Last summer in Ireland, I noticed that whenever I saw a woman going for a walk along the very narrow country roads of the beautiful west coast, they walked with purpose. Their arms swung. Their gait was strong. It was just an observance on my …
Tag: trail running
Over the weekend I rewatched To Kill a Mockingbird, one of my favorite movies. I wish I could say, “Oh how far we’ve come since then,” and I would like to believe it, but the continued news of the racist Donald Trump having such a large following of American voters tells me otherwise. This is the point of my frustration lately, so if it comes through on my blog, I guess you’ll know why. I feel as though many of the values I learned when growing up are just so blatantly missing in the majority of people these days. I’m not talking about political or ideological values as much as simple ways to be: be kind to one another, be tolerant, open your mind to difference, do not judge others, pay attention to science while understanding parables and fables illustrated in certain old literature, love your neighbors, and do unto others what you wish to be done unto you.
It’s not really happening. This old world is ruled by environmentally ruinous markets, corruption, and racist/bigoted/fundamentalist people. Sure, there are always people who try to shine a light through the darkness, but it seems sometimes like it’s one step forward, five back. I know that I cannot live a life stressed about these things, and generally I try to look forward with a positive attitude, but this past week it hasn’t been happening. I don’t think I need to spell out the things we should be worried about if Trump becomes president, but for starters, check out Donald Trump: Make America Hate Again.
So that’s when I get out on the trail. Yesterday after work my husband and I set up our newish tent to see how to put it together. It was exciting. After thinning out more turnips and replanting them, I climbed into the tent like a little kid and imagined our camp trip this weekend, which I’m so very excited for! Last night as I fell asleep, thoughts of the surreal scenes in my newest novel, camping, and running tried to sooth me to sleep, but intermittently I thought of Donald Trump as president, and it bothered me so much I lay awake for the longest time.
Perhaps some don’t know this, but Vancouver has very overvalued housing, which is a product of a speculative, corrupt housing market. We have thought seriously about moving to another place, and one of the areas my husband is interested in is Portland, Oregon. My daughter also loves the place, and who knows, maybe some in our family can be geographically closer again. I will work on my dual-citizenship after our summer holiday, so that it could be easier for us to move to the states, if (big if) we ever decide to, but there is one condition under which I would never move there, and that is if Trump becomes president. However, the idea that so many Americans support racist, hateful ideas makes me not really want to live in the country where that is happening either, regardless of who becomes president.
After a restless sleep, I thought there is no way I’m going to run today. I’m exhausted from work and worry. I probably got about three good hours of sleep last night. But I know that a good trail run can improve my spirit and health. It’s like a miracle shot. I know I’ve exalted running in nature often, but it’s addicting and, like the wild, is calling. When running, I can think back to when my America was great (it actually wasn’t most of the time–it’s just rose-colored glasses), but running brings out not only endorphins, it opens a connection with what’s left of our natural world and all the beauty and goodness there–a time of sanctuary in which I remember the delightful, fortunate way I was raised and try to hold that goodness within in times of so much corruption and maliciousness.
“It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived.” (Scout, To Kill a Mockingbird)
So, off I go!
There’s a documentary on Netflix called John Denver Remembered, and it’s pretty good. Growing up when I did, with parents who had his albums, his music was an integral part of my life from childhood on. My musical tastes are pretty eclectic. I like hard rock, a little rap, some old Kentucky fiddle music (from hearing it when I was a kid down in the Appalachians), some pop, blues, some jazz, and a lot of folk music. The documentary pointed out how John Denver got some bad reviews back then, even though he was a beautiful balladeer and sold plenty of albums. Got me to thinking that it’s sometimes hard to be a nature-lover and be considered cool. People look at you weird. But I’ve always found his music moving, powerful, and inspirational. I think part of the reason I liked his music so much was because it really celebrated mountains, forests, sunshine, the wide expanse of the sea and the sky. And it was so genuine.
Then he has these gorgeous thoughts that come through his music, about love, relationships, life, and so on. Love “Poems, Prayers, and Promises,” as it kind of reminds me of my life, where he’s just thinking of his life and reminiscing how it felt to pass around a pipe with friends at night by a fire, or how sweet it is to love, how right it is to care. I remember a few years ago we went to Sheridan Lake in the interior with Morgan’s family. We cabin- or tent-camped on that beautiful lake, where we could paddle out to an island that deer like to play at. We kayaked, canoed, hung out. I thought of that time when hearing that song; we would make big bonfires at night and laugh and play the guitar and sing. We “passed the pipe” and drank wine or beer. When the camp owner came out to quiet us down he sat down and took over the guitar and knew a ton of old folksongs. That was a wonderful night. I want a damn bonfire at night with good friends and family again.
Who sings about these things these days? Who does this today? I don’t know anyone anymore outside family.
Today I listened to John Denver while doing almost an hour trail run on Coquitlam River Trail path. Morgan went with me, though kind of paced ahead of me and walked some. He was protecting me from a huge ass raccoon.
It felt really good today, though my pace seems to be slower lately…maybe due to more trails and my shoes needing to be replaced. I think some of it has to do with inconsistent running during my joint/muscle injuries–though now during my second go around with the 10K training program I refuse to walk at all, and I think it makes the overall pace a bit slower because sometimes if you don’t take a break, there is no refreshing pause and a much faster run afterward. Anyhow, right now I’m just going for consistency and the stubborn determination to just…keep…running. Managed over 5K again, including some hills–though the people in my Strava group are saying that on big hills, you’re already into your anaerobic regime, so no matter what you do or how hard you train, your overall pace won’t be that much faster and it’s okay and even more efficient to walk up the steeper hills.
Later, at dusk, I needed to do some grocery shopping, so walked a couple more miles with my rolly cart up to the store and back. It was a nice, cold night, with the mountains very frosty and a chill to the perfectly dark blue night–but at the same time, you can kind of feel spring coming on, so I’m excited about that. I’ve already got my terrarium (cheap old one from Value Village) in hopes to make my herb garden; I don’t think it’ll be hydroponic, but it will be indoors and cat-proof!
Also, something happened this past week; I began a new novel. It could very well end up in the dump like a couple other projects I started, but this one is coming straight from the heart, and I have a distinct idea of exactly where it is going. I’m keeping it simple–no ten-character perspective, no huge crisis like climate change or an oil spill. It’s about a woman who runs (imagine that!), but unlike me she is alone and is afraid to get attached again. I’ve been there, so I know how to write that. I know how to write the running parts. How she meets someone again is interesting, and there is a lot wilderness in the book. I’m only about a tenth of the way in, so the rest is a secret for now.