Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Sirens On The Street

The first Detroit sirens I ever heard were over the phone. I was talking to my then-boyfriend and could here in the noise from the street through the open window. Still stuck in Texas, sirens made me think of cities, of a certain urban loneliness, and that sound alone shaped more of what I knew I was going to then anything else could. When I got there, I started a very different life. In Texas I had run each day on the streets, hot as it was, which was like an oven until December and then it became a slightly cooler oven. The street I lived after was not conducive to running at all, and I found that I did not miss it, did not miss communing with all that godforsaken nature, did not miss being hooted at by men with clearly nothing better to do than yell disturbing comments out their truck windows, and did not miss the masochistic act of forcing myself to pretend for all the world as though I was the kind of person who enjoyed it, who hit that runner's high. The best I could muster most days was not wanting to kill myself before and during. I suspect this is not what people mean by an endorphin rush.

Since the early years, I have run outside during a few stretches, particularly during times of deep stress and tension. Despite all my previous complaints, there is one good thing about the practice -- it's so miserable that it makes your mental miseries disappear. This brief respite from the endless loop of anxiety that can play in your mind, well, this break is worth it. When I do run, I try to appreciate what's around me, as difficult as that is. There's a leaf, there's a puddle, there's a man not wearing a shirt who should really consider wearing a shirt. But the only thing that really gets my attention is still the sound of a siren, the wail that is different from any other. I say a prayer for whatever crisis is happening. I try to get out of the way. But the sirens on the street, well, most of the time I can't tell if they're behind me or in front of me.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I thought, I'm not going to parade my defects, my history of being a spiritual cripple, out in front of a lot of other people. But once in a while I'd write a little more—I would just hear the voices." Denis Johnson

Cocktail Hour
Drinking movie suggestion: High Fidelity

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy birthday to my dear friend Robin!


Homer simpson said...

Watch out for sirens! Duh!

the walking man said...

"When I do run, I try to appreciate what's around me, as difficult as that is. There's a leaf, there's a puddle, there's a man not wearing a shirt who should really consider wearing a shirt."

You found it, the place that is away from all that is you. the first step to a quiet mind is forgetting yourself and focusing on what is around you. For two minutes pick a leaf off a tree and count the different shades of green.

Sirens are calls, not as good as a a phone , but calls none the less to the One who allows me to companion with him. Sometimes the calls actually come when some runner asks and God would rather hear that than a siren anyway. It's faster.



eric313 said...

I hate when radio stations play comercials or songs with sirens. If I'm not expecting to hear one, I have to look everywhere and see if it's real, and then I get pissed and turn the radio station. Bad idea by whoever puts that crap together.

You're a great read as always. A little fast today, but that's really a good thing, isn't it?
Take care

eric313 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
eric313 said...

My first response double downed on me, had to nix it.

Anyway, I guess it makes great sense that your post reads too fast; it is about running through the streets in Texas and Detroit, after all!

JR's Thumbprints said...

The more I think of it, I like the feeling of pure exhaustion from running. It makes me too tired to argue, too tired to fight. I can't say it really clears my head though.

Jason said...

Hey I'm, still reading! Just busy. :)

Susan Miller said...

You made me think of a story, of getting lost in a run and having life startle you back.

As always, I gain inspiration here.

Thanks, Michelle.

Dan said...

Michelle, you're absolutely right. Doing anything that requires nearly constant attention is very meditative. It stops our constantly working mind for a while. I wish I had a big on-off switch for my head. Hiking is such a switch, but I only get to do it once a week maximum.

You write so beautifully Michelle. And you do it every day! Amazing! Hugs!

Robin said...

Hey Michelle,
Thanks so much for the birthday wishes! The day was beautiful, and hopefully I'm another year wiser...