|Running & solitude
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
I saw a pair of geese courting on the Thames this morning. As I jogged past, one loudly honked a magnificent crescendo, discordant to my ears but clearly pleasing to the other. She dipped her neck coyly into the river and rubbed beaks with the vocalist. After a brief denouement, he followed her example, and I think it's best to draw a discreet veil over the ensuing flapping, mounting, and vigorous tail-bobbing.
Hm, perhaps I fail at discretion.
I discovered very quickly that I can't run while wearing headphones. I tried earbuds, those ones that go behind your head, etc, but I just don't like the feeling of them. I thought perhaps it was the cables connecting them to my MP3 player, so I tried a very embarrassing experiment at 5:30 AM with a pair of fuzzy earmuffs and that didn't work either. Being unable to listen to music or audiobooks for those 45 minutes out next to the river bothered me for a while, but it stopped once I started to appreciate all the sounds I hear around me. There are geese and the ducks, of course, including a rather creepy hybrid mallard/wood duck with black-ringed yellow eyes whom I call Mephistopheles. There are the dogs and their humans, who greet me in their own ways, sometimes resulting in some rather acrobatic moves on my part so that I can continue on my path. There are the other runners, who understand that a smile and a brief head-bob is friendly enough, and conserves oxygen.
Most importantly, though, I've learned not to hate the contents of my own brain as it whirls around, cataloging sensory input, noting the appearance of new leaves on this or that tree, the sound of the rowers' oars as they puff their way along in their lean boats and the very special aroma of the sewage treatment plant as it fires up. It surprised me to learn just how variable the smell of the, er, output of thousands of Londoners can be. No really.
I should stop before I lower the tone any further, shouldn't I?