Life is stressful. At work, there are always papers to grade, meetings to attend, procedures to follow, and then, of course, there are the students. At home, there’s dinner to make (on the nights I’m there to make it), there’s kids to play with and read to and put to bed, dishes to wash, messes to clean up. (Sidenote: my wife is awesome. I don’t know how single parents do it.)
Then there’s the book; much as I love it, the work is exhausting. I mean, I always knew that writing would be hard, but there’s really no explaining how hard it is if you haven’t tried it. The hours, they pile up like bones at a hot-wing eating competition. I run laps in my head like a hamster on its wheel trying to make the story behave, and some days it feels like swimming upstream toward the maw of a grizzly bear.
But that’s why running is awesome.
Running is the reset button. Running is the vacation inside my own head. Running is taking the phone off its cradle (as if we even know what that means anymore). Running is … well, really it’s just putting one foot in front of the other for a while, maybe until you get tired or until you work up a decent sweat, but it certainly feels like more than that when you’re in the midst of it. Doesn’t matter how tired I am, or how stressed, or how sore I am; the run rejuvenates and invigorates the body and soothes the mind. There’s something meditative, transcendent even, in the repetitive motion, in the regularity of breath, in the pat-pat-pat of your soles on the pavement.
And somehow, the effect can be magnified by the surroundings; be it a breezy beach at low tide or a dusty trail through the endless green of the woods or, as was the case this morning, a starless, sleepy fog hanging low over the city, masking buildings and trees in the near distance.
It does something to me, feeling that mist curling around the treetops, swallowing up vehicles as they sped into the grey. Like some enormous, malevolent thing hanging over everything, waiting to engulf it all like the maw of some Eldritch horror.
I’m hardly a photographer (just look at that ugly corner of the building, the lonely light fixture lurking at the side of the frame, ick), but just look at that spidery tree, frozen in the fog, its dendritic fingers dewy and grasping. Like an alien abduction in reverse.
…We don’t get a lot of fog in Atlanta.
Good morning for a run.