Writing the miles

I am a runner. There is something compelling about moving under your own power. Not that I find it easy. I’m terribly slow and I suspect I look like I’m in pain despite my protestations to the opposite. I breathe like an obscene caller and sweat buckets, although my husband says that when it comes to sweat, I’m an amateur. Those of you who know my husband know that compared to him, most us look like novices no matter what the category.

My neighborhood is a good place to run, and there are a few routes that I like depending upon how many miles I want to put in based on the heat, how my knee is feeling, how much wine I had the night before. Most of my longer paths include a loop on Pensive Lane–downhill on the way out, uphill on the way back. At the top of the hill is a white mailbox.

When I reach that hill, at a minimum, I’ve already run a couple of miles. The only way to get home is to get my tired butt up that grade. It’s not steep, but it is long. Long enough that the while mailbox is lit up by the sun, like a  beacon. I fix my gaze on that mailbox, and push forward, knowing that when I get there…

I have at least another mile to go.

I know this. The distance from that mailbox to my house hasn’t changed once, no matter how fervently I’ve wished it would.   I can’t slow down, I can’t let up, and I can only celebrate for a moment, because I’m not done.

I had two pieces accepted for publication this week. Needless to say, I’m thrilled. I set a goal out there, and I’m getting closer to that mailbox every day. It’s bright and shiny and it’s calling to me, and I’m putting one foot after another until I get there. But I know that when I do, I still have a ways to go before I’m done running. And just like my running, once the path I’ve set gets too easy, if it doesn’t push me hard enough, I’ll have to find a harder one.

But when I do finally reach home, I feel at peace, yet energized at the same time. Ready to take on the day. Ready to climb the hill again tomorrow. So I’ll take  a moment and celebrate but no more, because I’m not done. I have a least another mile to run.
Words by J. B. Everett

Photograph by mtsofan © 2008 Creative Commons