Saturday, March 17, 2012
excerpt from STRIDING THE SHORES OF AN INLAND SEA
...My urge for off-road running is satisfied, if only briefly, by the rocky, rooted trail up into the cliffs at Oakledge Park. Here, I might be forgiven for thinking I’m at the seashore somewhere in northern Maine as I run on shaded, pine-needle-cushioned trails, or leap from rock to rock while waves break, wetting my shoes. At times, the narrow trail comes dangerously close to the exposed red quartzite cliffs. It’s a sheer drop into the lake from here, and I have to balance my greed for the amazing maritime view with a more pressing need to focus on the slippery, wet rock beneath my feet.
Out there in the lake below, between Shelburne Point and pine-clad Juniper Island, sits a massive rock that in Western Abenaki tradition is considered the most important feature on Lake Champlain. Odzihozo-- Rock Dunder to the “English” -- is the creator/transformer in Western Abenaki cosmology. After he created the world--and, most importantly, Lake Champlain-- he shaped himself into this rock, where he could rest for eternity and forever admire his work.
Time after time, as I run along the edges of Burlington Bay, I find myself looking toward Odzihozo; as if to get my bearings; as if to get myself centered somehow within the huge sweep of history and landscape this shoreline reveals. Perhaps it’s fitting that an ancient creator deity would be ever-present, yet ever-changing; appearing slightly different from day to day, from hour to hour and with each shift in the light, the weather, the angle of view.
Leaving the shade of the cliffs, I turn around and head north for a few miles. By now the sun is high and the day is hotter. I watch the silver wakes of boats limn the deep blue water. By now I’m sweating hard, and ready for refreshment. At North Beach I take a quick swim, then rent a kayak for an hour’s paddle out around Lone Rock Point to Apple Tree Bay. After that, it’s time for a lunch of energy bar and sports drink, and some time spent basking in the sun.
Burlington Bay is sublime in the sunshine. But the towering afternoon clouds rolling in are magnificent, too. They filter the lowering, slanting light, sending green-gold rays beaming across the mountaintops, the water, and the sails that dot the horizon.
Though my legs are still a little tired, I feel, in the cooling air, a surprising resurgence of energy. Suddenly, it crosses my mind that the ferry across the broad lake runs all day and into the evening. A new temptation appears before me. After all, I could make it to the dock in time to catch the next crossing, and treat myself to another run, over on the New York side...
by Kevin Macneil Brown
Print copies available here: http://www.lulu.com/shop/kevin-macneil-brown/running-deep/paperback/product-18872627.html;jsessionid=723B8B748B1993E1BBEA46680381E1D8
Kindle Edition: http://www.amazon.com/Running-Deep-Meditations-Through-ebook/dp/B0078F0K6E/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1332017044&sr=1-1