• Matt Smythe

GIVE ME TRAILS

Updated: Jul 9

Over the course of a summer of running trails in my favorite park in upstate NY, I had pretty much written a poem in my head. When I finally took the time to get it on paper, it showed up in a heartbeat. I called my friends Denver Miller and JR Kraus (both talented directors and cinematographers) to see if it was worth shooting a short video to put the words with. Something done for the love of what we do – storytelling. And, to be honest, to show to prospective clients as well. After just a few hours of scouting the park, this, too, showed up in a heartbeat.


And for those who’d like to read the poem, here’s the original:

Give me trails.

Needled whisper-paths through the pines and their sharp jabs of busted spokes and whirls at shoulder/hip/head height. Tangled close-crowded paths through gullies and shadowed low places. The willow-swing of thornbrush gripping my shins, forearms and biceps. Glorious muddy stretches that try to swallow my feet alive. Give me sudden right-turn uphills and skittish, greasy downhills and roots like the backbones of some long-gone earthen civilization rising if only to keep me paying attention. Give me wipeouts and grit in my teeth. Sweat-salt in my eyes. Give me deer that don’t hear me coming or going, fox that go on about their meandering way, geese, woodpecker, hawk, jay, blackbird.

Give me trails.

I run solo but I’m not alone. It’s in my blood. My Blackfoot ancestry. I feel them running with me and the hair on my neck and forearms stands on end. I hear them in the wind off the lake and in the song of leafed braches overhead. I was given endurance and two legs that respond when I say go. I was not given excuses. I run because I can and carry everything on these two feet and shoulders, until I carry nothing. There’s no machine stride in me, just my heart and will and these woods.

Here I am, mortal. Here, I will live forever. Native. Here I outrun my heart and scramble from insane to sane. Here I am honest and unflinching and vulnerable. I run toward pain, through it, from it. I run heartbroken and hopeless and swearing into the hungry green. I run whole and happy and singing into the hungry green. I run thirsty, my tongue tasting like copper and blood and a life that is alive.

Alive.

I am alive.

Give me trails so that I can run.


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© 2017 By Matt Smythe