Hoo boy, last night’s run was really hot. And humid. I ran 5.7 miles at 9:34 pace and it felt like a lot more miles than that. I even walked at some points. At some points the humidity was so overbearing I felt little dizzy. Sweat ran along the brim of my running cap and dripped off the bill.
This morning the air was a bit cooler. And while I wanted to pile on a few more miles, there was a part of me that desired a little peace instead. So I went out front and collected the newspaper and tossed it on the kitchen counter. Looking out the back window, I saw the inviting sight of the hammock on our lawn.
I had pajama bottoms on, and a soft cotton tee shirt. Lying in the hammock was a bit like falling out of the sky from a dream and landing in some sort of odd net. But it felt good. To the north was a silvery sky with just a hint of the rain clouds that have been sliding across Illinois with such frequency.
The sprinkler system skipped its rounds this morning because the rain sensor in the gutter on the side of our house told it to take a day off. That is appreciated. So many times I’ve been out running or riding in the rain only to pass a home where the sprinklers are going full steam. Rain on top of water. Redundant.
All that graced our grass this morning was dew. Sparking small drops hung on every grass blade. Later that morning, someone posted on Facebook that the dew point today was 77. I guess that’s high.
All I know is that the date is July 21 and that means 1/3 of official summer is over. Technically the season runs till September 21. Many years that is the case. The heat during those early-season cross country meets or September road races do make it seem like summers run through the ninth month of the year.
Back to School
But by August the season often feels bittersweet. The school hubbub starts up. Even if you no longer have kids in school, the feel of August sets you on a scholastic edge.
Which is why I wandered to the back yard this morning, leaned into the hammock and lay there looking up at the sky. I didn’t want to miss this morning. Don’t want to let summer slide completely by. This is my life. My season. My chance to be alive. We all take that for granted far too often.
I lay there thinking how nice it was not to be obligated to do anything, and how seeming obligations have taken over so much of our lives. The social media posts. The “notifications” on our phones. Text this person. Like this post. Like this Page. Like me. Like you. Like Like Like. All those likes can become like weeds in the soil of your mind.
Which is why a glance at the garden called on my conscience. There were bumps and patches of crabgrass and thistle sticking up out of the mulch and soil. So I got busy and yanked a bunch of them.
I tramped over to the garage and grabbed some tools. Snagged some loppers for the mulberry sprout that had reached two feet. Grabbed a shiny claw tool to dig up the crabgrass, and pulled on rubberized gloves to get a good grasp on the low, thick stems of thorny thistles. Pull them up by the root out or they come right back.
It was peaceful labor. Filled a tall bucket with weeds and unwanted grass. My shoes clumped with wet soil and my fluorescent shorts got dirty from the effort. A thin sheen of sweat covered my body and the gnats and mosquitoes followed me around trying to stick themselves to me. But it’s all worth it.
I went back inside to get ready for work. That pause to weed gave me time to work through some worries and put them into context. Perhaps I was just weeding my own mind. It needs to be done now and then so the soil of hope can be planted with good thoughts. Then I’ll get back in the groove for some good running, riding or swimming.