Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Fold, or all in?

Inspired by the Centennial Trail Series of paintings. Of course, it's about more than just running.

I planned and prepared well
before I set out on the trail
but it is cold, so cold.
"Push through it", I tell myself.

I am alone
my footsteps, my breathing, and my chattering teeth
the only sounds I hear.
Voices of fellow travelers, small animals scurrying in the bushes,
snakes slithering across the trail
even my brother hawks -
all gone
part of a different season.

I want to fold, go home
my excuses easy to find, logical, full of common sense
full of something.
That's what makes it so hard; sometimes you have to fold
and wait for another hand to play
but how many times have I folded when I should have gone all in?

I see white trees standing out against the burnt sienna shoreline.
Nondescript in the earlier lush, green days of summer,
this cold, stark season brings out a beauty
that I recognize in myself.

It still hurts; still is so hard
and cold and lonely on the trail
but I'm feeling something else, an energy
warmth from inside brought about by movement
and sheer perseverance.

It has to be this way
a level playing field of choice: all in or fold?
heartbreakingly easy to fold
because the return of going all in can be so great.
The trail is hard; every day the choice is new again
and you have to do it alone.

Although as I continue
I see others on the trail.
No easy Sunday afternoon participants here
they have already folded.
There is a depth of acknowledgement in the greetings we exchange,
because you can't get this far on a whim.

The sun feels warm on my face
even though it is still icy cold in the world around me
it no longer cuts at my heart.
Energy flows through to my fingers.
I feel strong, alive.

Tomorrow I will face the same choice,
and it will be just as hard as it was today
always a level playing field.
I might fold tomorrow - it has happened before
but today,
today I went all in.

End of a Season - Watercolor, 8" x 10 1/4"

Standing Out - Watercolor, 10" x 13 1/2"

Perseverance - Watercolor, 8" x 10 1/2"


  1. Wish I were out there running with you!

  2. Me too, my dear! That time will come again.

  3. Wish I was out there too. Not necessarily running though ...

  4. Kate, I rarely use gmail so I just discovered your delightful note. Your poem and artworks are stunning. Thanks for keeping me in your thoughts. I'm going to forward your blog post to a friend facing much more serious health issues than I did. Hope your new year is full of life, love, play and creativity. Stay in touch, Shelley