The Work

This morning I stagger out of bed, drag on the running clothes that were stashed under the bathroom sink, let the dog out, shoo her back in, and make my way from the back door (it’s quieter that way) around to the front of the house. Some mornings the 15 minutes it takes to get outside feels like a feat in itself. I start running, the air still plenty warm for shorts and tank top but the darkness hinting at colder months to come. I run slowly, my feet sleepily navigating their way up long gradual inclines and back down them, pausing for a few ambitious Monday commuters.

I think, sort of. My mind drifts to Molly Seidel and how machine-focused-steady she looked in the last five miles of that marathon. Get it, girl. It drifts to the haze draping the Sandias, the rising sun illuminating Albuquerque’s gift from the wildfires in the Pacific Northwest. It drifts to the shapes that emerge along the path, some murmuring greetings, some not, each of us out here for our own reasons, each riding the waves of our own thoughts and our own bodies. My body is less than thrilled to be out here this morning, a long run and hot yoga and another run and the subtle cumulative wear of shepherding toddlers having left it tired and sore. My mind says, “Okay then” and I turn back a bit sooner than planned, and that feels nice and indulgent, for some reason. Funny the arbitrary pressure we put on ourselves.

I keep trotting down, up, up, down, up back home, past a tall rippling American flag, past brazen sunflowers, thinking how often it is that the work isn’t funny, or awful, or suspenseful, or inspiring, or even really worth talking about, but is simply: the work. The groggy, stumbling, uncharismatic, one-foot-in-front-of-the-other, absolutely beautiful work.

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