Friday, January 18, 2008

Getting going


It seems to me, how we start our mornings is how we live our days. It certainly helps a lot, anyway.

My wife, though, is a bit far on the extreme for me on this topic. She starts every single day with a run -- through darkness, frigid cold, snow and rain, and threat of wild animals (she sees a badger regularly, coyotes, dozens of deer, and even a small mountain lion that was seen for several months roaming the trails we run on the mesa-side behind our house), she's out there, usually by 5:30 a.m., trotting along fresh from bed. For her, her day will wobble on its axis if she doesn't getting it spinning with that ritual run.

I, myself, also love to run, but cannot bear to put shoe to pavement before mid-morning and three cups of coffee. But that doesn't mean I don't feel just as evangelically about launching my day deliberately, and with the right vibe.

Take my commute to work today, for example. Today's commuting equipment included boots on my feet, two layers of jackets, thick sheep-skin leather gloves, and a fat pile hat pulled as low as it'll go -- all needed because it was 9 below zero when I left the house, the second day in a row with that depth of cold. After bundling, I threw my bag over my shoulder, grabbed a cup of coffee in my padded hand, and left.

Outside I walked past my parked car -- looking forlorn and cold, and sitting somewhat askew, still somewhat plowed in from the recent dumps -- and headed a half a block up the street, to the same trail Sarah had descended an hour and a half earlier. And then I crunched my way uphill on the frozen-styrofoam snow.

Lines of deer prints were sunk in the hardpack. The pinion and junipers still held clods of week-old snow. Spanish bayonet yucca thrust out of the snow like barbed traps. As I got higher, the view over the valley opened up -- a thin veil of woodsmoke and train smog hung over the town -- and the foothills, wearing their best Sunday-white skirts, seemed to rise with me. Two switchbacks up and the first views of La Platas debuted, the peaks standing like glistening crystals bursting from the forested foothills in the hard morning light. My nosehairs froze. My feet slipped on the icy track. My exposed skin burned with bitter cold and my fingertips ached already, only a quarter of the way into my commute.

I knew it was going to be a good day.

I also know that I could work somewhere else -- somewhere with a real commute to a real job -- and make a lot more money (I mean, a lot more -- with benefits) than this one offers, even when added to my other poker-hand of odd jobs I play to get by in our little mountain metro-area here in the Four Corners.

But, somehow, I think if I did that my days wouldn't get going in a way the gets me going. And keeps my life going the way I want it to.

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