Running Joy

Getting all enthusiastic about running again, I took the opportunity to visit one of my favorite scenic places while waiting for one of my kids at their volunteering.


Feeling joyful in the great outdoors is way too easy.


Walking along the gravel pathway, I warmed up with a slow walk teaching a bench which I have come to love complete with a visitor’s log and an ottoman. I have meditated here many a time, but today is a day for movement, not silent contemplation.


Starting to pick up the pace after setting my timer for 10 minutes, I began my jog (excited walk). Today is the day for puppies and dogs in training, and I encountered several of them with their owners in various states of domination from “I’m the alpha” to “you’re doing great” to “please listen!” They encompass the whole spectrum of dog ownership. I particularly love the woman desperately attempting to keep her puppy from holding the leash in their mouth while they walked. Every few minutes, she would stop and readjust the leash hoping that the magic combination of location and distraction would prevent her puppy from teething on the leash and disrupting their walking flow. I appreciate witnessing the process of a give-and-take relationship in formation.


Coming to the end of my 10-minute run, I reset for another 10 and turn around. Halfway point reached. My legs which haven’t seen this amount of activity since…I can’t remember…feel a little rubbery. Determined though not to be shamed by a runner I passed earlier, I resume my jogging pace back to the bench. Admittedly, I get a little faster with a more earnest runner look whenever I pass a fellow runner, especially if I have seen them before. I also hold my breath so they don’t hear my wheeze.


Various people greet me. Some say hello, some good morning, some pretend that they are too busy for any of that nonsense, but I smile anyway. My favorite though is a man older than me running faster than me and with more enthusiasm who waves excitedly at me like he is on a parade float. He is even wearing the kind of glove that you might see on a Mickey Mouse cartoon character. I can’t tell if he likes big gloves or if those are the ones he picked out the glove box by accident this morning. Either way, they add an appropriate touch to his eccentric character.


Eccentric characters and people who greet me bring me joy.

Reaching the end of my run, I happily start my cool-down walk back to the car. The samosas I brought for lunch almost get me running again, but there are people around so I will saunter back with my “whew, what a strenuous workout” attitude.


Achieving my goal of running brings me joy when I’m stationary…


And eating a samosa.


So often these days eating Indian food passes for spirituality. I don't meditate, I don't pray, but I eat two samosas every day.

- Dam Bern

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