You wouldn’t associate little makeshift faerie houses with building fortitude and resolve, especially in the world of running…but in my world they go hand in hand.
There is a place called Cathedral Woods. It is a magical place. Perfect for woodland spirits and the like. Perfect for the legend of faeries and their houses. If you believe. The pines stand so tall and dense they hush every other noise. The bustle of town disappears. Even the surf is muffled and almost muted. The silence is so dense it settles about you when you stand in the middle of Cathedral Woods. As a child in winter I used to traipse through the snow to the very center of the woods, lie on my back and stare through the trees, trying to catch the winter sun’s sparkle. In the summer I would grope my way through the trees at dusk. Assuming the same position under the pines I would listen to the wind make the trees moan as they swayed against the stars. They looked like brooms trying to brush away the milky way.
But, beyond being church-quiet Cathedral Woods is a place of childish wonder. Legend has it if you build a faery a house you will have good luck. Children of all ages build little structures made out of sticks, leaves, moss and rock in the hopes of making their imaginations soar. These houses are beautiful; works of art, even. Only I destroy them. I can’t help it. There are rules to be followed when building said houses. First, the well known ones: No living material. No man-made material. Don’t even think about using moss that took hundreds of years to grow. But, here’s a rule few know to follow – make the faery house IN Cathedral Woods. Not on the path leading up to it. Not on the trail to Burnt Head, or White Head, or Gull Rock. As children we were taught Cathedral Woods officially started after the foot bridge. Anything built before the bridge was bad luck. My best friend and I would take to the woods, stomping on anything that wasn’t built to code or in the right zone. Terrible, I know.
My second run on Monhegan took me into Cathedral Woods. I learned my lesson with Blackhead and knew my trail run through Cathedral would be abbreviated. Experience has taught me I could run dry as far as the bridge and maybe even further without getting wet or bombarded by bugs. I was willing to take that chance, just to avoid town. But, here’s what I didn’t count on: wanting to destroy every house built outside Cathedral Woods proper. It took everything I had to run on by. I tried to not even look at them for fear of wanting to stop and stomp. I had to grit my teeth and resolve to ignore, ignore, ignore. For the most part it worked. I stared straight ahead. However, I think I kicked one…Accidentally, of course. It was in my way. I’m sure of it.