Around noon on Saturday (after I'd sufficiently slept to feel a bit better), we departed for L's hometown to visit his parents. L's hometown is a quiet, sleepy kinda place, and life there is slower. And when I need a break from all the hectic, frenetic pace of school-job-social life-running, fueled by beer and caffeine, this is just the right place.
I didn't realize how much I just needed to take a break from the world, from the constant connectedness of being able to log in and check email and Facebook and all the other forms of communication I own. Today I've returned to regularly checking everything, but Saturday and yesterday, I kept a reasonably low profile (at least compared to normal).
I woke up yesterday morning, wide awake and alert at 6:45. I'd had enough sleep and I felt eager to be up and cooking and running. I finished up my grading at a leisurely place, the stress of finishing evaporated as if I'd set it out in the late spring sunshine on the broad porch at L's parents' log house. I ran 6 miles, then ran a few more later. I read books in long draughts, savoring and enjoying.
Even better, I feel my body coming into balance. While I don't eat scantily here, away from excessive amounts of beer or wine or gin, away from eating out, I eat enough. We ate fish and grilled vegetables, muffins and fruit, venison and salad and L's recipe-less homemade bread, a light sandwich and popcorn. I don't until I'm stuffed but merely satisfied, and I eat more slowly, at the table, taking my pace from L's mother who is a champion at slow eating.
We walk and we talk. We nap and we read.
Waiting around this afternoon and not wanting to read anymore, I slipped into my running shoes and out the door, no pressure to run but wanting to feel the pavement under my feet. I fall into a good pace, a rhythm that doesn't anger my quad or ankle, and I run, watching the little rabbits and the goats and other animals observing me. I encounter few cars that carefully drive around me. I run without music, just the sound of my feet on the little country road, the sun high in the sky, and the world green all around me. I run with joy and contentment, and when my watch beeps 2, I pause to stretch, then turn back. I arrive hot and dripping, but happy.
I plan to pack a bit of this peacefulness, this slower pace, and bring it back home with me where I can keep practicing running for the love of it, eating for sustenance and enjoyment, and not forgetting the hidden pleasures of a quieter life.