I’ve always been one of those people that starts things and never finishes them, whether it’s new year’s resolutions, plans to study Dutch every day, or promises to write every morning. Without a job to rush to and a sun to wake up to, it’s quite easy for the hours in my day to wither away. With every dusting of snow and blanket of gray, I seem to yawn endlessly, coaxing myself to “just get through these months.”
But the other day, in the midst of one of those nothing days I was sure I’d forget even happened, I decided to put on my running shoes. I’ve gone running in sweltering, 100-degree temperatures with the help of a water-filled backpack, but never have I faced running during sub-freezing temperatures, surrounded by fields of untouched snow. This is beginning to sound like I’m an actual “runner” when in reality I’m one of those people that has bouts of running before faltering and going without fitness for months at a time. Another one of those things I start and never finish.
Despite being a lethargic couch potato that would much rather write, listen to podcasts, and knit during the winter, I ventured out with a Couch to 5k podcast and bundled myself up as best I could. It was cold during my brisk warm-up walk and the first few minutes of running felt like icicles were piercing my lungs, but I pushed on, determined to feel productive somehow and not let that day become another forgotten memory.
As I listened to bad hip-hop and powered through intervals of running and walking, I took in the scenery around me. At one point on the run the path follows a cow pasture on the left and a duck-filled canal on the right. The snow on the field was completely untouched and looked like cake icing while the fog floated just above it making you feel like you’d just woken up, making me rub my eyes just a bit in hopes of a focus that would never come. While his work isn’t really my taste, it looked like a Thomas Kincaid holiday card you’d receive from your car dealer or some other empty sender. In that moment, for the first time in quite a while, I was appreciating the beauty of this winter, something I’ve wished away every morning when I check the forecast. As I ran and my hands began to sweat inside my newly-knit mittens, I was warm enough to enjoy the world around me. I stopped for a moment to stare at the sad black cows I usually see in the pasture. They huddled together in the snow, eating hay, their breaths forming puffs of smoke with every chew.
At that point I turned around to make the run back home. In that first run after so many months there is a hope that almost certainly dissipates the moment you recognize it. A hope that maybe I’ll be something I’ve never been after so many years of trying.