After the thunderstorms passed and the flash flooding warning ceased, I went for a run tonight.
The sky had that wonderful, mottled look: swaths of clouds swooshing through the bright sky, shocks of purple and fuchsia and orange as the sun set and the afternoon became evening and then night.
Runs at twilight might be my very favorite of all, I thought to myself, running downhill and out of my neighborhood. Then I remembered a moment when I had the exact same thought, making my way down a country road on an evening five years ago.
When I say five years ago, my estimation might actually be exact, down to the day and the hour. I had moved out of my apartment in Boston a few weeks earlier, a relationship had ended, there were changes in my office, and I felt slightly off-center and out of balance. I settled on a summer escape, house-sitting for a family friend, at her farm on New Hampshire’s seacoast where my only company was a cat named Sam.
On that night, too, I wished I had carried my phone to snap a few shots that surely wouldn’t do it justice anyhow, but then my phone had recently been stolen straight out of my car. My life was in flux and I felt it thoroughly, completely unsure of what would come next and what adventures (or hills, quite literally) were perched right around the bend.
When I returned home tonight I was overcome with a sense of utter calm, grateful for the way the two moments aligned and for the opportunity to reflect, recognizing the way things pan out and how worrying and wondering are usually in vain. All we can do is continue moving forward. I did some digging and was thrilled to find a journal I kept around that time and even happier to discover that I took the time to record that run, writing:
I had the most incredible run tonight. I can’t quite articulate it yet, but it was magical. I really cannot remember the last time I felt so at peace running. I went out down Walnut Street, which is the same road I used to take over from Newmarket in college. What I loved about tonight was how different it was while I was running it. It was such a sensory experience — I saw fields, swamps, estates, and farms, smelled horses, cut grass, gasoline, and a wood stove. Of course, I listened to screeching crickets. It was blissful.
At the end of Walnut I turned right onto Lovering, a long, winding road speckled with houses and flanked by wildflowers, trees, and pussy willows. There was the almost surreal moment when I turned a bend, looked up and saw the most vivid rainbow. It seemed so contrived. I kept thinking that I wished I had my camera with me and, also, debating whether it was such a beautiful run that I wanted to share it, or keep it to myself. I took a wrong turn, so I put in 6 1/2 instead of 4 3/4 — even more perfect than I thought.
I promise, I refused to read more than the first sentence when I unpacked the box with this notebook (I knew which run I was referring to instantly, of course), not wanted to influence anything else I said here until it had already been written.
It seems inevitable that my dreams tonight will find me on dirt paths in exotic places. Now to make sure I’m writing another story sometime down the line where those treks become reality.