Thursday, October 28, 2010

Yesterday morning, it's 5:30AM and totally dark and raining. I am in the mood somewhat for a run as it has been several days but it is dark and raining. I have run a little in the rain but usually its when I am just about home. Though I know people who think it is great.

Fortunately I just upgraded my running shoes as when I counted up the miles on my log I'd run well over 600 miles on this pair and even though they looked great there has to be some wear in the support. But I kept them for days like this.

Stepping outside its wonderfully warm (70s) and the rain was a mist, so I take a leap and take off. It was harder with the darkness and the wet leaves and avoiding the streams of water and focusing on the step. As I went along the rain also picked up so as I got into town (the 2 mile mark) it was mild but steady. As I headed home it picked up heavier so that the value of my shirt was only to wipe the rain out of my eyes and wrap around the phone to keep dry.

The feeling was great. Like running through a warm shower and the feeling of sweating in the rain an interesting one. I am hooked.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

It's been a full moon the past week. Big and bright and it rises over the ridge to the east and gradually settles into and crosses the sky in the night. Often it has set by the time I get up, leaving the predawn sky bright with stars.

It is also getting cold. The pellet stove on just about every night now and I have started my seasonal ritual of hoisting a 40 bag and hauling it into the house before picking up my book and usually nodding out. Fortunately I get a couple of hours of audio reading during my daily commute to keep the book list under control, but the act of picking up a book at 9:30 having been up a close to 5 in the morning usually isn't a good combination for anything other than a nod-off.

I am in the process of downloading a book "13 things (in science) that don't make sense" and this along with a half a dozen of so podcasts will keep me plugged in to the reading world, at least audio wise, for the next week.

I have been somewhat delinquent in the blog, email social media area. Electronic media can be great, but at least for me, it can be too much at times and while the information comes in, I am sometimes so bombarded that I can't get it out. That is especially true when work issues weigh and even lunch and early morning is consumed by issues and thoughts. Of course I don't do my self any favors by having 6 email accounts and facebook and this blog. All of which I can easily juggle at certain times. I have been festering over a career decision the past couple weeks. At first I wrote the word struggle, but then determined that the activity was not active enough to be considered that. But it weighs and it will be a matter of a decision or a decision by means of inaction, which seems to be the direction it is going.

I am also juggling the question of "volunteer involvement" which I know I am not alone. Sometimes it seems that so many want just a piece of you that it can consume the pieces that are left. Then I feel resentful and even more buried.

So I have been more an more active about saying "no" or defining very clearly how much I can reasonably do and then I have to work on the internal guilt.

Well in the theme of dash and run, I hit the post button and clamor to get dressed and dash for another day.

Friday, October 15, 2010

my morning meditation

It has become a pattern that my time for running is between 5:40AM and 6:20AM usually 4-5 times a week. This gives me almost enough time to somewhat wake up,sipping coffee in the dark gazing out the window at the black sky and brilliant stars. As I start to stretch my legs I work to convince myself to go the next step of getting on the gear and head out.

It is amazing how much of this is done in darkness permeated by only LED lights of the couple of clocks in the kitchen and the very limited minimal light from outside. If I need to I'll open the refrigerator door to get enough light to find something in the room, but that's about it. I have always had good night vision, and this make the transition less jarring.

Out in the driveway and up our street the only light is the one streetlight a down a few houses away so occasionally I do need to click on the cell phone to shoot out a slight beam as a guide and cut the shadows that are in front of me. I assume that the noises I make scares away any animals in the vicinity and I use to be more concerned than I am now.

What always strikes me is the quiet and the total darkness of the sky (at least this week). Even when the moon is out (unless it is full) it may provide some light but doesn't block the darkness and the stars above. A few lights are on in the houses as I pass, the early risers in the neighborhood.

Leaving my street and down the big hill, the canopy of trees makes it darker, so that I move to the middle. The streetlights are dim and don't seem to pierce the darkness of the street. My red flashers attached to my hips reflect off the edges of the road. There is so little traffic that running in the road is preferable with its level surface and lack of obstacles. Rounding the corner at the bottom I start the long upward grade.

