walking to the subway this morning with bags in hand, solitary traveler among the throngs in the urban jungle. packets of green, notably the park i am skirting on my last steps before the terminal entrance, fleck the otherwise grey landscape, providing a pleasant noise to the constant signal of dwelling and commerce. suddenly i am hit with a dense olfactory burst of lush vegetation — fetid, alive, of mud and wet leather.

verdant …

my thought splits in two directions. in the first, slightly more immediate, i am transported back nearly two decades in time to the high school cross-country running team and its races in the damp of an eastern ontario autumn. royal trails, carpets of fallen leaves immersed in a layer of moisture as they continue their journey back to the soil.

in the other direction, slightly more rational, i wonder if i have the right word in mind. verdant? though i have no way to be certain as i navigate the signal and noise of the journey at hand, the dictionary of my mind is convinced: this smell, deeply inhaled in a fleeting instant, is verdant, and it has evoked a lush, rich patch of memories, perhaps not quite whole as with an ecosystem, but rather as one might still breathe life from a bouquet of hand-picked flowers.

training runs to fort henry hill. plantagenet. an entire topography of irregularity — surfaces, conduit widths, distances — as we leave the domestic domain of track for the wilds of cross-country competition. cool, crisp air and a soggy undergrowth. rich kids wearing racing spikes and spandex tights, poor kids wearing simple running shoes and repurposed soccer shorts, others falling somewhere in between. retching as i gasp for oxygen only steps from the finish line. third place.

and, once upon a time, that fetid whiff embracing a body in motion.



One response to verdant

- rss feed for this comment thread
  1. sportsBabel » Somatic Flux, Tactile Burden says:

    [...] Designer architecture. Chipped concrete curbs and asphault blacktop. Abandoned lots. Thatch and decomposing undergrowth. What aqua gives (life), it also takes away (decay). Speed makes us forget sometimes [...]