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.

Silly little girl

Silly little girl

lost and never found

alone and afraid

mysterious and unknown

silly little girl

Silly little girl

troubled and unaware

biting her lip

tugging on her hair

silly little girl

Silly little girl

tears sprinting from her eyes

hiding them with her hands

she can’t seem to realize

she cannot be a silly little girl anymore

Silly little girl

staring at her feet

not daring to look –

she’s not sure she wishes to meet

the grown-up silly little girl.

School

It seems to me like summer never even happened. Now that I am in the day-to-day “school” routine, everything is back to normal. My iPod (PANDORA!!!) sings me the song I picked out the night before at around 5:45 every morning, and then I wait for the playlist to run out before I get up (usually around 6:20). I get up, take a shower, eat breakfast (well, drink some coffee to prevent future headaches), and wash my face before I let my hair down and mess around with it. I walk out the door wearing some crazy outfit (today it is a pair of crazy colored Bermuda shorts, brown high top Chucks with pink shoelaces, a red Hollister 3/4 polo and a white tank top underneath – I know! Hollister! *gasp!*).

School is just okay. Being a sophomore is definitely different. I open up the day with band, then either English or Earth Science for eighty minutes, lunch (yes, at ten o’clock in the morning), Spanish (which has been simple so far because the regular teacher is out sick and our substitute does not know a single word of the language), Global (my teacher is hilarious!) and then Chamber Choir. After Chamber Choir comes either a study hall (where I am right now) or PE. Then, the dreaded Geometry. I have found it easier to focus this year in math. I already got a 100% on our first test, and was the only student to receive said grade (YES! I put it on the fridge! xD).

Food network: love and hate

For the last four years or so, I have been tuning in to channel fifty to enjoy me some cooking television. Right after school I would watch some Everyday Italian with Giada De Laurentiis, and then stay put for 30 Minute Meals with Rachael Ray. Rachael was always my favorite because she seemed like an everyday person even though she was on a television show that thousands enjoyed. Giada just makes everything sound delicious, even if I don’t like it. Like peppers, for instance. I absolutely LOATHE peppers, but Giada always makes them sound delicious when she is cutting them up. My love for the Food Network began years before Rachael Ray got her own prime time TV show and years before anyone even knew who Giada De Laurentiis was. My brothers made fun of me for watching the Food Network, but I kept on loving it.

With my love for Food Network came my love of cooking. I made dinner whenever I could, always preparing meals I liked so I would not have to eat anything I didn’t want to. Whenever my mom was busy and couldn’t make dinner, I stepped in and helped out. Rachael and Giada made it look so easy, but it was very challenging. Sometimes when I was home alone and preparing a meal, I would stand behind our kitchen island and pretend that I was on a cooking show. Learning to chop like they do was the most challenging, but I got it down and loved the noise my knife made against the plastic cutting board my mother bought me.

I still enjoy cooking, but I do not enjoy the Food Network as much anymore. I loved how Rachael Ray would wear clothes that would make me wonder what the heck she was thinking, but now she is “fashionable” and just not herself (in my opinion). I miss the crazy lady that set her hair on fire and made stupid jokes that I always laughed at. I miss her hair that was shoulder-length and brown with blond highlights. Now her hair has a stylish cut and color, but stylish just doesn’t suit her. Now, everyone knows who she is, and I think that she’s lost herself a little bit in the process. I miss the old Rachael and her kitchen before it got its recent makeover.

Giada has always been the “perfect one” out of my two favorite chefs, but lately she’s become even more perfect. More perfect than I can stand. I just tried to watch her 4:30 show a few minutes ago, but could not stand how big her smile was, or the way she was moving around.

I miss the way things were before Rachael was as famous as she is now, and when Giada wasn’t quite so perfect. I miss coming home from school and enjoying hours of my favorite Food Network shows. I miss my love of cooking that has somewhat diminished. I miss what today I am missing.