Monday, December 12, 2011

Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.

“I just want to feel today, feel today, feel today
I just want to feel something today.
I just want to know the day, know the day, know the day,
Know maybe that I will be ok.”
Ingrid Michaelson

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run mindlessly around White Rock Lake, paying more attention to my Garmin or the mileage I've covered than the actual charm of the lake itself.
Today I chose to be an observer. 

The run started off like any other, I started my watch and headed counterclockwise from the boathouse to “loop the lake” for an easy training run, but as my legs grew heavy only 30 minutes into the run, I turned off my watch and as Sonia Choquette says, decided to “pay attention to what’s in front of me, and live life on its deepest level”. 

I stopped at the shaky bridge, and was mesmerized as I stared at the water falling from the spillway.  In the distance, white pelicans with black tipped wings scattered across the still, glassy lake.
I stopped at a short pier near Winfrey point where “let love find you” was written in perfect cursive with white chalk.  The fishermen lamented that they had only caught one catfish, but we agreed that the outside temperature was perfect.   Cyclists rode by rhythmically and assertively, with stoic faces. 
Lake Highlands Drive is dappled with quirky cottages, glass castles and classic colonial homes, and the path from there took me through tall trees with fat-cheeked squirrels hiding in the tree trunks.  Very few people visited the lake today; mostly white haired retirees bundled up with scarves and caps.  The dog park was empty, and the runners were few.
As I finished up on the west side of the lake, I couldn’t help but to notice how impeccably clean it was, and whispered a thank you to the unknown angels that keep it that way.

I rounded the final corner toward the playground and ran into an old friend who moved to Houston a year ago.  With teary eyes and a shaky voice, he confessed to me that he was just diagnosed with cancer.   My heart was heavy as I trudged through dry leaves back to my car, and my heavy legs didn’t seem like such a big deal anymore.  A sheet of dark clouds now covered the sky, and I drove off in the rain. 

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