Monday, October 19, 2009

Running off-piste

I painted this watercolor a month or so ago. Title: Above Sunflower Falls: Fawn Nursery, 12 x 9 inches. I've been running all summer in an area occupied by a group of does and their fawns. Now the time is approaching when the bucks rejoin the doe and yearling groups and they head to lower ground. October is the gentlest month, and it's been a warm one here in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. This morning I ran up Picacho and saw a doe and her fawn. The fawns have reached a good size in this gentle autumn, and there is still plenty for them to eat. Picacho's summit is at 8,577 feet. It's a steep but accessible and short climb, 49 minutes up and 26 minutes down, if you run slowly, like I do.

I took a little-used, half-hidden trail. I usually avoid trails, perhaps because I’ve been shot at three times over the years by strangers while running on trails. That’s life in America, where everyone is armed to the teeth and proud of it. Fortunately for me, all of my assailants had bad aim and/or were drunk, and I was never hit. Armed drunks aside, I prefer finding my way off-piste.  I like to use map and compass, sight lines and intuition. There is much to be said for aimless wandering. People who study deer report that their movements are unpredictable, as though they decide from one moment to the next where they are going.  If you don’t know where you are going, neither does the mountain lion or drunken hunter. Aimless wandering cuts down on thinking and fosters a different kind of consciousness.

Pregnant Atop Picacho, 2001

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