Monday, December 27, 2010

the greatest gift

what would we be without the amazing gift we have to reinvent ourselves?
a few different answers come to mind: stagnant, dull, tedious.
or, perhaps, wise, patient, deep.
if we are to burrow deeply within ourselves and focus upon one aspect, one persona, one set of likes and dislikes, are we susceptible to becoming linear and boring, or are we then able to test the depths of our reality and find a greater wisdom than most know?

I like to think we can deepen and enrich ourselves by examining our inner being while experimenting with different ways of interfacing with the outer world, other beings, nature itself.

and this is really all about the fact that it snowed yesterday, allowing me an exhilarating new experience and a joyful recognition of something different within and without of myself.

see, I was going to ride my bike. I'd heard the weather would be dry and in the upper forties, which is perfect december riding weather. I even planned a ride, and was waiting for john to arrive so that we could take off up the canyon.
when my phone rang and it was john calling from home, I was puzzled. and then when he asked what I was going to do, go to the gym, or just take the day off, I was baffled.
"well, it's been raining over here all day, just a little, but it's definitely coming down."
"it's gray all around here, but it's not raining," I replied firmly, as I pulled back the curtain and took a look at my patio. which had--uh oh--little wet spots all over it.
"oh," I said quietly. "oh, I guess, maybe, it is raining."
off went the biking clothes, and on came the running clothes.
this is why I took up running, so I could get outside and exercise when biking wasn't reasonable.
when I stepped out the door, I could see the raindrops. they were spaced quite far apart, and they had that fluffy texture to them that some people call snow.
so I took off around the corner and down the street, and went for a run.

and this is where reinvention (is that even a word? do we have to reinvent? isn't invention in and of itself the discovery of something new?) comes in to play: for years I have wanted to be a runner. I love the flexibility of it, the portability. you can travel just about anywhere and still go for a run, whereas it's just not that easy to go for a bike ride when you're away from home. I love the fact that it takes less time for a similar impact than biking. and I just plain old want to be one of those people who can run.
and here it is: I am a runner.
three months ago I wasn't, and now I am.
I am a runner! I shouted it yesterday, I threw my arms in the air and woo-hoo-ed. I watched the lawns slowly begin to turn white as I ran, I shook the wet snow from my hat and arms. I sang along to the music on my ipod, I sweated and shivered and kept placing one foot in front of the other.
I made first tracks.
the sidewalks began to fill in, and by my last mile I was listening to my shoes crunch the fresh snow, leaving my tracks down the middle of the sidewalk.
there was no one else out running in my little section of the world, and my footprints claimed the joy and glory of running in the snow for me alone.

I am always deeply me. I am grounded and committed, stable and full of gratitude.
but five years ago I wasn't a cyclist.
five months ago I wasn't a runner.
and who knows what I'll be able to add to my CV five months from now, five years from now.
I fell into cycling, never having had the "I want to be a cyclist" desire. I worked my way into running, however, after years of thinking "I want to be a runner." obviously both ways are effective, though the latter tends to be more empowering.
my mother is a pianist, extremely talented and capable of creating beauty which fills the air. a few years ago, she began painting, and now is creating beauty which sends a silent, visual message that is no less stunning. she's always been an artist, has been able to call herself that, but now she is a painter as well, and I think of her joy in being able to add that to her understanding and description of who she is.

I don't know what's next for me.
perhaps I'll fall into it, perhaps something will tuck itself under my skin and I'll begin to work my way toward incorporating it into my life. regardless of the method, I know I'll continue to be awed and grateful for that great gift of being able to become something slightly different than I once was.


Tyler said...

I predict that a rock climber is what you want to be next! You would be so seriously addicted it wouldn't even be funny. You have to give it a couple of climbs though. Work your way through some top-rope climbs, but go with a group who will encourage you to lead the climb. It's at this point that you must seriously decide if you really want to be a rock climber or not, for after you lead that first climb there is no turning back. You're hooked for life, even after serious injury.

I read about your biking and running and I know that "rock climber" is a title that you'll wear quite well. And I can't wait to read about your experiences because you're a phenomenal writer. You explain in detail things that I've experienced but would fail to describe if I even tried. Your writing got me through a hard time when I was unable to do anything but lie in bed for over a month. Your quick recovery from your biking accident inspired me to run my own personal marathon just last month, just to prove that I had conquered all that was holding me back during the summer; but not before making me feel completely inept at my own slow recovery.

Whatever your next quest, or whatever you might fall into, I hope you recognize your great gift for writing! Just promise to keep on writing and selfishly I'll hope that the content will someday be about conquering those towering cliffs that you rode by a thousand times on your bike, but never looked up to behold their beauty. Of all the things your are or may become, a beautiful writer is what you are to me...and I don't even personally know you! I hope you'll commit to the winter running series that Holly wants us to participate in. Then I'll get to meet you there as we explore ourselves as "runners".

susan said...

oh, pressure!
this is the third time rock-climbing has come up in my life in the past six months, so I am paying attention but am most concerned about the way the harness straps over my thighs and makes them look big. hmm.
I can't imagine really doing this, but I believe I can imagine the possible and likely addiction.
your words are so kind and empowering: I thank you immensely for sharing them.
maybe, just maybe, we'll meet out on that road by saltair . . .