It is the narcotic joy of running half naked through the green and rural scrub

  • Wednesday, July 30, 2014
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  Let me bring you love from the field:
poppies red and roses filled with summer rain.
To heal the wound and still the pain
that threatens again and again
as you drag down every lover's lane.
(Songs from the wood, Jethro Tull)

I love the smell of the woods in summer. The heavy odour of swampy musk caused by high temperatures hitting the damp earth produces a humid fragrance that stimulates ancient human senses into life. This organic perfume is caused by the fusion of both rotting and blooming foliage, tangled and inseparable. I believe the smell is drawn up from the soil where it mingles with and is disseminated by the wind. It is a smell that becomes a narrative that speaks of the great cycle of life and death, the trees and plants, the myriad insects, the badger, the fox, the squirrel and the bird. The air gets dense and as thick as a wet blanket causing you to take great dragging gulps, drawing it deep into your lungs where it passes into the thrum of blood that roars in your ears like a freight train. This must be a little of what it feels like to be dying, every breath a fight and a sweet reward full of hope and priceless value.
This was my run out on Tuesday, I went running to clear my thoughts but instead ended up with this juxtaposition of ideas, I had been at the Natural History Museum in central London, full of its petrified and preserved flora and fauna, and I've recently been revisiting the agricultural sound and themes of Jethro Tull's music with all it's atmospheric English countryside overtones.
It is the narcotic joy of running half naked through the green and rural scrub that gives rise to these delirium filled fragments of web space. I keep telling myself to stop writing like this and make my run reports more functional but I can't help myself, I've always over thought and I like ideas, it's just who I am.

I tried to pass it off as a mechanical dog

To the casual observer Jerry and I are exactly what we appear to be, two middle aged geezers who don't shave on the weekend.
I've been assisting Jerry with the creation of a route for the inaugural Shoreham 10K. This is mainly composed of running alongside him and grunting things like yes, fine and excellent idea Jerry at what I feel are appropriate moments. I also do a lot of listening to an awful lot of stuff.
The last time we were out on the trail however, I had a significant and important job. The previous afternoon he turned up at my house clutching a grubby black holdall exuding dark and ominous stains. I wondered if it concealed human body parts but instead Jerry whipped out a measuring wheel. Thus it fell to me to join him in Shoreham once more and it became my joy to take my turn running with the blasted thing while we checked the accuracy of the course. I promise you this; it is neither an object of beauty and neither is it designed for running. The bloody thing bounced, hopped and skidded around like a rabbit in a room full of foxes.
And then there were the looks we got from the dog walkers and hikers, the famous British reserve failing to deal with the sight of two grown men in grubby running tops and five toed shoes pushing a bright yellow wheel along with them. People's reactions ranged from incredulous to hysterical and downright curious. I have to admit it made a great conversation starter and icebreaker. Perhaps I should borrow it for the next party I get invited to.
I tried to pass it off as a mechanical dog but lacked the necessary insouciance to be convincing enough.

My feet and the mechanical dog.