You ready 4 a run? (And I do mean 4 a run.)That digit’s no funky space-saver. Stretch out those hammies and crack out those creaks, because it’s time to lace up for a looping 4 mile lope through the Santa Barbara foothills, and as the blog title suggests, we’ll be snapping a few pictures along the way to Rebus in the blanks of this blog later.
Did I say a few? Make that a few dozen, because my Ipod’s on the fritz, more stuck on Adele than I am, and I can’t go completely gadget free out into public. You either. We might have to communicate without a digital screen between us and that simply wouldn’t do. It would be both unnatural and uncomfortable, so TIA for that.
Besides. My pocket cam’s got enough memory to capture both the Kodak moment and that tired slogan, so before we fade completely into obsolescence, let’s hit the road. Our model slash runway is ready. More than ready–Mama Earth’s layered a fuzzy sweater of fresh flora atop the soft shoulders of this particular paved way, and even dabbed perfumed blooms behind embowered ears to get us in the mood. (Putting the hoochie before Mama, I suspect, but you gotta love springtime’s splashiness)
Alive with life unseen in the bright of day, it’s fun to speculate what might be snapping twigs and rustling leaves in our outdoor amphitheater. The teacup bunnies seen foraging at dusk, maybe? The doppler of already gone lizards? Or a coyote traversing the dried out creek bed? It’s anybody’s guess, though it’s easy enough to identify the plaintive screech of hawks carried on the breeze—which incidentally answers the perennial question of invisible owls hidden deep in the lush growth of the seasonal stream’s steep banks. Hoo-hoo, indeed.
It’s almost as good as my “Sounds of Nature” CD, really, and combined with the establishing rhythm of pace and measured breathing, stress falls off of us in near litter-bug sheets.
A 1/4-mile in hits stride. The gasping abates and cramping completely leaves our style. Our engines accelerate as effortlessly as fine-tuned (if classic) sports cars, and not a simile too soon. We’re hitting our 1st grade now, and I don’t mean the PS level that comes after Kindergarten. Our first hill. We eschew the pleasantly appointed neighborhood for a turn onto the thoroughfare, and our gal Nature makes the corner right along with us.
Infrastructure be damned–she heliotropes as we ascend, blowing us away with fragrant veils of eucalyptus cast to the wind,
Before stripping off lacy next-to-nothings to layer our scented path in sassy wild licorice, going over the top to bedeck the final verge with red ribbons of bougainvillea 2nd to none.
As any Everest climber or politician could tell you, there’s something magical about a summit, and while this peak isn’t snow-covered, record-breaking, or dissembling, it still affords a sense of accomplishment right along with the view. A tariff-free accomplishment worthy of an apex high-five.
It’s no easy task to match up apex’s while in motion, but we manage, and a sense of unified well-being permeates our downswing that goes beyond simple endorphins.
It goes clear to a different language and cherry-picks the term: satori, which sounds ike a catchy name for the latest gaming system, but isn’t. It’s a state of homeostasis where mind meets motion, and motion bitch-slaps the mind quiet at last. The bellums shuck their grand posturing as “head of the body” to mingle with the masses, momentarily morphing from a Know-it-all to a mere eight pound knot of cranium to keep the neck from unraveling.
We are BEING.
We are LIFE.
…Halfway. Notice there’s no “done”, “through” or “home” appended to our midpoint, because this jaunt’s as much a journey as Life itself is, and I’ve learned the fun before funeral is found in Between—in this case between sneaker-shod footfalls and soul-filling vistas our feet earned for our eyeballs. Our bodies hum with good mileage, or maybe it’s the flying carpet of bees inspecting honeysuckled walls on either side of us, it’s hard to tell, and it scarcely matters. We are the muscle car in cardio, brimming with bananas and V-8, running on premium air and olfactory additives guaranteed not to harm the Ozone.
Or the blissed-out zone running achieves, either. We’ve hit cruise control by the time we veer onto the back stretch, the mind expanding part of the program exchanging itself for an orgiastic feeling that lasts longer than its root word. The veneer of calmness that draped over us at the start of the run is ingrained like a tattoo now, and though there’s still plenty of flowered plains to cover and some pop left in our pedal-pushers, the idea of an actual pop—aka icy cold ginger ale–transcends the loftier heights and insights reached earlier on route.
So when home hoves into view at the top of our final punishing grade, we’re happy to graduate to the halls of “Well Done” and “Kicking it Couch-side.” After a quick detour to journal some fascinating tidbit the run furnished for free—dialogue, doodles or just an idea—and a blast under a cooling shower to seal the deal, it’s all about hydration, elation and putting heels up for the duration.