The high point of my visit was running a little 5k and meeting some new running friends!
There I find my tribe, my place, my groove in this big, sometimes difficult, world...But then the real world reasserts itself - and I am thrust back into the thick of it...
I often feel relief at the very thought of getting home and back to my life. I live to run in Colorado again, to hold my husband and daughter and all the critters in the house. And on this particular day, I REALLY want to be home!
Luckily I am wearing a Marathon Maniacs T-shirt paired with a slightly crazed look in my eyes, so people give me a fairly wide berth, perhaps fearing the possible maniac in me. I get to the escalator down to the train and see one pulling away. Damn. I have to wait. The next train arrives a few minutes later.
I have 6 minutes left.
I'm in terminal C, which means we must stop at terminals B and A before we get to the main terminal. Ugh. Tedious, tedious train! I know exactly where to position myself on the train so that I can be first on the final escalator, so I won't get stuck behind someone just standing, casually, on the stupid thing.
I have 3 minutes left.
The train doors slide open and I book it up the escalator, two steps at a time, a bag on each arm. I reach the top, I'm going to make it. I move to put one bag down so I can pop the handle up to roll it behind me as I run, but I neglect to actually stop running while I'm doing this. The bag spins around in front of me, tripping me, and sending me flying through the air and crashing to the concrete floor. There is a loud, collective gasp from onlookers. Security personnel rush to my aid. No time for this. I get up, pull out damnedible handle and race off. Everything hurts and I have no idea what hurts.
All I'm thinking, as I run the final stretch to the bus is, "F#*@! Am I going to be able to run tomorrow??!!"
I get to the bus. I made it. Every part of me is throbbing and I'm shaky and overheated. My knee is killing me. My scraped shin is visibly swelling as I watch, helpless to do anything. My previously chipped left elbow has already turned a deep purple. I'm feeling pathetic and doomed. All I want, right now, is to be home!
But when I get there I'm on edge, antsy, angst filled and yet I'm so grateful to be home. I hold my daughter tight in my arms for a long time, her strong legs wrapped around my waist, and smell the skin on the back of her neck. But part of me is pacing beneath my skin like a trapped wild animal.
I have everything wrapped in ice, but I'm certain I won't be able to run in the morning. Oh dear powers-that-be, I really need to run. I have a glass of wine. That doesn't help anything!
I realize that the only way for me to process things in my life is through running. A lot is going on, and I don't even have a clue how to sort it all out if I can't run. Even the remote possibility that I may need to take a day or two off has left me in the deepest of funks mulling over all the messes in my life right now...I need to sort it all out - Stat!
...My mother's ongoing, ever-morphing, illness, the tensions between my mother and sister, and my job as mediator, my role as sole emotional anchor for my mom...The steady march of time...and decline...
And at home...
Our oldest critter, my dear nearly 16 year-old Aussie-Samoyed mix, Willa, who was my steady running partner for 12 years, is on a steep decline. She's lost most of the function in her rear legs, and the nerve condition she has will only continue to march on toward it's deadly end. I don't know how much longer she will be with us. I don't know how I will know when her time comes. I do know it's coming faster than I hoped.
And in a week my husband leaves for three weeks for an NEH seminar in Florence, Italy. Will Willa still be alive? Will I have to make the hard choices by myself? And finding time to run will become more difficult.
But it is often the anticipation of the difficulty that is more difficult to deal with than the actuality.
Later my husband, daughter and I head off to the Boulder Creek to play in the cold water on a hot day. For me that means sitting in the cold water for as long as I can to sooth my achy legs. And as I sit in the snow fed cold water, the sun warms my shoulders and arms, and I think: "This is it. This is what I need to do a whole lot more of." Be here NOW. Anticipation may just be nothing more than much ado about nothing.
And there I find myself, grounded again, in the soreness and awareness of my body, and the peace of my mind.
“If I could not walk far and fast, I think I should just explode and perish.” ~ Charles Dickens