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The Long Run: Destination Farmstead

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I never take for granted the absolute wonder of having roads like these to run. Nor, for that matter, the wonder of September when the air is cool and the sun is as warm as breath. 

I'm going to the upper top left of this photo, and then some. 
More than two miles from home now and wishing I could just run all day.

The hills remind me I probably shouldn't. 

At the top of the really steep hill I turn back and look at where I came from: the farthest ridge of trees you can see. That's cool, to see how far you've come. We don't get that in everyday life very often. No wonder I like the long run.

And the first red maple leaves have turned.

You have to prop the doors shut with iron bars. Ghost blogger in the window.

A barn that anyone else would have torn down. So glad they haven't. She's like a toothless lady

 laughing at some outrageous twist of fate. Like the eventuality that she'll up and fall one of these days very soon. Maybe on a curious Science Chimp. Ha! Ha! Come on in.

New England aster and goldenrod. What a combination. Wish we had that aster on our place. I had one spindly one for years but it finally passed on. Must try to grow some. It's much the most magnificent aster. I have one cultivar, a big sprawling thing, but it's kind of a reddish purple and I prefer the wild type violet.

At last, my destination hoves into view. Ahhhh.

Must take some Rain Crows publicity shots on this porch. I love this house so much. It's locked up tight, no curious chimps allowed. It's being used as a hunters' base camp now. So my chance to explore here is waning fast. There are popup blinds all over the place. I'll have to wind up my explorations by the start of bow season. Just another of life's little injustices, along with people rearranging my hay rolls and cutting down the trees I love. Think they can do anything with their own property...mutter.

I decide to try some tiny very ripe crabapples on a tree and am pleasantly surprised to find them delicious. Well, some people I know would spin in a circle and collapse from the sourness, but I love sour things.
Yum! They taste like the hay-scented September air.


My office away from home. I lean on the pumphouse desk and write and write. I never run anywhere without paper and a little stub of a pen.

I collapse against the sunlit east side of the wellhouse and soak up the sun.  The air temperature still hovers in the 40's. 

On cold mornings when
mist collects in the holler
I sit on your porch.
Sun lights it all gold
A house wren chatters. Crows caw. 
None of this is mine.
At home where I find
what I need, animal-like
Wanting nothing else
Moving with grace through
a world without boundaries
Finding habitat.

I look down at my legs and marvel that they can bring me to such places, and will sure enough bring me home, too. Every day I see people decades younger than I am who no longer walk, much less run. It makes me sad for them, and for the earth, that so few people any more will walk it and come to know it so intimately. You have to feel it inch by inch, foot by foot, to know it.

It is a wonderful thing, to let your legs carry you along on an adventure, to feel that assurance that they'll take you wherever you wish to run, then turn around and bring you home, too. 
Eventually I must turn for home. But not before walking the high ridge of a hayfield I've always wondered about. Worth it. The views...ohhh. Down into the rumples and up again.

 The farmer has left me a nice napping spot. Dry, deep hay. Yes, I think I shall. Pull a few black raspberry brambles out (there are always brambles) and you're all set.

 The view from my face. My horses at rest for now. Chet, watching for interlopers be they furred or bipedal. And none arrive. Perfect.  Oh, to lie here all day long. All dang day. Just let the sun toast me one last time. I do wind up frittering away some good hours here, but also write an essay while I'm at it. That's probably the best thing about being a writer. You can say you're working when you do stuff like this.

At last, the road beckons and I turn for home. The Canon G-12's battery dies at the same moment. It's been a good run. After 20 years, I still can't believe I get to live here. That cloud in the distance is steam from a power plant in St. Mary's, West Virginia. So you see how close we are to Almost Heaven. Well, for Appalachian Ohio, I'd drop the Almost.

I came up with something here on this perfect day. The more it rolls around in my head, the more I like it.

If you would write with love and passion, live in a place that you passionately love.



Some days when I walk Luna we feel like we could walk forever. You have captured this feeling in this post. So well done. I often wish I could put this feeling in my pocket and pull it out when things aren't as they should be. Ahhhh a perfect day.

Great post, babe. Not many of us can do what you do with legs or pen....

Julie, I love this so much. The parts about thanking your legs for being strong to carry you so far, and the part about being passionate about where you live. I do too, and it's such a blessing to be able to!

This post is a new favorite for me. To get to run with you in this beauty is a true gift that spreads from my smiling heart to my toes. Thank you.

Love your blogs!! Perhaps you should publish these as a book titled "Running". It could be the counterpart to David Henry Thoreau's book "Walking".

I can just about feel the sunshine. What a gorgeous area. Not to be picky, and just FYI, thats "heaves" into view. "Hove" is the past tense.

Posted by Barb Manicatide October 16, 2012 at 1:08 PM

My vicarious journey through the roads of your landscape. Thank you! And the loving photos of the buildings left alone to turn to dust by themselves. On their own schedule. Oh, and my favorite favorite of many favorites is you lying down in the sun on some dry hay. For hours. That is my dream so often. I'm driving up Interstate 5 to work in urban Southern California and I look at the passing sun kissed hillsides beckoning me to stop the car and climb up to a place I too can lie down my head and just wonder.

I'm catching up on blog reading from a couple of weeks of being very busy and find THIS incredible piece of writing. Thank you! As someone from a family of walkers, I agree that most people miss the best parts of life and the world being stuck in their cars or their houses or even just stuck in their lives. This was wonderful. (oh, and I got the Bluebird Effect as a birthday gift. Hooray!)

What a beautiful run. The land there is so lovely, rolling, and open. I love your strong legs and your hair, "the color of sun-weathered hay, about two months gone..." Such magnificent poetry.

Swell gams, Sister. And what a wonderful post. My place is overrun with purple and pink asters; I'll save and send you some seed. (Thrilling alliteration, huh?)

Thank you for sharing life in your world. I look forward to following your wonderful writing!

- Wally

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