All But Nothing
A 30-minute recovery run (Zone 1) was on the schedule. I didn't feel like doing it. It's not that I was tired (I wasn't) or that it was too hot out (it was an uncharacteristically pleasant late May evening with humidity well below 50%). Nope, the random feed on my Instagram and my couch with personally tailored butt divot was so much more my cup of tea at that moment.
But the sun had quickened it's descent to its routine burial below the horizon. The day advancing unhindered to an end. The clock shifting closer to my "reasonable" bedtime. I relented, got off the couch, got dressed and slipped on my running shoes. In an effort to add excitement to the next 30-minutes of slow running, I grabbed my phone and told myself I'd take pictures of neat things I noticed along the way.
I really like recovery runs. Slowing down, gives me time to focus on my posture, my form, stabilizing my core all the good habits I so desperately want to make 'second-nature' but are still too "new" for me not to focus on when given a chance. But that night, I had no interest in reinforcing positive neural muscular pathways. Not at all. I decided I was also going to take advantage of the slower pace and look around, document the things that I see that I usually don't when I'm focused on a tempo run or interval runs or HR based runs. So me, my phone, my night reflective gear and an inquisitive eye headed out the door.
I passed the field where a herd of cows graze. Excited to get a close up photo of the cows and their two or three calves that tend to gravitate from the back fields to the fence line at dusk. The cows, in denial that the sun had retired for the day, were still too far out in the field for any through-the-fence interaction. I continued on. The park where families often linger on weekends and weeknights was empty. Quiet. That was odd.
Turning onto one of the three major streets that framed my neighborhood, I was surprised by the lack of traffic. Had it not been a week night, the almost deserted 6 lane road, could've been confused with the silence of Sunday mornings.
I paused my slow trot to consult the map on my phone, looking for a different route home, one I hadn't taken before. There were large beautiful homes I'd never seen (despite living only blocks away for the last seven years). Beautifully maintained lawns of thick and healthy St. Augustine occasionally interrupted by tiered xeriscapes. But still, nothing of note, nothing that caught my eye (or wouldn't raise eyebrows if I stopped to take pictures of it). I ran deeper into the subdivision, the sound of the light traffic growing dim the farther into the neighborhood I ran.
Quiet, gently dusted with the sound of cicadas, softly enveloped me. The two-note insect chorus of summers long surrendered to my youth. Lightening bugs in the bushes, the air, the grass, glowed tentatively off then on then off. Communicating with each other through voiceless light. Perhaps wondering what the large glowing mass (I'd turned on my night glowing vest by then) moving slowly amongst them was. But how could I capture that sight, those sounds in a picture?
Right. Left. One foot, the next foot, check the watch to verify low heart rate is maintained. Then repeat. Over. And over. Nothing of note I could capture with the rapid opening and closing of the shutter. Nothing I could recreate to share with you. Not one thing.
But all the peace, the sights, the sounds, the memories, the strength, the health, the privilege, the ability to move, to breathe, to register, to remember. All of it was more than the nothing I could visually collect to share. All that was nothing that was all. Pictures, collected on a twilight run. Pictures to hang in an intangible gallery that only I can can see.