The heat in my ears as the blood pounded in my head. The strength I called on from deep within me. The way my feet continued, barely moving it seemed, but in their constant rhythm. My breath was rapid, and I took time to calm it down. I reached the last height and turned, swiveling my eyes to the mountain across from me as I began my journey back down.
Across the valley, above the gilded, shining reds and yellows that no camera can ever speak with the same clarity or emotion, my eyes were fastened to the gray sky. The clouds twisted upon themselves, wringing their hands in angst.
“Don’t cry,” I whispered out loud to them. My voice pulled the ears of my dog back toward me, briefly. But she continued to pant and trot forward down the mountain. The quiet woods and the road and the gray, damp world otherwise took no notice.
From walk to jog. All the way back down. Turn around and back up. Up the mountain. Focusing on the strength. Finding it. Losing it. Finding it again. Keeping it longer. Losing it. Finding it. Keeping it…
Up a mountain. Up the mountain.
I reached the apex out of breath. The sweat ran into my eyes, dripping off my hair. I turned around and, unable to keep my eyes from the beauty about me, stared back up at the mountains. The gold. The red. The loveliness that would have stolen my breath if I had any to take.
I watched the twisting clouds shed their tears. The advance of the rain looked like a silver spider web crawling out of the clouds, spreading over the trees. I wondered how much time I would have before it caught up to me. I watched it coming for a few more moments.
From walk to jog. All the way back down. Turn around and back up. Up the mountain. One foot after another. Focusing on the strength. Finding it. Losing it. Finding it again. Keeping it. Losing it. Finding it. Keeping it longer.
It began to rain.
Up a mountain. In the rain.
It reminded me of that run through Central Park with Natalie. It reminded me of the times I spent with Jamie. It reminded me of Esther. It reminded me of a walk in a park on a bleak and dreary March day.
“I’ll be okay if I’m with you.”
I smiled wider.
I reached the top. I turned. From walk to jog, all the way back down. From jog to run, all the way back home.
I smiled so much it hurt as the water soaked me through. I giggled as I ran. The puddles didn’t matter. The rain washed away everything. Everything. It didn’t matter who saw me or what they thought. Maybe I made them smile. Maybe they thought I was crazy.
Nobody wants to be a runner in the rain. Because they don’t know what a gift it is. What a beautiful, wonderful, exquisite gift it is.
Up a mountain.
In the rain.