Peace On The Shoreline

april 23 metroparksSpring is really here, and it’s so beautiful! I am generally more productive, outgoing and engaged once the brighter, warmer weather hits, and it’s a refreshing change. We had a super cold and gray day last week and I remember thinking that actually, I really like the variety in our weather here. I embraced the cold and had some hearty foods and hunkered down for the evening. While I only lived in Los Angeles for a year and a half, I was pretty much the only person out there that thought El Nino was great because it was nice to have SOME variety instead of the same thing, day after day after day. Rainy days have character. You can choose to run in the rain, or choose to stay close and cozy indoors. Or maybe catch a movie. I appreciate the hot weather so much more because it’s contrasted with our cold winters, which I have come to also love and appreciate since I became an outdoor winter runner.

I think everyone in Cleveland really rabidly lives hard and embraces summer so fully because we have this weather for such a limited time. There is an intense energy to people hosting BBQs, porch drinking parties, kids’ outdoor birthday parties and patio dining that doesn’t happen in places where it’s more moderate all year. And I love that.

I went for a long hike again yesterday to see how spring is developing in our beautiful metroparks system, and to move things forward in my mind and heart that I continue to struggle with. Two people actually offered to go with me, one friend I know well and someone else I only met just recently, but I really wanted to go alone. Those spontaneous moments where you can stop alone and walk to the water’s edge and hear the river rushing, maybe snap a picture of this pathway here or this beautiful field of bluebells there, “going where I list, my own master, total and absolute.” (W.W.).

The park system was full of people, as I expected. Our population here is just big enough that you are never really alone for very long on a beautiful day in nature like this, but it’s not so crowded that you feel you can’t get any serenity or peace. I encountered a few solo runners and wished my ankle was in better shape. Yesterday’s 8-mile hike was particularly tough on the back half, and I know it’s not ready yet, especially for uneven trail running. But with the exception of a few runners, everyone was with someone. Their kids, their spouse, their boyfriend or girlfriend, a parent, maybe even just a dog. I emerged into a clearing at one point and saw a couple kissing on a rock and honestly wished so much that I had someone in my life who had that place, who was there for hikes, for the hearty breakfast I fixed when I woke up to prepare for the hike, to join me at my son’s race in the afternoon, or to watch a movie with us after dinner that night. The single mom life is a really lonely one, and while I cherish the invitations to be 3rd wheel with other couples or go on mom-dates with other moms, they all go home to a spouse or significant other, and I go home alone. The people who want to be my companion, I’m generally not interested in. It’s not the same as that couple kissing on the rocks. Or someone to whisper your secrets and fears and hopes and dreams to before you shut off the lights.

As the weather has opened up, I am also open. I know I have to put my energy and my best self out there to be the best mom I can be every day and the best me I can be, so I’m working on that and doing that. Someone told me recently that I am an “amazing catch,” but that line is loose and floating in the stream, next to the rocks and in the sunlight.

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