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Archive for December, 2017

It was a day not much unlike any other day in the dead of winter in Staten Island New York. I had been busy all day doing the things one does when your kids are school age. Get them off to school, go shopping, clean house, bathe the dog, after school homework, cook dinner, family time, get kids ready for bed etc. The day was coming to a close and I realized I had not had my daily run. It was a crucial element of my daily routine. Not only did it keep me in shape, it was the time of day when I was alone with my thoughts and I worked out all of life’s problems in my mind, came to decisions, reflected on my blessings and much more. It was my alone time, my prayer time, my meditation time. I looked forward to it with great anticipation. Therefore rarely did the weather keep me from it. Of course I was in great physical shape then and the pounding of my feet on the pavement did not produce the creaks and moans that such an activity would produce in this present day. My muscles were strong and could support my joints much better back then. There were times when I literally felt like I was flying 6 inches off the ground when I ran. It was a wonderful time. Even in the dreaded summer months, which I have never been a fan of, I would go out after dark when the sun set and run the track at a nearby high school so I could do speed laps and keep water handy on the bench to guzzle after each lap. Winters where no different. Rain sleet or snow I was out there doing my run.

This was one such winter evening that I will never forget. Not because anything happened of consequence, but because of what that run felt like. The sights, sounds and smells and the feeling that lives eternal in my mind because of its magic in the moment.

I began the process of dressing for a frigid winter run. It may have been pretty low in the teens if my memory serves me right. Leggings under sweatpants, two pairs of socks under my running shoes. Layered tops, not too confining, but plenty of layers, thick gloves , warm cap and a scarf wrapped around my face to protect my skin from the biting wind.  Vaseline to protect whatever skin was still exposed . Down the stairs I went out into the freezing winter night. Hopped in the car and drove over to the school about a mile or so away. It had been a day of freezing rain earlier in the day and the ice had covered the already several inches of snow that blanketed everything. The temps had dropped drastically, earlier in the evening and froze everything in it’s place.

On days when I had longer runs planned I skipped the track and ran on the sidewalk around the perimeter of the high school. This was my plan this night. The cold and wind would slow me down so a steady long run was on my agenda. As I pulled up to the school to park my car I realized the ambience my run would be blessed with that evening. As I stepped out of the car I noticed the palpitating silence. No sound but yet the quiet had a sound. The chain link fence around the school was a glistening sheet of solid ice all the way around. The trees along the path of the sidewalk were something out of a magical fairyland. Every branch from the thickest to the tiniest was fully covered with ice right to its tip. It was a stunning world of glass. Everything was covered and I mean everything that was not moving. I stood there in amazement gazing at this awe inspiring sight. I pulled the scarf from my face for a few seconds and inhaled the frosty winter air. It felt so cleansing. As I looked up I realized what had been illuminating the icy environment around me like a prism. The moon was big, and white and the night was clear. Stars could be seen dotting the sky. Sporadic street lights around the school added to the illumination of the ice world making it glisten even more. I began to run and all I could think about was how lucky I was to live in a world where God allowed the harshest conditions to create such beauty. Where both hardship and blessing could abide in the same place and at the same moment. Winter can be cold and dark and brutal yet at the same time can be so beautiful if you have eyes to see it. Much like life. I will never forget that run. I think it is ingrained in my memories because it is one of the earlier ones I have of learning to be in the moment. I have had many such moments since that time and the older I get the more I am learning about being present in the moment. To feel, see and experience every drop of beauty that moment has to offer. I don’t think I solved any problems, or made any major decisions that night. I think I just was ecstatically grateful.

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