My favourite thing about running (so far) is the security of it. More than comfort food, more than a big night out in a bar with a few friends, I know that running will make me feel better. Every single time. I was furious when I went for my run today, and elated by the end of it, and in between I was alternating grinning and gasping for breath.
At about minute 42 (having shed the fury around minute 15, and warmed with pride at myself by minute 28) I remembered a dream I had last night. I was a teenaged boy, and I'd walked out the front of the house I grew up in as a child, on a gritty back-street in Newtown (back when the grit of Newtown was more dirt and less boutique). Up long strings tied to the front porch from the narrow strip of garden a riot of vegetables was growing, astoundingly fast- I'd stepped out expecting to see seedlings, but there were already heavy green tomatoes and bean pods beginning to lengthen and purple. As I poked through the green forest of vegetables something fell from the sky, and I ran to the footpath to look at it. It was a bird, some sort of bird of prey with a hooked beak and sharp claws and dark, intelligent eyes. I picked it up- it was obviously injured, with blood in the feathers at the back of it's neck. It didn't struggle or attack me, and I knew that meant it was badly hurt. So I began to run to try to find a vet to take it to, running the back streets of Newtown in the body of a teenaged boy with this bird heavy in my arms, the light in it's eyes fading as I went, and the fear that it would die growing in me. Every street was an obstacle course of construction sites and immovable gates. In the moments before I woke up I realised I could see through the split skin and feathers at the back of the bird's head to the viscera of it's spine and nerves, and I knew that I was probably too late, and that it would probably die after all.
I woke up, and the dream slipped away- I don't think I could have recalled what it was about by the time I had my coffee. I went about my day of house-meeting and friend-meeting, until I went for a run and suddenly remembered the dream with startling clarity, in a precise and coherent narrative order. It reminds me of something that happens sometimes in the meditation of a yoga or karate class: extremely vivid, sensorially-detailed recollections of something long forgotten will flood in. The last time I went to a yoga class I spent the five quiet minutes at the end visiting every share-house I've ever lived in: every hallway and plaster-crumbling living room and the smell of every kitchen.