An adjective that’s inescapable this time of year is crisp. The October air, a refreshing change from the heat of late summer, is crisp. Good apples, fresh from the orchard, are crisp. I’ve even heard the word used by commentators during football games to describe a precise quarterback’s throw.
Crisp is a good thing. Its opposite, which is what – limp? Droopy? Wilted? – not so much. Droopiness is something we generally avoid, wrinkle our noses at, or flat out discard without a second thought. No one hovers in rapt anticipation over a flower waiting for it to wilt.
So how do we get crispness from droopiness? In the case of the air we breathe, Mother Nature (or air conditioning) takes care of that. Produce can be put in water or the refrigerator. Quarterbacks just…practice, I guess. But what about the rest of us, in our daily lives? Don’t we all have droopy times? You know what I mean: those times when we’re tired and just can’t seem to find a good night’s sleep, or when we’re so stressed about hundreds of little things that we can’t find the spirit to get excited about something that’s really worth it, or when we’re just plain in a blue or grouchy mood that we can’t shake. Not to mention those times, especially during cold season, when we’re not quite sick but not quiiiite 100%.
How do we go from wilted, fuzzy versions of ourselves to crisp, invigorated better versions of ourselves?
I suggest running.
Picture a celery stalk taken from the refrigerator and placed into a glass of water (or perhaps a martini). You can practically see the celery’s transformation taking place, no? Is it so different when a runner changes into their running gear? Starting from the bottom: off go the stiff work shoes, on go the comfy socks and fit-just-right trainers. Off go the slacks or skirt, on go the so-much-more-flexible shorts. Off goes the buttoned shirt, on goes sleek technical fabric. And finally: on goes the sunscreen that veritably shrieks “outdoor adventure,” then a pair of cool shades, maybe a hat, maybe a don’t-mess-with-this ponytail.
Just writing about it energizes me!
Running provides energy in more ways than one. Sure, it gives us more pep in our step, boosts our immune system, and all that, but it also lends a certain inner vitality. Lord knows we can be just as droopy and wilted on the inside as we can on the outside – if not more so – and running zaps that droopiness. It’s water for our mental state; it’s a little burst of fresh air for our emotions. It provides the strong breeze that blows away all of the dead leaves that clutter up our minds, leaving room for new growth – or maybe just creating space for much-needed peace and quiet.
I don’t know about you, but when I go running in the coolness of autumn, under a cloudless blue sky, it’s awfully hard to return not feeling less droopy. Walking a little taller. Sturdier on the inside.
Because life’s too short to be a mealy apple.