I slip my feet into my well worn running shoes, carefully lacing them up. I pull my pony tail through the little window in the back of my cap, tighten it around my head one last time and smile because I know I’m almost ready to go. I don’t stretch. I don’t groan. I don’t even take a deep breath. But already my heart is beating fast. I’m a wild horse, about to be set free. I can hardly wait.
I love to run. And running in my sleepy little Mexican town is as good as it gets. Wanna come? You might even find you like it, too.
It’s not so easy at first with all the mix-matched cobblestones jutting out here and there. It’s best to leap and skip and be a silly sight. But don’t worry, it’s not for long. And usually no one is around to watch. Or at least I haven’t heard any giggling yet. We round the corner, dodge a couple of sleeping dogs, and then we’re in the center of town. The taco lady looks up from her sizzle to give us a smile, her silver tooth catching a flicker of the sun. We smile back. It would be impossible to do otherwise.
Before you know it, we’re on our way out of town. The road rises up, the jungle leans down, and if you’re anything like me, your senses suddenly open wide. You breathe in the scent of mangoes, hear the bees, see the long tail of a blue magpie jay dance from tree to tree. You feel alive, free, infused with energy and hope, the scent of the sea riding the breeze as it gently whispers on your sun happy face.
It’s hot. Boy, is it hot. But it feels good. Like a cleanse. You sweat it all out. The stress, the worry, the things you forgot and the things you didn’t mean to say. Its just you and nature, your feet pounding the ground, your heart beating wildly, your pulse riding the wave with a smile all its own. All its own.
Its not until we start back into town that you notice how many people are out. Store owners readying their wares, patrons eating breakfast, employees sweeping the dirt along the street. They look up as we pass. Lucia puts her arm on top of her broom. Mario leans back in his plastic chair. Even busy Mama stops for a moment to see when we will slow our pace. “Go, go, go!” the butcher yells, his laughter kind and contagious. Yep, contagious.
And you? You smile. Smile like you haven’t smiled in years. Somehow you feel more connected than you did just yesterday. As if you are really a part of things, a human cog in the wheel of life--necessary, unique, appreciated and loved. That’s what jogging in my sleepy little town does, it reminds me, and now you, that when life is its simplest…its simply good.