Poem: Strength


Remember the power

of movement

Strong sinew

forward steps

Strength from unknown fathoms

long ago

Climbing mountains

and racing miles

The mind

made a warrior queen

who won the war of

crossing over

beyond the limit of

boundaries set

Pain had no meaning

then

So now

remember

this arc of steel

bent from brain to body

Now this pillar once so

bold

must summon back

the unseen force

 

 

 

 

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It Takes Kids


If we are lucky, we end up getting more than we expect from something we undertake. So has been the case with the job I started back in December. Just a very part-time and simple one as a lunch room monitor in a very small Charter school, something I honestly felt might not fulfill me as much as my career as a paramedic, but took because of logistical reasons. As it turns out, this non-career position may end up being one of the most satisfying jobs I’ve ever had in some important ways.

I was asked a month or so ago by a co-worker if I would be interested in participating in a 5K race that a bunch of kids and staff members were doing. This race was a two-part thing: one a regular 5K to benefit the Girl Scouts, but the other was called Girls On The Run to get local girls to get psyched and get out there and see what they could do. My co-worker knew I worked out, so approached me and I said: of course! Not really knowing what I was supposed to do though, I registered for the Girl Scout part, which was timed.

Meanwhile, the girls at my school trained, and in the lunch room, we all talked about the upcoming day which happened to be today.

It was held in a lovely park right as the sun was coming up. I haven’t raced in years and planned to just speed walk. The girls were excited and it was great to see some of the teachers out of work.

When the race started, I held to my plan for a bit, but since I had been having a pretty good work out regimen lately (and I’m way too competitive), I thought I’d try jogging just a bit. The paved trail in the park was surrounded by grass, so I was able to jog on it for much of the time. Since the Girls On The Run race started 5 minutes later, a few of the kids passed me and we cheered each other on. One teacher (who had planned to walk too, but was running), passed me also as did a friend’s son. I ended up jogging slowly almost the whole way. It was a miracle.

At the finish line, we all had fun cheering the school in (and collecting thin mints). And it was really crazy when we found out some of us actually placed in our age groups; including me! I was second in mine! Pays to be old. Of course I was 10 minutes behind the first woman, but hey: as a famous woman runner once said, “A win is a win!”

But the really best part was having the girls calling out my name along the way and saying hi, having one teacher telling me how much she loved me (I actually thought she never noticed me), having the kindergarten teacher introduce me to her Mom telling her about how I’m in her class and just hearing from folks how the kids love me (I was asked to be one of the coaches next year).

I worked for 20 years as a medic and rarely got warm fuzzies. Maybe it just takes children and their natural ability for giving joy and love to finally make someone like me feel good in my place of employment!

Poem: Peaceful World 


It seems a peaceful world 

with rabbit clouds gazing

and mockingbirds singing

crisp hymnals

It seems a peaceful world 

as the lime green 

endorfin drenched runner

appears happy to be done 

And the leaves

blow harmony 

to the gentle fingers of wind

It seems a peaceful world 

as the golden melt

of the pouring sun

slips down on

waiting waters

glazing it with riches

Yes

It seems a peaceful world 

as it wakes

again 

ready to start 

anew

Poem: Safe


It seems I’ve spent years 

looking 

peering around my own 

mind

for the right one

chasing the disguised 

tucking in 

and out

of doorways 

I follow 

into cities of my own making 

burned out places

trying to grow free

the tap tap

of footsteps 

on stone cracked pavement 

lead me farther into

another chase 

It seems a matrix 

endless labyrinth of curling walls

wet with the salt of sweat 

as I run

away 

and to

exhausted 

the beginning 

Lone Wolf 


Lone wolf

used to running for miles 

Long steady lope

along worn down windy trails 

No-one is following 

The dusty footprints left in a whisp

A furtive glance back 

nothing but bramble brush 

How long have you run?

That moment in time 

no longer a part 

They sniffed the difference 

and howled your fate 

Then bit and snarled you solo

With tail tucked rightly 

the journey began 

Long lonely moon shrouded nights 

padding peacefully 

Ears to the wind

nostrils feeling the air

burning the brain with need

It has been long lone wolf 

The pack a flickering memory 

But the heart yet beats 

And it knows 

Yes it knows 

That if you run long enough 

If the howl you speak 

is brave and clear enough 

and you keep your senses ever sharp

Then someday 

Another lone wolf 

Will find you

So you can run

Together forever 

Mountain 


A friend sent me this post card a week or so ago. She’s from where I moved a year ago, although that’s not where I met her.

