For the first time since July, I have begun to run again. Once a week – I’d like to make it twice – I don my bright orange jacket, shorts and running shoes and begin at a leisurely pace down Urquhart road, up Links Road and then gradually pick up pace until my feet are pounding the tarmac on the long stretch that is the Beach Esplanade.
Sleep, or more accurately sleeplessness, has been one of the drivers for running again. Once awake sometime between 2am and 4am regardless of when I hit the sack, I find my mind far too active to go back to sleep. That is how I end up awake till it feels like a less ungodly hour to hit the road and run. What running does is afford me time to think – headphones plugged in, I can focus on the rhythm my feet make and the beat of whatever I am listening to. I am not alone in the pursuit of running zen, sometimes I pass other runners in different phases of their own runs, walking a dog or on the odd occasion an elderly couple out and about strolling.
Sometimes, we exchange a knowing smile as we pass each other; the mutual recognition and self congratulation we afford each other as we fly past. I sometimes think I detect a hint of smugness in all that; we having taken the difficult decision to leave our beds whilst it is not bright and light, can feel like we’re part of a serious, health concious elite and pat ourselves on our backs as a result.
It seems only a few weeks ago when it was March, when the overwhelming sense was of hope for summer, and good change. Somehow time has sped by, the nip in the air the sure indicator that winter is around the corner, having sneaked up on us.
This was meant to have been the summer of light, love and happiness but between the continued difficulties posed by low commodity prices and the self inflicted losses in love, it has felt more like a summer of slog. If it is any consolation, there is at least more clarity on a number of fronts about paths to not go down.
This is what life is I suppose; birth, death, planting, uprooting, loss, healing, weeping and laughing, each in its turn an ineluctable phase of life. A lot has changed over the last few months, but in changing, a lot has stayed the same- the crooning of Larry Norman (Nothing Really Changes) comes to mind.
Our two days of summer’s gone for good this year, but (maybe a tad too early), there’s next year’s summer to look forward to.