For everything there is a season

It was like greeting an old friend as soon as my feet found the pavement. The snow had melted just enough and the air seemed balmy in all its glory of forty degrees Fahrenheit. I’ve always found it amazing just how different forty degrees can be, depending on the perspective you’re taking. When the seasons change from summer to fall, 40 degrees seems like the coldest temperature on earth. But, when the winter chill backs off a bit and lets in some of that 40-degree air, it’s as if spring has come early. It’s the same temperature and yet, it’s different.

I had considered making up a quick playlist of songs I could listen to while I ran, but I opted to leave my iPods at home, instead. The birds sang as I left the cul-de-sac I have lived on my whole life and let my legs carry me out to the main road and down the hill. I was surprised at how good I felt and let that carry me through the pain as muscles were put back into use after remaining dormant for nearly two months. The pain gave me something to think about and something to distract me from the mountain of homework I had to do and the hardships I had been dealing with on a regular basis.

When I was running, I didn’t have to feel anything but the pain from the exertion I was putting my body through. When I thought about it hard enough, I could feel my heart pounding in my chest, but if I just let my mind wander and let my legs do my thinking for me, nothing really mattered. I ran by a business that owes my dad money and considered trashing it. But, I didn’t. I kept running and made my way toward the hill that stood menacingly in the not-so-distant distance.

My energy deteriorated once I reached the top, but I kept on running. I reached my halfway mark and kept going. I thought about how natural it is for me to run and how effortless it can be once I am in good shape to do it. I thought about the summer and how the three of us took part of this same route in an effort to be in shape for cross-country season. I thought about how fast the time goes and how it doesn’t make sense to try and cherish every moment. If you’re too busy cherishing, you’re not living. You’re just trying to keep it in your memory forever. A memory should be something you remember effortlessly, not something you save onto the desktop in your brain so you can click on it and wait for it to load.

I decided against taking a shortcut and instead went the whole way around and back to my street. I took a left, ran down to the green Pennysaver box and then took a right, thinking in my head about that last 200m that I face with every race I run on the track. I ran halfway up my slushy driveway and then bent over to catch my breath. I always do this, and then I bend my knees carefully before reaching my full height (5’2″ if you were wondering) and then walking around a little bit, my hands over my head.

I entered through the side garage door, made my way through the traffic blocking my way to the house door (sleds, snowshoes, etc) and shed my running sneakers (New Balance this year – a brand I never really gave a chance until over the summer), grabbed my already-full glass of water off of our butcher block-esque island and downed it in a second.

My ears stung from the cold and my breathing was wheezy with each inhale and exhale I made.

“How’d you feel?” my dad asked.

“All right,” I replied. “I started out too fast and was dead by the end, but it felt good to run. I’m gonna go lay down now.”

I entered the family room and plopped onto our brand-new couch to catch my wheezy breaths. After thirty minutes passed without my daddy turning on the TV, I went upstairs and grabbed The Lovely Bones and continued reading from where I had left off right before daddy had picked me up at the school just barely an hour previously. We sat there, father and daughter, reading our books of choice: his a Yankee book that someone had gotten him and mine a novel that had been made into yet another movie based off of a book. He wore one of his many pairs of $0.99 reading glasses and I wore the sweat and dirt of a girl who had almost made it through one of the toughest weeks of her sixteen years of living, and was coming out on the other side unscathed and perfectly fine.

At 4 o’clock, I tossed my book down and ran the shower upstairs in the bathroom that all of my brothers had vacated and bestowed unto me (we painted it a light brown and pretty light blue and got rid of the old Mickey Mouse theme that had previously reigned).

Before shedding my clothing, I focused on the length of my hair in the mirror. Back in ninth grade, it was a shock of bright-red curls. Now, it’s back to its normal color (brown/blond/red depending on the season and amount of sun received), though the curls have been kept (I have not dyed my hair since November 2008). I’ve decided that I want it to be long for when I take my senior pictures. I thought to myself Oh yeah, it will be long enough by the summer after this one!

And then it hit me.

I will be taking my senior pictures this summer. It’s crazy just how much time flies and how one change in your thoughts can create a chain-reaction of changes throughout your entire mind. At the moment, I am halfway through my junior year of high school. In June, I will sing in the Chamber Choir and watch some of my best friends ever don those white and blue robes and graduate from our little sliver of the universe and move on to bigger (and better) things. This hit me hard because I realized that I haven’t exactly enjoyed my high school experience that much. In recent months, Misery had taken over my entire being and forced me to look at everything pessimistically. But now, happy little Emily is back, and she plans on staying happy and little until she is forced to grow up in a year and a half.

The end

Today is over. It came and went. Everything that I predicted came true, but there were also a few twists.

I woke up at ten o’clock, just like any other gorgeous summer morning. I rolled around on my bed for a little while before I decided that it really was time to get up. No use wasting the day, right?

The sky today was crystal clear, as was yesterday and the day before that and the day before that. Absolutely no clouds in sight. I wallowed around the house, munching a bowl full of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and looking out the window. I finally stepped outside at one o’clock to get my hair cut.

I walked out of The Chop Shop (local hair place – run by a family friend) a whole new person, my hair shorter and more wild with curls. Of course, I had to ruin it by putting it into tiny little piggy tails for cross country practice.

Practice was hell. H-E-double-hockey sticks. We ran over to Prison Hill, and did hill repeats… In the blistering heat. We did six and then my friend and I ran back to the school together with our shirts lifted up, trying to catch even the slightest hint of a breeze.

I got home and took a dip in the pool (which was FREEZING), and then made breffast fo’ dinna. I barely had enough energy to enjoy the meal I had made, I was so wiped out from practice.

As promised, after dinner my mother drove me to the gravel pit to get a good view of the sun drowning in the sky. We had a hard time getting a good view without burning our eyes out of our sockets, but we eventually settled in and watched the sun disappear.

Now, here I am. My tummy is full, my body is tired, and my eyes are droopy with sleepiness. My hair is wild, my nails are perfectly groomed and polished, and my eyebrows have been plucked to perfection (by who else but moi?). My mother is talking on the phone behind me, I hear the sounds of the TV displaying baseball in the next room, watched by who else but my baseball-crazed dad. I can hear the movie my brother is watching from here because of the insane surround sound system he hooked up. I am tired, and there are noises all around me. I am so glad that I actually did keep my promise and watch the sunset, but now, all I want to do is curl up with a book and read until I am cross-eyed. My body is tired, and I am ready to retire to my bedroom where I will greet the new day. My friend instant messaged me and asked me if I am ready for hell tomorrow. I guess I will have to live through a day and decide whether this year will be hell or not. As of now, I really cannot judge.

Quote of the day:

“When it rains, it fricken pours!”