Thursday, June 26, 2014

life has no opposite

Running is one of those things I don't know why I do.
Running is for two kinds of people, it seems. The first kind are the health nuts; people who are just all around healthy. Despite the fact that I have eaten grilled tofu for almost every meal this summer ( more from a sense of expediency rather than concern for my body. There's never a line for the tofu station.), I'm certainly not a health nut. I love Nutella too much for that, I think.
Although this strange thing has happened to me now where junk food is no longer all that appealing.
I thought they say that your taste buds grow weaker as you grow older (which is why bitter foods like spinach, kale, and brussels sprouts become more appealing to your aging and dulling taste buds)?
Now that I no longer have the sharp and precise taste buds of a child, one taste my taste buds can keenly sense is the taste: Processed. They can smell a processed food a mile away.
They know. 
They know when something is faking it and something is the real deal.
They're sharp little monsters.
It's disappointing, because they really do demand the best: they can even taste the difference between a sweet, fresh, natural banana and an uncomfortably plump banana, juiced up on growth hormones or steroid water or magic potions or whatever farmers are putting into their bananas these days.
They're now able to taste the cow hormones in the water, too. Super inconvenient.
All this to say, I am not a health not. I have about zero interest in ever going to a gym, because gyms, I find, incredibly depressing. And they smell like too many humans sweating in one room. Which is also how a rock concert smells, but people don't mind it too much there, because they have altered their mental state to a point where they are no longer cognizant of the aroma that permeates the atmosphere around them.
No such substances are allowed at the gym, and furthermore, to have them at the gym would defeat all the health benefits gained by 'working out'. 
So, no gyms. Gyms are out.
But running, running is a different matter.
The second kind of people who love to run (and granted, there is probably great overlap here with the first group,) are the social runners. You know, the people who have running buddies and the couples who run together.
I feel like a sign of a stable relationship is definitely couples who run together.
I hate running with other people. (Maybe this is why I'm still single.)
In all seriousness, running with other people is the opposite of rejuvenating. Running is not social time, running is time where I forget all the people in the world and I find that it's just me, the sky, and the ground beneath my feet.
When I'm running, I can string phrases together in my head, and compose pages of unwritten dialogue.
When I'm running, I have no other obligation in those few moments than to listen to the birdsong, and taste the texture of the wind.
When I'm running I can feel the sweet icy air of winter on my face, or let the muggy air of summer run through my curls.
Running, you will protest, is an unnatural bore and an excellent way to destroy a lovely morning walk through nature.
Why would you engage in an activity whose sole purpose is to run yourself out to the point of exhaustion?
~
There comes a magical moment, sometimes, just rarely, when the wind is just right, or the sun shining through the tree leaves hit the path in front of you with just the right angle, or when the insistent summer rain is beating down on you, when you begin to fly.
Not literally fly, but very nearly.
And it doesn't happen every day. But every day, I continue to run, knowing that the next time I can fly will only come if I continue with the work of running.
Flying cannot come without practice.
Sometimes the practice is dull or hard or distasteful.
But those rare moments of flying are absolutely worth the drudgery. 
Those moments when you take off down the path with a renewed burst of speed, and although your feet are still touching the ground, your entire body is simply soaring through the air.
You are alone, flying through the rain, flying through the sunny morning, faster than a deer, moving with an intoxicating freedom.
Running at the speed of joy,  you find that this could very well be the pace that we were born to move at.
Your heart races, but it feels light and free, not worn out or exhausted.
It is the opposite of exhaustion.
It is exhilaration.

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