Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Nature Blog 1

There aren’t a lot of running trails for me to get to without a car. The closest one is about three miles away from my apartment and unless I’m training for a marathon, it’s out of the way. I have to stick to running on sidewalks, something I don’t enjoy. It’s a constant run and stop. Each corner I have to look left, right, left again, and raise my hand up to thank the incoming traffic for waiting. Even if it’s a red light, I thank them for listening to the rules of the road.
It was around fall time when I found it. There’s a spot right next to the University of Pittsburgh where cars couldn’t get to. It’s a secret garden minus the garden. There is stairs leading down to it. If you look straight ahead, it seems like the field is swallowing you.  Once I put my headphones on, I forget I’m in the city. Today, it’s just me inside this mouth.
The snow is seeping into my shoes making my socks wet. I don’t mind because I have this field all to myself. The only footprints in the snow are mine. Well, that’s not’s true. Some kind of rodent has left their mark in the snow. Rabbits? Squirrels? A deformed hobbit? Whatever made the footprints knew I was coming. I follow the markings, but it disappeared right in the middle of the field. Maybe it was some sort of flying rat.
The cold air is like my personal water bottle. If I need a drink, I just take a deep breath. It’s good for days when I’m doing sprints, especially in the snow. I try to step in the same footsteps that I made. I don’t want to ruin the whole field. It was more appealing before I came here.
My iPod just died.
I hear the traffic. The cars are coming to get me. It’s time to leave.


  1. Be sure to take a photo if by chance you see the deformed hobbit or even if it's just a rabbit. I love that the cold air is like your personal water bottle. Great line. I also like the image of you running in your own footprints.

    I'm thrilled that we are actually getting to participate in winter down south this year. We've had snow twice and for the first time in my life, I saw snow on Christmas.

  2. The idea that the air is your own personal water bottle is a beautiful and relate-able image. Winter air breathes deeply and the moisture of the snow is refreshing.

    I also thought it was great that you continued the image of the field swallowing you by describing yourself as "in this mouth." Good stuff; I'm excited to hear more, and especially if you discover the hobbit, rabbit or ::gasp:: another runner!

  3. I, too, liked the mouth analogy. I also find it interesting toward the end when you write how you didn't wnat to ruin the field by your own footprints, how it was more appealing before you arrived. Perhaps, next time, you could explain why? What makes your footprints so much different than that of another animal? Aside from the fact that the others disappear and yours have very discernable tracks that come and go.

  4. I'm curious too, like Nicole is, about what made this place more appealing before. Did it somehow feel unspoiled? Untouched? That's something that often characterizes *wild* places, that they don't bear the mark of human impact.