Tuesday, July 19, 2011

three miles

I start my run down the mountain. I look drunk. I'm twenty-five pounds overweight and even at a downhill shuffle I am awkward. It takes me a while to get to know my own body. Some day it will take less.

A mile in: I am sweating profusely, but my legs are clear. They are moving with the music. Kiss Each Other Clean is on the iPod and I am doing my best to do it justice. I make it to the bottom of the road and cross Route 22. It is the end of the day and I can tell the leaves on the trees are all middle-aged. Still green, but tired.

Between the over-saturated leaves and the dwindling fireflies, I know that summer is finally pushing through its bell curve and will be heading south soon. Yesterday, a dead leaf that blew off a tree in a storm landed in front of the farm house. I walked outside to go to work and it was bright yellow in death. An RSVP from October.

On one of the hottest days of the year I went into the local EMS and bought a thick, bright orange fleece on sale for less than two large cheese pizzas at Jay's in town. In a few weeks I will wear it and match my world. When the Days of Grace come I will wear it to stalk deer. I am an irregular consumer who hopes her material gains can work magic. Summon a season by sheer desire.

I get across 22 and start running uphill, towards Shushan. Now I am pouring sweat. It's hot out, and I am starting to feel like a moving animal. I think about even at 90+ degrees I am not hot when I am still. But when I move, I bust open like a dam.

I nearly sprint down the hill. At two miles I am at the highest point of the run. I have all that distance behind me and I am going home. The music makes me explode into the pavement, I bet I scare any locals who might see me from their windows. I feel my heart pounding, and my whole system is like a steam locomotive of the old times, constant and efficient. This is how a body is supposed to feel, I realize.

The ground evens out and I understand that last mile is all up hill. I cross 22 again, and at the hayfield at the bottom of my road I run alongside a pair of tied dragonflies. I am sick with envy. To be a creature that can have sex while flying through the air with no understanding of death seems unfair on such a cosmic level. Philosophy, democracy, posable thumbs...the hell with them. This pair can use their genitals and wings at the same time.

I run a little faster.

Relationships are on my mind, or the lack of one. I am coming to the realization that in a world of poodles, few folks are interested in bringing home a timber wolf. Hell, even the other wolves are with poodles. I think about that post I made on the blog about my perfect man and laugh. When I posted that I only got emails from parents of twenty-something man-childs and lesbians. I am not complaining, but I have a picture of Sawyer from Lost posted by my monitor at work.

I run a little faster.

I stop thinking about men and start thinking about what I spent my folk's birthday gift to me on: an old, used fiddle off ebay. It sounded amazing on the sample audio, and it was in the back of the truck on a burlap sack waiting for me to tune it up. Before dark I will play Great High Mountain in my kitchen. I will think of Brian, his black truck, and Cade's Cove and probably cry.

I miss Tennessee so much it has caused lines under my eyes.

I am nearly halfway up the mountain now, half a mile from home. Usually this is when I am dogging it so hard that elderly speed-walkers can lap me. But today I am numb to discomfort and the soundtrack is possessing me. I pick up the pace. A red Dodge truck nearly hits me. I jump mid-stride, scared nearly into a bowel movement. My music was too loud and I am wearing a faded, earthy-green tee shirt. It has old-time fiddles, guitars and banjo illustrations on it growing out of a pea garden with the phrase "BlueGrass: Pick it!". I make a mental note to wear my bright purple NEBCA shirt for the next run.

I am within a hundred yards of the pond and I sprint. I turn up the music even louder. I make it to my destination and deliberately collapse my butt into the ground. I put my head between my bent knees, stretch out my arms to my feet and suck in air, rocking back and forth. When I gather myself. I stand up, realize I have just ran three miles without stopping, and promptly throw up.

I just want it to be October. For so many reasons.


Blogger April said...


July 19, 2011 at 8:34 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I just have to say, I love to read your posts.

July 19, 2011 at 8:49 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Wow, very inspiring...makes me want to force myself to even walk a mile...you done good!

July 19, 2011 at 10:02 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

This is good stuff, thank you for sharing :)

July 19, 2011 at 10:13 PM  
Blogger jim said...

jenna-hows Sal doing with the limp prob?

July 19, 2011 at 10:15 PM  
Blogger admin said...

I used to stress out about relationships and then the lack thereof and that whole poodle/wolf thing, although in my mind I never gave it that name. Now I just know life will work out and someway somehow I’ll have the kids, or the man, and maybe even both if I’m lucky, and half of me realizes that somewhere there’s that “wolf” who doesn’t want to be with a “poodle” come hell or high water, but I may meet him 20 years from now for all I know about what’s in the stars. If I lived in the 1800’s I’d be married to the boy from the gap between the mountains by now with a passel of kids, but life is a lot more complicated and cluttered nowadays, and again if I lived 200 years ago I’d probably never make it to 50 like my gg grandmother and beyond never did, quite the trade off. Men can definitely evoke complicated thoughts and feelings.

Three miles in 90 degree heat is significant, nice. Have fun with the new fiddle tonight.

