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.