by Chani Cochran

The nasal, echoing sound of my breath
Bouncing through the acoustics of my head
Steady, rhythmically blended with the beats of my heart
Elevating, escalating, matching my stride

Sun, heating my face, my shoulders,
Drawing salted water from my pores
Droplets born of effort and sheer abandon trickle down
Like slow-moving bugs hitching a ride

A whisper of a breeze, a gift from the heavens
Cooling my wet places and instantly drying salt to skin
It propels me forward, like an addict searching for the next euphoric dose
On and on, over and over, for miles ahead

My mouth, a sticky, filmy former oasis
Swallowing air to fuel the machine
And soundlessly chanting a cadence of self-talk or song
Quickly becomes a desert

Thoughts in this place are controlled
An escape from their daily, chaotic fervor
Here, they are at their most predictable, like the tides
An ebb and flow of struggle and bliss, doubt and certainty,
Weakness and strength
Servitude and complete and utter freedom

Chani Cochran is a native Oklahoman, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and home-educator of her three children. A lover of words from an early age, she weaves together her profession, her avid love of fitness and running and her passion for motherhood with the thread of writing. She authors The Therapy of Running: Lessons for Mental, Emotional and Spiritual Growth Inspired by Running. She currently runs and writes on the Emerald Coast of Northwest Florida.