I’ve been looking out the window all day, rain streaming down the glass. The barely opened flowers on the magnolia tree in our front yard are startlingly purple against the gray sky. The grass shouts green from the ground. Spring, even when dreary, has a way of impressing everyone with it’s colour.
I was supposed to run an epic distance, but stayed at home with sort-of sick kids instead. They watched cartoons and played camping on fuzzy blankets spread out on the carpet when I went elbow deep in my closet, gutting garbage and old clothes to give away.
There is a meeting with daycare teachers and a review of a behavioural analysis that is far from bad news, but I’m left feeling unsettled because it’s my baby we’re talking about here. Once home, there is chicken cut and tossed into a pan, with chopped garlic and into the pan beside is sliced mushrooms and sliced peppers and everything spits and sizzles amidst phone calls and whiney requests for food because we’re hungryyyy moooooommmmm.
We eat, the four of us and Steve and I talk in our cryptic code above the kids heads that is a combination of spelling words and abbreviations so that we are able to say what we are thinking without the kids understanding. Dinner is gobbled up and everyone eats their vitamins and plays and is scrubbed with soap at the sink until their cheeks are rosy and then they do what they do every night, strip off and streak and we pretend we can’t catch them. Stories and lullabies and many kisses and I get out of Alena’s bed and pry her arms away from my neck and walk downstairs with hopes that the rain has stopped.
It hasn’t, but I pull on my sports bra and tank top and shorts and long-sleeved shirt and ear-buds and the dog is trembling with excitement and her brown eyes and sloppy tongue ooze happiness and I can hear in her pants TAKEMETAKEMETAKEMETAKEMETAKEME and so I say goodbye to Steve as he settles into his chair with his laptop and we go.
Running in the rain is oddly peaceful. It had stopped to a drizzle come 7:10 last night but was wet enough that no one was around on the usually busy neighbourhood streets.
For whatever reason, the stillness comes quickly this time and long before the first kilometre mark, I have entered the place that makes me feel empty and quiet and happy and full in all the best ways possible.
I both hear and don’t hear the music on these quiet runs, though the songs play in my ears, they are a background noise that is easy to ignore. Up hills and down hills and I’m realize that I no longer run because something is chasing me. I no longer run to look a certain way or to reach a certain number on a scale and all these years that I was telling everyone what was important, I never really was able to let go of my own demons until very recently. Every step, their grip on me loosens and every time my foot pushes off the ground, it pushes me up into this place where I’ve been living and God it’s so good to be here.
The rain wets my shirt and I feel my sneakers kicking mud up onto the back of my legs. My thighs feel oddly bare in shorts after a long winter of compression tights, and I can feel my muscles move and slap and shake and they feel light and happy in this cool, damp weather. My white sneakers glare against the black of the wet road in the same way the magnolias were glowing this morning and I breathe deep and run a little faster.
My favourite part, the last 500 metres, I turn into a wooded trail and it’s so steep and wet and somehow, everything is glowing in here too and I realize that maybe my eyes are seeing what they want to see – maybe all this beautiful glow is finally here now because I’ve allowed myself to open my heart to all of this incomprehensible beauty. Crunch, slip, crunch go my shoes, and the dog darts off, and crashes, through trees. We reach the top, both panting, tongues hanging out and happy. I jog slowly home while she splashes through the rain-filled ditches.
In the door and I strip off, toss my wet gear beside the basement door, pull on my worn jogging pants and Steve and I flip out our yoga mats and begin our nightly ritual of quiet stretching beside each other. We’re finished, and I look at him sitting on the floor then climb behind him and wrap my arms around his waist and lay my head against his shoulder and bite, then kiss, then hug. Squeeze and he rubs my arms and I think that if there was one word to describe my life, my thoughts, my motivation, my drive, even in my sad moments and anxious thoughts, it would be love.