Each morning I pass a guy standing in his driveway waiting for a ride to work. I am in the light of the dim street light and he in the shadows under the trees. I sometimes see the glow of his cigarette a short distance before and as I pass we exchange warm greetings of the morning. I would never recognize him in the daylight nor do I expect he would recognize me, but here we are two souls in the dark early morning. Occasionally a car will come a the light is so blinding that I have to drop to a walk to return to the side walk, then back in the road as they pass but mostly it is just me.

At the top of this half mile hill I am walking for a stretch as I approach the highway. Rarely having to wait before dashing across and I am again in the dimly lit darkness on the road into town. A few more houses with light on and those are usually bathrooms and the occasional blue gray glow of a television inside. Occasionally the newspaper deliverer is on his his route, weaving from side to side and cutting in and out of side streets. Annoying because, while I am sure he sees me, his movements are unpredictable and in the dark that does not bring comfort.

Coming up the final grade into town and crossing the brick pavers, it is so absent of tourists. The stores are dark, the offices still and the antique reproduction street lights give off more than enough light. What will be teeming with life in an hour or so is pretty dead and as I round the block past the town hall and library, under more trees I approach my half way point. At 6AM the chimes on the white church on the hill chime and there is someone starting to open the small market. I see them making coffee and bringing in the stacks of newspapers and if they are out side I always say hi. The door to the bagel shop is open and smell of dough waft in the air.

Down "restaurant row" the table and chairs on the decks sit idle and empty, though one of the is always lit up brightly and i can sometimes see the morning cleaning crew repairing the wear of the night before.

Then heading back, the uphill grade gets reversed and it is a quicker return. The light is starting to change over the trees and the ridge lines. Still not much activity and life but there soon will be. The man waiting for his ride is always gone when I return as I pass his spot and make the turn up the final steep hill, hoping and pushing to make it as close to the top before walking to my street and a cool-down walk home.

It is still dark and quiet, occassionally a neighbor is out walking the dog or walking the hill. They are starting as I am finishing.

I come back inside and keep the lights off, stretching and cooling down it keep the calm of the early day.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Over these years I have learned to be much better about speaking my mind to the wrong people and about putting both feet in the mouth at once. Can't say it has always been that way and I have sometimes hard to learn a hard lesson about confidences and restraint in acting out of anger. Like toothpaste out of the tube, its near impossible to get back in.

But before you go thinking I have done something, I haven't. My reflections are of a period quite a while ago and my personal journey toward diplomacy.

I had a birthday last week. Not uncommon, we all seem to have one if we are lucky enough to be alive. I often don't do well with birthdays, they remind me of the past, about time and opportunities that have passed, they remind me of people no longer here and people no longer in my life. I also just don't feel comfortable with the fuss, though it is not that I dislike it. It fact, to the probable surprise of most I actually like it. (Go figure) I can be a rather unpleasant person (though not overtly) in my wallowing reflections and I am unfortunately one of those people who is useless when it comes to thinking up ideas for gifts. I feel rather blessed that I do not want for much and that my needs are relatively modest. The things that I think I want can't be packaged.

My best birthdays are usually when I am distracted doing something for someone else or involved in a family activity.

This past birthday was not without its reflections and I am still in that valley (mostly now because of thoughts related to work and career), but the actual day was pretty good.

Starting off with a good 4 mile run, something I couldn't do 10 years ago and then function for the rest of the day; then volunteering at a church cleaning / maintenance day. Hauling trash and changing ceiling tiles and cleaning light fixtures pumps the blood through that upper body movement and the accomplishment can be seen immediately. Then off to half time show to watch my youngest and her band mates march and play followed by dinner out with most of the family (sans the one who is away at college, :-( , though I got to talk with him that night :-) and of course cake and presents.

By mid day my mood was up quite a bit and my reflections were much more of being grateful what what I had and the experiences and people that enabled me to do what I did that day.

"Perhaps he knew , as I did not, that the Earth was made round so that we would not see too far down the road....." A good quote. Perhaps I shall write about it someday.