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And every breath we drew was hallelujah

After getting Mia to bed last night, I went running. Out on the trails around my house instead of trapped inside on a treadmill. I was running straight out and back a long road, had made the turn and found that knowing you are heading for home makes is so much easier to keep going. Jeff Buckley was singing "Hallelujah" on my iPod, and I was wondering again whether it was an inhale or an exhale at the beginning, and thinking how the end sounds just a bit like drowning, like drifting under and away. The trail led me off to the right, away from the road I was tracking, and toward a sharp curve that would carry me down into a creek bed and give me three or four strides across a wooden bridge slung over a trickle of water before I had to force my legs to carry me back up the hill and the rest of the way home. As I rounded that curve, down away from the traffic noises and into the songs of water and insects, I ran nearly into five adult deer ranging across the path and the small field it bisected. They were contemplating an attempt at crossing the busy road, and spent a second or two contemplating me before turning away from their risky crossing and back into the woods. For one second, maybe two, I ran beside and behind them, with them, following slowly until they hit their gait and disappeared amongst the trees.

It took growing light-headed for me to realize that I was holding my breath, to remind me to breathe. I kept running, the music kept pouring into my head, and was soon joined again by the racing engines and gusts of wind from cars passing on the ever-nearer road, but from that point on I ran through silence, chasing those deer through that thin slice of woods.

Comments (38)

Wow...loved this post -- I felt like I was running with you...with the deer! Which is a good thing because I here I sit on my GROWING pregnant arse.... Sounds awesome. Deer-- LOVE!

That's just beautiful. I'm glad you got to experience such a wonderful moment!

Wow! Cool run, Beth. And I thought you lived in Manhattan.

Hmmm... almost makes me want to try that "I will learn to run" resolution I made back in January and haven't done anything about yet!

Beautifully written!

You are really starting to be a runner!

I found this about "hallelujah". Careful you're getting a little religious there!


hal·le·lu·jah or hal·le·lu·iah or al·le·lu·ia


1. used to express praise to God: used to express praise or thanks to God


That is one of the truly perfect songs in the world.

So beautifully written, Beth. I can't believe you ran with deer! Thankfully no one poked you with their horns. Only I would be worried about that, I think.

I love that song so much.

if I saw that many deer, I would have SPRINTED all the way home!

if I saw that many deer, I would have SPRINTED all the way home!

I really think that I would enjoy running, but I have terrible trouble with shin splints every time I try. I think I need to wear better shoes, so I've been looking for shoe advice. Do you mind if I ask what kind of shoes you wear when you run?

I'll bet you're glad you chose the great outdoors over the treadmill. What a great run you must have had.

you're such a runner. runner!!

Very nice! I can just picture what that would have been like. That, to me, would making running well worth it.

Ironic about Buckley's song, given his demise.

Glad you had a close encounter with the deer. I'm sure that re-engergized you for the sprint home.

wow...I can picture how amazing that must have been. Beautifully written :-)

we sit at the windows at work and watch deer all the time. my office is out in the boonies and the deer are always out playing. they are fantastic to watch.

It's nice to know that there are still parts of the great D.C. metropolis beast where quiet lives and deer make good decisions about crossing roads.

It also sounds like you've officially sold your soul to the "running" devil. I hope he gave you a good deal.

This post is absolutely beautiful - just a great audio-visual creation. WOW.

I've never heard that song, but I know what it's like to run with music in my head. It's wonderful.

What a beautiful moment. Last summer I ran along the beach at sunrise in Hilton Head, with a pod of dolphins tracking a similar course not too far away in the ocean. My best running partners to date.

OK, now you're starting to scare me! ;-)

Damn.. I feel dizzy now, too! Thanks.

Have I ever told you that my mother was attacked by a deer? Yep... Tons of stitches! I think they lost count somewhere around 150 or so. Be careful!

Lovely, Beth.

It has always been my contention that it is an inhalation followed by an exhalation.

And that's it's the greatest song ever.

that is one of my all time favourite posts from you; simply gorgeous

and that is the one song, when asked if I could choose to sing just one perefctly, that I would choose - whether the Leonard Cohen version (it being his song after all) or the Jeff Buckley one


OK, so I HATE running. But you just made me want to go do it. YAY for you and your beautiful words.

Now I'm going to go splash some cold water on my face because it's 8000 degrees outside here and running would likely kill me.

What a lovely post. It sounds like it was an amazing run.

Your deer story reminds me of the time I took a photography trip in college to Utah. I was using a large format camera, one where you have to put your head and camera under a black cloth to see anything. I wasn't very good, so it took me about 5 minutes just to focus. As I was focusing, my viewfinder went totally dark and I couldn't see anything. When I peeked my head out from under the cloth, there was a deer looking straight in my camera. It was pretty surreal -- and since it takes me so long to focus, I didn't even get any pics!

What a lovely post.

Damn, girl.

I seriously wish I would get off my butt and run everyday. I even have my own trails to do so on...motivation! That's what I need. What's yours?

wow running at night to Hallelujah. Never thought about doing that and now, tonight i'm going to. thank you.

That was wonderful.

oh sure. I go running and people call me a whore as they drive by. You go running and deer come to hang out with you. What a beautiful experience.

that was really beautiful. i remember when you wrote the post about wondering whether jeff was inhaling or exhaling at the beginning and i too have pondered the exact same thing. still haven't figured it out but am leaning toward exhale...

That was incredible - the experience and the writing. I want to run!

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So the Fish Said...

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