Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I am at None with Nature

Once, I read a Woody Allen quote that said, "I am at two with nature." I'm not sure where I read that, but my hunch is it was in one of my many John Jerome runner's logs, because I don't do a whole lot of other reading. 
But that quote, much like almost everything else about Woody Allen, I never really understood.

For the last month or so, my own take on it has been that "I am at none with nature," But I think I can explain what I mean when I say it. I came to that realization early this morning, when I stepped out the door for my run and was met with thick damp heavy air.

For nine months of the Atlanta year, I look forward to virtually every run with eager anticipation, and I'm ready to meet nature's challenges. In reality, spring and autumn practically beg you to run in them, and pose virtually no opposition at all. They are mostly perfect for running, at just about any time of day or night. And the scenery is gorgeous. Whether it is the lightly scented and heavily colorful new blooms of spring, or the outstanding fiery foliage of autumn, I find myself at one with nature.

Winter can pose a slightly more objectionable obstacle for some, but I personally enjoy charging into the teeth of a biting wind, and I always make a point of jumping into the midst of a rare falling snow. I'd rather be out running when it's 20 degrees than 50 degrees, so even on weekends, I'm most often out running before the first hints of daylight. It's me against the elements, and I'm always ready for the battle, and the victory. In the back of my winter mind, I am always reminding myself that there are many parts of the country where they would scoff at our thin skin anyway.

But then there are those three saddest of all possible words for runners like me. Those words are June, July and August. The temperature rises in tandem with inflated race times, and just the thought of running much more than four miles at a stretch exhausts me. Even at 5 in the morning, there is often nary a hint of coolness in the soggy morning air, and the humidity is often close to 100%. There is nothing desirable under the sun, or the moon during the dog days of summer. The same stars that shone so brightly in the crisp winter skies are hardly noticeable now and spring's bright colors have given way to a monochrome and mundane green. And sadly, I have not been at one with nature. I have been at none with it.

This morning was another in a series of motivational struggles. The official temperature was 80 degrees and the humidity was even higher than that.  The moon had a very strange halo-like haze surrounding it, indicating that this weather is going to be around for a while.  The only consolation is that the run was done in darkness rather than under a glaring sun, but I refuse to give in to a treadmill, so I get up early. Very early.  Even being at none with nature is better than not being with nature at all.

We're probably at least a month away from that morning when I open the door to go out in the darkness, and am greeted with surprisingly dry cool breeze, which hints more of September than July, but it will be worth the wait.   There is a smug satisfaction these days when the weather flirts with triple-figures later in the day in knowing that your run is far behind you, and your daily mission is complete.  For right now, it's about the only positive glimmer I can come up with in the grip of the dog days of summer.

Maybe I am closer to being at one with nature than I give myself credit for.

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