Friday, July 18, 2008

The Kite Runner

The way I combat the excesses of travel is by running. I may not be much of an athlete - but I can fly like the wind and I can go forever; and a good run, for me, is something akin to spiritual experience.

When I get to run on the road, which is not often, I try to do what I call a little landmark running - there's nothing like a run with coordinates that include the Sydney Opera House or the Lincoln Memorial

or the Acropolis...

or a a few laps around the Eiffel Tower -- to make an ordinary run...extraordinary.

When I am home, however, it's quite another story. Because I'm gone so much, I am often loathe to leave the house when I have a few days or weeks at home. And so I run here in Edgemere Park, the little greenbelt area created in the 1930's to tame the Deep Fork River that runs a block from my house.

I may have to run in concentric circles around the half-mile park to get a proper workout in - but it is for me the most cherished landmark in all my travels: this little slice of cross-timbered prairie that I call home.

And this summer - I have discovered, right here in my own little backyard, a running sensation that is greater than any I've yet to experience:

Running with Kites

Mississippi kites to be exact. They are prolific in my little neighborhood park.

Every evening, as I run just before sunset, these graceful, long-winged, insect-eating, raptors soar above my head in perfect, aerodynamic flight. They are keen aviators punctuating the air with their mesmerizing "phee-pews".

inspiring me at every turn to take flight as well.

After our nightly race, we catch our breath at the snag on the edge of the park and have a chat. They ask about the dogs and I inquire about their chicks.

I brought them pictures of their snail-eating cousins that I ran with in Brazil. They offer the odd cicada - but I must decline -- its not good to eat so soon after a run.

I love running with kites. I will miss them the rest of the summer while I am away in China. Hey guys, please wait for me. I'll migrate back to Oklahoma before you migrate back to South America - let's have one last run in September. We can bone up on Spanish before your journey south. See you then.

Runner photos by Saundra Rinearson Godwin, runner - yours truly, legs - made in Oklahoma.

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