Wednesday, April 28, 2010

One girl in... training

I spend a lot of time writing. And jogging. And writing some more. Then adding on a few more miles.

It would be rude to not report on my first 5k: the "Run for John."
A young man who died three years ago from a heart defect that could not and was not detected until he collapsed while running. He collapsed doing what he loved.

Since his death, every time I lace up my kicks I think about him. There hasn't been a run, walk or jog in the past three years where I haven't thought about him. Regardless of where I am, my running shoes are a symbol for going on. For John.

John makes the event about more than running. He makes it about living. His memory lives on in everyone who takes place in the run, even in strangers. Cause that was John; he had a connection with you, even if he didn't know you.

One girl in training.
I am training for a 15k trail run. 9.3 miles. June 5. This is the first time I have ever trained for a race. It is exciting. Painful. And it currently is taking me five minutes to sit on the toilet. That would be sore.

Exciting. Painful. Sore.
I think those are qualities John could relate to.

The "Run for John" may have ended April 24, but it will never end in my heart.

Run on.

Run on.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

One girl in... a birch tree.

So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
And so I dream of going back to be.
It's when I'm weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your face burns and tickles
With the cobwebs Broken across it,
And one eye is Weeping from a twig's
Having lashed across it open.
I'd like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
May no fate willfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth's the right place for love:
I don't know where it's likely to go better.
I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

--from Birches, Robert Frost

My blue hammock swung back and forth against the weight of my foot as I read this poem out loud to a group of fellow travelers. Argentina. One month ago. I met a young man with a book of Frost. In English. I never understood the desire of a book written in a native dialect until Argentina.

I read Birches for the first time in the ninth grade. The book I found it in weighed 15 pounds and I carried it for over two months, solely for those 59 lines that whispered to me. I have no clue why I never ripped out the two pages, though I did steal the whole book in the end.

Back in Argentina, I climbed a tree the following afternoon. I had not stepped hand nor foot into a tree since my childhood of swinging off the pecan tree in my parent's back yard.

I don't know what it is about climbing trees that makes one disappear into another world. Frost writes it right; it is going to another place for a while, then coming back down to begin over.
Beginning over. I had never considered my arrival back to the United States a moment of starting a new. Little did I know.

Last week, I rode down Walnut Ave. to AutoZone with my 46-year-old friend who held in his hand the passenger side door handle of my car. I would like to say twas his strength that outdid the 17-year-old knob, but the door was locked when he attempted to exit.

During our excursion, he asked me if I missed blogging.
If I missed sharing my adventures from Argentina.
I said yes, but that there is nothing to blog and share about in Dalton.
His advice was simple:
Just don't stop writing.

I believe that life has a timing for everything. You meet, read and discover things with timing. Sometimes the moment is wrong. Other times, perfect. I had forgotten about this poem until I read it in Argentina. I read it with impeccable timing.

I am one girl in a birch tree. Coming back down from an experience that has shaped me so much I am not sure which way is coming or going. Though, I do know that Earth is the right place for love-- whether that be love for a person, place or for me, my writing.

Treat this as my welcome post to One Girl In.
I will not stop writing.
Because I agree with Frost, one could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

One girl in... Dawnville

As I wrapped around the black asphalt track, my eyes smiled at the line of children sitting on a railroad tie in the playground. A giant lime green bow clung to the long blond locks of a 5 year old. Watching me as I jogged past her, she waved, giggling to her friends.

George Straight kicked me into gear. Lap three. One mile in. I run a 5k race in eight days. The first race in almost two years. I went to the local park instead of training on my parent's gravel driveway.

Dawnville. The place that I grew up. Ironically, the same place that I swore I would never return to. Though everyday since my return from Argentina, I find something new about Dalton. About Dawnville. About my home that teaches me.

It is baseball season. I pulled into the park. Ball field one: T-ball. Kids missing the ball off the T. Running in circles. Sitting in the outfield making dandy lion crowns. The beginning of making champions.

It is an interesting concept, little champions. The .33 track loops around the bigger champions. Two ball fields with parents circling the chain-linked fences. Screaming. Chanting. Cheering.

Lap six. Mile two. Where I got slow. When my shorts would not stop riding up my thighs. I tugged on my spandex bottoms as I passed her. Fifteen, 5'5. Hiding Ray Bans under a Camouflage cap, the drama was edged into her right, popped out hip. The difficulties of boys. Shoes. Clothes. Boys.

Lap eight. I felt like an outsider looking in-- as if no one could see me. The mom drinking her purple Gatorade did not notice her son picking on another boy. Grandparents searched for their reading glasses instead of their prescription shades as the sun faded to gray.

Lap 11. One lap to go until mile four. The tree's shadows hung over the fields. I no longer heard the music. All I saw was a lime green bow.

If it wasn't for those parents, their kids and their stained jerseys because of the dirt on local baseball fields; if it was not for the little girl and her lime green bow or teenage drama: small towns would never exist. Large cities either. The small joys of living would fade. Quickly. Like the sun during my jog.

Staying in one place is about living. The want of belonging. Though not just for belonging, but for living. For enjoying.

I arrived at the park for a run. To stretch out my legs. Sometimes you experience things that already lay embedded in your heart. The lime green bow reiterated my love for the details of a moment in time.