Janathon: Day 15

Full moon tonight. Too late for a nice evening run, which would’ve been awesome. There was a beautiful,  beautiful sunset.

Jan 15 2014 sunset


January has two supermoons, on the first and the thirtieth. Tonigh a regulare old standard full moon hung in the sky, above the scrim of clouds lit like a paper wall panel in a medieval Japanese house. Time to take my tea, and by tea I mean mid-week long run, a languid two-hour hill run featuring two big climbs like frantic intermezzos in a flatulent symphony,  and lots of relatively flat expanses. Lit like a piece of cod upon the deworming table at a Long John Silver’s processing plant. Soft, effusively glowing  starlight, making the deep shadows hunt for lower dens.  The moon rises in the gloaming and sits in the sky. It was like the moon on an airbrushed dream-catcher-lone-wolf-dangling feather t-shirt. It was pretty cool, like matching tattoos, or wine filched from the stewardess’ station by the public restroom on a long and stuffy flight.  At least, I infer that it was. I couldn’t see it clearly. Sometimes the moon is best drunk with a measure of oblique references, because it’s just a big white ball of rock. Or, maybe a spaceship.

Selenography is the study of the moon’s surface and the naming of the bits we see, the craters, ridges and expansive plains. It comes from the Greek word  γράφω, (graph- OH), meaning “write”. Back in the day, writing about something was aces. Anything you could write about pretty much was fact. Most people couldn’t write.

I got totally off topic, mooning over the moon. I went for a run late last night after the kiddies were off to bed. I dressed for pretty cold weather. My older son gave me a really big hug to show me he meant it. Wife was drifting to sleep in a pile of work stuff like a little nested bird. I let myself outside.

The forecast called for a drop into the teens during my run. I had doubled up on gloves, three shirts, jogging pants, headlamp, arm sleeves, fanny pack (barely big enough to hold a cell phone or a couple of gels – tonight, a couple of  gels), skull cap under floppy crocheted hat. I went outside and felt pretty comfortable. I saw the moon and said hello.

It took me a few minutes to get a signal. I jogged to different spots until the GPS watch located itself. The air was very humid. I wondered if it might snow. In the morning, fat drops of flat ice had fallen, like little translucent fish scales. I headed out of my neighborhood in the direction of the river crossing and California, PA, about five miles away. On the way I did an O&B detour of a flat neighborhood, getting warmed up. I pocketed my outer gloves and floppy hat.

Traffic was, and forever will be, nearly zero. I climb the first leg of the ascent, noticing the extremely sharp drop in temperature. I kept my pace at around 9 min/mile, slow enough to prevent me pouring sweat. I was looking to do fifteen miles. Atop the first hill, I had eleven more to go. Along an empty stretch of woodlands I saw a couple of deer eyes, little eyes following me intently, twin polychromatic moons shifting from green to yellow. I shouted hello to the deer. Off in the woods an owl hooted. And i was all, like, nature is all up in my business tonight.

I drop down into California. There were cops cruising all the major roads. Something was up.

It had been a roller-coaster of a day. Extremely busy at work, then extremely delightful at home. My youngest, who just learned to crawl Monday, crossed a room to get to me after dinner, babbling and laughing. Not my helpless baby any longer.  I’d ask the moon to change its features to suit my mood, fill it with enough craters to hold the baby forever within view. I imagine the starlight reflected in the millions, maybe billions of eyes that gazed upon it, blinking in sanguine appreciation of the light carrying from  the sun, a tomorrow begun with a thought, a wish for whatever, a moment. Peace, vodka, some nipple tape, whatever worked. I peeled off the main road in little picturesque California and made a bee-line for the tower thingy with its giant LCD marquis showing a sped-up aerial video clip of the building I was looking at, spinning in the drunken swerve of a low-flying helicopter circling to tower. It made me dizzy.

Not bored, not watching television, not staring at a mug of old cold jasmine, momentarily hypnotized by the overhead light reflected in the amber. Not young, not old, not tethered to myself. Growing old, I don’t see as many stars as I did when I was a boy, but they sure came out tonight. A gust of wind blew through town. I popped my outer gloves back on. The temp dropped a few degrees. I had to check my headlamp to see if it was still on, such was the brilliance of the moon. So, off with the gadget. I continued my run by moonlight, running out to the opposite end of the small college town, hit a port-a-john for a sec, resumed my run back through California on my return leg.

I ducked into a gas station and bought, then slammed an ic ed coffee. I started the first leg of the five hundred foot ascent back up the hill, climbing as if from the pit of some cold hell, slow and painfully clawing my way up the steep winding slope of the first leg. A get a couple hundred meters of flat asphalt to catch my breath, eat a gel, then start up the second part of the hill. I return to the spot where a deer lay curled against a guardrail with a pool of black blood around it. I had run the other side of the road on my first pass, now I run by it, click on my headlamp. The blood is bright red, the eyes are clear. I can see the reflection of my headlamp and that of the sizzling white moon above us in its eye. A foreleg is draped over the aluminum rail, frozen in a final leap for safety.

I see so many dead deer that I’m developing a kind of grotesque selenography to describe their contorted proportions in a way that plays upon my sentimental notions that we are all connected, that, beneath this maya, this curtain of reality thrown like a palimset upon the blank page of existence, lies the potential for the message of beauty. I think this is how people become schizophrenic. I’m confusing beauty with incomprehensible tragic horror. Even in its most disgusting forms, there is poetry, lurking in death as well as life. I turn my headlamp quickly back off. All of this is flashing through my mind while I’m sucking wind, climbing a hill below a sky blazng with stars, such a beautiful cold night. Little glowing rectangles and squares of night owl residents, so many hidden fires yet burning in the houses lining the road.

I pass the cross country tracks and decide not to try it. The mud would be horrible still, and I had many miles I could choose to run with warm feet. I drop back down the hill. I get pinned to a hillside by a maniac flying down the hill around a corner. I run a few more feet and it happens again.  I enter the stretch of straight flat road where I’d spotted a deer earlier. I’ run down the center of the road, arms out, palms up, in a position of christlike supplication hoping an alien hits me with a tractor beam and pulls me up from the surface of earth and eats me in a salad. I’ve always wanted to be a part of something bigger, like a corporation, or a plague. My legs are getting tired, the knees wobbly.

I ducked into a neighborhood to get off the main road. I follow it down a steep drop to the river and do my o&b – takes me to the train yard. I like to race the trains on the parallel streets. Sometimes I win. Sometimes I lose. A locomotive is lit, and a couple of guys in reflective jackets are climbing into it. The thunderous motor volume increases….but then subsides. No train race. Only train. Mongo train for to running. Mongo only pawn in game of life. 

I cross the bridge. Empty streets. The clouds have slipped back overhead, the moon again a glow behind a cottony blanket of clouds. I switch my headlamp back on and make it home.

Janathon total miles: 142. I’m halfway home.





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