The dog caught sight of me coming up the trail and took chase, running along side me with an intense, but playful, cadence. Fortunately, a fence separated the space between us and I didn’t have to match pace to stay out of harms way, but the dog had to abruptly pull up as the end of the enclosure neared. They circled back and anticipated the next runner to come along, this stop and start of movement a highlight of the day.
Entering into the space where intersecting cars either slow to give way to runners crossing the road from the rail-trail or continue on at their pace knowing they win the collision battle, I made quick judgements on my ability to frogger my way to the other side unharmed, the compulsion to not break momentum, to keep moving, directing my risky behavior. I cleared the two lanes and continued forward down the trail, feeling a swiftness and control I had not experienced in quite some time. I didn’t just push forward, but sprung off my toes, covering significant ground before my next footfall met earth.
Today was one of those days that leaves nothing in the way of movement. The sun couldn’t stretch to see anything beyond the horizon to horizon cloud cover. The air was light and full of deep breaths. Lungs could expand to the body’s interior walls. Gravity lessened it’s pull by just a few levels, so it seemed. The naivety of youthful movement pulled me down the trail with an injury be damned carelessness.
It was just one of those runs, ya know?
I value movement in ways people reserve for economic status, celebrity stardom, and supermodel sex appeal. I turn my head for velocity.
I’m fortunate to have found a job that has it’s own sort of movement, for those that want it. Construction involves fits and spurts of intense labor – lifting, climbing, walking, muscular exertion. I’ve noticed only a couple types of construction workers. There are those that do the work, but would rather not, and there are those that do the work, and have a seemingly instinctual drive to do it as fast as possible. This doesn’t necessarily mean it is bad work, for I’ve also noticed that those who do it fast are able to do so because of their knowledge and experience. It’s quite incredible to watch the speed and efficiency of “old heads” in the industry, like bulls in a china shop, just tearing through material while the rest of us struggle to keep up. There is almost an athletic challenge, a competition, to performing and completing as much work as possible during a day. I enjoy this movement, but I also know to save some of that energy for the post-work run.
And it is energy that drives us forward. This sort of mystical substance that is within us and outside of us and IS us, as if we are less individual beings and more the physical forms of kinetic energy that has found it’s way into motion and is unable to stop. We want to move as a fundamental component to not just our humanity, but our beingness, in concert with all other bodies in motion. This shared kinetic release is my running.
In the most cruel twist, our society mets out punishment through the restriction of movement. People are put into cages, allowing only so much kinetic release, as a stated safety measure, but in reality it is a torturous punishment of stagnation. Spaces designed to restrict movement keep people in cages, and movement privileges are restricted to only an hour or so a day. Further punishments involve further restricted movement, when people are put into solitary confinement where the space is even smaller and the ability to release kinetic energy that much more difficult. The body suffers, but the mind goes first.
The worst offense of our institutionalized apathy is the restriction of movement by those beings simply born into the circumstance. Cows, pigs, chickens and all animals viewed as products (food or otherwise) are kept confined into small spaces, their movement restricted in order to ply their bodies into the most profitable forms. The physical and psychological torture is unimaginable. Mother pigs lay between bars barely wider than their bodies while piglets nurse for an immorally short time before being taken away to similar restrictions. Veal calves are tethered to chains and fed emaciated diets to restrict movement and muscular growth.
Our understanding of the sanctity of movement is also our impetus to manipulate it against the less empowered.
The privilege of my movement is not lost on me and I work to consciously keep focus on my ability to release energy, to keep moving, to run. The act of running becomes so normative and repetitive that we can, easily, lose sight of the privilege to run, but also the joy of going from conserved energy to explosive momentum. After each work day, no matter how physically strenuous, I find my way to a place where I can move unrestricted. I take off heavy shoes, restrictive jeans, and feel a lightness take over as I pull on running shorts and tie up my shoes. The first few steps get me going and then an energetic force takes over and it becomes difficult to stop. The transition from fatigued to invigorated is always an incredible moment, no matter how fleeting, and I do my best to pay attention and catch it before it settles into forward motion.
My running is a personal celebration of movement, and when I find a rhythm in my days, that act goes from a celebration of movement to an explosion of momentum. Right now, I’ve found that rhythm and I can feel the kinetic energy lit, ready to explode. It would be an insult to all those who have been forced into restriction to not practice this celebration, to sacrifice the gift. I have no plans to revert this energy to passivity, with the hope that every restricted being finds the barriers to their movement suddenly disappeared.
Let’s get this movement.