The other day, I snapped into the most artistic mood I'd been in for long time... right in the middle of a run.
I had a hundred things to do that evening... one of the last evenings I would spend in Jacksonville with Angela as a single woman. I was supposed to go to Michaels and then to Erica's house because I was responsible for cards for the tables at the reception. I got into Murder By Numbers (which I would advise you against seeing because it's poorly done and stupid) and had to watch it til the end. When it ended, I knew I needed to leave and get on over to Erica's, but I really wanted to do some running that day. So I laced up my shoes, packed the car with reception stuff, and drove to the visitor parking lot on the river between Haskell and The Florida Times-Union building. For some reason, I had an intense desire to run over the bridge. I began. It was twilight; the sky was pink; and throughout my 20 minute or so run, I was struck (although perhaps that's too negative and violent a word) by beauty all around me. A train track parallels the bridge. While the bridge that the cars go over soars up over the river, the bridge that trains go over seems to float on the river's surface. To allow the trains through, a giant structure drops. Most of the time this part of the track juts up into the sky awkwardly, held up by several beams and hinges, for gravity- the whole world- is constantly pulling it down. It reconnects with itself just as the train approaches, lying down while car after car rumbles over its back. Then, satisfied with a job well done, it hoists itself back into position to point straight up, sticking out like a broken rib, while the rhythm of a train, like a heartbeat, fades to silence.
Later, on my way down the slope of the bridge, a flock of birds had gathered on top of one of the tallest buildings on the South side of the river. All at once the flock fluttered up and floated out to the left, then to the right, then back to the left-- within the space of about 30 feet. One of the birds must have been standing its ground, and the bunch wouldn't leave it. It was probably a short while that seemed like a long while that they bobbed there like a balloon teathered to the roof, then, unable to convince the one to give up its spot, settled back down onto the building. Eventually I was forced to run with my back to the building in order to get back to my car. So I watched over my shoulder to see if they'd do it again. I would wonder later whether they had been swallows...
I love to run around sunset because such a dramatic change occurs in the lighting of the sky- and thereby the entire environment- before your eyes if you're outside at dusk. As I neared the end of my run, I noted that the day had been a bright, sunny, proud one, but that it recognized the beauty of the night time and seemed to bow behind the curtain so that night could take the stage, reluctant to let go, but honored to share the same sky with such a pheonomenon.