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Posts Tagged ‘outdoors’

Katie trail blue gray water

When I started running, I may have had (as previously stated) some insecurities about it. I didn’t want to fail at this. I wasn’t even sure how long it would last. What if it proved painful or depressing or just not fun? What if I injured myself right away, effectively ending my running career before it began? What if I told people I’d started running, only to fade out like the autumn daylight over the treetops on the trail?

So I didn’t tell anyone, at least not for a few weeks.

I’m not even sure I mentioned anything to my husband after those first few sweaty evening runs on the trail. He knew I was out there walking, of course, but I didn’t want to jinx this new thing I was trying: me with my old sneakers and baggy t-shirts and the ancient sports bra I’d dug up from somewhere. I didn’t look like a runner. I certainly didn’t know if I felt like one. And I felt, too, that this new attempt was just for me: I needed a chance to see if it would work, without anyone else’s gaze, without perceived or actual judgment. For that first month or so, especially, I didn’t say a word to anyone.

heart sneakers trail

It felt freeing, to be out there on the trail, moving my body in a way that still felt foreign, pumping music through my headphones and trying to figure out how long I could jog before stopping for breath. I quickly learned that running lets you see the world at a different rhythm than walking (although then, as now, I will always slow down to snap photos of flowers or vivid leaves or a particularly breathtaking sky).

When I did start telling people I was running, I slid it in sideways: a casual mention at boot camp, a post on Instagram that emphasized the sunset instead of the reason I was out there seeing it. My previous perception of a runner – strong, dedicated, serious – and my perception of myself (at least, in regard to exercise) didn’t quite match up. But to my own surprise, I found both joy and satisfaction on the trail. (I still do.)

These days, I’m much more vocal about my enjoyment of running: I’ve done a few races, and my Instagram feed is at least half running photos (harbor views, leaves, flowers, skies, sneakers, repeat). It’s not my secret any more, though it definitely still belongs to me. But I am glad I gave myself a chance to try it without anyone knowing, for a while. It helped me move toward embracing running as a new and vital part of my life.

More #run31 photos and stories to come.

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kayak river light water

I spent the last evening of August kayaking on the Charles River with a friend. The waves were high and choppy, and we got soaked, but the light was truly stunning.

An apt metaphor for this summer, and a wonderful way to end this month.

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charles river light boston summer

This is the summer of yoga in the morning, unrolling my green mat in the dining room and going through my stretches and sun salutations as the sunshine slants across the wood floors.

This is the summer of tall daylilies and pale pink peonies, of vivid multicolored hydrangeas, of cheerful, leggy yellow sunflowers wrapped in burlap at the market or in a blue Mexican vase on my kitchen table.

sunflowers

This is the summer of warm evenings on the Charles River, sitting in the front of a bright pink kayak while my friend Adam sits in the back, finding our synchronized paddling rhythm and stopping to watch the geese and ducklings.

katie adam kayak

This is the summer of writing it all down – on the blog, in the journals splashed with my messy handwriting, in daily texts and occasional emails to friends.

This is the summer of mornings at Darwin’s, drinking chai or ginger peach tea amid the sunset-colored walls, nibbling on a scone or a breakfast sandwich, typing away on my laptop amid fellow solitary workers and groups of chattering friends.

darwins cafe cup

This is the summer of so many mysteries: Lady Georgie, Bess Crawford and Daisy Dalrymple. It is the summer of smart, engaging nonfiction, a little chick lit, a couple of powerful novels.

This is the summer of evenings on the front porch, sitting in a battered lawn chair with a book, sipping lemonade and admiring my red geraniums as the sunset sky changes from blue to pink to gold.

ana of california book geraniums front porch

This is the summer of Harper Lee: rereading To Kill a Mockingbird (again) before picking up Go Set a Watchman, tracing the evolution of the characters I thought I knew.

This is the summer of small adventures: trying a new restaurant in our neighborhood, driving up to Maine for a long weekend, seeing the sandcastles at Revere Beach (north of Boston) and tossing a Frisbee by the water afterward.

revere beach sandcastle

This is the summer of easy cooking: tossed salads, bruschetta, chicken burritos, shredded zucchini quesadillas, soft pitas filled with chicken and tomatoes, eaten with strips of bell pepper dipped in hummus.

This is the summer of Modern Family, sitting beside J on the couch under the window, howling with laughter at Cam’s antics and Phil’s corny jokes, me imitating Gloria’s thick Colombian accent while I sympathize with type-A Claire.

This is the summer of all the stripes: dresses, skirts, T-shirts, sandal tan lines on my feet.

stripes silver flats

This is the summer of lunch at the farmers’ market, piping hot tamales made by a fellow Texan from Corpus Christi, topped with fiery salsa and eaten off a sheet of tinfoil at a table in the shade.

This is the summer of all the berries: red and blue, crimson and black, tart and sweet and juicy, eaten straight from the blue cardboard pints bought at the same farmers’ market.

strawberries

This is the summer of lots of ice cream: tart fro-yo from Berryline, mint-chip gelato from the freezer at home, a batch of Ryan’s homemade vanilla ice cream in the backyard a few weeks ago.

berryline froyo sprinkles strawberries

This is the summer that marks five years in Boston – an adventure I could not have predicted, which is still in full glorious swing.

This is the summer of being awake, trying (always trying) to pay attention. To notice these hot, humid, lovely days, to be grateful for their gifts and challenges. To be brave and gentle at the same time, and to be here now.

brave stripes

What does life look like for you this summer?

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I’ve recently discovered the work of Jen Louden – and loved her recent post about a “thimble list.” I’m a big believer in small, beautiful ways to celebrate and savor each day (see the subtitle of this blog!). So here’s my current “thimble list.” I love her idea that these are one-time pleasures, not a new list of “ideal life have-to’s.” I always set myself up for failure when I try to do the “perfect life thing.” But pleasures to savor – even once? Yes, please!

1. Listen to Sarah’s latest mixtape
2. Reread the entire Betsy-Tacy series for the sheer joy of it
3. Eat Haagen-Dazs fruit sorbet (so delicious)
4. Sit out on the porch – writing, eating or just being
5. Write a long, long email to a friend – because I love to write long emails
6. Read poetry or something equally inspiring over breakfast
7. Knit something with that delicious green yarn I bought last week
8. Laugh at a favorite TV show
9. Sew something by hand

What’s on your thimble list?

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1. Take walks on Wollaston Beach.
2. Buy another pot of basil, since mine finally gave up the ghost in early February.
3. Eat lunch outside on Boston Common.
4. Go to some author events around town. (Already begun.)
5. Buy myself a pair of TOMS.
6. Host some friends for a week in May.
7. Get ready for Bethany’s wedding. (Dress, shoes, gift and plane ticket already bought!)
8. Go back to the Copley Square farmer’s market (when it reopens).
9. Eat more fruit, less chocolate.
10. Eat dinners out on the balcony.
11. Walk outside hatless, gloveless and eventually coatless.
12. Admire and enjoy every single flower and growing thing I see.
13. Take great sniffs and lungfuls of fresh air, like Mary and Colin in The Secret Garden.
14. Take a class at Grub Street.
15. Try some new, springy recipes.
16. Get rid of at least half a dozen pieces of clothing/shoes/accessories.
17. Sit outside at various cafes.
18. Open the windows.
19. Enjoy some frozen yogurt.
20. Do some spring cleaning.

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