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Essais: On the Joy of Spontaneous Running


Do you know young people? I mean the ones that are yet to gain a sense that grown ups my actually not have all the answers. Well I don’t know if that conceit runs true, but it’s thrown about commonly enough that someone’s truth must lie within it.

The running I am talking of is the kind that you do as soon as you step out the door. Not the kind wherein adults need to have fitted, elasticated espionage grade spandex and fluorescent footwear, but the everyday sort of clip-clip outside the door, that children have; the excited run of who knows what to expect for the day, the run of energy, of hamsters on a wheel, but these hamsters have the world at their feet, to use another much loved cliché. The running, tripping, trilling break out of a run, accompanied by loud chatter, excitable chatter, along the street. One voice climbing higher above the other, pacing and matching each other in rhythm and flow like Jupiter’s moons taking their elliptical turns.

The first steps of a child is an event so anticipated; sacred, some how. The elation of those steps, something that many children will go on to do without any further celebration, which, will become as automatic as breathing, or forgetting to put the rubbish out before the refuse collectors come, is imprinted upon the face of the parent; a snapshot in time. And in time that snap shot will be overtaken by many other firsts. The unfurling of a novel life before one’s eyes has a way of cutting through, momentarily mind you, the pearl-edged ringlets of daily duties that encircle and ensnare one’s mindscape.

Over time, from the first steps, to the walk, and then the type of running that at times careers forth like a droplet of water on a window pain suddenly giving way to gravity, in busy city streets or up and down the stairs at home, the run slows again, to the walk we all know. The momentum of youth gets quartered and parcelled into prescribed moments of kinetic energy. That effervescent clatter of footsteps steadies itself. With the taming of the feet, perhaps some taming of the mind comes into play. But in the quiet moments of first light, if one pays very close attention, those rhythmic steps of potentiality reside within us still, the beating heart keeps count, and those early steps, and the promise they possessed, remain.



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