I woke this morning for my run eager with anticipation. I love the morning. I love the dark morning.
After lacing my running shoes and setting my watch, I walk to the front porch where I sit briefly drinking in the quiet. I own this time. I smile with anticipation as I think within the next five miles I will be passed by only a handful of cars. I look up from my perch on the steps toward the star strewn heavens and I just know everything will be alright. I clasp my hands together and utter a quiet “Namaste” to the world. As I reach the end of the driveway I start my watch and my therapy session begins.
As I run I think. This is a process over which I have little control. Most thoughts are transient and rapidly lost with each step. Often as I complete a run little remains of most thoughts. A shred here or there which is lost almost as quickly. If the remaining thoughts are lucky enough to survive, I will write these in my journal where they will remain, a reminder of my run and the joy which follows. Some of these thoughts retain enough strength that they accompany me throughout the day. They nag at me like a small child who nags at her father’s coat tails. These are the thoughts of which more will be written.
As my breath and stride come into synch I marvel at the cleanliness of the morning air. Smells which are often lost through the day become increasingly pronounced and hold their position of prominence. Some smells bring smiles and warm memories while others are accompanied by a wince and a quickened stride.
Noises during this time are few; a barking dog, a squirrel running across the road his nails scratching the surface of the road. The occasional car as it passes. My favorite sound during Fall is the sound the leaves make as they crunch beneath my feet with every step. Another amazing sound is the one made by leaves as they quietly detach from their perch high above and lazily drift toward their final resting place. This too is quite a sight. It is as if I am being treated to my own private theatre production starring nature.
When I run along the river I know I can be treated to the fresh small of the water as it makes its trip toward the Falls and beyond. On a cloudless and moonlit morning, I am treated to the moon’s reflection as it is scattered across the placid surface of the mighty Niagara River These are the views which force me to stop, breath, and drink in the beauty and solitude which has enveloped me since the beginning. I stand in awe of all that is beautiful. These are the times which I take to think of the writings of people like Thoreau, Emerson and Burroughs. My favorite quote from one of my favorite books, John Burroughs, “The Art of Seeing Things.” John says, “The art of seeing things is not something that may be conveyed in rules and precepts; it is a matter vital in the eye and ear, yea, in the mind and soul, of which these are the organs.”
As I pass beneath street-lamps my breath, as it rises in clouds becomes illuminated. As my takes me toward darkened streets where my headlamp is my only illumination, my senses become keener. My breath more noticeable. The sound of the leaves crunching beneath my feet louder. It is at this time I also become more aware of my surroundings. I become one with my surroundings.
In another quote by John, he says, “There is nothing in which people differ more than in their powers of observation. Some are only half alive to what is going on around them. Others, again, are keenly alive: their intelligence, their powers of recognition, are in full force in eye and ear at all times.” It is this time of day which finds me fully alive. It is the activity which I do for me which allows me to mentally and physically prepare for each day. As I said earlier, “This is my therapy” for without it my walls would crumble.