Up and Out in the Morning

This has been a bad week for running.  I have not gotten motivated enough to give up sleep and make it happen in the morning.  And I have been home too late in the evening to really make a go of it.  Too many things to balance.  We a had a friend visiting for three nights and, of course, we stayed up late to hang.  He did come all the way from California.  This morning, however, I finally rallied for a morning run.

It wasn’t long.  I had to get back so I could get myself and the kids ready for the day.  But it was fine.  I left when it was light enough to see (no headlamp required) but the sun had not yet risen.  It was the perfect morning, although it was cold (26 degrees when I left the house).  I had no regrets about losing a little sleep.

There is a time when the world feels perfectly at peace.  The light creeps over the hills but the sun will not appear for a bit.  The eastern sky is pink or golden.  The blackbirds are beginning to chirp their chorus.  The frost glows.  The air is still.  No one else seems to be stirring.  The river shushes smoothly under the bridge.  It is quiet except for the waking birds and the sound of my feet.

That is the morning I had.  The mud was mostly frozen, so it was easy to navigate the rutted road–no sinking into the mire.  I crunched along past the fields, through the woods, onto the open road and over the hill to see the sun toss its head over the mountains.  And then the world was bright.  I felt the warm spring angle of that sun immediately, my layers instantly too much.  As I trotted north, the light flashed through the bare trees like the light from an old reel projector.

So maybe it wasn’t a bad week for running.  I haven’t gotten in many miles but this morning sure did feel like it made up for it.  It was peaceful.  It was beautiful.  I felt great.  I came home feeling calm and ready for what might come.  As I turned from the road onto our long driveway, I felt  happy to be alive, that this day was a gift.  I felt as though I was starting, right that moment, with days and days of living to come.  And hopefully, I am.

If I do not have those days and days left before I reach the great whatever it is that comes after this life, it will not have been a bad day to end on.  I hope, however, to have many more mornings like this one.

First Ski Day

Brian Jenkins Burlington Free Press

Brian Jenkins Burlington Free Press

Today was opening day at Bolton Valley so we headed up there for some early skiing.  We had a blast.  We took only a few runs (the kids are still getting their ski legs on) but got the feel of it.  I even got a few turns in on my own while sliding down the trails with my daughter.  I had my first spill as I tried to take a small jump ( I landed it but ate white with my first turn).

We stayed warm enough and the place was not as packed as we thought it might be.  I had the impression that there were just as many people there as on opening day last year but somehow things ran more smoothly.  Everything just seemed to flow a little better.  We got our passes in just a few minutes, didn’t have to wait in line for the lift, found a place to park, even found a spot to put on our boots with no problem.

Once we had fun on the slopes we headed around the corner.  We lived up there for over a decade and we wanted to check out our old house.  We designed and built it one summer and fall, and it was an odd feeling to leave it.  It turns out that the new owners added a couple of touches we had wanted to add ourselves but did not–a large front porch and a small roof over the front door.  It looks great.  It looks better on the outside than it ever did when we lived there.

It was a great place to live and both of us felt we could be happy up there still.  Winter up there meant we were in the place to be.  We always had snow on Christmas, but we couldn’t have much of a garden.  One can’t have everything, but it sure was nice to put on boots and walk up the hill and take a few runs, all without driving.  Ah, but how about that popcorn we grew this summer?

Tomorrow we will likely head up there again, get the itch scratched for the weekend.  We will have to load the car and drive up there like everyone else.  For now, that’s what we’ve got.  Yesterday I was outside while my son stomped around on the frozen garden.  I started mentally planning what we might grow next summer.  Some days I ski.  Some days I pull weeds.  That isn’t easy to do all in one place.  As for tomorrow, I may spend some time thinking about gardening, but one should ski while the snow is on the mountain.