Running. With Man on Wire.


This body is 6’1″ and yet it always seems to hit me head-high. On the chin. Wraps around my forehead. Straps across the eyes, like strings of celophane plastered on the corneas. And on a bad day, at the end of a long morning run when I’m heaving, it hits me full on the mouth like strands of cotton candy, without the sweet and the color. Here, the scene would be a middle aged man who’s lost his marbles, arms waving maniacally and spitting like a machine gun.

Yet, it’s so fine. A fraction of the electrical wires slung between the poles overhead. Thinner than the monofilament fishing line I would cast in the eddies of the Kootenay river. And thinner yet, than the fiber optic cable laid across the Atlantic.

Yet on this road, this morning, this path less travelled, it was apparent that overnight he was working. At 5:15 a.m., it hit me across both eyes. A single strand. Not on the forehead. Not on the chest. Not on the knees. Not even on the neck. Not one eye, square across both eyes, as if he had a plum bob, measured me up and said: to get him, it has to be right here. 5’x” off the ground, and assume a bit of up and down motion because he’s running.

The single web line was strung across a two lane highway, to a tree on the other side. Across a two-lane highway!

How? Now that is the question(s).

  1. Does he work all day in the torrid August heat to weave the web to be ready for the night’s work?
  2. Does he coil his web in a pouch and then unravel it as he moves forward? Or, like Philippe Petit, in Man on Wire, does he use a bow and arrow attached to a rope to launch the web to the tree on the other side?
  3. Or does he unroll the web as he ambles across the highway, hoisting the roll up the tree on the other side – and then grunt to get the line snug between the two trees?
  4. Like a aged tailor, does he bite down on a needle as he strings the web, using it to repair fractured parts of the line?
  5. Does he carry a water bottle for respite or does he scurry back to other side to slurp dew to refresh himself?
  6. After looking up to admire his work, does he shout across the highway to his family, waving them on: “It’s ready. Come Now! The web line is safe to cross.”

After pondering the imponderables, the mystery reverts to the original question.

Why does the web always seem to hit me head-high?

The music from my smartphone is blasting through the ear buds.  The florescent dials on the smart watch are flashing distance travelled, pace, heart rate.  And yet, I’m seeing and hearing none of this.

I wonder where he is now. Man on Wire. Exhausted from the night’s work, curled in a ball in a nest he’s excavated in the bark on the tree.

Time Check: 5.03 miles. 47.3 minutes.

Nap Time.


  • Photography: Kim Westcott with (Spider) Web #1, 2, 3 via My Amp Goes to 11
  • Related Posts: Running Series
  • Post inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”



  1. Persistence…it is to be admired. For any living thing. ☺

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes Van. Your thought reminds me of:

      But I weren’t no quitter No wolf nor bear just gives up when they get beat or hungry. You ever seen a bear jump off a cliff ‘cause life handed him a few rough draws? No, you haven’t. The wild keeps going till it don’t have strength in its muscles and bones. The wild doesn’t give up; it’s forever, and so was I.

      — Beth Lewis, The Wolf Road

      Liked by 2 people

  2. That’s why it pays not to be the first one blazing a trail in the morning. It’s worse if you are riding a bike in the woods.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. “Like a aged tailor, does he bite down on a needle as he strings the web, using it to repair fractured parts of the line?”

    That’s exactly how they do it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Running or not, webs hit me head-high too David! Shuddered and laughed – thank you! ❤
    Diana xo

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Although I hate spiders, I have to admire so much about them. But running through their webs (shudders) is not so nice. Still, look at it from the spider’s point of view – all that work ruined in a split second.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. No matter how many times I knock down a web, more always appear. I feel bad about destroying all that work and I leave them as long as I can…. but there comes a time…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s eyes and mouth for me. We have low hanging trees and shrubs….. The season has just begun. (Must remember to close mouth going out in the morning)
    Well written David!
    Good time too 😎

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This. Was. Magical. I was right there in the moment with you, pal, clearing the cobwebs and all. I find nothing more mesmerizing than to catch sight of a gorgeous spider web kissed with dew when first morning light hits it. And I *always* think of ‘Charlotte’s Web,’ one of my favorite childhood books…. Love this, DK.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Christie says:

    Sir David … your early morning kingdom, transcends …I was struck by the way you wove your words, stringing along these lines of reflection, floating on the wonder…of the miracle of it all. Such a fine, piece of writing, Dave! Never stop WONDERING or WRITING… PS: I assume that the spider’s work is placed between, in a vast or slight open area, at a height so to snare flying prey, like a runner in flight :)… his tastes differ from the spiders who’s lines are marvelously constructed closer to the ground. I do marvel, like you of the spiders innate ability to spin, react at lighting speed & survive… living in his world as a champion… // I get tangled when I descend the three stairs to emerge under the grape arbor, where the clothes line runs through (similar to the fishing line “cast in the eddies of the Kootenay river”). … I hang items not needing the strength of the full sun, under the arbor where a cat sometimes stretches out on the bench, next to the basket of sweet flowers occupying the territory of the bench’s western, edge … the array of items hang loosely and occasionally sway in the shade of the summer’s afternoon warmth…as the natural cycle of nature is so industrious, as the summertime garden flourishes, co-existing in balance within the wonder…such a gift..

    Liked by 1 person

  10. ah, what tangled web we weave…. (and break through)

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I’m still trying to figure out how the strand survives the two-lane highway after imagining a fantastic spiderman type of leap to place it in the first place… Sorry, no sympathy for your “capture” I’m totally impressed with the spider 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Every summer I get webs between my mailbox & my neighbor’s doorbell. I only looked once to see how big a spider had to be to want hands and fingers. Huge. The answer was, “Huge.”

    Liked by 1 person

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