I thought I’d interject a really quick post into the middle of all of the holiday bustle. There are many things that I love about this season, but there are also many aspects of it that are really jarring. The center of my house has become command central for all things holiday related. Earlier this week, that translated to a gingerbread factory splattered with icing and blue luster dust and white candy snowmen. Now the cookies are all wrapped and ready, and the dining room table (with extension leaves) is covered in all the wrapping supplies – awaiting a good chunk of time this weekend for a date with scissors and tape. There’s a lot of red – red rolls of paper, red cranberry liqueur in various stages of straining / storing, red roses brought back from Kentucky and home from the office. There’s a lot going on in there, and the past week has required far more scurrying than I like to maintain on a regular basis.
Which is why, if you really think about it, we typically don’t maintain this kind of pace. There are many things that set this season apart from other times of the year, and it can be really easy to get caught up in those differences. I’m not even talking about the frenetic pace of the holidays, but the notion that there is something disheartening / wrong / crazy about this pace. I’m reminded of something I read earlier this year about the change of seasons, and how easy it is to default to complaining – about the shorter days, the darker afternoons, the cold, the snow, the gray. But I think our bodies need these shifts more than we realize. I’ve spent the past few weeks trying to wedge in chunks of running time into a schedule that is protesting, onto a body that is protesting, against a protesting mind as well (indoor laps are so boring). Any benefits I feel from running seem to disappear pretty quickly when I have to change clothes in a locker room and drive on dark, crowded rush hour highways to get there and back. The lady doth protest too much, methinks.
The piece that I read (it escapes me now, where I read it), suggests that we shift our thoughts from the default complaints about winter, and reframe the way we look at it. How we should embrace the cold because it heightens the sense of coziness when we return home. It gives us good reasons for long tub soaks and flannel sheets and reading ourselves to sleep under warm throws. There will be a season again when our legs ache to stretch and pump and move beneath us, and the path will change daily with the coming spring, each lap different than the one before.
It’s okay to let December’s rush make us a little tired; our Christmas afternoon nap will feel all the sweeter for it. January’s quiet will make way for March again. Our bodies will remember where they were, and be grateful for the pause, and rest.
I drove through the park yesterday to say hello to my running grounds.