Between responding to student writing, answering emails, scheduling advising appointments, and completing an IRB form, I spent time wandering through the #WriteMyCommunity twitter feed.
I was struck by how my colleagues thought about writing and community.
One tweet stands out to me: an (outdoor? indoor?) wall covered in colorful writing; two writers held writing instruments and were inscribing their thoughts to the already covered wall. Like all writing, these writers were turning to a space in which other writers had left their thoughts. These two writers were just adding their voice to the past scene of writing. While the image doesn’t show what happened once to the two writers left the scene, my guess is that new writers appeared, added their voice, and the conversation continued on and on. Bakhtin and his love of dialogism as key to how meaning arises would have loved it.
The downside of this cool image was that I felt stifled. I had nothing so cool, so collaborative, so big.
So, I finished the IRB form and went on a run.
For the past year, I have been weekly running a 3-mile trail loop around Lake Zwerner just outside Dahlonega, in NE Georgia. I have only been running for about two years and this trail kicks my behind. On a good day and on a relatively flat surface, I can log high 8 / low 9 minute miles for between 5 and 7 miles. I have run just about 300 miles since the beginning of the year and just logged my fastest (for me) official 5k time at 26:02. OK for an old dude. But this trail—I have just now cracked the 30-minute mark. There are some brutal hills for sure.
The first part of the trail is a bit sandy. My feet hit the sand as I started off, quickly turning on my iPhone to track me via RunKeeper and then switching on my iPod. I have a lot of devices to start to start running; it is kinda annoying; I’m like a Xmas tree covered in wires and lights.
I plodded along the trail listening to Iron and Wine and thinking about how to get this stubborn research project off the ground.
I wrapped up at 29:43. Just the second time in a year where I came in under 30-minutes. As I was catching my breath, I looked down at the sand where I started. I could make out my Brooks footprint. But just barely. It was a gorgeous day; in the 70s with sun. Other runs came before me and came after me.
My print was on top of someone else’s. My print was covered by someone else’s.
Running is me writing my community. For a moment on a Tuesday, I added my print to the endless tapestry of prints on the trail. Others ran before me and others will run after me.
I am lucky to add my print to the wave of continual runners; I am lucky to be a part of a community of others making meaning through various activities.