We tell stories to one another, share our woes and frustrations, perhaps because it helps us figure it out. We can see the words on the air as we speak, and each time we tell the story the words get tighter. Things start to make more sense. We start to get it. Each telling is a new draft, and each new draft brings us closer to what it’s all about. Eventually, however, we need to take action, or make a decision, because sometimes the retellings are a part of repetitive thought, begging to be freed. Other times there are no solutions. I write because I love it. That it helps in troubling times is a bonus.
For the first time in months, I went for a run outside (I have been using a treadmill to take some pressure off my knees). I left the apartment quickly and forgot my gloves, so I balled up my hands into fists and pulled them into my track jacket. The air was stinging and cold. The wind was blowing whenever the path was free of the trees that lined it, making it colder. A few other runners were out there, some with dogs. A few passed by me as if I was standing still. I didn’t get too far before I started walking. I could feel the cold against my skin, the wind penetrating my jacket. I pulled up my hood. I was over a mile from home. No matter what, the walk/run back would be painful. My thoughts raced – along with a welling of powerlessness and frustration – so I ran against the brittle air, hard, kicking it out. (At one point, with the wind in my face, I turned and walked backwards. It was slow and aimless and frustrated me even more, so after a few steps I turned into the cold and ran.) Eventually I tired and walked again. I repeated this pattern a few times before I came to the end of the park’s loop. Here, I diverted down a path I hadn’t taken before; it was down a driveway, back onto 13th Street. I crossed to the other side, up to the sidewalk, and ran the rest of the way home.
Inside, I showered, and then cleaned the apartment. Wiped the counters. Folded clothes. (My place hasn’t looked this clean in months). When I took out the trash, the wind had shifted. It wasn’t as cold and the air felt heavier. My shoulders felt loose and gangly – though my body type is far from gangly. I felt relaxed and ready to sleep (a byproduct of running). The sky was greyer, but it’s also the time of day for it. It’s the kind of cold where you can look out your living room window and know the weather by the frost on the glass.
This evening, I went to dinner with the people closest to me. As always, they were accommodating and patient. Always family, always more than I deserve. When we left it was snowing lightly, but with hefty flakes. It was the kind of snow that didn’t feel all that cold, as if we could have gone for a long walk and only need a hot chocolate to warm us back up (the feeling of coming inside after a day of playing in the snow as a child, perhaps). It was packable, so I winged a half-hearted snowball at a friend and missed. Everyone went home, and I went to my girlfriend’s house.
I don’t know how long it’s supposed to snow, or if the skies will be grey tomorrow, but right now this fact strikes me profoundly: we are powerless against the weather. It sometimes comes grey, sometimes bright and sunny. We endure it regardless. People make the best of it. What else can be done in a place where yesterday it was 60 degrees and sunny, and tonight it’s snowing? That’s Colorado: if you don’t like the weather, wait ten minutes. Tomorrow it could be 70 degrees without a cloud in the sky. If it isn’t, we’ll endure the cold; we will run and do our best to rail against the wind.
But, let’s hope for sunshine. Because that's always a possibility, and we don’t know yet.