It has been a long winter. I scarcely remember what it feels like to be warmed by the natural sun. Cozy as they may be… no pair of wool socks, no WalMart space heater, no spiced Hot Toddy can warm you skin-to-bone like bathing in a balmy ray of sunshine. There truly is… nothing like it.
The tail-end of Winter often brings what I call, “Spring Teasers”… random Spring-like days that pop-up in the midst of a week of bleakness and drear. Oh, for those coveted days! On such brilliant mornings, we, the hibernating, begin to emerge from our caves with a stretch and a yawn. Blinking back the bright light, breathing in deep, lung-fulls of new air… we begin to feel blissfully alive again. Today, was such a day.
Armored in a layer of t-shirts and my favorite black hoodie… I headed to the streets for a run! Well, a more like a jog, Okay, so it was mostly walking. But it’s been awhile, after all. However, my slow pace afforded me the luxury of taking in the sites, sounds and smells of my little East Nashville neighborhood. Eastwood Neighbors, we are called. And though located a good mile from my house, I am fully aware of Bongo Java’s morning ritual of roasting coffee beans. The pungent, caffeine-saturated aroma winds snake-like through our streets… lingering as a resident among us. A mere whiff gives me a boost of energy and a craving for vanilla-almond biscotti.
Huffing and puffing, I passed my neighbors in a slow but steady trodding… happily returning each wave and nod: A distracted wave from Miss Sootie who was busy inspecting every stick of her naked rose bushes… hoping for a sign of the first bud. A casual “howdy” from a dog-walker tripping down the street while being tugged by two highly energetic retrievers. A tip of the hat from Mr. Harris sipping coffee on his front porch. The obligatory head-nod from a passing fellow jogger. All this neighborliness! The reclusive winter months have kept me from enjoying my beloved community. But no more!
I was rather zealous when layering for my run this morning… three tees and a sweatshirt deemed a bit much as the temperature and my heart rate quickly climbed. Feeling a bit like a well-cooked onion, I stripped away layer after layer as I conquered each new block… until legally, I could de-layer no more. But oh, it felt wonderful to be hot and to feel the drip of sweat once again!
As I rounded the corner that takes me home… I heard a shout from one of my elderly neighbors, Mr. Dillard. “Miss Rosie’s been worried about you! She hasn’t seen you all winter!” I laughed, embarrassed because, well, I haven’t been out for a run all winter. And I should be embarrassed! I mean, even Miss Rosie’s aware of my lackadaisical exercise of late. “Tell her I’m fine, and it’s about time I got back at it!” I didn’t know she’d been watching. “Tell her to look for me tomorrow!” That should keep me on track…
And I’ve got to stay on track. My season of hibernating has added some layers that are not so easily peeled-off. I need encouragement and motivation. The kind that today so generously offered. This body of mine is far from being cat-call-ready… but a few whistles flew my way via this morning’s motley crew of trash collectors. They are easily pleased, I’m sure. But I shall enjoy their offering nonetheless. And I must confess – it made me smile. So, I picked up the pace.
A day like today breathes new life into me. Yet, is it merely a tease? Tomorrow calls for a high of 40 degrees and scattered showers. It is quite hard to hold onto this burst of fresh energy when clouds hover and the chill returns. But I must push forth… for the sure hope of Spring… and to believe that the sun truly exists, even if it doesn’t shine. It is a certain test of my faith, to be sure… and I must believe.
Regardless of my shame, Mr. Dillard’s words also made me smile. Because it’s good to be missed. It’s good that neighbors watch each other. It’s good that the trash collectors aren’t picky. And it’s good that Spring DOES eventually come – in full bloom no less!
So whether cold or warm, shine or rain… rest assured Miss Rosie, I will be out again tomorrow.
(repost from previous blog site)