Running. With Half Pass.

feet

Iron couplers connect railcars. One to the next, to the next. Synchronicity? Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon?

Terri Gross interviews Leonard Cohen‘s Son, Adam, on a NPR: Fresh Air podcast titled “Leonard Cohen The Poet, Writer, And Father where he talks about his Father: “He was preoccupied with the brokenness of things, the asymmetry of things, as he says forget your perfect offering…or as in his song Anthem…Ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.

I turn the page in Haruki Murakami’s new novel Killing Commendatore and the title of Chapter 4 flashes and sticks: “From a Distance, Most Things Look Beautiful.”

I’m running to Stamford Cove Park. Off in the distance, a man grips three leashes, two small, white dogs of the same breed on his left (Rat Terriers?), and a larger Mix (Rescue?) on the right.

I approach.

I’m drawn to Mix. All four legs move sideways and forward, a Half Pass dressage. A defect. I slow to follow the pack from a few yards back, the Terriers pull on the leashes, the mix struggles to keep up.

The Mind calls up a passage by Tom Hennen that I came across earlier in the week: “I am struck by the otherness of things rather than their sameness. That each thing on earth has its own soul, its own life, that each tree, each clod is filled with the mud of its own star.”

The Owner slows to allow Mix to catch up. He reaches down to pet him, the dog nuzzles his owner. Happy.

A quarter mile ahead, I’ve caught another runner. His right arm is anchored tight to his right side, and his left is pumping to and fro. Accident? Stroke? Birth Defect? I slow my pace, wondering how his body isn’t pulled hard to the right, his body’s equilibrium off-kilter with only one piston pumping, instead of two which pull us forward in normal locomotion.

I ponder who’s behind me, their eyes bearing down on Me, the extra weight carried. What do they see? His right shoulder hangs lower than his left, compensating for his right foot which is half a shoe size smaller. Years of these corrections have built up large, rough calluses on his instep. His right knee bows out from the additional weight and the body ever so slightly corrects to pull him forward. 

I pass the other runner. He smiles, and offers: Good morning!

And it’s this moment, no, this coupled series of moments, which illuminated the entirety of Hennen, Words that were just that, Words, rolling off my lips to the next…

“I watch where I step and see that the fallen leaf, old broken grass, an icy stone are placed in exactly the right spot on the earth, carefully, royalty in their own country.”


Notes:

  • Photo: (via Newthom)
  • Post Inspired by:  “I am struck by the otherness of things rather than their sameness. The way a tiny pile of snow perches in the crook of a branch in the tall pine, away by itself, high enough not to be noticed by people, out of reach of stray dogs. It leans against the scaly pine bark, busy at some existence that does not need me. It is the differences of objects that I love, that lift me toward the rest of the universe, that amaze me. That each thing on earth has its own soul, its own life, that each tree, each clod is filled with the mud of its own star. I watch where I step and see that the fallen leaf, old broken grass, an icy stone are placed in exactly the right spot on the earth, carefully, royalty in their own country.” — Tom Hennen, Looking for the Differences from Darkness Sticks to Everything: Collected and New Poems

Comments

  1. the differences indicate that something is fully itself, is alive in its way

    Liked by 1 person

  2. wonderful, all of it!
    10 days ago I picked up last CD of LC….. played it a gogo…. observing, compensating (I am one inch shorter on my left side and this has been only taken in by a French doctor a few years ago….. oh, all the consequencies of this lack of equilibre), making do, loving when it’s hard to do….
    love really every word of yours!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. You’ve created an up to my down. My blog post today was on symmetry! I think we need both in our lives.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This made me weep, pal. We all have our deficiencies, we’re all compensating (and overcompensating) for one thing or another, we all struggle with moments when we wonder if we measure up. And blessedly, there are those who love us anyway, warts and all. May you feel as though you are royalty in your own country today…

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Thanks so much for this, David. Looking forward to listening to the podcast. I’m reading Joni Mitchell’s autobiography. She was a close friend of Leonard Cohen’s. Some of us share this vision for brokenness. We know it belongs and seems to ask much of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I loved this…our perfect imperfections…those qualities that so often can define our beauty if we pause for a moment and consider the possibility. The compensatory actions that arguably give us strength and unique perspective. The reality that we all have them – so perhaps we could judge each other less harshly

    Liked by 2 people

  7. So true, it’s the little things that count, and the things that are different from the same old, same old. Keeps life interesting. When are you going to get another dog?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. So DK when was this run? Last week. or the week before when I read you were through with running, I had my doubts… I wondered about your competitive 10,000 steps and the running… I through with running! Through! 🙂 ///When I have time I will write about your wonderful writing today. I will also send you two videos under separate cover that I didn’t have time to send yesterday…those two videos Speak to the Challenge of Brokenness… Perseverance, Running, being physically different, Joy and in the mix Such a Beautiful Soul Emerged…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You know, we are both observers. It might shock you to know most people are Not. So the things you notice make you a writer, an artist. The minutae.

    The asymmetry in nature always strikes me, for as we strive for symmetry, she does not. She does nothing in her grace of imperfect perfection but Exist. And we stand awestruck at the beauty of it. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes Bela. Your comment touched me in a way that Mary Oliver did this morning:

      Angels are wonderful but they are so, well, aloof.
      It’s what I sense in the mud and the roots of the
      trees, or the well, or the barn, or the rock with
      its citron map of lichen that halts my feet and
      makes my eyes flare, feeling the presence of some
      spirit, some small god, who abides there.

      If I were a perfect person, I would be bowing
      continuously.
      I’m not, though I pause wherever I feel this
      holiness, which is why I’m so often late coming
      back from wherever I went.

      Forgive me.

      ~ Mary Oliver, “Forgive Me” in Blue Horses, 2014, Penguin Press.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Good going, DK. Sometimes I’m grateful I can still run…in whatever fashion.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. David, your writing is beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Beautiful perfect chaos. Great writing. 👏

    Liked by 1 person

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