Life Under the Apple Tree

Thinking Out Loud

AEDM Day 10: Ghost Runner

with 3 comments



"Ghost Runner" journal page

(Updated 11/11: The page with journaling.)

I’m still sick today and did not feel like doing art, so that may be why I picked the thing that I am least good at: painting. I slapped a couple colors on a piece of paper and called it enough. I even took the ultimate easy way out and painted a ghost. That ghost is me — the runner I used to be, but am no longer. At least not right now. There’s still a small glimmer of hope left in me that I might get back into it in the spring. But I don’t know how many more times I can keep hoping and have my hopes dashed. It has been almost two years since I started getting injured every time I tried to run. Running has come to mean pain and disappointment, but there’s still a small part of me that remembers the triumph and joy, the physical power, the euphoria, the “runner’s high,” the feeling of being a strong and beautiful woman. Maybe someday I will experience all that again.

I’m learning as I return to my creative self after so many years that what I love about art is the way it focuses the attention (even though today I am short on attention). The act of drawing or painting involves a relaxing focus on something that I find beautiful or important. (Compared to the act of writing, which stresses me out over trying to say something perfectly, to explain myself, or to make someone understand.) Even if a work of art is “bad” (like today’s painting), it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. It was the time spent “loving what I love,” as Mary Oliver says, that matters. In the act of creating visual art, you “let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.” It’s such a physical and calming process for me, when I relax into it. Creating is an act of appreciation and gratitude.

Oliver’s full poem:

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Written by cherapple

10 November, 2009 at 10:55 pm

3 Responses

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  1. I am liking your journal pages. I think it will be much more interesting since all your papers are different in size and material than if it was a book of uniform pages. I have been wanting to start one so I am glad you included the info about the videos.
    I wish for you that will you be able to return to running.


    12 November, 2009 at 8:47 am

  2. I miss running too : ( The elliptical is just not the same. I hope you can return to your love.

    I LOVE your blog and artwork – and your 30 second drawing is great!


    12 November, 2009 at 10:24 am

  3. Thank you, Suzie. I am rather liking my haphazard journal!

    Tami, I agree, the elliptical is fun, but it’s leaves a little to be desired, like fresh air and the outdoors. Unfortunately, right now I am not exercising at all. Just resting in a kind of state of mourning, I guess. I’m sure I’ll get myself back into shape again somehow at some point. Have you had injury problems, too?


    12 November, 2009 at 11:03 am

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