Wisdom, Buddha, and Freedom

“Excuse me,” says the woman in the blue van, pulling up alongside me.  “Have you seen two loose dogs running around? ”   “No,” I pant, and realize it’s true.  She zooms off, and I smile to myself, celebrating the wisdom of choosing a new running route.  I have not seen a single dog off-leash for the past week.  I am running up Granite Street, chugging like a locomotive.  The hill is long and steep; the exhaust from the passing cars is thick as it enters my lungs.  It’s only for a mile or so, breathing this bitter air, before I turn onto Phillips Ave. in Pigeon Cove.  The new route leads my by the sea on the other side of town, this side where the dogs are either on leashes or indoors.

The sidewalk on Granite Street is uneven at best, nonexistent at worst.  The uphill section is mostly during the beginning of my run, and the six mile loop has the payoff of a long, long downhill on the last third of my run.  I have the option of going all the way to Halibut Point and adding another two and a half miles on days I want more, and can also sidetrack down Curtis Street and Stockholm if  I want to add another mile or more on top of that.   I keep my eyes to the ground, watching closely for bumps and lumps and holes, careful to avoid the construction trucks that line the edge of the street where houses are being reconstructed in the most mammoth of fashions.  I pass the garage where I take my car to be fixed, the old Pigeon Cove firehouse, the Yankee Clipper where my son works on the weekends.  I don’t see anyone I know, but already have met and greeted a couple of other runners out on my schedule.

I make the turn onto Phillips Ave., pass the Emerson Inn, and head down the quiet, flat street, stealing glimpses of the ocean on my right.  I can’t see the Twin Lights from here, but look ahead to Andrew’s Point.  The surf is high, crashing tremendous curls onto the granite shore.  As I close in on the end of Point De Chene, I can feel salt spray on my cheeks.  The houses seem dangerously close to the sea on this street; the waves lick the foundation of one house and burst upon the windows of another.  I like the way the stone buildings hold their own against the winter waves’ assault.

The air is cold and damp.  My cheeks are frozen, but the thick gel I have slathered on before the run does its job, preventing frostbite on the exposed skin.  I round the corner onto Vine Ave., and suddenly am out of the wind and running on a dirt road in the woods, the ocean out of sight behind me.  It’s a tiny street, uphill, with almost no houses.  I explore with my eyes as I turn onto Linwood, which connects back to Point De Chene. I pass a tiny bungalow with a purple front door.  It looks like the kind of house from an Alice Hoffman novel, falling down with both neglect and love.  A chubby Buddha presides over the untidy garden, keeping watch.

The bright fiddles of The Corrs on my iPod bring a dance to my step and the sweetness of the music reflects the ease of my mood.  I run back along Phillips Ave., breathing easy, grateful for the peace I feel on today’s run.  The Black Eyed Peas take me down the hill, their upbeat rhythms reach deep into every muscle in my legs and I fly back down Granite Street, the freedom and joy of running returned to its rightful place, fear and pepper spray left in the dust behind me.

Explore posts in the same categories: Run notes that run into life, Training

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5 Comments on “Wisdom, Buddha, and Freedom”

  1. Elizabeth Says:

    Lovely post today, Cookie Monster! 😉 Glad you have found a new, dog-free (hopefully) route. I could really see the land and sea as you described it.

  2. I love your acknowledgment of that obnoxious house on Granite Street “being built in the the most mammoth of fashions”. Your posts are a vicarious experience in running, and even better, running on Cape Ann. Like you, your readers are enjoying the new route.

  3. That’s my little house next to the mammoth one! Nice writing, Elizabeth. So, if I run six miles a day, leaving from my house, our routes intersect for at least a mile and a half. Do we know each other?

    I’d like to hear more about your veganism if you’d share.

    • Hi Heather, We do not know each other yet, but have a mutual friend— Jane. She has told me many times that we should meet. Perhaps a run date? Would love to talk about vegan life! Thanks for reading, Elizabeth

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