Friendship meets me in the parking lot.
We wear the same shirts:
VEGAN POWER 50K25k.
Shirts from our race together.
Friendship taught me that I was born to run.
All he did was loan me a book: Born to Run.
After reading it,
I believed that I could run ultra-marathons.
I started with that 25k with Friendship
and moved on to a 50k with my brother.
Friendship awakens me to possibilities.
He cowboy camped this year.
His creative act stirred in me visions of sleeping outdoors,
so here we find ourselves,
hiking toward a lean-to for my birthday.
On the trail, we talk of another book, The Pursuit of Endurance,
which he read recently and our common connection listened to
as she set a fastest known time for the Northville-Placid Trail.
Did he first recommend that book to me?
Did I recommend the book to him?
We exchange gifts so many times
that I forget who gave what first.
Now at the lean-to
our dreams come true.
Months ago, from the mountain Timp,
we had seen the West Mountain Lean-To
wouldn’t that be an awesome place to camp?
Here we all are.
Sizzling titillating vegan meat over backpacking stoves.
Warming corn tortillas by pot lid.
Digging into grilled pineapple salsa.
The dance of flavor popping in our mouths.
What is more satiating –
the gift of friendship that inspires you to run 50 kilometers,
or the taste of your friend’s tacos cooked to perfection?
Vegan cupcakes decked out with oranges
fill our mouths.
The lights of New York City twinkle on the horizon.
The slumber party begins in the lean-to.
Conversation peaks and then wanes
until we breathe slowly in our sleeping bags
and fall asleep.
Grasshoppers sing lullabies
as New York City illuminates our forest shelter with light pollution.
An electric-sounding bug takes up a solo.
Friendship has welcomed us home.
Her comforting presence rocks us to sleep,
fortifying us with satisfaction amidst
the buzz of dive-bombing mosquitos.