Friday, July 18, 2008

The Kite Runner

The way I combat the excesses of travel is by running. I may not be much of an athlete - but I can fly like the wind and I can go forever; and a good run, for me, is something akin to spiritual experience.

When I get to run on the road, which is not often, I try to do what I call a little landmark running - there's nothing like a run with coordinates that include the Sydney Opera House or the Lincoln Memorial

or the Acropolis...

or a a few laps around the Eiffel Tower -- to make an ordinary run...extraordinary.

When I am home, however, it's quite another story. Because I'm gone so much, I am often loathe to leave the house when I have a few days or weeks at home. And so I run here in Edgemere Park, the little greenbelt area created in the 1930's to tame the Deep Fork River that runs a block from my house.

I may have to run in concentric circles around the half-mile park to get a proper workout in - but it is for me the most cherished landmark in all my travels: this little slice of cross-timbered prairie that I call home.

And this summer - I have discovered, right here in my own little backyard, a running sensation that is greater than any I've yet to experience:

Running with Kites

Mississippi kites to be exact. They are prolific in my little neighborhood park.

Every evening, as I run just before sunset, these graceful, long-winged, insect-eating, raptors soar above my head in perfect, aerodynamic flight. They are keen aviators punctuating the air with their mesmerizing "phee-pews".

inspiring me at every turn to take flight as well.

After our nightly race, we catch our breath at the snag on the edge of the park and have a chat. They ask about the dogs and I inquire about their chicks.

I brought them pictures of their snail-eating cousins that I ran with in Brazil. They offer the odd cicada - but I must decline -- its not good to eat so soon after a run.

I love running with kites. I will miss them the rest of the summer while I am away in China. Hey guys, please wait for me. I'll migrate back to Oklahoma before you migrate back to South America - let's have one last run in September. We can bone up on Spanish before your journey south. See you then.

Runner photos by Saundra Rinearson Godwin, runner - yours truly, legs - made in Oklahoma.


kjpweb said...

What a beautiful post! Would be a great short film, too. Or - with all the places you got to see maybe a full -length feature?
Great - from all the shots I loved the closest to your home the most! Wonderful, lush greens and landscape with character!
Thank you for sharing and Cheers, Klaus!

Lana Gramlich said...

I love kites, too. We have the Mississippi variety not far from our house. The other day I saw 4 swallow-tailed kites circling lazily around the center of town (possibly scoping out the purple martin house next to the Brew Pub.)

Doug Taron said...

My favorite location that I have run so far is in Mindo, Ecuador. It was fairly flat, even though we were at enough of an elevation that I could really feel the altitude. The dirt road that I ran on wound along the Mindo river through beautiful cloud forest. If I ever get out to OK, we should run together and you can totally leave me in the dust.

Louise said...

Terrific post! So nice to appreciate the beauty everywhere you go, but home is always best. And what running buddies. Probably better than any human buddy as far as motivation!

Crayons said...

This is such an invigorating post. You've put a lot of energy into it. I enjoyed the little slice of life from home. That park is lovely, as are the kites. The Flash Gordon quality of the running shots made me want to shoot out on my bike!

Kathie Brown said...

t.r. what a great story! I loved this! Running with Kites! Perhaps I should run with Nighthawks, for evening and dawn are the only times of day when I can bear to be outside right now with this summer heat. Are you off to China for the whole summer? My sister would understand the spiritual experience that running is for you. She feels that way too. I don't think she could live if she couldn't run.

Anonymous said...

To me, you lead such an extraordinary life. You see sights and sounds most of us only dream of. I enjoy travelling along with you.

Marie Walden said...

T.R. I am with you on this. I feel like I've "bonded" with a place only after running or hiking -- some sort of sustained physical exertion.

Let's do early morning Tai Chi together in a park in Beijing. I would love that! Imagine the photo ops.

People might suspect us as communists though. It was Mao Zedong who brought the concepts of exercise and fitness to the Chinese people!

Mary said...

Great post, great pictures. I just can't get over those grrreat legs. :o)

Anonymous said...

Tim, Great pictures of your described a plan for them when you asked me to take shots the day before you left for China. Me(as I see them in their use)remember only thinking, while taking them, you would celebrate a birthday on 8/10/08 that I really wanted to celebrate in Beijing on 8/8/08. Alas, it was to be in the ever growing, coming of age, Oklahoma City I have that memory.

Xia Xia for the 8am phone call on 8/8/08 with the girls singing happy birthday in Chinese to me.
Thanks for the photo credit.

Saundra Rinearson Godwin


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