Sunday, December 12, 2010

Running Uphill

It's been some time since I posted anything on this blog. Life's been a whirlwind over the past six months and I simply haven't had much time for reflection. However, my morning run yesterday finally provided some inspiration, so here goes.

I headed out on my run from our new home on the shores of the Lahave River intending to follow my usual 5km loop into town and back. Running by a side street, however, I looked up and and happened to notice a street sign: "Pine St". It had been years since I'd been up that street but memories came flooding back. Pine Street. Nearly thirty years ago. I was dating a handsome young man at the time and a pull-off at the top of Pine Street hill was a favourite parking spot.

Without pausing to think, I veered quickly to the left and trotted up the street intent on revisiting the spot to see whether it was as pleasant as I remembered. Unfortunately, in the intervening years I had completely forgotten that the climb from the river's edge to the top of that hill is nearly 4 kilometres so it was a much more ambitious venture than I expected.

Slogging up the hill, I had plenty of time to think about all that's happened in the years since I last sat in my boyfriend's car under star-lit skies listening to "our song" on the radio. The details of those evenings are mostly forgotten, but I remember clearly how joyful and full of optimism I was - about life, my future, the fate of the planet - everything really. As I approach 50, it saddens me to realize how seldom I feel that kind of joy and optimism now.

On the other hand, at 20 years old I couldn't have run up Pine St. hill. I wasn't athletic in my youth and only took up running when I turned 40. Eight and a half years later, my hair is mostly grey, the wrinkles around my eyes more pronounced by the day, but my heart and legs (not to mention my willpower) are stronger than ever - so the trek reminded me that some things really can get better with age - when you work at them at least.

Pausing to catch my breath at the top of the hill, I took a moment to enjoy the beauty of the river valley below and to be grateful - for happy memories, strong legs, and the great good fortune to live in such a beautiful place - then turned slowly and began the long, sweet run downhill towards home.