I guess I should be careful with my title, as I am not literally back in the saddle. Living on a cattle farm, one could get confused. I am speaking in the figurative sense of the phrase, as I have been cleared for running.
This makes me happy. This makes me whole, and this is usually marked by a new pair of shoes, a new outfit, new route, and a renewed love of a sport that brings me balance.
I'm balanced, or as balanced as I can be, but with the USDA crop report (think the 1983 classic, shown weekly on USA Trading Places) out yesterday, with the market projections limit down (if you don't know what that means, I wouldn't suggest asking a grain farmer, unless you want a deep, frustrated sigh and a not-so-happy explanation), a new outfit and shoes were out for the time being. However, I am looking at the bright side of no new shoes, as running on gravel in new shoes would be foolish.
Anyway, back to being in the saddle, so to speak. As I put on my running shoes, I took off on my second run of the postpartum running season and noted a marked difference in my run, route, and thoughts between my first and fourth children. Instead of running the "country" trail at Lake of the Woods Park, ticking off my mileage by noting the spray painted mile markers along the paved, well manicured path, I took off from my gravel driveway to the gravel road, dodging a dead bird and then a live snake. Instead of meeting other runners, I met mama cows, who gave me inquisitive looks as I pep talked myself up the hill. Cars whizzed by me, but unlike city commuters, they looked, waved, and were potentially the t-ball coach, a cousin, or a neighbor off to work, chores, or to the coffee shop for some gossip. Instead of marking my turn-around point with a pit-stop at the public restroom, I made my turn around at the pile of raccoon poop.
Even though the differences between the settings are polar opposites, the run is the same. My feet still hit the ground, whether it's manicured asphalt or gravel. My sweat is still sweaty, whether I'm enjoying a cool off point at a water fountain on my route or being shaded by the timber. It's all the same.
This is why it's good for me to run. I am balanced, and through this, I can realize once again, that even though our summer is rough and the crops here look great-- even though there's always the markets, hail, or a random windstorm to put the farmers ill at ease at all times-- we are okay. We are thriving, not just surviving. We are healthy, the kids are happy, and I can run. Shouldn't I be grateful just for that?
Man, balance is clairvoyant, isn't it? Here's hoping I can keep this up, and keep out of the way of dead birds and snakes during my moments of clarity.