Here is a photo looking west just after sunset a few days ago. Here are a few things you cannot see:
It had just snowed. There were a few inches on the ground–not fluffy or soft but malleable enough to walk through. No crust, no ice. It had fallen off the trees but the fields were covered.
It was cold. A breeze blew. The line of short trees, oaks and ashes and buckthorn, blocked the wind coming from the south. On the south side of that hedge, pull your collar up and your hat down.
Jupiter hung in the sky. When I took this photo I intended to capture it between the lower layers of clouds. The bright dot contrasted with the dark clouds. I called it stunning.
I was smacking a lollipop, a strawberry Dum-Dum. That thing was tasty. That thing did me right. Flavors are powerful and we do not always have them to help remember a scene. I had one for this scene.
I was walking the dogs. Usually my wife does this. I go with her at times, and of course if she is not around the task falls to me. I took them out solo on this day. But just after I captured this image, she came around the row of spruces and joined us. Even after many years of marriage it makes me smile to see her. Every time.
I was wearing boots. I love the basic boots I can slip on and wander outside. The condition of the fields is so varied that I often am reminded how great they are. Whether there is snow or standing water or mud or rain or burrs or ticks, they protect and serve.
I headed back to the house after this. It got dark. We settled in for the night. The solstice was about to arrive. Now it has. We are headed to longer days. These are the days of hope in the year. I find it harder to cling to that hope these days. An afternoon like this, however, certainly helps.
So on the one hand I feel all “look at me I’m running eleven miles when it’s twenty degrees and windier than the prelude to the Wizard of Oz” and I know no one else is out there and boy am I special and aren’t I one tough dude? And on the other hand I feel all “I hope no one drives by because I’m so frikkin’ hot from working so hard and my remaining hair is plastered down to my tiny head with sweat and I’m plodding along slower than a three-legged dog on heroin” and so old-mannish I’m almost embarrassed.
Sometimes when I run for that long (two hours today you can call me Mr. Pokey McGillicuddy) I have way too much time to think. I mean, who cares what I look like or how slow I’m going? I’m running eleven miles when all you couch potatoes are reading trashy novels or watching old war movies or whatever and my lungs could beat up your lungs any day, so cram it if you think I look like some greasy old jogging slug.
I haven’t run that far since August. Back then it was hot and at least no one could see my sweaty wisps of what is left of my hair because I wore a brimmed hat. I wore a hat today but it was of the fleece-because-its-winter-and-I-want-to-keep-my-ears-no-frostbite-for-me-thanks variety. Also, I wore shorts and short sleeves in the summer and any passersby could see my burly arms so they wouldn’t notice if I moved slowly in fact they would be grateful because they would be pondering my resemblance to Adonis. But of course I had to go with sleeves today.
I have my mileage in for the week now. I could give up on a run tomorrow and still be on the positive side of my goal. Of course, the more I manage to get in the less I will plod. My goal here really is about running far, but if I can enhance my image at the same time, who’s to say that won’t do? I live here in the United States, after all, where image matters more than substance much of the time. I’m just trying to get my piece, if you know what I’m saying.
Seriously, it was a good run–slow but I got it done. That’s a confidence booster, for sure. The wind is still howling, although the temperature is now just above freezing. I’m glad I went earlier. I wouldn’t want anyone to think I’m a wuss.