I think it must remind her, as it certainly does me, of an amazing and beautiful mountain there. Supposedly the most climbed mountain in the world I heard. It was right near my home, and within sight of my walks.

There are no mountains where I live now, and while I used to complain bitterly as I ran or biked up any hill, now I honestly miss them.

The monotony of flat terrain may be something I never get used to I’m afraid. Mountains just inspire. They fill one’s heart with strength and power.

I climbed that mountain a few times, as well as smaller versions, many more. I helped to rescue injured hikers off and even jogged a few trails back in the day. And one time I even got so lost on one of the local mountains that they were ready to rescue me with dogs when I made my way off a road after running miles and hours off course!

Now I only fear getting stuck in traffic or hit by another car. Or struck by lightning in a crazy tropical storm. If I’m really unlucky, a hurricane may hit.

But nothing will be like me and the mountain… My wits against hers. That raw, majestic solitude–just beckoning me: come closer.

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Mangoes From Heaven


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For the monkeys!

Way in the sky….

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Just babies….

Or up close and personal, these babies will someday turn into this:

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A WalMart Mango.

A lovely ripe mango! This one is from the grocery store, but the unripe babies are hanging, along with tons of others, from a tree that I walk by every day. This tree is right near the sidewalk but I suppose is technically on the property of the private Christian school that is right near my house.

I see the kids running loops around the same loop where I walk. Plus I hear them on the other side of a great fenced area of bushes playing various sports like soccer and baseball.

In fact three times now I have tossed a runaway soccer ball back over the hedge to delighted voices of things like : hey look Mary there’s your ball. Then in the general direction from whence the ball came they yell: thanks!

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The Hedge….You can see the soccer field….

So I’m kind of thinking when those mangoes ripen, that maybe I might just be entitled to one or two as payment? After all, soccer balls cost a lot!

Back In The Pool


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My new idea for toning and working out.  I guess I forgot this is right out my door. None of us in my place use it really, but I figured some kicking might help. It’s too short for much, but treading water is possible too. It’s got to do some warming up because it’s not heated, but then I plan to give it a go in between jogging. The jogs are so tough on me and my poor old bones, so maybe this will help!

Time Warp


Do you ever feel like you’re back in time? Like some situation, smell, place or song brings you back to a place you once were long ago… This weekend has been like that for me on a couple of occasions.

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The Time Warp Man

Yesterday, my Mom and I decided to go clothing shopping together–in a consignment shop, which I have to say we’ve never done. But once there, I was immediately transported back to childhood in NYC, Bloomingdale’s or Macy’s maybe–my hand in hers, picking out school outfits for the first day of class. I’ve not been clothing shopping with her for many, many years. And while yesterday, we were pretty much in our own bubbles, picking out clothing for ourselves, it still felt reminiscent of those days.

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No Tweeting here!

When I tried on a cute little red coat and asked her if she liked it, and she said no, I took it off and hung it back up on the rack. Because, she is after all, my Mom and knows best what I should be wearing on my first day of school.

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Looking cute.

And I’ve been trying to avoid looking in the mirror lately, as the passage of time has not always been good to me. My hard-body runner image no longer stares back at me these days. It’s a sad sight to see now. But recently, I’ve decided it’s time to take time back into my own hands.

So, I pulled out my old running shoes and dusted off the New England road dirt, slipped them on and well, off I trotted. I wouldn’t exactly call it a run–more like a slow lope. My intentions were to do the loop as best I could and stop and walk when I needed. But to my surprise, while my legs may look flabby, my lungs are still young and carried me the whole way without stopping!

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They did me proud! 

While I jogged along, I warped to so many running days–gosh, years and years of them: the smells, the sounds, the wonderful deep breaths. I truly love running and was so sad when my body failed me and I had to give it up. But maybe, just maybe–if I’m careful, and now that I live where it’s flat and warm, I can slowly bring it back into my life.

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Just look around!

Time warps come with a whiff–our olfactory system is one of the oldest and most powerful. It will trigger a memory in our brain’s limbic system. It’s a beautiful thing that nature created. So we could find where food once was maybe, or who was an enemy, or family. Like a flash, we are carried to a place, just by a smell.

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Enter the gate to the time warp.

How many times have we had to sit in our cars because a song came on–and we were back in high school–dancing with our sweet heart, or feeling broken-hearted because it had been ‘your’ song, the one where they dumped you.

Until we can beam up and be transported like in Star Trek, I suppose we’ll have to make do with our time warp memories. The trick is to be tuned into our triggers: so breath deep, listen carefully, look with eyes wide open and have a nice trip!

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Let’s do the time warp! 🙂