I woke at 4, fell back to sleep until 5, then dreamt again and got up. If dreams can be categorized the same as data (unstructured, structured, or semi-structured), then mine qualify as ‘semi-.’ I got to the trailhead early enough I broke the webs going up. I came to the part of the forest that gets quiet, near the glacial rock deposits they call errata, climbed the switch backs to Shy Bear Pass, thinking and not thinking the whole way. I passed the Gombu Cliffs Trail and opted for the covered mineshaft grate by the boggy pond, where Dawn saw a black bear once. It said #4 airshaft seam on the marquee and I blew by it, took Clay Pit road to the excavation site that’s gone green from restoration. And then I turned back to Fred’s Railroad, checked the time, and started running.
I hadn’t run in forever or used earbuds since I realized I had tinnitus. I played my music the way kids do these days (through the phone speaker), but it didn’t work with the birds and nature sounds, so I turned it off. I thought about all I had to do when I got back and wanted to make good time. I rolled my ankle once or twice, but caught myself and bounced back.
On the new record the singer described going to Jim Morrison’s childhood home in Florida with his girlfriend, how they went downstairs and it was dimly lit, a crystal chandelier covered in dust: they both took a shard from it as a souvenir, and I could picture him holding it and how that felt, the love for an idol.
I got back to Shy Bear Pass and started heading down, picking up the pace, now running one-armed so I could hold my shoulder pack in place with the other, to keep it from bouncing. And as I picked up speed I felt young and strong again and thought about my dad, how he used to run every day and I wondered now that he was 70, if he still did — and my grandfather, when he was too old to drive and they had to take away his keys, how bad that must have felt — and I ran faster, jumping over puddles and logs, balancing on rocks, using my core strength to keep my balance — and my arm flapped like I was treading water and never once did I think about falling, it felt the way it does in dreams, to feel without a body, and fly.
When I got to the bottom it was only 8 and I remembered right before I woke, the last image I had: I must have been thinking about hiking because I’d worn through my socks and when I looked down at my foot the sole was red and raw, the color of an apple, the kind you picture in a fairy tale, charmed.
Photo by Loren Chasse, Portland, OR.