Zen Track Rambling came about quite by chance: First, as a joyful account to capture the feelings I experienced during my long runs; and secondly, as a means to relieve the pain, depression, and general helplessness I felt during a long-term injury. My running journey has led me to extreme highs, but has also plunged me, bipolar-like, into the depths of depression.
The journey began in Starved Rock State Park, outside of LaSalle, Illinois, in August 1999, when I was an expatriate in Australia working in the States for a spell. At sunrise, I'd run the trails before work, then share in a communal breakfast with my workshop colleagues; yet during the work day, I would drift and daydream. I was 50-something, and felt disconnected, not knowing who I was or where I was headed. But I put my time to good use during those humdrum workshops: I'd scribble the memories from the day's run on scraps of paper! The result of my ennui was an accumulation of paper scraps marked with ruminations of my daily runs.
On my flight back to Australia, I gathered those scraps and magically scribed the poem Zen Track Rambling.
The title of the poem, however, is unrelated to my morning runs on the Starved Rock trails even though they were the poem's inspiration; rather, Zen Track is a name my Australian running mates and I coined to describe a scorching-hot, blustery bike path that runs along a railway line - and, once hosted the infamous Ghan from Adelaide to Darwin - where we often hallucinated as we ran in 100-plus-degree temperatures.
As I was living and working in Australia for quite some time, I made a few friends in the South Australian Writer's Workshop, notably Kim, who encouraged me to read Zen Track Rambling in one of the Poetry Under The Pier reading sessions in Henley Beach. I remember my first poetry reading like it was yesterday. Somewhat unsure of myself, I drew a deep breath and bared my soul to the gathered throng of poetry love... Download and start listening now!