I’ve started running outside for the first time in… years. When it comes to working out, I’ve always preferred the gym. I hate running on the road, and trails were always kind of frightening. In college, women were warned not to walk on the nature trails alone because of a horrible rape that occurred nearly two decades ago. Though it didn’t keep me out of the woods, it did keep me from spending too much time alone. And it definitely kept me from walking at dusk.
But having a dog has changed a lot of things. Deja forces me to go outside—she whines and fidgets until I take her for a walk. She also takes away much of my fear. Though not a fierce dog, she’s big enough and bold enough to make me feel a modicum of protection. Plus, nothing physically pushes you like running with a former sled dog.
All this time spent outside has given me a new perspective on the cold, quiet dark. I run either in the early morning, when the air is still, gray and thick with fog, or in the evening, when the trees start to turn purple and the sky above is the color of an old bruise. Instead of being lonely, I’ve started to enjoy the bleak solitude.
But I should explain these photos. These twilight images were taken by artist Thomas Jackson as part of his “Emergent Behavior” series. Fittingly, he describes these hovering sculptures as an “attempt to tap into the fear and fascination” causes by the phenomena of swarming. Though inspired by natural movements, like that of locusts, schools of fish, and flocking birds, Jackson uses manmade objects to create a sense of incongruity. Post-its gather at night and light-sticks form a glowing ball. It’s sinister and beautiful at once… which is kind of like how I feel about the woods.
For more on Jackson’s work, check out his website.