Slowing Down

I’ve always been an early morning runner.  There is nothing like claiming the streets as my own and experiencing the quietness of the earth before it is overrun by engines, people, and the busyness that each day brings.  I have always found that the early morning hours are the most honest.  It is in those hours when I am able to, as Anne Sexton says, “put my ear down to my soul and listen hard.”

When I walk out the door in those early hours everything is left behind.  No cell phone.  No computer.  Nothing vying for my attention.  Chad has urged me for years to take my cell phone along for safety, but I refuse to do it.  There is something about those early morning hours that verges on sacred. 
When I’m told that it’s time to stop running, like I was instructed last week, I have a little freak out moment.  I worry that I am losing something.  Today, though, I saw the error in my thinking.  Just after 6 a.m., adorned in my running shoes, I walked out the door.  Just like usual I headed up the street, only at a slower pace, toward one of my usual five mile routes. 

Something about this slower pace was exhilarating.  Rather than concentrating on footing, breathing, and the watch on my wrist, I opened my eyes to see my surroundings.  Somehow, in the darkened morning light, everything became more clear, more beautiful, more real.

This morning I was able to see the changing of the season, almost as if it were happening right before my eyes.  The colors, they were so vibrant, and I drank it in like a cold glass of water on a hot day.  As  I passed by other walkers whom I have run by countless times through the years I was asked more than once, “you’re not running today?” 

“Not today”, I answered with a smile.  Today, I was in on their secret. . . today I was seeing the morning through their lens.

While I walked along the roads I felt strangely calm. . . peaceful.  I felt confident and comfortable.  I felt thankful for this new view.  As I walked I placed my hand on my hardened belly that seemed to have a beating drum inside of it and I felt an arm or a leg or a head or a foot and in that moment it sunk in a little deeper. . . our family is really going to expand. 

I felt my excitement grow. Rather than nervousness, I felt joy.  Rather than over-whelmed, I felt capable.  Perhaps we can do this three kid thing and perhaps if will be fun. 

About halfway into my walk I came to the reason that I had lugged my camera along.  This tree. . .

For years I have run by this tree and been enthralled by it.  I remember the first day I noticed it, I came home  and told Chad about it.  On days when I was feeling less than motivated to run, this is the route I chose, because somehow being able to get a look at “my” tree was enough to get me going.  I’ve always felt that this tree, all by itself, made a statement.  Running by it I saw. . . I felt. . . strength.  For months I have vowed that I would get a picture of it and today was that day.

As I got closer and closer to this tree that I have claimed as my own I felt proud of myself for finally capturing a picture of it.  It wasn’t until I got right next to the tree it and put my camera to my eye that I finally noticed it. . . it is not a tree. . .

. . . but trees!  Several little trees that made up what I thought was a big, strong, statement-making tree. 

I was so surprised.

Once again, I was struck with the importance of slowing down.  I know that, in the speed of light pace of life, slowing down will not happen naturally.  I realized this morning, that slowing down must be something that I require of myself.  A discipline that I have to work to develop.  I didn’t go looking for the beautiful things I saw this morning.  In fact, I’m quite sure they have always been there. . . it just took my slowing down enough to see it. 

It was a good morning. . . a really good morning.

I’ve always liked the time before dawn because there’s no one around to remind me who I’m supposed to be, so it’s easier to remember who I am.” ~story people

  • Adopted Aunt - September 15, 2011 - 11:41 am

    O Summer!! Praise the Lord that you found the beauty and peace you needed in the walking and not running. Its a beautiful Tree – Strong – it has endured many things just like you have:) I am glad that you seeing things new and wonderful on your walks:)

    Love you and am praying:)

    p.s. saw JoEllen tonight.:)

    Well time to go see "my kids"ReplyCancel

  • Sassytimes - September 15, 2011 - 12:14 pm

    Awe, the tree is a FAMILY! A strong, beautiful family. What a sign.

    I love how your pregnancy has made you slow down and learn even more about yourself.ReplyCancel

  • lisa - September 15, 2011 - 1:17 pm

    🙂 so happy for you…to be able to see is not always such an easy task. you are so blessed!ReplyCancel

  • Dri - September 15, 2011 - 8:28 pm

    I enjoyed reading your post, Summer… in fact, I wrote the quote at the end in my journal. I have never been able to put words to how I feel when I get up early in the morning before everyone else, but that's exactly it!

    Love you!ReplyCancel

  • Marcie - September 16, 2011 - 1:00 am

    Another amazing post. Well done…and thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Hummel Family - September 27, 2011 - 1:27 pm

    Yep, you are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!!!!!ReplyCancel

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