I took a week off marathon training. It was not because I was tired of running. It was not because the weather was bad. I did not take a break because I had some super cool, athletic injury. I took a break because life had thrown wrenches—tiny, sharp, barely perceptible but aggravating nonetheless—wrenches my way and I spent the week bobbing and weaving.
I embraced the bobbing and weaving; I completed a set of cable knit wrist warmers in a lovely latte colored alpaca. I read three books just for pleasure, one being “Marathoning for Mortals” which made me feel at once both like a boss about my running and rather unlike a boss about my running. I did some other small crafts, caught up on some magazine reading and rested my legs, which, if we’re being honest, have been a bit tender of late.
By the end of the week, though, I could feel the muscles in my legs beginning to twitch, like tremors, desperate for some pavement time. Sunday dawned luminous and lemony with sun and an ambivalent promise of relative warmth.
After the usual circus of getting people into the car for church, to the usual accompaniment of my constant nagging, after a long week without support from the traveling husband, I had a bright and shimmering flash of parental genius. If you are like me, these moments are precious and must be grasped. After a rushed lunch, and after one child change clothes four times and another packed enough snacks to get us through the Iditarod, we drove to Turkey Mountain (with the rest of Tulsa) to spend some time hiking the trails.
It took me a mile to shed the noise of real life, since I could still hear the hum of traffic blasting through nearby neighborhoods. I could feel the tension of my single parent week falling from my shoulders, like a faucet that’s running too slowly. It took the kids a mile to grow into the vastness of the space, we walked along bunched up like a many-limbed accordian, even The Dog unsure of this giant space. And then finally, we found our outside feet and our outside voices and something shook loose in all of us. In the space, in the openness, climbing rocks and poking in ponds, tossing pebbles and flicking branches, I listened. This is what I heard:
“I want to walk with Abby. Because she’s cool, and she knows all the science stuff.”
“I recognize this tree.” (not gonna lie; this made me laugh…)
“Why does poop smell bad?”
I heard eldest showing youngest the different footprints of animals, the various shapes of decaying leaves, the way brambles climb and twist and make arches. I saw the two sisters with their arms draped over one another’s shoulders. On purpose! For a reason! For, like, more than two seconds and not just for me to take a photo.
I realized all of our metaphoric legs longed to run. And so we did. How are you stretching “your legs” this week?