5 Miles, Warm Socks, and Hot Cocoa

This combination means good day.  These three things lined up, one after the other, is an indication that my world is beautiful and wonderful.

This morning, I woke up after a fitful night’s sleep.  My Beloved suffers from insomnia and can usually only sleep on the couch (which is depressing because I love snuggling with him) with the television on.  This means that we frequently are apart because he lovingly considers my needs.  But last night was not a school night.  And when I woke up my Beloved and the Girl, sending them from their snoring rest on the sofa, he followed me upstairs, turned off the lights, turned on the television, and started to snore.

I could have turned off the television.  But I rolled over and promptly fell asleep as well.  Because being curled up back-to-back with my Beloved while under flannel sheets and three warm blankets means that sleep is not far from the inner curtains of my eyelids.

I did roll over several times, looked at the clock, registered that the television was still on and that we were ignoring PBS.  I also went back to sleep and rolled into dreams that were fitful, dreams about teaching that could have become traditional teaching nightmares but they didn’t sink into that level of misery.  Instead, I laid on the precipice in my dream landscape and went through stories I can’t remember anymore.  I can feel the edge of their emotional residue.  But nothing more exists of those moments.

I finally crawled to of bed around eight in the morning, dragged myself to the coffee pot and generic multi-grain Cheerios.  I tried to watch the Today show, but the family steadily started pouring down the stairs and I relinquished the television so that I could enjoy peace and not complaints about how boring the news is.

Oh, I think I forgot to mention that I brought in the cat and she curled up around me and we ignored the news so that I could nurse coffee and she kneaded my Appalachian Trail shirt and likely introduced several new holes.  Oh well.  Such is life.

But, eventually, the morning waned and I knew that I needed to find the world.  Yesterday, I bought a new pair of winter-weight running pants.  I pulled them on, put on my new long-sleeve running shift, tucked a fleece cap around my ears and hair, pulled on my running shoes, and literally ran out the door.

My goal for today was four miles.  Two weeks ago, I rolled my ankle and fell, rendering running impossible for at least a week.  And then we went on Thanksgiving vacation where I was unable to run.  And then I became sick with a sinus infection of doom.  I haven’t experienced such pain in years.  My head was pounding and this definitely meant that I wasn’t running.

But I am now.  And my goal towards achieving/being ready for my half-marathon is to be able to run nine miles by this Saturday.  I started with one mile last week. Moved up a mile per day.  And was supposed to run only four today.  But as I circled the neighborhood across the street, the King’s Choir in Cambridge pouring Tomas Tallis songs into my ears, I kept on letting the pavement unfurl beneath my feet.

The music shifted.  Chris Tomlin.  Christy Nichols.  The Civil Wars.  I stopped and checked my milage.  I hit four and felt good, ready to run.  And I did.  I went up and down hills and just let the cold break against my body and swirl into a contrail in my wake.  I pushed myself forward, my feet running to the beat of a waltz, the dance of love, and just kept on running.  For me.  For me.  For me.

I hit my fifth mile and knew I was done.  For today.  Tomorrow, I am supposed to run five to make my goal.  I might go for six.  I might not.  I will worry about that tomorrow.  What I know is that once I arrived home, I took a lovely, long hot shower that pulled the cold out of my body and flushed it down the drain.  And even though it was not quite noon, I put on my warmest pajamas, wrapped myself in my bathrobe, and set about living the day.

This included putting on my new rainbow socks that are most tacky and most lovely and most warm.  Because winter is setting in.  This morning, as I ran, I stared at the trees’ skeletal limbs standing in sharp contrast to a light gray, flat sky.  Small birds congregated and flew from bush to bush, seeking out the berries wintering there.  So now that I was home, I only wanted warmth, that tidy heat seeping through my cold bones and foiling the arthritic cold that likes to try to seep through my skin and break past all of my barriers.

Eventually, though, the cold succeeded in  making my skin tremble, so the Boy and I huddled over the stove and made hot chocolate.  Recently, we went to a specialty spice shop downtown and bought a package of Dutch cocoa.  And in the space of fifteen minutes, we slowly heated four cups of milk, added tablespoons of unsweetened chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon, and sugar and luxuriated in the radiant heat.

Mounds of whipped cream (Ready-Whip/Cool Whip) topped by yet more cinnamon meant that we were living in fourteen ounces of decadence.  Sitting side by side on the couch, we watched television and I graded papers and we lived in this quiet, beautiful world that was perfect.  Even if only for the time that was spent in draining our mugs and licking the tops of our lips to find each fleck of cinnamon, for that moment, we were warm.  We were home.  We were…

We were mother and son.  We were a family.  We were together, and that was perfect.

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