Tarmac Meditations: Haiku and Photography

[Editor’s Note: Welcome to iRunFar’s Community Voices column! Each month in 2019, we’ll showcase the work of a writer, visual artist, or other creative type from within our global trail running and ultrarunning community. Our goal is to tell stories about our sport in creative and innovative ways. Read more about the concept in our launch article. We invite you to submit your work for consideration! This month, we are honored to present the poetry and photography of Michael Lebowitz, the photographer, writer, and runner behind LongRun Pictures.]

You could say that I began running across the Serengeti on my way to the 776 B.C. Olympic Games. I thought I might run the marathon. Somewhere along the way I turned right instead of left and wound up in Hungary where generations of my family did not run until the 1900s. Or so I was told.

A few years later, I found myself in Eugene, Oregon with a camera in my hand and a bunch of runners passing by, so I took pictures of them. I began to make images of ultrarunners wherever I could find them. This took me all over the American West. I had a lot of fun doing it, and I met a lot of great people.

A few years ago, I found myself both injured and medically challenged; I haven’t done much shooting or running since. But I still write. I started to write about not running, and eventually I began to write haiku in response to the images I have made through the years. This is what I call ‘Tarmac Meditations.’

Some of the above is maybe true, but everything that follows is for sure true.


Covered bridge, sunrise,
Amish wagons, ghostly hoof
beats on a morning run.


Race morning in the
dark, dreams fill hearts with
fear, joy, gratitude.


She walked by, said not
a word, did not smile as she found
her way through the woods.


Depression is a
beast for me. I use meds and
courage when I fall.


I never went to the war.
It seemed like the right thing
to do. I was wrong.


When I keep on and
“lean into becoming,” I
find a “warm cabin.”
(Thanks, Zach Miller.)


Forty-seven miles
in, a hot day on the flats,
our community.


Sunrise is where you
find it. It fires the sky above
and the flats below.


While you’re drinking one of the ridiculously good ales AJW writes about in his Taproom, just know that, in ancient Japan, you would likely be in a bar with all of your running buddies, sitting around, making the story of the day’s run into a community story, in linked sentences of 17 syllables each. Feel welcome to comment and add on your own story and haiku, community style.

There are 11 comments

  1. KristinZ

    Your eye sees what heart
    perceives whether photo, pen,
    Revealing contrasts.

    Keep sharing what must be shared, friend!
    Think of you often!

  2. Chris C

    Trying to balance
    an internal roaring flame
    with ice on the wind.
    During wooded runs
    I have to see, hear, smell or
    touch everything.

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