Friday, April 29, 2011

3650 DAYS




It will be ten years tomorrow. Three thousand six hundred and fifty days. It's an anniversary of sorts, but not an anniversary that just anyone gets to celebrate. It's about shedding skin, about disentangling from the razor wire, a profound decade long cleansing. It's about taking the rage and fluttering anxiety and converting it to meditation and motion and it is a gift.

I wish I could say that it was a distant memory, that the scars, both internal and external, have faded into the landscape, but they never will. It's better that way. Better to be reminded than to submit to the built in forgetter. For some the forgetter is survival mechanism, an adaptation that makes life bearable. For others, like me, it loads another round into the chamber and gives me free reign to repeat the same terrible mistakes in an endless loop. I try to keep my failures close and to pull them into view only when I lose my way. I have a failed marriage, a history of violence, millions of miles of poorly wired circuitry, and a fall back position that is set to self-destruct in my quiver. I try my best to use them to help rather than hinder my path. It used to be just the opposite. When the unravelling would commence I would seek out only what sped the process, and I would grind away until there was almost nothing left of me. Now I drag my scars and faulty wiring into the woods where I run to the sound of my own breath, my feet traveling above crushed leaves, stone, and standing water, and I imagine that I can hear the faint sound of tearing muscle fibers as I transform myself into a new machine.

Tomorrow morning I'll wake up shortly after sunrise and celebrate in silence by running one mile for every year since I left that life and joined this. HELL YEAH.

"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves. We must die to one life before we can enter another." Anatole France

Sunday, April 24, 2011

RUNNING WITH THE BEARS

As I mentioned in the previous post, I ran one loop at Bear Creek this weekend in lovely Macungie, PA. I've said just about everything I need to say about those trails, which I love, so I'll just put up a few pics that I snapped while I was out there.








Even though my right knee has felt like crap for the last 2 or 3 weeks, I've been thinking of signing up for the North Face Endurance Challenge at Bear Mountain, NY. Probably a bad idea but when compared to other bad ideas I've followed through on, this one probably ranks in the bottom one percentile. As I was driving back from Pennsylvania to New York I got the idea that it might be nice to go for a hike at Bear Mountain to scout around and see just how gnarly the terrain was. I found a scenic overlook with some white blazes on the tress and headed out. A couple of backpackers told me that if I kept going I'd hit the Appalachian Trail. I forgot how beautiful the area is even though I grew up not even 40 minutes away. I know that the trails that they hold the race on are super tech, but the area that I ran (4 mile out and back), while it had some elevation change (in the form of awesome stone staircases) there weren't a ton of rocks and roots for me to fall over. Having seen video clips of the 2009 and 2010 races, I know that I was nowhere near the race trails. It was still an amazing detour and an area that I'll be coming back to when I'm better prepared and rested. Here are some pictures that I snapped:

















Below is the elevation profile for the Bear Mountain Half:

Saturday, April 23, 2011

BEAR CREEK 4/23/2011

I wrote this while sitting in the car getting ready to hop out of the car into the rain:

sheets of rain, butterfly stomach from a new ADD med, 20bpm headstart on heart rate. like hypomania with clarity, listening to ice t-midnight and psyching myself out of the car. rob is right. injuries attack the mind. the lingering damage to the psyche remains long after flesh and bone heal.

"these motherfuckers was ill/they didnt come to play...". (Ice-T)

I found this clip of the Bear Creek trails shot by some lunatic mountain biker. Those guys are out of their fucking minds:

Bear Creek - Sep 2010 from eujinc on Vimeo.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

RANDOM CHIMNEY LOOP SHOTS

This is a tough new section of trail. It curves around the Ives Trail throughout Western CT. Each 2.25 mile loop has about 700 feet of elevation gain, which is plenty for an East Coast sissy like myself. There were some mishaps along the way involving cute girls, metal gates, and hateful left knees. Let's get to the girls/metal gate first...

Somehow I managed to not split my ridiculous head open on this:


And This:



But while crossing a little road to get to where the trail continued I got a little bit distracted by some girlie girls that had just finished running and ran into this:



A little bit closer:



And more specifically, this...



Resulting in this...



I'm sure there's a lesson to be learned in there somewhere, but for now I'm too lazy to figure out what that lesson is. On second thought, maybe it has something to do with women being poison? Not sure.



Speaking of women and poison, it's been a weird couple of days. I've been playing in the same band for 22 years. We're a bunch of musical Neanderthals that barely know the names of the strings, don't know the names of chords, and absolutely cannot read one note of fucking music. For the first decade of the band our bass player was my ex-wife. To be clear, when I mention poison alongside her name, I am the poison. We played hundreds of shows together, released two albums, and shared a nearly telepathic sense of communication, both in and out of the band. My selfishness, illness, hubris, and I did our best to destroy that perfect union, and we did. It's a long story and it is really for another time but last night Vince, our post Michelle bass player, made me a DVD that contained a bunch of shows from Philadelphia and Albany circa 1992. They were part of a big box of memories that I wanted to be rid of and he has become the gatekeeper. In these shows I was 27 and she was younger. We looked the way I'll always want to remember us; young, hostile, feral, and the four of us locked tight in the sound of our sonic hysteria (the greatest description of the band was "beautiful, repulsive, hateful, and soul wrenching"). Until a year ago it would have been far too painful to look at these memories. I still find it unsettling that I can watch myself age on Youtube and in personal show videos, that I can track the way we succumbed to the hard lives we inflicted upon ourselves, or that I inflicted upon her, if I want to be honest. But for today I sat here for a half hour or so and took in her astonishing beauty, raw talent, and savage grace. It made me smile to know that we ever were what I remembered, but it also makes me miss her terribly.

This is something I wrote for her this morning:


Murder In Technicolor 4/3/2011 Brewster, NY

We met when she was a teenager and I wasn't. She was a collection of fallen stars, here to grace the savage runoff of my life. Our union was what can never be described, the constant reminder of the frailty of our language, the failure of the connection between the most profound of moments and this empty page. The words fall away more quickly than the memories, and on the mornings when I am blessed, I can relive those early days with pinpoint accuracy. To even attempt to describe it, though, is treason; the natural curl of your hair like a nest of resting hornets, lips beyond language, the curve of your hips, and the eyes that said,'don't worry, Todd, it will be okay'.

And I can't help but think that if I were a better man, if I were even half of what you hoped I would be, we would not be sitting here or there, in our own silences, remembering the lifetimes upon lifetimes that those years gave us as gift; the stages we shared, the boardwalk we stalked in the late Fall, the nights at 13th and Spruce, that night in Rittenhouse Square, the way you held my wolves at bay for so many years. It will always be you.

Friday, April 1, 2011