mississippi river road path, north/south
less than 5% snow-covered
Sun! Warm(ish) air! Clear path! Almost clear lungs! A great morning for a run. Listened to a playlist and floated above the path. Saw my shadow a few times but focused more on the sky–some wispy white with bright blue. The river is almost frozen over. Saw the Daily Walker twice, but both times I approached him from behind, so no “good morning” greetings today. Also saw a few fat tires and a runner running far ahead of me with a glowing yellow shirt and black shorts (of course shorts, it is above freezing after all). Experienced a runner’s high around mile 3: a big smile spread across my body, from my head to my toes, and I felt Joy. Speaking of the runner’s high I was just talking with my son yesterday about endocannabinoids and how they contribute to our feelings of elation. I wrote a poem about it two years ago:
I See Wonder in the Chemicals
suddenly, without warning I am
effervescent, bubbling over with feeling
sometimes I feel ecstatic
beside myself with joy
beside my shadow with delight
beside the world with reverence and awe
beside my mom with longing, regret, enduring love.
sometimes I feel enormous
if I stuck out my chest
and opened my mouth a bit wider
I could let in the whole world.
sometimes I feel electric
lighting up paths
nothing but pure energy,
a flow of electrons moving through the universe
how to explain these feelings?
are they chemically-induced delusions,
brought on by elevated levels of endorphins or endocannabinoids?
why do we need to explain?
can we bear witness to their wonder,
be curious about their origins and impacts
write about them
experiment with them
propose scientific theories about them
without knowing them?
naming and classifying them?
reducing them to chemicals?
claiming that we own the Truth?
I see wonder in the chemicals
their poetic names
but only when our theories about them
other ways of feeling and being.
I reworked bits and pieces of this poem into other poems. I’m not happy with this poem as it is, but I would like to re-visit and further explore this idea of wonder in the chemicals.