an image diary

"And if he left off dreaming about you, where do you suppose you'd be? ... You'd be nowhere. Why, you're only a sort of thing in his dream! If that there King was to wake you'd go out -- bang! -- just like a candle!"

"Hush! You'll be waking him, I'm afraid, if you make so much noise."

"Well it's no use your talking about waking him when you're only one of the things in his dream. You know very well you're not real."

Wednesday, July 6, 2005


There is a logic here, some reason that explains the recurring tenderness along my shin bones--some days nagging, some nearly debilitating--when I start training to run distance. Some physics-bound reason contained in an arch. Whatever it is, I don't have it, or them: I have no arches. My footprint is wide, fully fleshed on the inside, flat, or fallen, as they say. I wore "special shoes" as a kid, thick-soled corrective saddles that made the center of my foot ache and my ankles turn, as if the bridge in the shoe would impress my sole with a curve, after all. I've turned a lot of ankles in my life and I've worn down a lot of heels along the outside edge, "pronating," as the doctor says, to compensate for the missing arch.

I am not built to run, so I must do it very slowly for many months with a mind towards strengthening every muscle in each foot, and in my ankles and calves, and around my knees. I can do it, but there's a price. My feet and ankles swell, have been swollen now for several weeks, and I wrap them, and stretch them, and soak them, and ice them, and practice toe raises while balancing on on a foot rocker that brings back the familiar ache in the center of my sole where the arch should be. Right about now, I want to give up, my five morning miles, my three. I want to kick my feet up and read in the tub. A week now without that slow long run, even the walk, and it is hard to look at these bones, the tendons, the muscle along the front of my shin that bulges larger than most--probably larger than yours--when I flex my foot. I don't have a name for it as I do for the pain (medial tibial stress syndrome), but I know it is my grace, my way back home the way runners say when they get out too far and must still get back: I have my feet and we can walk if we need to. It is more compensation for the arch, this one band of muscle, a strength I can build against my fallenness if I need to.

"and what is the use of a book...without pictures or conversations?"

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