running free

Stepping outside on Spring's first warm day is an uplifting baptism of sorts. Finally, I freed myself from layers of clothing like a reptile shedding old skin. My new skin felt like a second skin: a crisp t-shirt, jeans and a fresh pair of AM1's. So simple, yet full of swagger splashed in a palette as bright as the sun. I love how bright colors just jump off people of color. The majority of people at my office don't dress like me. But the majority of people at my office don't look like me. Might as well be a minority in all aspects and celebrate our differences right? Thankfully, being in a "creative" profession allows me certain freedoms of workday apparel.

My coworkers and I decided to take advantage of this 80 degree Friday by taking a 1 1/2 hour lunch at an authentic Italian pizzeria with outdoor seating. Service was cafeteria style with a choice of pastas, salads, and pizzas with a variety of fresh toppings inspired by the owner's hometown near Naples. The servers spoke with thick jovial Italian accents, stereotypical enough to make you chuckle. I ordered one slice with thick white cheese dripping with delicious green pesto sauce. Greasy goodness with an earthy grit. My second slice was a lighter composition of red peppers, red sauce, onions and sausage. The peppers offered a refreshingly juicy contrast to the pizza dough. I don't know if it was healthy, but it tasted healthy. Warm weather bathed us as we polished off our plates and talked movies on the sunlit terrace. The beauty of spring weather is the lack of humidity. Humidity alone makes many summer days in Philly feel like a trap of hot steaming garbage. Today was perfect and while we (barely) made it back to work, my mind was clearly elsewhere. A 9 to 5 gig makes you appreciate the outdoors that you took for granted so often as a kid.

So, I left work early to literally run outside. There's a nice 3 mile trail that runs from my house around a lake. As much as I mock the sleepiness of my suburban surroundings, I must admit that the lakes and greenery are very scenic during this time of year. Of course, before I got home, I endured an hour of traffic. I suppose everyone else had the same idea of leaving work early. Unfortunately, my commute intersects with the route to the shore - which complicates things in the summer, especially on Fridays. Rt. 73 stood stagnant for miles beyond what I could see. And I sat there...caged in.

If traffic is full of frustration and mental fatigue, running is mentally uplifting in the spirit of breaking free. Free from the daily grind. Free from unreasonable clients. Free from traffic jams. I'm probably writing this with a residual runner's high, but my first outdoor run of the year was exhilarating. With the wind at my back, my legs felt non-existent and the trail felt like one downhill charge despite the contrary. The stillness of the lake quietly energized my fluid strides on the gravel path. I smiled between breaths while watching oncoming cars yielding to a group of geese cautiously crossing the road ahead of me. Their leader ventured out a quarter of way onto the road until quacking the rest of the anxious group to follow. As I got closer, I mentally whispered to them, "Take your time..." as I peered down the line of waiting cars. "Take your time, cuz it'll make the other side more enjoyable."


kiita said...

truly poetic post!

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