Good morning Runner,
I heard you behind me long before you yelled LEFT , by the way didn’t anyone ever tell you to not interrupt while someone else was speaking? Ok, continue Mr Cardinal with what you were saying to me.
You couldn’t hear him with your ear buds in and Kid Rock blaring in your brain at 0630 this morning, I understand.
Honestly, I am envious for a moment as you glide by me and run ahead of me, with your beautiful legs and thin waist , your toned arms, the way your back and your knees still carry you with such grace. Mine doesn’t , my knees pop and grind and my back shoots a debilitating pain through my entire body if I move it in a certain direction…so I walk now.
I used to run, although never literally- : when I was five I was playing Batman and Robin with my neighborhood friends when while sliding down the post of the slide my hands let loose and I landed with all my weight on my left foot, I didn’t weigh much back then but still carried the perfect amount when landing on a twisted ankle to shatter that ankle and break just about every other bone in that foot.
About six months after getting my year-long cast off I was playing don’t fall in the water with my brother, it was a game we played where the floor was the water and there were sharks in it so you balanced on the arm of the couch and if you fell in you were subsequently eaten by the great white sharks below. ( It was the 70’s , you can’t find these games anywhere anymore)
I fell in . the sharks got my ankle again. My mother didn’t believe me when I told her I thought I broke my foot again….until 2 months later when we had it checked again and the x-ray showed I had re-broken it and the bone grew back wrong.
Anyway, back to my being envious of you this morning Dear Runner: I used to run through life, hurry here, hurry there, when the kids were in school and I worked full time, those crazy days- NOW.. I carry a few more pounds on me these days, from a few more glorious nights of sitting on my deck with a Dairy Queen blizzard watching the sun go down.
My kids are grown and gone, my house empty but for me. Except for the occasional overnight with my Granddaughters , which by the way leave me resting for longer periods after they leave than the actual time spent with them. My days of running through life are far behind me.
I get to walk through it now, at my own pace- not ruled by anyone else’s clock or needs or wants.
I get to bask in the silence of what used to hold continuous noise.
I wanted to tell you what you missed when you ran by me on your mad dash to wherever it was you were going this morning.
- You missed the way sun shimmered on the lake as it was just coming to greet the day.
- You missed the little green frog hiding in the leaf.
- You missed the way that tree curved perfectly over the trail like an umbrella.
- You missed that stunning red cardinal perched on that tree branch singing his morning song.
- You missed the way the insects hit the lake and then caused these tiny million little ripples in the water.
- You missed three generations of men in a canoe fishing in silence but never so bound to each other in that moment.
- You missed the hawk glide over that golden field
- You missed the sound of someone practicing their flute coming from an open window.
- You missed the elderly couple sitting on their front porch surrounded by flowers and sun catchers , the sound of the wind chime, drinking their coffee, reading the Sunday paper.
I miss the days my body would still carry me like yours does, your lean physique, your bursts of energy.
But I love my walking days now , its okay that my body pops and creeks , my hips hold a few more pounds, my arms are starting to sag. This vessel of a body has earned it, it has carried me far and I have broken and abused it, so I respect it now for what it is , it’s limitations and it’s bruises .
I can still walk, and in the slow methodical sound of my feet hitting the trail, I am thankful for this slowing down, breathing in, breathing out, listening, taking in , appreciating the slower pace of a once upon a time runner.