Sunday, March 23, 2008

Run two, walk four, toward life

Run two minutes
Walk four minutes
Repeat five times

This morning I woke up later than expected to bright clear blue sky. It took me a while to remember it was Easter Sunday. It's still cold and the snow still covers most everything. Even though I shared a little paschal feast with my kids the night before and doled out a few chocolate eggs in their general direction, to me, it's not Easter until the bulbs start popping up and the snow is replaced with a little frost, or maybe, dew.

It was nice to see the sun, though, and to feel the energy. I pushed on with some general chores and a bit of preparation for some necessary business travel ahead, and wrapped up my taxes. For the first time ever, I had to pay Uncle Sam. It was only $15, but to me, writing that check to the US Treasury reminded me that I am the Chancellor of the Exchequer here at this address, responsible in some fashion for everything that comes in, and responsible for everything that goes out, and everything that goes on. There's no maid or nanny or live-in sweetie to tidy up behind me or lighten my load or make my appointments or do my grocery shopping, or make the money, for that matter.

That's a little scary, even for me.

Week two
Run three minutes

I had planned this winter to really dive in to the entire ski thing for the sake of my children. What I learned very quickly is that skiing is very hard work. Lifting the heavy boots alone, learning to walk in them, getting around on the skis themselves, all took relatively hard work and some getting used to. Ultimately, except for a few lessons the kids gave me, I did not follow through. I'm not entirely sure why although it became clear rather quickly that I was not really in the right shape to take on a new sport. During one difficult lesson, my son was trying to show me how to rise up from a fall. He stood, almost unsupported, on to his skis from the ground. Whether it was my leaning or the point on the hill on which I had sat, I could not possibly simply stand up without assistance, either by giving myself a good shove or leaning on the poles. This worried me. While I don't know whether my son gave up on me, what I knew I had to do was to not give up and find a way to make this work.

Walk three minutes

And so I began a new conversation with my chief of staff, Ms. Me.

The mess this country is in affects us all. The lead story in our local paper this morning was not comforting in the least for a homeowner like me who was hoping over time to build a little equity. Now, like most Americans who were convinced that a home loan was just about the safest, simplest investment any one could make, I'm just hoping that when the time comes to sell I'll be able to pay the damn thing off (with values plummeting below original sale prices, sellers are having to pay at closing).

Repeat five times

I'm sure that having a partner would make it all seem a little easier. But, I don't. I have me. Thankfully I have a job I really care about that helps keep a roof over our heads. I have a furnace that will probably need to be replaced next year but for now, it runs. I have a car that runs because I pay to keep it running. I have a little help from time to time from my late mother, and after I pay taxes on that, it helps to pay for things like camp. Braces. New furnaces. Down the road a few short years, college.

As I folded the third load of laundry today, I realized that, as difficult and sometimes as lonely as it gets, all the decisions I make are mine. I have to live with them, good and bad and status quo. I don't have to argue about them or take them to committee or, as I once did for so many years, bring them to the table only to be summarily dismissed. I don't have to build consensus as I do in the external world of my work. It's a little weird but it works ok.

And so the decision to exercise, a simple and constant no brainer for most people, was a small rebellion against the past. I am surprised at how trying something I previously denied myself based on my negative self-view has transformed my dedication to get by into a will to survive and thrive. I have to. While I have friends and family and all that good stuff, my life is my responsibility. And to a large extent, so are my children. They find in me a different way of making a go at it. They need to understand that alone doesn't always mean unable or unhappy or unsatisfied. Because it is definitely an option, if you can carry the load.

The only way to lighten the load
Is to get stronger,
As quickly as possible,
So the load feels lighter.

After my chores were done, I layered up and took to the park.

Run two minutes
Walk four
Repeat five times

This summer, I want to be able to join my son as he trains for cross country next year. I want to be able to share a little of his world and show that it matters enough for me to try to feel what he goes through.

So I took to the pavement and breathed in deep of the crisp air and the dormant earth and the wild rushing creek, high enough in places to touch without much effort. Little by little I go deeper and come closer to someone inside who can push on, work harder, feel a heartbeat that beats with the world. It is going to be very hard work and I hope I can keep it up. But more lies there in that effort than just feeling better and raging against the lung disease in my mother's family, or the heart disease in my father's family. It's a raging on for the future, right into the eye of the storm. Whatever lies there, I hope I'm ready to meet it.

Traveling today with this song by two dear favorites, Buddy and Julie Miller, sure helped me with each step. It's kind of a classic Buddy and Julie tune here aptly performed by Sam Bush and Emmylou Harris, which provided the extra inspiration I needed to generate some necessary perspiraton.

The River's Gonna Run
By Buddy and Julie Miller
Performed here by Sam Bush, from his latest release, Laps in Seven

I got a hole in my pocket
I got a tear in my heart
I got a door, I can't unlock it
I live on shadows in the dark

I hear the sound of a heartbeat
I hear a secret in the rain
It's like the kiss of a lover
It's like a stranger knows your name

I'm gonna rock on the water
(I'm gonna dance in the flood)
I'm gonna lay down with the wind
(Lay down and believe like a child)
I feel the swell of the tempest
(I can feel the passion of a soul)
Like there's a storm comin' in
(A storm of love going wild)

And when the thunderhead starts beating like a drum
(And the thunder cracks the sky in two)
The wind is gonna blow
And the rain is gonna come
And the river's gonna run

I want to walk on a wire
(on an unbroken line)
I want to live when I die
(and shake my soul loose from time)
I want to ride with the angels
(on that invisible street)
And leave my footprint in the sky
(feel the stars under my feet)

I'm gonna take the train that's gonna get me there
All the tracks behind me are burnin' in the air
The cure is gonna kill me, but I don't care
I don't care, I don't care...

It's like the kiss of a lover
(It's like a secret in the rain)
It's like a stranger knows your name
(It's like a stranger knows, a stranger knows your name)


At March 23, 2008 9:03 PM, Blogger Shameless Agitator said...

Words of inspiration. Thank you my dear friend. Happy Spring!



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