This is a post that I have wanted to write for at least a month now, if not more. And for some reason, I just can’t get this–or any other post for that matter–written. I think about this blog all the time, write posts in my head while I run and bike, but then I just don’t sit down and do them. Now that I have heard from a number of friends that they actually do read this blog and wish I wrote more, I am going to make a concerted effort. Please, if you’re out there and reading, keep me in check! Tell me when you read something and like it (or hate it) and if I slack off again, yell at me!
It is very popular right now to be “in touch” with nature. There are car commercials where people sing a capella and a car drives through a lush garden made of thousands of people and potato chip commercials where chips spring out of the earth and fall from the sky because they are “all natural.” There is talk of seasonal eating and which fruits and vegetables are currently in season and acceptable to eat. There is panicked discussion of the melting ice caps. While I think attention to the health of the planet is generally a good thing (except when used to make cars and potato chips seem like something they’re not, i.e. good for the planet and our bodies), I haven’t been in many years one of those people who thinks about nature, talks about nature, or even craves being in nature. Something has changed.
When I started running in the winter, I had to conquer the cold weather. I had to buy certain clothes, pay attention to the temperature, and know what conditions I could and couldn’t run in. As time went on, and my running improved, I learned to love running in the winter. I looked forward to snowy days because of the way they changed the landscape. I felt proud for getting outside on days when most people were sweating in gyms and running in place. I will never forget running with my mom one dark, cold night through the trails of Central Park and marveling at how the lights bounced off the snow.
Then, the snow melted. My long pants became shorter pants and the gloves and hat were put away for the year. My outer layer became optional. But the rain came, and with it the need to learn to run wet. Which, while not something I do with great joy, I have learned to appreciate for its cooling properties, just like I learned to love the brisk winter air. And after the rain, the grass grew incredibly green, the tulips bloomed, and the cherry blossoms painted the park pink.
Suddenly, I NEEDED to be outside. The day I took this picture was the first time I was ever jealous of people running while I walked by them in my work clothes. See that woman running towards me in the picture? Yeah, I was jealous of her. And as the nights got later and the weather got, sort of, warmer, my energy level increased and I learned to take pleasure in my walk to and from the subway and any other time I was inadvertently outside during the day.
My is now tuned into the rhythm of the seasons in a way that I never thought it would be, because I never even cared enough to imagine it was possible. This is not to say that I love every single kind of weather–I will never, ever like heat and humidity and rain will continue to be annoying–but that I am aware of what is happening around me and conscious of the passage of time. This is a gift training has given me that I neither wanted nor expected, but am incredibly grateful to have.