The Sound of Running

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Running to me is not about exercise, muscle and sinews; it is a sensuous thing involving all the senses. My auditory senses were the main beneficiary on Sunday. I ran from home and had to pass through a small housing estate, along a footpath to the local primary school and then out into the fields and woods. As I passed through the estate there was the sound of children playing outside, how wonderful to hear children enjoying the open air and being sociable. Along the footpath I caught up with a woman pushing a child in a buggy. She was chatting away to the child, pointing out all the things to look at; primroses, a starling, a dog. There can be no more heart-warming sound that a mother talking lovingly to her child.

As I neared the fields I could hear sheep making quite a din and as I got closer the noise got more frenetic. Then I saw why, the farmer had just arrived with a sack of feed. I stopped and chatted for a while then ran on. As I got further away the noise die down and for a moment all I could hear was my breathing and the sound off my feet of the tarmac drive. That soften as I turned on to the muddy track, however my breathing got louder as it was uphill.

Then came the sound of the church bells from the nearby village, which got louder as I approached. I love churches and I love the sound of bells. I’m not religious at all, but I think churches are a great link with the community and the past; a constant thread stretching back hundreds of years. The bells fell silent and I stayed a while enjoying the peace and looking out over the cemetery. It is well maintained and many of the graves have fresh flowers on them. I don’t see it as a place of death, but a remembrance of lives once lived.

My route took me towards the sea and the evocative cries of seagulls. For me that sound conjures up memories of holidays on the coast; sunshine, paddling in the sea, sand between your toes, ice-cream and drifting off to sleep tired and contented. Then I turned inland across a stream and into the woods. I find the sound of running water relaxing, unless it’s a raging torrent, then I find it invigorating. In the woods small birds were calling out, either to mark their territory or to attract a mate. All too soon I was out of the woods and back into the fields where the only sound was my breathing. When I passed them again the sheep were silent, presumably their hunger was satisfied.

It was then back through the estate where my contemplative mood was rudely interrupted by the strident beeping of a lorry reversing. My magic running world was gone, but I’ll be back there again soon.

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