Saturday, February 26, 2011

Empty Nest Discovery #39: No Need For A Grand Re-Entrance


chicago snow, originally uploaded by klz.
You may have noticed I haven't posted in a while. I have been planning a long, explanatory post as a come-back piece and I keep getting hung up on how perfect I want it to be. Meanwhile, this blog sits idle.

Today I went running in the snow--something I don't often do, for fear of slipping on the ice and breaking something and not being able to run when the weather is warm; and because I hate cold weather. While I was out there, I fell so in love with a moment, and I needed to share it with someone.

I woke up this morning, one of the last days of February, feeling as dreary as the patch of sky visible to me through my kitchen window. Nothing major, just tired of winter, missing the sun, missing my son, and feeling a little lonely in general. Long periods of low activity seem to get me down, and with that in mind, I stuck my feet into my running shoes, grabbed my ear buds, and slipped out the door.

As soon as I got outside, the flurries I'd seen from the kitchen window had turned into big, heavy, fast-falling flakes. I looked longingly back at my apartment while I accessed Last.fm on my iPhone, and was tempted to head back inside, but when the first notes of Metric's The Police And The Private cut into the quiet of the scene, I was ready to run.

I started running down my street, still grumpy about the snow, the temperature, the dirty monotone of my snow-covered city and how very out of shape I'd gotten over the last few months. This was only my second run of 2011, and I was sure I'd spend most of it in anticipation of its conclusion.

I pushed through, like I always do when something is hard or unpleasant, and before I knew it two more songs had started and ended. Next up was Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton's Our Hell. I was about to skip ahead to the next song, because I thought I'd need something more upbeat to get me through the run, but I was just starting to warm up and get into a little running grove and I didn't want to mess it up by futzing with my iPhone, so I left it on.

Turns out it's a great song for running. I pushed up my shirt sleeves and tore down the street. My breathing was smooth and even; my stride was strong and steady; and my exposed forearms quickly became red from the wind. I looked up at the leafless trees and just then, I became aware of the feeling of those big, heavy snowflakes melting as they hit my hot skin, cooling the tiny streams of sweat that trickled over my temples, and in an instant, I understood why people run in the winter.