Feet On the Ground

Out on the trails at 6:45 this morning,
concentrating on where I place my feet
as I run along the rocky, rutted paths.

Lifting my knees that are scarred from various falls,
repeating my internal mantra that keeps me focused and upright:
Feet on the ground, feet on the ground.
Head down and pumping arms as I push against the wind.
Feet on the ground, feet on the ground.

Running down into a ravine and up the other side,
calling out to the young rabbits I see there most days.
No bunnies.
I run past, slightly deflated by the missed interaction.
Slightly puzzled.

Then movement to my left and I think
Ah, they’re over on that side today.
I turn.
Two coyotes startled by my voice, leaping sideways
from where they’d been lying alongside the trail.
Just feet from me and my brain that’s focused on bunnies.
I lift my head and look around, spotting a third coyote farther away.

The four of us watch each other, uncertainty heavy in the air.
What’s the next move?

I offer a quiet apology and continue running,
my grin wide as I watch where I place my feet.

I’m still smiling fiifteen minutes farther along the trail
when a full-grown bunny jumps out in front of me and
races ahead, leaving me in her dust.

Feet on the ground, feet on the ground.