September, 2013

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Between Precipices

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

The biggest uphill (hopefully) behind us, I listen to him, mostly smiling, with one ear and my Runkeeper soundtrack in the other.  The mountain air cool.  Blisters not yet surfacing, not even under my left foot toe mound.

I smile and put back in both earbuds, “The Runkeeper lady told me we’re at 30 minutes, and that last sign tells me we’re not at 5k yet.  We gotta go!”

I’m only half joking; I pull ahead.

I haven’t trained but I want to get in in under an hour.

His picking it up tells me he wants to, too.

We’re all running downhill now.  Crowds of us, down a mountain.  Some in big gazelle leaps.  Some still panting.  Me wondering how catastrophic a fall might be with my ankles no longer able to do exactly what I intend.  He breezes past.

I get out of my head in a quick instant, and remember to look up at the mountain summits, the changing leaves, and all the people running around me.  All shapes, sizes, and forms.

The song turns to one of my favourites, and the downhill curve gives way to both a slower heart rate and out of nowhere the Banff Springs.  It reveals itself almost dramatically or as if on purpose.  The only building in sight.  Niagara Falls might have hit me less.

I smile, with teeth.  My teeth feel the cold.  The run at this point feels an awful lot like a roller coaster.  I’m now all but certain I’ll finish.  I’ve now run enough my body isn’t convinced it’s in crisis.  This is the drop or maybe the loop.

Shouldn’t the mountains be more heart inspiring than the castle hotel?  No, I’ve had great memories there, too.

I’m not really running to catch up to a 1 hr 10k.  I’m running to run.  And glad that I am. …not ashamed that the biggest uphill is behind me, or that the first time I did all this I couldn’t walk for over 72 hours, or that only an hour ago I was reduced to a nervous stomach, tired eyes, and a quick downward dog to warn my back and hamstrings that they’d soon be up for an adventure.

I’m grateful and in it.  And inspired.

Context(s)

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

It’s so funny how memory works.

I’m teaching English now.  I took English myself in an upstairs computer room, with carpet, and a east facing window.  It was a room that smelled like computer dust and dot matrix printer ribbon ink.  It had coiled typing books and textbooks stacked everywhere, and rows of office furniture that looked like it could have been in the movie 9 to 5.  We’d print our assignments at the same time so the printers would make their noise and the paper would click up on click at a time, all at once rather than whenever we wanted.

If we were late, we weren’t to come in.  We’d take class from the door frame.  I can’t actually remember if I actually was.  Once maybe?

I haven’t thought of all that in forever, and now I continually do.

I was more worried about student council than assignments.  I could never find any sheets ever.  I always did better first semester than second, better in morning than afternoon.  In the second semester and in afternoons swimming pools and part-time jobs awaited.

I took forever to read.  I liked the stories, and remember them too.  Novels often resulted in a bit of a whoa.  (Enough to pull me in longer term it seems.)

I’d study and read on the floor of my room.  My six disk cd player changing disks with that mechanical shuffling and grinding.  I’d often spend as much time reading the Note to Students or chapters we weren’t doing as the stuff that was required.  And doodle.

I liked writing.  It wasn’t super easy.  I liked reading.  It was super slow and distracted.

Students asked me the other day if I liked high school.  I really did.  I explained that my high school experience was quite different from theirs.  Not just because it was years ago, but because nearly the entire class did kindergarten together and all the years in between.  I actually liked the whole thing.  I liked the visiting at lockers, the seeing how well I did, the figuring out…..and the rest in between.

To be honest I didn’t think too much of the teachers’ views of things.  But now, again I do.  How did that computer lab look from the big table, on the other side of the teachers’ guide?