It is all always with us.

The road is always with us. As a gentle incline lulls us into effort, like waking up slowly from an afternoon nap, heavy drunk, the struggle to understand where we are and what is happening fills our legs. Some sort of trickery changes an easy effort into lungs searching for more space, legs reaching out but finding ground too quickly. Arms relaxed are suddenly tensed, grabbing for ropes to pull the weighted body forward, up. The resistance forces struggle, forces tension, forces everything necessary to push into a body fully awake, fully strong, fully capable of turning inclines into just simple ground. The road is always with us. It dips downward, finding not just lesser elevation, but a reversal of time, sending us into memories of childhood, careless meandering, imagined flight. It gives us the magic of levitation, a reprieve from the burdens of gravity and a moment to abandon the tethers of physics, to be the superhumans we pretend to chase. The road is always with us.

The rain is always with us. Ceilings perspire upon us to leak into every crevice, every surface, every path of least resistance until we are swimming in a mix of liquids. Running through walls of water, eyelids slanting like brims on a hat for the same purpose, we expect to finally break through where a release of effort will meet us head on, like sun breaking through clouds, rain clouds. Rarely it comes though, and we run on, into an accumulated flood, our feet touching down into small oceans that part and converge back together before we can escape the embrace of cold water surrounding our feet and forming cold lakes that come along for the ride. Showers that cleanse turn into unwelcome baths that shock and fill our clothes with a weight we can’t shake. Grey clouds reflect the emotional struggle running allows us to transcend. The rain is always with us. A pounding of water on pavement turns into a rhythm, drums of war, beating us forward with an intensity that matches the anger of oncoming storms. We adapt to run as an adversary, stronger in spirit than the weapons of wind, water, and crashes of thunder. Minds steel themselves as swords, to forge bodies into machines that match pace with the rain, racing raindrops over and over, throwing water from our faces and letting it penetrate into us, refilling our emptying vessels with a liquid fuel to keep us going, faster and faster, buoyant and swift. The rain is always with us.

The wind is always with us. A whisper and a roar at the same volume, invisibly inhaling the oxygen from our lungs we try desperately to withhold. It shrinks our lungs and ties our bodies up in fabric, pulls our bodies down in sand, halts our momentum with laughs and mockery and jumps from behind walls to scare us stiff. It steals breath and turns fluid bodies into sand, wet and cold and hardening, unless we breathe back to keep from lulling into statuesque figurines of athletes, mid-stride, stuck, forever. Leaning forward, in the intuitive way we seek to change the laws of physics, or at least use them to our advantage, we try anything to change the mind of the wind, to see things from our perspective. We conjole and convince and manipulate, to build our capabilities and persuasions. Or we just join em. The wind is always with us. Quietly, silently, it lifts us up and takes us toward new successes measured by timelines, but never perceived in effort. It gives us moments of romanticized running, where everything is easy and nothing hurts and forever is entirely possible. At our backs it stares, an altruistic deity, perfectly zen and devoid of ego, it exhales as invisibly as it inhales, inflating our lungs with a helium that lifts us skyward and takes us away. The wind is always with us.

The horizon is always with us. A storyline never ending, a monologue, an On The Road to nowhere, a self absorbed one-sided conversation. We move towards the obvious finish line with the sun as our only competitor, and it’s gaining. The closer we get, the more desperate we become, our bodies filling with the weight of everything we’ve emptied along the way, making every step more important, more valuable than the last. We die just short. Second place. They kill the lights to the stadium. The horizon is always with us. The forever promise of something more, less a finish and more a wise friend, with a better view of the future, waving us forward and promising a visible utopia, just ahead, just a little further, if you just keep coming, you’ll make it. Even though we won’t. It’s the promise we want, not the scenic overlook, of which the edge of the earth keeps circling back upon itself, so we can keep chasing the promise, believing in better instead of reaching the cliff, stopping, stopping running. The horizon is always with us.

The geese are always wit…wait…no they aren’t. The geese are never with us. Stay away from them.

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