Archive for June 21st, 2004

a virtual run

You put on your shoes, thinking about how the socks that you are wearing might give you a blister. But you don’t know where your other socks are, anyway it would be too much trouble to look for them. You have really cool shoes that you special ordered from nikeid.com. They make you look “with it”. Grab your ipod (also adds to “with it” image), put on some chap stick and run down the stairs. Once you get outside your hotel you realize that you didn’t put on any sunscreen, and the noon-day sun is scorching. Since you have pale skin, you run back up the stairs, thinking that the stairs should count as part of your workout. Sunscreen application takes an exceptionally long time, simply because the heinekens you drank the night before made running up the stairs less fun than anticipated, and are causing you to rethink this whole running thing altogether. But you are already dressed, and the chance to listen to your music tips the scale. Before you can change your mind, you run down the stairs and out the door. Music – Bob Seger, Roll Me Away. The road runs along the beach for a while, past architechtually straight lined houses – white with blue shutters, cream with pink shutters, all with terracotta roofs and italian brackets. The houses are complete with flower covered trellises and potted geraniums. The flowers are amazing. Most of the houses are on the left side of the street, with the beach on the right. The run is going fairly well, the road is lined and shaded with big, gnarled pine trees that smell spectacular and this encourages you to take deep breathes, and makes you feel athletic, you know how to breathe. The only thing that you would change is the mopeds that keep speeding past you, carrying beach clad greek people to some nook of the island that is yet to be discovered. Looking to your right, across the sea, mainland greece is no more than a few miles away. You spot a couple hotels and big looking houses, wondering if people actually live there and who is staying in the hotel and isn’t it weird that Odysseus lived here. But you are glad to be on your little island. You like islands, but like them best when you can see the mainland. The road starts to incline, and you glance at your watch to see how long you have been gone. Five minutes. You tell yourself that this might be a short lived run. But you keep going, the Greek kids are staring at you, and you will show them. As you climb the hill, houses appear on your right, on the cliff, hindering your view of the water. These new houses are big, and blocked from view by big hedges and tall trees, possibly leland cypreses, but you don’t know. You wish you knew more flowers names, and plan on looking them up on the internet. Your still trucking along. It is fun to look through the breaks in the hedges at the houses, and image what it would be like to have a key to the door in the hedge. You can tell the gardens around the houses are exceptional. But the gardens on the road leave you dumbfounded anyway. Terraced gardens, well taken care of, and a wheelbarrow here and a trellis there. Your knees are a little sore, probably from the fifty pound backpack you were lugging around on Saturday. But you are a fighter. The sky is the most unbelievable blue, unless of course you look at the water, which puts the sky to shame. It is the deepest blue, and you can’t image anything in nature that comes close to this shade of blue. A ferry passing by leaves an aquamarine wake in its path through the deep blue. Deep breathing, as the road inclines again, and the smell of the pine trees is overwhelming and invigorating. There is some bug, or frog or something in the trees that is making a comforting rhythmic noise. The farther you get out of town, the less mopeds, which is nice. But the trees are starting to thin. There are dead trees strewn about on the cliffs, and signs in greek about forest fires. You think about how difficult Greek is as a language. Finally, you are no longer provided with shade. You are in the sun. And it is hot. But the wind is blowing. check watch, 17 minutes. You can make it to 20. there is a curve in the road, and this gives a little shade for a second. The road inclines again and you are back in the sun, and at this point you are pretty high above the sea, and you can see a lot. Ever curve in the road reveals another cove, with more soothing water and pretty rocks. But at this point, you are hot and starting to think about what time you went to sleep last night. Check your watch, run to a stop sign at the top of the curve, and slow to a trot and then a walk. Turn around and walk back the way you ran, taking in every daisy, oleander, pansy, geranium, jasmine, queen annes lace that you missed on your run, and make up names for all the flowers you don’t know the names for. Music to start your walk – Operator – Jim Croce.

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