Freedom of Movement

                                          Image: www.suggestkeyword.com

In my long running career, I have often been asked why I run. Or, are you training for something? ? Do you have goals? The answers have varied depending upon my age. In my teens, I was competitive. Therefore, I was ALWAYS training for races. In my twenties, I was either rebellious (refusing to run) or so injured it was impossible at times to even walk. In my thirties, I ran to get back in shape after my second son was born. In my forties, I was running to stay sane, struggling to function in a disintegrating marriage and an ugly divorce. I reached fifty. Free and forging new paths in my life and setting new goals that included competition once again, though never nearly matching the intensity of my teen years.

When I lived in New England, much of  my running took place in the early hours of the day, often in that space when it seemed darkest, minutes before sunrise. I would rarely see a fellow harrier. I didn’t mind and I always felt and was safe. These days, my route is different. We live on a  city park that abuts a bike and running trail.

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But sometimes I take the short drive to the beach and run with just the sound of the Gulf surf and forgiving sand.

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I run as early as I am able to safely do so. No dark starts here for a lone female. However, there are benefits to these delays. I see many more runners, walkers and cyclists. And the more I’m out on the trail, the more regulars I see. For a small town New England chick, it brings a sense of comfort as I continue to adjust to a more densely populated area.

And there’s a terrific variety of fleet footers out there as well. All doing their part to stay in shape, work on their goals and maybe even achieve a little peace of mind. One of my favorite groups to observe is the FAB 50 women who run on Saturday mornings. All shapes, sizes and ages out there working really hard while clearly enjoying the camaraderie. Whenever I see them, I am always brought back to the times when the sport was closed off to women. (Heck, I remember when many sports were non-existent for women!)  I know and understand the history behind the fight to participate in and create sports for girls and women and I appreciate the battles won, even more so as I get older. If it weren’t for the efforts of those unnamed many, none of us would be enjoying the right to discover and uncover parts of ourselves that we never knew existed.

Image: 9gag.com

It would be easy for me to write a political opinion or cite the landmark court cases and laws that allow me and other females to throw on our running shoes and shorts, enter races and compete against men, each other and ourselves. Simply put, this right to participate happened as a result of long struggles and hard won legal battles that in some instances seem to have little to do with running. But every single one of them is connected to each other and the present day independence from which women and girls continue to benefit.

Running gives a woman positive bodily integrity.  The sheer act of it is an example of how women should not be controlled by restrictive laws or narrow thinking that seeks to put us in our place or shames us into choices that someone else is making for us and our lives. Running restores broken spirits. Running returns control of one’s own life to the person it matters to the most-HERSELF.

So why do I run? I run to stay EMPOWERED. My goals? To remain a FREE and SELF-DETERMINED WOMAN. And what am I training for? MY LIFE.

This post has been churning for a while. The final push came after listening to Terry Gross’s Fresh Air interview with Gloria Steinem (ww.npr.org/2015/10/31/453029648/fresh-air-weekend-gloria-steinem-the-witches-carrie-brownstein), a heroine of mine since I was a teenage girl in the 1970’s. 

Capturing a New Day

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Last quarter moon in the first part of the day

Still high in the Eastern sky

The day is beginning to burst

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The pond is composed

Presently unoccupied

Bullfrogs as yet to call their mates

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The stream across the way

bubbles in contrast to the easy

manner in which her mother rests

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Her brother runs faster

Rounding a bend in the road

Gliding over rocks and under

fallen trees who lay across

his banks in a final surrender

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Back home a view of our sweet land

Snow hanging on in the back forty

Sunlight kissing the maples and birches

The bonfire pit anxious for a conflagration

And shoots of fresh grass

winning over the sleeping earth

 

Day 15. I woke up to see the last quarter moon outside my bedroom window. These photos were taken with my phone.  Took the easy workout this morning, walking for an hour watching the golden sky light up and taking pictures of pretty places near the homestead.

 

 

Red Hill Resurrection

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Red Hill Summit: Lake Winnipesaukee in the distance

 

Morning broke with sunrise Alleluias at The Rock

Acoustic accompaniments to the voices of

altos, sopranos and those out of tune

Weary pilgrims shivering in the cold Easter dawn

Reflecting and reciting in the woods’ spring hush

Midday brings a bolder journey still

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The steep brilliant hike up a slush covered hill

Mother and sons make the 2000 foot ascent

Breathing deep

Each step more steep

The oldest using his powerful speed

The feast at the summit consumed in near silence

The youngest reminding us as we view the tranquil vastness

of why we do this:

We can’t let life pass us

The gang of three leave this sacred place

Hearts full, feet moving at a dancer’s graceful pace

 

Day 5. A little late after a great day with my sons.

