02 September 2008

Ah, September!

Yesterday, we went for a hike nearby. We had lunch at home and then piled in the car and drove for just a few minutes. We walked up to the trailhead. We saw the old familiar warnings about mountain lions, and the bike and Burley trailer of a guy we'd passed who was towing his child up the road. Someday we'll do that -- ride up there and then hike.

Or run. Our child was instantaneously inspired by the fit and lovely women we saw running on the path. They were chatting away as they bounded by, and immediately my daughter wanted to imitate what she had seen. "Let's run!" and she bounded along the rocky path, too, suddenly sure of foot and stride. (Not surprising: she's been on this one path more times than on any other single trail. It's the perfect child's hike.) I followed her healthy pace, and am only a teensy bit sore today. It felt wonderful, really, to use my body to reach for the path as we ran together. My core was awakened by my knee rehab, I swear. I have muscles and control I never knew of. Activities like dance and trail running show me all these things I never knew I had. And to see my daughter's body and eyes and mind awaken to herself and everything around her at times like this was pure joy, what life is for. But I couldn't help it, with all those cougar warnings: I carried a rock much of the time we ran.

This summer gave me the gift of gratitude. Every day I am grateful for my family, my friends, my home, my health. All of these things are fragile and precious and all are crucial to my well being. I am just starting to see how I am integral to theirs, too, which launches me into a new bout of glad feeling.

Today, the first day of September after Labor Day, the typical start of the school year, always feels like the time of clean slates and fresh starts. You've invested in some back-to-school clothes and perhaps a fresh new backpack. You get a new teacher (or seven) and new friends along the way. You get to pick how you present yourself all over again because this crop doesn't know you as well and you're not pigeonholed by the inevitable bloopers in your past.

And the weather has even been shifting its gears, so that fresh fall feeling (an allusion for any eels fans out there with me) is even stronger. The nights have just started their cooling trend and the one day last week we looked up and said, "the light changed!" (Turned out that was the smoke from a forest fire in Steamboat Springs -- it was still summer.) I have a commitment to watch a lot of films and then I get to finish a book, which I'm getting excited about. (Which one will call to me first?) This is like the revelation that as an employee I am valuable and have a lot to contribute: I'm finally starting to see that there is something unique to me that I am depriving others of by not offering them. This is my marathon run and my gift, and if I don't offer mine, others don't see that they too are allowed to give their gifts. It's an interesting job, but someone's gotta do it.

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