On this Christmas Eve, with no snow on the ground or even in the forecast, I am reminded of a run on Christmas night five years ago, when we did have the white stuff to contend with.

It wasn’t freshly fallen, as we had on Christmas last year, but it was enough to create slippery and very cold conditions, as I wrote about in this poem, “Moon Ring Run.”

You will surely come across much better creative writing, but please consider this my Christmas gift to our wonderful Flagstaff running community.

Happy holidays and happy trails.

"Moon Ring Run"

“Daddy, I don’t get it.”

She’s learning precision,

the art of the struggle

between girl and circle,

unaware that I left

the mirage of pi and chords

so many years ago

for the mundane math

of monthly balances

and eighteen-percent tips.

Icicles frame my view

of the thermometer.

Even the clock face frowns.

The math seems clear to me:

One dark December night

plus two Christmas helpings

minus any resolve

equals free fall into

the deep black hole of my

goldenrod cordoned couch.

But I rebel.

Red tights (festive), running shoes (battered)


I am off,

one on one,

in battle against the stinging night.

Mile after twisting mile,

I churn the tree-lined trail,


apparent in every step.

I slide to the right,

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then, overcompensate,

crunch to the left

on unreliable week-old snow,

staring downward,

slowing imperceptibly,

in futile search for stability.

Only in the clearing,

I finally lift my eyes.

The hazy moon appears,

as bright as the Christ star

to me, full – maybe so –

circled by symmetry.

It sits in the center

of a big-sky halo.

I laugh when I see it

in spite of myself.

I’ve recaptured accord,

if just for a moment.

Myles Schrag is coordinating editor for High Country Running, and he wrote this poem on Dec. 25, 2012. He invites submissions on any aspect of the local running scene, as well as submissions for the “To Imogene: A Flagstaff Love Letter” book project. He can be reached at myles.schrag@adinapublishing.com.


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