July 19, 2011 at 10:25 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Wonderful post. I,too, hold Tennessee, especially Cades Cove, in a dear place in my heart.

July 19, 2011 at 10:28 PM  
Blogger damnyankee said...

Way to go Jenna. Great post. Sorry you puked. But it happens sometimes. I have to run on the treadmill at my local Y. Its over 100 degrees here. No way am I running in that. I miss the North East weather.

July 19, 2011 at 10:30 PM  
Blogger The Finicky Farmer said...

I'm delurking to express my enthusiasm over your latest post. Beautifully elegiac.

And, as a fellow runner, I sympathize with the heat, exhaustion, and run-ins with cars. Hopefully, you're well-hydrated as you enjoy your new fiddle this evening!

July 19, 2011 at 10:33 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

You have such lovely visual writing. Always a good read! I hate to walk 3 miles in 90 plus heat, let alone run in it! Good going!

July 19, 2011 at 10:34 PM  
Blogger Jenny Glen said...

Thumbs up for Sawyer!

July 19, 2011 at 10:45 PM  
Blogger Lynnanne said...

It's almost 11 p.m. and it's still a whopping 85 out there now. I didn't move from this house today… I can't imagine walking in it, let alone running. Congratulations! … hope you're able to get some water into your system. Heat exhaustion / stroke isn't a good thing… I've heard eating bananas before activities in the extreme heat is a good thing…

July 19, 2011 at 10:48 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

Wow, thank you for sharing! Amazing how the passion screams from your words. With passion like that, the right man is right around the corner to share your life. Remember,'What you think about...expands.' So, it should be soon, very soon. Sending positive thoughts.

July 19, 2011 at 11:06 PM  
Blogger Abby said...

I'd love to know what else you listen to while running. I'm getting tired of my usual upbeat motivationals.

July 19, 2011 at 11:09 PM  
Blogger Tealah said...

I don't know how you make even throwing up sound lyrical, but you do.

July 19, 2011 at 11:31 PM  
Blogger kandy Gray said...

next time finish your run with a walk around your house and barn instead of sitting. you can even walk and rock and curse the gods, but dont sit. that is probably why you puked.

at least, that is why i puked after running. someone from the running room ( a self righteous running store and club where everyone weirs coordinated pastel high tech stuff;) itold me. i'm guessing that they know more about this stuff than me, who runs "for the unicorns" in whatever i have that doesnt chafe and a Technicolor tuque.

July 19, 2011 at 11:53 PM  
Blogger cmjune76 said...

I become sick like that doing the P90X workouts; so I can relate!

Your writing is so very smooth.

July 19, 2011 at 11:56 PM  
Blogger Cassie said...

Jenna, I admire your courage to go running on such an awfully hot day. Throwing up will almost always make you feel better. I really believe in love at first sight. A poodle can always grow into a wolf (-:

July 20, 2011 at 1:57 AM  
Blogger Maria said...

I feel your pain on the poodle/wolf front (although I probably would've called it the alpha/beta, or A type). Redbird puts it better than I will, and I know it's easy to tell you to relax, but... well, ultimately I hope and wish for you that you will find your wolf, or find someone you love so much you don't care if they are wolf, poodle or canary :)

July 20, 2011 at 4:45 AM  
Blogger Gretchen said...

Bless you for your honesty. Cracks me up, makes my heart warm and even shove a fist in the air while shouting, "you go girl!"

July 20, 2011 at 4:58 AM  
Blogger els said...

Just great!

July 20, 2011 at 7:15 AM  
Blogger Mrs. N said...

rSVP FROM OCTOBER, Love that! I can feel it coming too and join you wholeheartedly in wishing it here faster.

July 20, 2011 at 7:17 AM  
Blogger LifePacer said...

Love this post - just Awesome the way you write!

July 20, 2011 at 7:55 AM  
Blogger ~h~ said...

Absolutely Beautiful Post, and as always you are such an inspiration. Keep on moving and writing!

July 20, 2011 at 8:09 AM  
Blogger Beth of the Rocks said...

Sawyer was my favorite! I hear ya there too, I'm no poodle myself. Men who are only playing at men are scared by women like us. *sigh*

July 20, 2011 at 8:53 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Everything happens for a reason...the right one will come along at the right time, so don't focus on it too much. Put your energy into being happy with all you have!

July 20, 2011 at 9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


One of your greatest strengths as a writer (IMHO) is your ability to be candid about the challenges in your life, without it feeling maudlin or self-pitying.

Very nice piece.

- Ben

July 20, 2011 at 9:50 AM  
Blogger Erica/Northwest Edible Life said...

This was simply beautiful to read.

July 20, 2011 at 9:51 AM  
Blogger Alassel said...

Very lyrical writing. :)

For those of you wishing October was here, please take a trip to Seattle - we haven't even left April yet. It's 55F, foggy, and going to rain later today. Very unusual weather for us...makes me sad.

July 20, 2011 at 9:54 AM  
Blogger Roger said...

I once ran in 98 degrees and 98% humidity. Got so sick I spent the next two days in bed.

July 20, 2011 at 10:09 AM  
Blogger Nicole said...

