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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

over the sidewalk and through the arroyo and beyond

I’ve been doing a lot of running lately. Maybe because it’s fall and it’s a little cooler. Although, it was 90 over the weekend. Still, though, it’s cool around the edges. It doesn’t wake up to 90 and stay that way all day. Conversely, because it’s fall and still hot I think I’m trying to sneak in every last bit of summer heat that I can. I’ve found myself intentionally ignoring the cooler parts of the day and running right though the middle.

I was biking with a friend over the weekend. We were heading downstream on Arroyo Blvd which traces the eastern edge of the Arroyo proper but I still consider it a part of the Arroyo, you can still feel its presence strongly from the road. He asked me if I’d ever gone hiking in the arroyo (it sounded like he hadn’t). And, of course, I told him, yes, I go down there a lot, it’s really nice down there, totally worth checking it out. All true, except the hiking part, but I figure running, hiking, same-same.

But then I got to thinking, am I really that segmented in my life, in my contacts, friends, acquaintances, what have you, that someone I see regularly, a couple times a week, doesn’t know that I’m down in the arroyo, like, all-the-time… that it’s, like, one of the biggest parts of my life, that it’s a major source, home, power for my soul…? Maybe. Probably. I guess it just doesn’t come up in conversation for a couple reasons….

It’s hard to talk about running with people, especially non-runners. And it seems like almost everyone I know is a non-runner. Maybe they tend to see running as exercise, as working out, as hard work. I see it as moving, traveling through the arroyo, connecting with that lone stretch of natural earth. I can’t imagine life without running just like I can’t imagine life without coffee and margaritas (not together, although, hmm… a coffee margarita!)

And as far as the arroyo part is concerned, like I said, I’m always in the arroyo. Like, I mean, even when I’m drowning in a bar in Old Town, I’m conscious of the fact that the arroyo is sitting right there, waiting, longing even, for my return. When I’m running up the sidewalk I’m in the arroyo. I’m heading there, I’ll be there in 10 minutes, but I’m already there, I’m on the land, a side chute next to the arroyo, it’s just up this rise and down that gently sloping plain to its edge.

I guess it’s difficult to bridge that gap with blogging, too. I rarely tell anyone about my blog anymore because non-bloggers don’t seem to get it, either. So I only share the blog with other bloggers – they’re the only ones that understand how it works, that know it’s a place to connect. Here, on the blog, on my blog, I go on and on and on about whatever seems relevant to my concept of Mindful Mule – you know, that whole mantra of natural-bike-running-life or whatever. And I read plenty of blogs that aren’t remotely related to Mindful Mule but they have they’re place in my life, they make sense.

So if I can exist in the arroyo and on the sidewalk at the same time, maybe I can straddle other seemingly separate compartments in my life as well. I’m not going to start rattling off distances and split times and native flower bloom schedules and the newest XTR components news with the bagger at the checkout line or anything but I could probably push the outside of my envelope a little more into the main flow of things. Then, at least, I’ll get fewer perplexing questions like, Have you ever been down in the arroyo?

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