Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Remembering a more gentle time

I was going through some articles I’d saved because of how they spoke to me. A piece titled The President Who Loved by Ann Patchett that appeared in the January 30, 2017 issue of Time magazine affected me even more powerfully today, although it saddened me as well.

Patchett says that love was not something she would have thought to look for in a president, but that she found that for eight years President Obama gave the American people an example of careful consideration, compassion, rigorous intelligence—and love. She misses it and wonders how she will do without it.

She reminds us that Obama gave more Presidential Medals of Freedom than any other president, saving the last one for Joe Biden, his vice president.

She points out that just like hate, love seeps in over time. She faces the new administration with fear of the future but also with gratitude for the way Obama saw the good in people, how he loved. She sees our job now as living up to the love he showed.

I watch too much news. I think I’ll spend more of my time reading words that serve to lift up rather than beat down.

Access Patchett’s complete article by googling The President Who Loved, Ann Patchett. It’s worth it.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Two special running races

The running race season has arrived with a bang!

Even though it meant getting up at 4:30 a.m., my running buddy Dave Klibbe and I journeyed to Boulder on Monday, May 27, to once again join 50,000 others to run around the town in the 41st running of the Bolder Boulder 10k. At that early hour, both of us wondered just why we were doing this, but a few hours later, we knew. You can’t help having a good time at this event so well organized and so wholeheartedly supported by its community.

On the Thursday a.m. following, I took a 6 a.m. flight to Albany, NY headed for the 41st running of Freihofers Run for Women, on June 1, another of my favorite races. This one is a 5k—I know, a long way to go to run 3.1 miles-- but I’ve gone enough times now that it is like a reunion of old friends This too, is a community event that draws 3,000 women, some of them hot shot runners from across the country. I so appreciate the fact that they keep inviting me. I think it may be because I’m there to prove that indeed, running is a lifetime sport!

I had a whole day to explore Albany the day after the race, a real treat. So many historic buildings plus a beautiful waterfront along the Hudson River.

Two special races in five days. I’m done for a while. Back to weeding the garden, painting the porch and a leisurely jog or two around the neighborhood.

Headquarters for the State University of New York

Carmen, Edie and Libby in Albany

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Springtime in Colorado

Springtime in Colorado
Tomorrow it will be May, but today it is April 30, the close-out of T. S. Elliott’s “the cruelest month.” It snowed in Colorado. The white stuff will be gone soon, and I’m betting the tulips will survive though they may look a bit bedraggled for a while. The fruit trees are in bloom, the raspberry bushes are sprouting new leaves and the rhubarb is alive and well. And the weeds, of course, are hale and hearty.

I waiver between learning to love dandelions and an intense desire to dig up each one before or when it blooms, and certainly before it goes to seed. A hopeless, thankless task that nevertheless has become a challenge for me.

I’m just thankful for a patch of dirt to dig in. It’s good for my soul.  

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Back yard hedge

One day last summer the big bushy hedge that provided privacy along the west side of my backyard had reached a height and width that I could no longer deal with. Even with a ladder and a hedge trimmer with a long blade, I could not reach far enough across the top of the monster to keep its growth under control. I’d had enough. That was the day I began cutting down my hedge.

It took me four days. When I was through I had lowered the height of the hedge by at least two feet and I’d snipped off every single branch, leaving only the major trunks. Not a single green leaf remained.  A twisted column of dark, bare stems was all that was left. It looked pretty awful.

The neighbors wondered out loud if the hedge would grow back. I didn’t know for sure, but something told me that it would. Before winter set in, a new little sprig or two and had showed up and that gave me hope.

Now it is April and just this week, those little sprigs began to show up again. I’m betting that by midsummer, my hedge will be back. It’s going to be interesting to see just how it returns and whether or not it will fill in and prosper and serve to screen my backyard from the activity in the street beyond it.

The moral of this story?  If your hedge is bugging you, attack it. Then, have faith, sit back and see what happens.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The Joy of Racing

The Joy of Racing

Some dedicated runners never compete. Others scan upcoming events to find the perfect race. But most runners sign up for a few races each year because of tradition. They always do that particular race. Or they sign up to support a favorite cause. Runners choose an “away” race in a desirable spot so they can travel, explore a new place, and perhaps take advantage of low altitude and runner-friendly weather.
            By the time I ran my first race, a 10k sponsored by the Fort Collins Running Club at City Park in For Collins, I’d been putting in a solid one-mile training run most every morning for five years. That first race was so long ago that I no longer remember why I decided to do it.  But I remember well the sense of elation I felt afterwards. I was flying high!
            As a 40-year-old female participating in a race, I was a little bit unusual back in the mid-70s. Unusual enough that I had little competition and did well enough that I was inspired to enter another race.
            Over the years since then, I haven’t kept track of how many races I’ve run. I’d estimate the number as between 350 and 400—all of them fun, even the Duke City Half Marathon in Albuquerque where I fell flat on the pavement at mile 11.5 and finished dripping blood from my elbow.
            Yet, preparation to race is not why I run. I see competing as “the frosting on the cake,” an opportunity to confront a challenge and enjoy happy banter among friends and strangers before, during and after the event.
            It’s the act of plunking one foot down in front of the other, the act of running, that I love most. It helps me get a good start on the day or wind down at the end of one. In winter I like foul weather that forces the body’s little aches/pains/glitches to take a back seat to surviving a run without freezing. Figuring out how to maintain an upright position while running on icy roads demands some serious concentration.
            I appreciate the cool quiet of the early morning on a summer day that will soon become a sizzler. Rain is so rare in Colorado that running wet is a treat. Running into the wind is only fun when the wind changes, you turn around, or when the run is finished.
            When I run alone, paying little or no attention to pace, all sorts of ideas pop up—some fleeting and silly, others thoughts I’m convinced I would never have had without the freedom that a solitary run provides. Daydreaming and idle looking around—there’s no better time or place to do it than out on the road alone.
            Would running be as satisfying without the structure that the knowledge of an upcoming race provides?  Every runner will have their own answer to that question. For me, the answer is “yes.” There is great joy in the challenge and camaraderie of the race, but I cannot survive by only chasing the frosting. I need a whole lot of plain cake fancied up by the addition of an occasional exciting topping.