only, seeping with reminders of his love. The woods are his page, the trails are his lines, and I am his pen.

I turn towards the distant opening in the woods and start running again.


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