The Grateful Alive

The Grateful Alive

The snow that came down on Wednesday and Thursday was insane. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen that much snow fall from the sky within a 24 hour period, at least on Long Island. It started Wednesday morning on my way into the city and didn’t stop until after I got up before dawn the next morning and was outside for half an hour shoveling a path I’d already shoveled the night before that had gotten covered by what looked like two feet of snow overnight.

It was unusually hard to shovel, too – the snow was super heavy and stuck to the shovel, so in order to fully get it off I had to slam the shovel down onto whatever hard ground I could find. From a distance I imagine it appeared as though I was simultaneously murdering and burying a sworn enemy.

At least it was a good workout.

When I left for work Thursday morning, everything was covered in a massively heavy coating of the stuff. Trees drooped sadly towards the ground, street signs were obliterated, and the roads were a mess. It was both beautiful and terrible.

I wish I had taken better photos that morning, but I didn’t. Here’s a quick one I snapped outside my dad’s car window as he drove me to the train to give you an idea.

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The city was a lot better. Either it didn’t snow as much there, it melted faster, or they just got rid of it. The temps must have been warm on Long Island, because by the time I got home last night, you would never have guessed we’d just experienced a snowpocalypse the day before.

Which is all to say that the roads were clear this morning, so I ran.

I wasn’t sure how long I’d go, but I knew I could make that decision at about the mile mark by either turning right for a 3 mile loop or staying straight for my 4.4. When I hit the first mile, I decided to forge ahead on the longer route. I still had the option at that point to go 5 or even 6 miles, but I thought it best not to push my luck.

I kept it slow and steady. I wasn’t even checking my watch to see my pace, nor was I hearing the Garmin Lady announce it in my headphones, something that seems to happen at whim and I still don’t understand why it sometimes does and sometimes doesn’t. Anyway, I didn’t check or care.

This was only my second run since taking a month off, so pace is not going to concern me for a week or so. I just want to move and get my body back into the groove. Like Madonna. Is that a current reference? Do kids today know about the 80s? We had songs back then too, you know.

So it was a good run. My muscles felt solid, my body strong. I still feel a slight tenderness in my knee when I stretch it, but knowing that it’s just “minor wear and tear” (in the words of my orthopedist) makes me optimistic. I did some good stretching afterwards. I’m seeing him Monday morning. I hope he doesn’t yell at me for running. Or, more realistically, gently admonish me.

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It is so nice to run again. I felt so grateful this morning. Maybe this sounds cheesy, but I am truly grateful to have this body. I’m not talking about what it looks like. I mean the fact that I have a body. It’s the one and only body I’ve ever gotten and will ever have. This is it. No replacements. You get one. It’s a big responsibility, if you think about it.

I’m just so happy my body works. My limbs can move. My lungs can take in and expel air. My heart beats and pumps blood throughout tiny tubes that were just there from the time I was created inside of another human being. My bones hold me together. I have enough fat to keep me insulated and protected from the outer elements. My eyes can see. My tongue can taste. My fingers can feel. My brain is (usually) good. All of these things, if you really think about it, are pretty incredible.

And the fact that we even exist at all? A miracle. We managed to evolve, successfully, from fucking bacteria. It took a few billion years, but here we are. We did it. And unless you believe in reincarnation (I’m on the fence myself), we get one shot, one body, one chance at life.

Why wouldn’t you be grateful for that?

Wow, I didn’t mean to wax so philosophical today. Maybe I’m feeling extra grateful because it’s Friday, and you know what that means.

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