High Road/Low Road

High Road/Low Road

I’m on Grand Manan this week, isolating myself from the chaos of house construction at home and holding off the distractions of daily tasks so that I can finish reading thesis papers and work on a large-scale drawing that’s been slow to evolve. I’m also taking time to get out and run every day.

swallowtail

The Whistle

Anchorage

Dark Harbour

I’ve explored a catalogue of favorite runs: from the cottage in Castalia to the Whistle and back, from the cottage to Swallow Tail light and back, from the cottage to Castalia marsh and back, the hilly loop beginning with the coastal Anchorage boardwalk, and finally, yesterday, the trail run from Southwest Head Light to Hay Point and back–extending the run for the first time to Bradford Cove.

Southwest Head

The terrain on the Hay Point run varies dramatically, from dirt roads to steep, rocky hills, to barely perceptible trails cramped by scrappy pines.

Trail to Hay Point

SWHead3

Trail toward Bradbury

On this trip, I was out for an hour and 40 minutes. It was a slow run due to abundant scenic vistas, but also due to wet bogs, pond-sized puddles, mud, roots, upended trees, and threatening spears of dead pine.

Direction

from the Southwest Head trail

From Hay Point

From Hay Point 2

After an hour or so of running, I entered that zone where my body seems more permeable and aware. This often happens on a long run. Everything becomes more sensory. My skin feels the air in a different way, and smells are intense–in this case, the blasts of warm pine and ocean salt. Sometimes when I’m running in the woods, I get a whiff of animal (something like oily fur) or human (traces of smoke and food). These faint traces startle me, not out of fear, but out of the surprise of smelling them at all. It’s a hyper-awareness that only happens when I’m running. I’m not suggesting a mystical union with the animal world, though the idea of becoming animal resonates (with a nod to Deleuze and Guattari). In that permeable state of motion, I experience a hint of freedom, a wonderful stripping away of identity, a departure from normal thinking patterns.

I’m also reading H is for Hawk, a memoir by Helen Macdonald, which explores the author’s experience of personal loss as it intersects with her work in falconry. Throughout the book, she trains Mabel, a young goshawk, and she describes periods of being in a semi-feral state of identification with her hawk and her own wildness, and then her re-emergence into community and into her life in the academic world. Macdonald does a brilliant job of describing those moments of splintering and reassembling identity and the mysterious longings that accompany both.

Movement has always felt right to me, as has a complex framing of identity—motion rather than stasis feels accurate in some inner register, if not always direct and easy to get my head (and life) around. In the meantime, running seems to be a reliable way to get at something that feels true…

Bogs Toward Deep Cove

Finished!

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About lucindasrunningblog

Lucinda is an artist and teacher whose work focused on landscape and place. Bliss currently serves as Dean of Graduate Studies at the New Hampshire Institute of Art.
This entry was posted in Running, Trail Running and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to High Road/Low Road

  1. Gee Vine says:

    Excellent writing….such poetry in your prose….a most enlightening bite of nature….I could easily enjoy more of this sensibility….you’re on to something special, extraordinary. .” Winds of Tao: Flying the Flag of My Own Hair”
    Later

  2. Great entry – it is fun seeing all these places.

    ‘H is for hawk’ was recently featured in our library ‘what’s Bowdoin Reading’ blog…
    https://library.bowdoin.edu/bowdoinreads/2015/04/22/professor-cooper/

  3. Hooray Run says:

    “In the meantime, running seems to be a reliable way to get at something that feels true.” Great words.

  4. Starting with the sign, “High” Road and “Low” Road, the split and the join are present. What a wonderful piece of writing. H is for Hawk has been on my list for a few months, now I will definitely get to it. We all need vistas, points of view, thanks for sharing yours.

  5. Andrea Galuza says:

    I should get my sneakers that dirty. It is a great writing Lucinda, glad I finally had time to read it.

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