Hey Jenna-So I was just on a farm tour from where I get my CSA. LOVE that I have a farmer. Her name is Mary and she runs Morning Owl Farm over here in Boise, Idaho. I was there with other CSA members and I had to let you know your name came up about a dozen times. You have inspired a lot of people (including myself) and I just thought you should know. Me and the farm intern Dan especially had a long conversation about the awesome stuff you are doing in NY. We are big big fans. Thanks for the great stories always and allowing us to share in your journey even if its hard sometimes.

July 20, 2011 at 11:32 AM  
Blogger Nicole said...

Oh and one more thing...I was where you are at. Running and thinking about men. I am only 30 so it wasn't that long ago. And then I told myself that I had to let love find me, especially when I was doing something that I loved because that means he would love it too. Well one day I find myself at the dog park with my one true love Sydney (my Australian Cattle Dog) and she runs up to this guy to play. Cattle dogs are nippy as pups so I chased after ready to apologize to this nice man. I ended up talking to him for 2 hours! Needless to say this man became my husband. What really made me fall for him is that he loved his dog as much as I loved mine. (She slept in his bed and they cuddled) and I know this was the man for me. One day, I swear, you will find yourself next to a farmer or a dog herder and that will be that. I hope that for you more than anything! But until then, keep running and loving and doing what you do because its awesome and it inspires me to get my butt back out there!

July 20, 2011 at 11:38 AM  
Blogger Meredith A said...

the way i see it, not being in a relationship is allowing you the time to work, write, and persue your own interests. men complicate a womans routine.

July 20, 2011 at 12:02 PM  
Blogger frakier said...

Listening to the talk on relationships reminded me of a thought I had the other day.

I was working in the garden and brushed up against the tomato bushes, you know that fresh tomato smell, and I remember thinking.. "I would love to meet a women that thought the smell of a tomato bush would make a good perfume maybe with a little fresh hay and home cooking thrown in for good measure..."

I'm 40 and i hope to meet that women one day but let's face it, it may take a major change of scenery before I find her. Most of the women around here will never know the smell of brushing up against a tomato bush because they might break a nail or get dirty.

Don't give up your guy is out their somewhere dreaming about a women that talks about her farm, garden and animals as much as he does his.

July 20, 2011 at 1:24 PM  
Blogger Carol said...

Great post, I too love how you can make puke seem poetic. I congratulate you on your commitment to running, even in this heat, I can't even commit to walking. Just be careful out on the road for drivers who might be distracted because they are admiring the scenery just like you.

On another note, I had a picture of Sawyer at my desk for a long time, a girl can dream.

Keep up to great work!

How's Sal?

July 20, 2011 at 3:57 PM  
Blogger Kimberlie Ott said...

Hey , Frakier..........40 is when I met the true love of my life.......my wolf :) Just thinkin, do you happen to live anywhere near Veryork? Her name is Jenna, and she is my hero :) I think tomatoe perfume sounds wonderful.........keep hope alive, it will happen, and as Nicole said, do what you LOVE.....it will find you!

July 20, 2011 at 7:24 PM  
Blogger Jenny Glen said...

Oh, and if we are talking about meeting a man late in life, keep going to those sheep dog trials, Jenna. I met my husband when I was 32 (my mother had given up on me) at a sheepdog trial:)

July 20, 2011 at 7:35 PM  
Blogger Glyndalyn said...

Hey Jenna. I live in rural TN with deep roots here. Have been to the Cove and the Smokies many times to back country and front country camp. Where are you from and why New York? Have been there, too, and very beautiful.

July 20, 2011 at 10:49 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

And TN, Misses you. You ever come back down let me know. My wife and I are really wanting to finally get a face to face meet. We are going to the Appalachian Museum Homecoming Festival this year. Let us know if you get the chance to come down. There are a couple of my pals who arent married yet! Not that you need any help from a poor East Tennessean. On to the running thing. Never been very good at it. But I always seem to gain about 15-20 lbs in the winter, and by the time fall comes around I lose it again. Never thought of myself as a wolf, more of a bear. We are Mama and Papa Bear. You'll find a good one some day. You are too much woman to settle for just anyone though! So slow and careful wins the race.

July 20, 2011 at 11:31 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

Hmmm... Perhaps online dating for farmers too busy to leave their land? Could be fun. Poodles need not apply. Poodle or wolf, usually the truth is in the eyes.

July 21, 2011 at 8:39 AM  
Blogger Knit Picky Knitter said...

Awesome post Jenna. I'm with you all the way. I look forward to fall by July 4th.

July 21, 2011 at 12:07 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

He'll come. I watched and waited, and reluctantly lived my life for nearly 10 years before he came. Ten years of intesely desiring to be married. But he did - and he didn't look at all what I had pictured, but he ended up being exactly who I needed. Now I cannot even imagine if I had ended up with someone else.
Keep the faith. Live your life and enjoy it. Things can change in the blink of an eye. Mine showed up when I was 34, and nearly everyone had given up, but me. I had a deep knowing that it would happen, and it did.
And so it will for you. :)

July 21, 2011 at 3:21 PM  

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