Running. With Whippoorwills.


Mile Marker 0:

It’s 4:25 am, and Quiet but for the whippoorwills which break the silence. How do I know they are whippoorwills? Because I like to say w-h-i-p-p-o-o-r-w-i-l-l-s. And because that’s the only way I can work in this beautiful poem by Howard Moss.

And then the whippoorwill
Begins its tireless, cool,
Calm, and precise lament—
Again and again and again—
Its love replying in kind,
Or blindly sung to itself,
Waiting for something to happen.

~ Howard Moss, from “Going to Sleep in the Country,” New Selected Poems

Tireless, cool, calm, and precise lament. Again and again and again.

Not the tireless. Not the cool. Not the calm. But I’ve got the lament part down. And the again and again and again part. And I excel at waiting for something to happen.


My lips form wwwwhip, wwwwhippoor, and there it is: whippoorwill. Soothing. I repeat it Again and again and again.

There’s magic in the formation of these letters.

Or I’m a circus monkey.

Mile Marker 3: 

A seagull floats lazily overhead.  Five Canadian Geese glide in formation and land in the grass to feed.

The birds trigger a mental replay of a family group Text Exchange from yesterday morning.  Eric takes the car and is running an errand.

Eric:++++Helped a goose and two babies cross street
Mom:+++You get that from me!  Good for you
Rachel:++How did you help them?
Eric:++++Walked in the middle of the road and chased them across
Eric:++++One of the little ones tried jumping up a curb and kept tumbling back down
Eric:++++Almost picked it up but the mom was hissing
Eric:++++Got some cheers from other drivers

‘You get that from me!’ She knew I was on the group text message. Was she tweaking Me?  Well, joke’s on her. I didn’t bite. ‘You get that from me!’ Right. Like I would have suggested that he mash the bird family with a 2-ton vehicle.  ‘You get that from me!’  And, WTH is my role here – 5th spare in the trunk?  And, he damn well better not have been texting while he was driving. I’ll circle back on this topic when I get home.  You’ll get THAT from me!

Now, fully agitated. I pick up the pace.

Mile Marker 6: 
I’m walking up the hill, cooling down. I take my cap off, run my hand through my hair, and wipe my brow with my sleeve.

The neighborhood is still. No dogs barking. No kids playing. Cars are parked in driveways. Curtains are drawn.

I round the corner and there’s Home. A puff of wind rises stirring goose bumps on the sweat drying on my forearms. The leaves rustle. And I See…

The Flag above the porch swishing gently to and fro whispering…touch me, feel me, remember me…for the many who made the greatest sacrifice for me. 

Full Stop.

Time Check:

6 miles. 57 minutes.

Nap Time.



  1. Classic DK…..getting in the first nap of the day while everyone else is still asleep. The kids will get that from you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Smiling too. Whip poor will. I have to do that all the time. And as always, it was a pleasure to run with you, David. No sweat, but all the exercise…with colorful relish.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ahhh, weekends. Certain things I know I can rely on…a hot cup of coffee to wash away the last vestiges of sleep, , an easy walk around the yard with the dogs as they stretch their legs and do their morning ablutions while I fill my lungs with the promise of a new day, DK psyching himself up to hit the Tarmac (and loosening up his shoulder all the better to self-flagellate as he goes), a funny or poignant glimpse into the mechanics of the Kanigan mind or household, and, finally, a nap. A simple request, pal, Don’t EVER change…please…. (And enjoy your Sunday!) 😄

    Liked by 1 person

  4. And then the caring soul
    begins its soft and soothing lament
    that penetrates each cell with calm.
    The run is done and the body rests.
    Will is set aside to engage in this present moment.
    Drifting off into dreams of geese,seagulls and precious lives.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. lynneggleton says:

    Nice 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. David, I miss reading your gems like this one. So good.
    I ran today too. Three miles!
    BTW, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with being a circus monkey except it doesn’t pay very well and the travel is brutal, or so I hear.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. well, you may not have helped the geese cross the street, but you did have the goose bumps to show for what you did and i consider that an act of solidarity. and maybe your son did get a little bit of that from you.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Mental replays of texts and other conversations is why I sometimes avoid the silence like the plague! Great writing, David and kudos to you for running, even a week. Commitment is what they get from you.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Not a circus monkey, but a little fuzzball that keeps falling off the curb.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. These bits of the real life sure give me a chuckle. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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