 

 

A Writer’s Hibernation

Credit: silverthreading.com

The sun just rose for the day. So much of winter here is void of color and light. It is easy to simply hunker down after a day’s work. Make dinner, slip into jammies, grab a book ( I am reading a ton these days!).  Or head to the gym for strength training. Or hit my mat for a few minutes of yoga.  Or watch the first two seasons of “Nashville” with my oldest ( a Christmas present). He loves to share favorite shows with me; it’s one of the ways we bond.  As usual, I continue to run most mornings despite the sub-zero temperatures and black ice. My only chance of quiet and fresh air happens just before daylight on weekdays.

But what about the writing? I cannot claim to have writer’s block. Certainly I have ideas running through my mind. And this blog is part of my DNA.  Maybe my words are dormant. Fattened up for the cold season. Resting and growing.  Conserving creative energy.

I also know that this is my last full winter season here.  I am preparing to leave in early summer. As a result, I am grabbing onto and gravitating towards moments with those closest to me. We need to be in this time together. And I have to say I am enjoying it all even if some days are filled with the drudgery of work and keeping the household running together! I hope my kids are learning the value of sharing even the most ordinary moments of their day with their housemates.

Well, the sun is done for the day. Replaced by the usual gray. It was pretty while it lasted. Think I’ll head out for a run …

Sipping Freedom

Credit: www.nobigdill.com

 

Tori pushed the pedal to the metal as she rounded the curve on the not yet familiar rural road. The predawn air was cool but she had rolled down the top of her jeep anyway. Eager to breathe in the scent of pine and dirt and cleanse herself of last night’s forays and rumblings. She hadn’t any time to shower.  With a nearly two-hour drive back and her kids to get off to school and herself to get off to work,  a shower fell off the list of things to do.

This was the first night she spent at Max’s place. Normally, he would stay at her house when her kids were with their father. But the modest cape on the suburban cul-de-sac was at once gossip central in her neighborhood and at odds with the passionate love affair she had recently begun with Max. She wanted and needed a separation between her life as a mother and a newly single woman.  Lack of privacy seemed the norm once you had children. Neighbors and friends always asking after them and their activities, how they were doing in school. Inevitably, the conversation steered towards you and your interests and activities. That’s what people were after anyway.

She stole a glance at the early spring sky. Sunrise soon. The few clouds a wispy gray and brushstrokes of tangerine. She buried her wish to be free of  the chains of motherhood. She loved her children.  Aslain and Anton were precocious 11-year-old twins who kept her on her toes. Both demanding and entertaining. Full of spunk. Truly replicas of herself at that age and what she continued to be  until her marriage to Eddie sucked her self out of herself.

The ride on this road was the beginning of her new beginning.  An awakening and a reawakening.  She sipped her coffee Max brewed for her as she attempted to dress herself.  For each zip of her fly and buttoning of her shirt, he would be doing the opposite until she finally gave up. They made love one last time while waiting for the coffee to finish.  She knew she was half dressed and still moist and she didn’t care. It tasted good.

She shifted into fifth and roared down the highway.

 

Kellie Elmore offered us the best challenge ever for Free Write Friday.  This piece has been stirring inside me since last fall. And it has been trying to tell itself more so than ever this week.  Just haven’t been able to get the words down. So here’s the start of something I hope!

 

You have a story in you. Everyone does. And I challenge you to take the first step toward telling it. The prompt this week can only come from you. That idea you once had. Or maybe it’s that idea you just had. That story that hasn’t been told that you want to hear, it needs you to bring it to life. And it all begins with one step. That first opening line on that first page of that first chapter. What does it say? That is your prompt.  

Just see how far it takes you. 🙂

Why I Run

Credit: davegetzschman.photoshelter.com

I run for no specific reason

I run because I like to feel the morning air on my face

The dark nip of winter

The welcoming breeze of spring

The heat of summer

and the tri-colored relief of  autumn

I run to  feel the aches

as I first shuffle my feet

and the sweet release as I enter my stride

 I run to see the changes in my world reveal themselves bit by bit

I run to listen to the day’s first stirrings

and the night’s final slumber

to hear the coyotes’ howls

the red tail’s hunt

the snort of  deer

and the yip of the fox 

I run to peek at Venus, my morning star in the east

I run to watch the moon’s final rise at the first mile

and the sun’s first with one to go

I run to breathe, to think (or not)

I run because I want to feel alive

and take in my daily dose of peace

A Spring Namaste’

Credit:  peacesymbol.org

Daybreak, a new illumination

Night whispers goodbye

as Venus lights the sky

My celestial companion kissing my window

                          I breathe

Seeking my own inner radiance

before the day’s illusions break the spell

The scenery is losing its bleakness

The tough alloy of the dead season

surrendering to the still fragile newborn

I taste the softness of the new dawn

The air a crisp green apple

My breath white and warm

with the rhythm of my feet

The old beech that holds the bend

is surrounded in a  yellow glow

My aching body is grateful in its movements

Each step a stretch and release

The coyotes call heard, but not seen

Fox and deer leave their traces invisible, but present

Do they watch me as I forge my morning path? 

