Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Quick Run

You don your running shoes, and head out the door. Your ipod shuffle is full of sleeping music, and you can't get it to change playlists, but you can't bear the thought of running to Claire de Lune or Enya, so you go old-school with only the music of birds twittering and your feet slapping the pavement. At the end of the driveway, you turn left, because then you'll head down that major hill at the beginning of the run, instead of up it at the end. Right now, you know if you switch directions, you'll never make it back home, let alone any serious distance. Hah. Who are you kidding? You never do any serious distance. In fact, there was a time when you couldn't run to the end of the street without gasping. Well. Now you can. Still, the loop you run is maybe a mile. Whatever. Down you go tonight.

The sun will set soon, and the mosquitoes will come to dine, but for now, it's just you and the road and your head full of thoughts. You pass the house on the corner that's for sale. Then another one for sale. And one more. You pass a flowering bush with a perfume that nearly persuades you to give up suburban life and live in a cardboard box under its boughs. Around you go, past the path through the forest to the river. If you had paid attention, you would have seen the last of the blooms on the lady's slippers. But you missed it. Was that when you inhaled the bug? Could have been.

Here is the ditch by the road that flows every spring with run-off. It's the sort of place you would have been mesmerized with as a child. A little river for fairies. Behind it lies the house with the beautiful gardens. You would like to have a garden like that someday. You would also like to have a full-time gardener to take care of it. Neither is likely. Your low-maintenance gardens will have to do. Perennials are where it's at, honey.

The road rises to the stop sign. On the left is the army of fir trees blockading the house behind it. To the right is another house for sale. Is there a mass exodus going on? You cross the road passing the party house. It's rented by some young men who have motorcycles and snow-mobiles and the like. They've been digging a pit in the side yard for some time, lining it with stones, and you wonder what it will be? Home for a septic tank? Hot tub? Fire pit? Final resting place of a multitude of beer cans? You don't know. And actually, you don't really care either.

You think about the road that you are on. It connects to another road and another that could take you to visit people you have not seen in years. It could take you to Virginia, where you could see your best friend from high school. Or New Jersey, where you could see your best friend from dancing school. It could take you westward where you could stop to see your family. You could go even further west to see your pen-pal or your friend who is a true kindred spirit. The pavement is all connected, one road to another, like veins and arteries winding their way through a body. The thought makes you feel like the world is a bit smaller, and that your friends are really only a road (or two) away.

At the corner you turn left again, and pass your dear friend's home. She is among the finest women you know, and you feel blessed to know her. In fact, you're surrounded with good people, good friends. 

Only half a dozen homes and you'll be back at your driveway. Arms and legs pump past house after house, until you're back in front of your own house, where the daffodils, grape hyacinths, lilacs, and lily of the valley have given way to the purple irises and heather and that one flowering tree that looks like it came directly out of a Dr. Seuss book. The foxgloves and lilies will come next, but you're not certain you'll be here to appreciate them. Oh well. Someone will appreciate them, you hope, but if not, you'll be able to greet them next year.

At the base of the steps, you lift your foot up to the stones of the retaining wall and fold forward in an exquisite stretch. Your muscles ache and the mosquitoes are out, but you are happy. How could you be otherwise?

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