After the holidays I am ready for spring and summer. I turn off the Christmas lights (LEDs!) on January 1 and begin to plan my garden. I dream of sweat, dirt, and sunshine. I dream of drinking red wine mid-day, the earliest I might ever drink it–with my mother-in-law or husband (who will go for a cold, frothy beer) after planting and cleaning outdoors. This year I dream of my niece and her partner, who have sold most their possessions as they simplify their life, who hope to travel up to Canada this summer in their new home: an old Airstream that they are rebuilding. My niece Katie has already dreamed with me of red wine and sunshine when they visit this summer.
Today’s run was full of sunshine and warmer temperatures than just earlier this week. I felt that I might have gotten away with wearing shorts today, and I began to get excited for spring. In Vancouver it comes early, though it is often rainy–with summers being hot and dry. Something about heat and sun feels like my home. I grew up in the Midwest, where seasons changed harshly. Winters were cold and sometimes unbearable, especially when I lived near Chicago. Springs were stormy and fresh. Summers were balmy and, again, almost unbearable when the humidity got too high. Autumns were graced with the colors of orange, red, gold, and brown. But then I lived in California for a short while and visited places like Mexico and Hawaii. There I found where the heart is: in hot places with oceans.
I recently joined a running group where we all use an app that tracks our time, distance, pace, elevation, etc. It lends a certain competitive aspect to running, though ultimately I just compete with myself. Running is a very solo sport. I was surprised that as a still new runner I am neither the slowest runner nor the shortest-distance one. And, due to where I live, my elevation is more than most of the other runners! Most people upload a photo of themselves. I uploaded this one:
It’s not the best photo really. I was wearing an oversized t-shirt (it actually looks like the one from the last Vancouver Sun Run), and I was grimy and sweaty. I was wearing a goofy hat so that my face wouldn’t get too burned. This was taken last year on the North Shore of Oahu. We stayed in a run-down, salt-licked cottage that had tiny lizards inside–not to mention one giganto cockroach. A basket in the corner had a handful of Hemingway books. I like this picture because it was one of the happiest times of my life. My husband and I had a laid-back time at the beach. It was nothing fancy. Nearby places were poorer than the more touristy areas but delicious. So many local shrimp trucks and surfers! The cottage faced the ocean, and we swam day and night. We practically lived in the ocean. My body browned, and I became salt and sun drenched myself. It was not crowded, though we often saw fisherpeople nearby, and talked with them about the fish that they were trying to hook.
I thought about that time today. Usually when we take vacations we prefer to spend time with family, but the islands of Hawaii are a favorite choice otherwise. Unfortunately, now I feel guilty for flying there due to climate change. If only I could live there.
As I ran today I felt thankful for the beautiful places of the world, for most certainly that is where I’ve been my happiest–whether being in the ocean, on a rainforest trail, or just in my own back yard–with a glass of red wine and an appreciation for the great nature around me. I guess this blog might sound like a broken record at this point.
I’d also like to mention that today’s run was helped along by Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” album. It was the first record I ever bought. I mean vinyl, baby. I bought it at a what-was-then-called “head shop” in a suburb of Chicago. Ironic: perhaps I was born to run.