Monday, 30 June 2008

All creatures great and small

I ended up switching my long run to Saturday and running my short 2.5 mile run yesterday morning before going to the excavation. After doing some shopping late Saturday afternoon, I headed over to Port Meadow to check out its running suitability prior to Sunday’s planned run.

Port Meadow is bordered on the west by a canal and to the east by train tracks, the latter thankfully screened by a wooded area. In the center of the meadow is a marshy pond. Although it’s public land, anyone is allowed to graze their livestock on it. I saw only swans and other birds during my walk, but the frequent appearance of dried cow patties throughout the meadow attested to its use by local livestock.

I stupidly went to sleep late, well after midnight, but still woke up when my alarm sounded at 6 am. I got dressed, laced up my shoes and was out the door in minutes, even forgoing my ipod as I was too lazy to strap it to my arm.

During my trot through town (I’m not such a pansy after all) I only came across one other person, a local store owner prepping his shop for the day. He looked at me as if I were clinically insane then continued about his business.

I crossed over the bridge spanning the railroad tracks then descended the hill towards the gates into Port Meadow. Once I cleared the trees I saw that I was not alone. Not only was there a man walking his dog who cheerfully wished me a good morning, but in the middle of the field through which I was planning to run there was a herd of horses, probably about thirty of them in total. They were beautiful. In amongst the group were about a half dozen foals as well. I paused for only a moment, wondering if I should continue on my planned path, but decided that these animals were probably quite used to human company in the meadow, so I continued on.

They paid me little mind. Some would step to the side of the path as I approached, but others would just continue doing their thing and make me trot on the grass around them. I didn’t care. I was just amazed at the situation.

It probably bears mentioning here that I adore animals. For the longest time I actually planned on becoming a vet a la James Herriot until my obsession with archaeology took over completely in high school. Part of me still wishes I had chosen that path instead, but the greater part of me knows that I probably couldn’t have coped well with losing patients. If you screw up in archaeology, no one dies (unless you’re Indiana Jones) and that is much more my speed, I think.

Anyway, I continued on the trail, spotting two herds of cattle in the distance as well as a plethora of bird life in the pond including a large number of swans. I entered into the next field for the last quarter mile of my run, spying eight rabbits on the path, before my turn around point.

As I came back into the meadow I noticed that one herd of cattle had now joined with the horses. All seemed to tolerate the biped in their midst with mild resignation which was much appreciated, I have to say. I tried to keep a careful distance so as not to disturb anyone during their breakfast, but most of the time I was still within arm’s reach. As I passed through the main gate again, I turned around for one last look at my companions for the morning’s run before continuing on, very glad that I had finally tried a new running route and that I hadn’t brought along my ipod.

I will definitely be running in Port Meadow more often now, if only to catch a glimpse of my four-legged friends once again.

Ci vediamo dopo. (See you later)

16 comments:

Theresa said...

Awww, baby horses. Too cute. I got to see tiny kittens this weekend.

(note my avoidance of the mention of running...must get back out there...sigh)

Marcy said...

You learn something new about peeps everyday! After that Bambi post I would have never guessed :P ;-)

chia said...

you make me smile :-). What a great run!!! It's times like these where I wish it was easier to take a camera :-)

Merry said...

I've discovered livestock in my neighborhood. One of my neighbors across the street has a rooster. I live in a pretty suburban area (as opposed to a pretty, suburban area) so that seems really bizarre to have a rooster.
Sounds like a beautiful run!

RazZDoodle said...

Now THAT is a cool run!

See what happens when you get up early? :)

paintmedioxazine said...

keep it up! the blogging AND the running that is. (=

Shanna said...

WOW...very cool! Wish I could try that trail! =)

Nitmos said...

Are you sure you were running and not looking at a post card? This all sounds to made up.

Non-Runner Nancy said...

Wow, sounds great. I might have been a little more apprehensive but sounds like they were fine with it. I bet they were gorgeous.

Viper said...

any run that has the danger of trampling is a good run. that is, of course, if you don't actually get trampled.

Running Knitter said...

Sounds like a great run! Maybe next time you can take pics...would love to see them.

Viv said...

That sounded like a great scenic run. If some baby cow tries to get in front of me on the bike this week, it is on you. LOL!

I am still laughing at clinically insane.

The Laminator said...

Wow Xenia, what an awesome run. If I could find such scenery, I'd get up at 6AM too...Very cool. Next time you go, you should think about bring back some pictures of the magnificent animals.

P.O.M. said...

That sounds incredible. You're like a running Cinderella. Next thing you know, you'll be singing to the animals and they will help make you a dress. hee hee.

Ellen said...

I love this post. It reads like a National Geographic feature. Excellent, job.

chris said...

Wow. You don't get runs like that in Oklahoma. Very nice...