My thoughts wander much like me

Familiar with the way

Creating my own inner landscape

as I enter a new day

Sunshine Award

Nominated by the lovely poetress Annie @ http://anniesmuse.wordpress.com/

After writing and posting my 169th piece, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself nominated for the Sunshine Award! We sure could use some up here in the month of February!

So, onto the process: Write 10 facts about yourself and nominate 10 others as well.

1) I love to read and carry at least two books with me in my car daily. You never know if you’ll break down. Reading is a great thing to do while waiting for AAA!

2) I love running and have participated in the sport since I was 11. Took a break for a bit in my 20’s and love it even more in my 50’s.

3) I love yoga almost as much as running.  My yoga mat is near my desk ready for use at all times. I go to a hot yoga studio weekly and am now into my 36th straight day of doing yoga with a goal for a full 365 for this year.

4) I  also enjoy strength training but find it hard to do when my basement is 48 degrees. Plus, I spend a lot of time shoveling snow in the winter.

5) The ocean soothes my soul and it is in these long winter days that I miss it the most.

6) I make sure to see the sunrise and sunset everyday no matter where I am. The only obstacle is usually cloud cover!

7)  I love getting my hair done. For years when I was married and the mother of young children, I kept my hair very short and got cheap haircuts. That ceased about 8 years ago when a good friend of mine paid for my haircut with her hairdresser. She spent the year convincing me to grow my hair and Voila’!

8) I am grateful to be in a healthy relationship with a wonderful man.

9) My two grown sons have turned into two good men. Very little fine tuning needed!

10) No matter what life has brought to my door, I have no regrets about the choices I have made-they helped to make me a stronger person.

And the nominees are:

1) http://dorothychiotti.com/  Consistently strong writing spoken with passion from the heart.

2) http://pinkwoods.wordpress.com/ This girl can write about pain so beautifully and with true honesty.

3)  http://talichaj.com/ I love her spoken word poetry!

4) http://phylor.wordpress.com/ This writer blows me away every time!

5) http://jenniesaia.wordpress.com/ Jennie’s passionate opinions and energy ring true. I look forward to her posts all the time.

6) http://markschutter.com/ What can I say? I just love Mark. His appreciation for his life shows in all his posts and his art.

7) http://graypoet.wordpress.com/ A man with a gift for rhyme and more.

Well, I just have 7 because some of the ones I love no longer accept awards or have already been nominated for Sunshine!  Quality writers here nonetheless!

Namaste’

Just A Little Fury

Credit: lowtechgrrl.deviantart.com

WHY LEAVE ANYTHING

YOU THIEVING BASTARD?

Tammy Lynne spray-painted that question onto a piece of plywood, dragged it to the end of the driveway and leaned it against the mail post for all the world to see (well, at least the folks who screamed by in their cars and trucks along Route 481).

Tammy had returned home from her afternoon shift at the clinic only to discover that nearly the entire contents of the small cabin she shared with her husband Kevin had been removed.  He left the bed, her dresser, a few chipped dishes, dented pots and pans, the worn couch, her CD player and all of her music.

The walls were bare. All of the art work that had served as memorabilia from their backpacking trips abroad had vanished. The pieces were the only thing of value that they owned. Well, maybe the snow blower and the tools; they were gone too along with the desktop computer that Kevin’s parents gave them as an anniversary present last year. He had the audacity to even take that with him too. Luckily, she saved all of her important information on thumbnail drives. Including those friggin’ incriminating emails between him and that case manager at the hospital. Did Kevin really think she would be that ignorant not to notice how those two looked at each other at the last hospital fundraiser? He spent most of the night ignoring her. Humiliated,Tammy spent it nursing one too many drinks at the bar and fending off the paws of Kevin’s mentor, Phil Keeley. He was one of those docs with big egos and small brains who was constantly trying to get in every woman’s pants except his wife’s. Tammy was sure the night ended badly because when she woke up the next morning, Kevin was sleeping on the couch.

Good thing he had no clue where she kept her secret stash of Hendrick’s gin. The stuff was expensive and hard to find. But Bobby, the bartender down at the Newtowne Tavern, was able to score some for her last month and didn’t charge her for it. She would probably have to find a way to return the favor someday. And Tammy knew exactly what Bobby liked as payments for his good deeds. Heck, he was a hottie; she might even enjoy paying back that debt.

In fact, it was the Hendrick’s that inspired her work of art. She was two drinks down and working on her third, listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s  “Tuesday’s Gone” when the idea came to her. She found the plywood and paint in the shed. In her drunken stupor and the coming light, she tattooed her anger on a 10×12 sheet of pine.

*An older story that I found hiding on a piece of paper in one of my writer’s notebooks. Inspired by something I observed on a road trip last summer.