Still a Runner

A Blog by Mary Lou Harris

Archive for Arctic Circle

Every Gate has a Message

Gates are a marvelous architectural element. They sometimes provide entrances, sometimes borders, and always a message. That message can be through a written announcement, but sometimes through tone, whether that be a welcoming walk or a flowering garden behind that gate.

Let’s take a stroll through a few.

PENTAX Image

 

There are gates that entice you to step through to a shady spot on a warm summer’s day,

 

IMGP0205.jpg

There are gates that call us back to a nostalgic time when life appeared to be simpler and quieter.

There are gates that establish a sense of place, character and work. Both of the photos above tell us we are near the sea. The beach shingle style covering of the gate to a home in East Hampton, New York off the Atlantic Ocean doesn’t need a sign to tell us we are near the sea. The solid iron gate complete with anchor tells us we are in fishing territory, a place for hardy souls. Indeed, the gate is found in the West Fjords of Iceland not too far south of the Arctic Circle.

 

And then there are the gates where, along with the mood setting, signage or written direction is there to ensure that we know for certain we, or at least some, are not welcome. The beautifully designed gate in the Old Town of Tallinn, Estonia, may once have been welcoming, but now has an oversized lock and chain and a tow-away sign. The gate with a “tradesman” sign can be found on a London townhouse, once (and perhaps in some cases still) the indication that deliveries and work of tradespeople took place through this entrance rather than the formal main entrance. The additional two garden gates are from Holland Park in London and a private residence in Hampstead, each with a clear message.

I hope you have enjoyed your stroll through gates around the world. Just don’t park in front of that gate in Estonia.

via Daily Prompt: Gate

A Brief Jog In the Arctic Circle

The occurrence of summer solstice earlier this week continued the cat and mouse game I have been playing with the sun. During the Iron & Ice Voyage, we bopped back and forth between time zones while continuing north. Daylight hung around way past my bedtime. This was a trip to leave the Vitamin D capsules at home. The most extreme daylight was June 10th with a sunset at 0022 and June 11th with a sunrise of 0150. Then, heading south from Iceland toward Northern Ireland, it seemed odd to see the sun setting near 10 p.m.

PENTAX Image

Leaving port at Akureyri

Leaving the Icelandic harbor of Akureyri on the 25th day of our voyage, we were to sail into the Arctic Circle before heading south to Belfast.  Although I had a few days on land early in the trip and many days in port, I still found that 25 days on an ocean voyage had me occupying some odd thoughts. Like, what would my Garmin record if I were running on the sea in the Arctic Circle?

My Garmin has become a hybrid travelogue, something between photos and a travel journal. I don’t bore family and non-running friends with this, but downloads that record the paths, bridges, and coastlines of travel runs and races around the world elicit wonderful memories.

IMG_0729

My mini-track

So, after briefly joining a party raising glasses to our entry into the Arctic Circle, I slipped away to my cabin to retrieve running shoes and Garmin, then made my way to the upper deck. A couple of other passengers enjoyed the quiet there. Even so, I found a sense of personal solitude in the chilly air. In the distance, whales would sporadically surface off the port sideI pushed the power button on the Garmin. It found satellites immediately. Beginning with a fast walk, then a jog out and back on the short area on deck. I glanced at the Garmin. It was registering about a tenth of a mile for my every step. Running on a moving ship was improving my pace significantly.

Returning to my cabin later in the evening, I downloaded the inflated results onto my laptop. The map doesn’t scream “Arctic Circle,” but results do show we were in the Greenland Sea, which is within the Arctic Circle.  

Not from my Garmin download

Not from my Garmin download

If there is a point to this post perhaps it is that runners who are generally obsessive can become more obsessive when at sea.

Are you having summer adventures with equally obscure thoughts? I’d love to hear about them.