|Room to Run|
It was Sunset Beach in Oregon not far from the mouth of the Columbia River. The expanse of sand at low tide is vast, flat and wet. It is possible to drive the car onto the packed sand right to the edge of the wet sand and park which allowed Mom to walk to the spot we set up the chairs to watch the surf.
It's possible to drive on the wet sand uncovered by the low tide but not wise to park there for long if you intend to drive off of it again.
Between our chairs and the surf line was an expanse of wet sand at least the width of a quarter mile racetrack. I knew from experience that this it the best possible surface for running. It's nearly as low impact as a trampoline. I took off running toward the water.
I actually never sat in a chair the whole two hours we were there. I ran and wandered, slopped through the edge of the surf, spun in circles with my arms stretched out until I was too dizzy to walk straight, stumbled zigzag fashion until I could hold a course and ran some more. And started all over again.
It was the first time in decades I was able to full out run without hesitation for there was no fear of tripping, stepping off the edge of a narrow path or running into someone or something in motion darting out from the dark periphery of my visual field.
Having heard it was going to be warm--high 70s or 80s, I'd dressed in layers starting with shorts and a tank top. Over the tank I'd worn a hooded, long-sleeved, lightweight cotton pullover for the ride against the car cooler's icy breath. I fully expected to pull it off once we arrived. My sister came prepared to body surf on her boogie board.
But we were met with a stiff churning breeze. Chilly and stinging with the moisture and sand it carried. I had to put on a hooded windbreaker and a cotton scarf around my neck. With my legs bare I was still tensing with the chill. Which is why I started running and then stayed in motion the whole two hours.
Those two hours freed me from the oppressive caged feeling I've been struggling with for months. Fifteen minutes in I found Happy. It lasted until at least an hour after climbing back into the car.
The breeze seemed to have swept my mind free of clutter giving me clarity of thought. Briefly, but enough for me to latch on to an insight or two.
Seeing the sand stretched out all around reminded me of a motivational story I'd read on line recently. One I'd heard before:
There was a speaker (preacher or motivational) who set a large transparent bowl before his audience and put in it several large rocks until there was no room for another.
He asks the audience if the bowl is full and they chorus 'Yes!'
He then adds a bunch of stones half the size of the rocks until there is no room for more.
'Is it full now?' and again the chorus answers 'Yes.'
Next he adds rocks small enough to close up in his fist until there is no more room.
'What about now?' Still the chorus of 'Yes.' but maybe fewer voices, maybe a drop in volume.
Now he pours in gravel. And asks again. The yeses are mixed with noes many sounding like questions themselves.
And sure enough there is still room for sand, filtering down through the crevices and crannies all the way to the bottom.
'Surely it is full now, eh?' He asks, pouring himself a drink from a pitcher of water. The chorus is divided into firm yeses and noes.
He grins, pouring the pitcher of water over the surface of sand.
Retold in my own words.
The rocks, gravel, sand and water represent items on a todo list. The main point being made is that in order to fit in the biggest things--the highest priority or most time-consuming--they need to go in first. The secondary point is that many tasks can be fit into the interstices--standing in line, waiting rooms, stalled traffic.
I was reminded once again that writing needs to be one of the big rocks. Although many of its related and component tasks can fit into the interstices it needs also a block of dedicated time.
Which has given me the missing motivation to return to the early bird schedule. A motive that is purely my own. Not an attempt to please my husband who is a natural early bird. Nor to comply with anyone else's idea of what I should be doing or even my idea of what others think I should be doing.
I will be easing into it though. For to start off with expectations of an instant and perfect switch would set me up for failure. Still I don't think it will take me as long as it took last year when I began the transition the first time. The insomnia is not as intransigent and I won't have to relearn the same lessons from all the trials and errors from that time.