The Recycling Box
28 June 2019

Presque Isle National Park, Marquette, Michigan

A 12 hour delay, as they charge the high dock with iron ore, means I can break away from the ship and explore this national park which abuts the dock we’re moored at.

Off I go running through the wet wild woods by my wild lone. Beneath my feet twisted roots, decaying leaves, deer scat and the footprints of hikers and runners who’ve gone before me. Above, dense canopy, still wet from yesterdays rain. The path undulates, rises and falls, skirts trees and the edge of cliffs. This is bear country, this is Jim Harrison country, Tom Thompson country, Ojibway country. At the apex of my run and its highest elevation I come upon a rocky outcrop overlooking mighty Lake Superior to the sound of Arthur Lee’s Love and the swirling horn crescendo that is the coda of You Set The Scene (the few of you who know what I’m talking about, KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT) such beauty, in nature and in art.

As I run, my mind whirrs, its aimless, arbitrary machinations settle upon one thing and then another. I think of all the pets I’ve ever had and wonder who will remember them when I’m gone, remember their names, their quirks. All those great companions long dead.

Let’s all subscribe to the Ojibway notion of things. That there is a great creator and that life is cyclical. The world is too full of loss not to, and nature is a tireless recycling box, so perhaps all these past companions are here with me, in the air I’m breathing, the mist on my face, the soil beneath my feet, the rain that falls and the great wind that carries clouds across the sky. That’s a place I could get used to. A universe we should all live in.