Wearing a Smile ...


The temperature hung in the mid twenties this morning.  The clouds hung low and heavy in the sky as etherial wisps hung even lower than seemed possible, like fingers gently caressing the slopes and treetops.  A light rain texturized the surface of the pond as Cookie slipped excitedly into the water sending a torrent of ripples to the far bank.  Adding to the spectacle was a flock of swallows flying low over the water both observing and participating in this dance of life.  The only players I truly missed were the Pied Harriers that I love so much but this is their time of year to be elsewhere.

A freshly brewed cup of coffee in my hand, I settled into a comfortable chair sheltered from the rain in our pond-side sala, while Cookie tried in vain to catch the monstrous fish that swarmed around her.  Our catfish resemble my lower leg in girth and length, and their six inch whiskers and gaping mouths torment our four legged daughter, disappearing just as she lunges at them.  Her antics are something between that of an otter and a bear, swimming, splashing and diving with total abandon.  Her childlike joy is catching and fills the air, warming the heart.

She has grown from a naughty child into a more respectful young woman who loves her mommy and daddy to walk with her and sit with her while she swims.  These days she refuses to wander off and do things on her own when she is off leash.  While she enjoys interacting briefly with other dogs, and her young son the cat, we are clearly the focus of her attention.  As long as she can see us or sense our presence in the room contentment reigns.

This is a lovely time of year.  The weather is always changing.  The fields are greening up nicely.  The trees are lushly decked out in their formal forest colors, dark and rich and varied.  The trails are sometimes a bit muddy but not enough to deter my running.  Thirteen weeks into this new phase of my life and I have settled into a consistent five kilometer run with an occasional seven kilometer run, all the way to the dam and back.  The 5k can be done even when I don’t feel at my best while the 7k leaves me limp and lifeless but awash with endorphins and a sense of accomplishment.

To avoid injury I try to stick to an every other day schedule but recently weather, darkness and illness have added a few extra down days.  Probably not a bad idea to have a little extra recovery time occasionally, considering that I am no longer a youngster.  I have even started to lose a few kilos though building my strength and endurance has been the main focus.

Travel plans are shaping up for next month so I am determined to do as much training as I can before then.  A break of a couple weeks from my routine should not be a problem and may imbue me with renewed determination when I hit the trails again.  I hate being away from my wife for even a day so this separation, however short, will be far from joyous.  The long hours in transit from here to there become more tedious as I grow older.  Filial obligation beckons me away from my home to the far off shores from whence I came, with a call that cannot be ignored.  A time for introspection, and examining the push and pull of different emotions.

Perhaps I have spent enough time with you today and I should return to the real world for the remaining hours.  Now where did I place that smile and inner glow I was wearing this morning?