I found myself in the strange position this week of wanting to go running. As in, I actually missed running. And that is weird because I kind of hated it, so I thought. I stopped running some time ago after some nagging injuries, and just found other things to take its place. I was fine with that.
Brody and I go for lots of walks in the neighborhood, because that is what you do when you have a crazy dog. We like those well enough. But I missed running, with loud music drowning out the cacophony of my thoughts. When we go out on walks, I don’t wear headphones- too much fear instilled in me after years of training about the need to be aware of my surroundings, so out on the road, no distractions.
There is one place I can still go to tune out of the world and just run, a well travelled lake path in the area without vehicular traffic. Tons of strollers and cyclists and walkers sharing the path. I feel totally safe there, especially with Brody alongside me. So on Memorial Day, I decided that we should go for a run. My husband raised his eyebrows, but that was all.
Granted, going to an already busy park on one of the busiest days of the year wasn’t exactly a recipe for solitude. I’m lucky we even found a parking spot. But we did, and as Brody fell in step beside me and I cranked up the headphones, I felt myself sinking into the space in the back of my head with no small sense of relief.
There is so much noise in our lives that demands attention, demands response. It’s so hard to drown that out. Even in relative silence, our minds fill with thoughts and events and tasks that are even noisier than the kids yelling in the next room. The only place I have found to really empty my head is this one, with my mind so focused on each step, each breath, zoning out to the beat of the music that there is just no space to think about anything else.
How strange that I found such a place of meditative solitude in the middle of a sunny park literally crawling with hundreds of people. My only companions, an iTunes playlist and a dog who instinctively knows when to speed up and when to slow down. Behind the sunglasses and the headphones I might as well have been a passenger in a car, watching the world zoom by without having to interact with it in any way, shape or form. It was lovely.
It was pretty hot out, so we took a break at the halfway point. Brody took the chance to plop down immediately.
When the kids were little, I came here a lot with Emmett and Mulan. I wonder how much of my avoidance of the place the last couple of years was my subconscious sadness at the reminder of their absence. We had a lot of fun times squirrel stalking here.
Brody is more of a duck man, himself. He was supposed to just take a tiny wade in the water, but it was hot out, and the second he realized he was standing in water he started to wallow in it like a happy hog. He is SUCH a retriever.
Upon our return, a happy tired dog chugged down half a bottle of water. I have to also give a little shout out to the TazLab Travel Bowl. Despite my efforts to get Brody to look cool by drinking out of a water bottle, he refuses. Water must be in a BOWL, and thank goodness for this one. It lives in my car.
I think we are going to be using it a lot this summer.
Congratulations on returning to one of your “happy places!” I’m guessing this is the beginning of some memory making to augment, not replace, the ones you already have. It’ll be a good job for your swamp collie!
Lisa W says
I agree with Cathey!
I find my peace in the mountains. My hubby and I are celebrating our 5th anniversary tomorrow, so we took advantage of the holiday and took a trip to Asheville NC last weekend. It was beautiful (and we had some great food, too!). There’s something about the mountains that makes me feel like my soul just opens up and blooms when I’m there…. If I ever win the lottery, I’m up there so fast people won’t know what hit them!!!
Sounds like a perfect afternoon 🙂 I hope you have many more.
It’s always wonderful to find that thing that gives you a certain amount of respite from the world.
Love the photo of Brody in the lounging in the water. He looked at home.
Hey Dr. V – in your professional opinion, how hot is too hot for running with a dog? I have a 60 lbs black and tan coonhound (Your posts about Nuke make me happy). He’s young and in fairly good shape, but I get paranoid that I’ll give him heat stroke. We live in Philly…translation hot and HUMID with lots of hot pavement radiating heat back up at us.
Your blog is a recent discovery for me and I love it!
Dr. V says
You know, it’s such a hard question to answer. A lot of it depends on your dog’s conditioning, as well as their color (dark coated dogs do heat up more quickly!) Dogs tend to push themselves more when they are trying to please us so can easily push themselves to heat exhaustion, burned paw pads, etc (pavement is a big issue!) I always tell people to err on the side of caution. Personally I leave my dogs at home once it hits 80 but that’s my own comfort area, plus I’m not out for that long.
Hawk aka BrownDog says
I would love to just lounge in the mountain streams or lay in the water at the shore but my Human rides herd on me because of my allergies. Silly woman!
My Human and I love to chill out in nature listening to the birds, cattle, horses and whatever other wildlife nature has to offer. In the evening we like listening to the songs of the night creatures.
Of course, you have to live in really, really rural places like we do in order to appreciate the songs of nature without being disturbed by reality.
Y’all come by now,
Hawk aka BrownDog
Mihaela (Dr. V) says
Lovely. What you’re describing is a meditative state… Letting the mind quiet down. We should all learn to do that more often 🙂
A tired dog is the best dog ever! 🙂 And I completely agree with you about running. I’m not fast or particularly good at it, but it gives me a chance to zone out and a sense of accomplishment like nothing else.
hidden exposures says
you depict so perfectly why i like to run. there have certainly been times when i had to push myself to get out the door, but i have never finished a run regretting it. never. and running with a dog makes it all that much better – while it is a wordless activity, it becomes a bonding experience for me. i just hate it as my dogs age and i then have to make executive decisions about how far they should be running with me, even if they still have puppy minds.