Since 2001 I have run with the same hat. A security blanket disguised as practicality. I have been known to chose to not run rather than to go out without it. A simple plain white cap that has so many simple plain reasons for always being with me as I run.
It shields my eyes from the sun… I can’t’ run with sunglasses on. Perfectly practical.
It keeps my face covered from the sun. Pale skin that burns easily, just being responsible.
When it rains and the wind is heavy it shelters my head and offers me some protection from the harsh elements.
As my hair has become long it is a handy place to tuck it up under and keep it contained so it stays out of my face and under control.
It’s simply….Practical and responsible and perfectly under control. Safe. From what. From being open to the elements and unprotected. It keeps me guarded…shielded…sheltered.
As my evening unfolded tonight it brought with it a growing feeling of the familiar unsettled gnawing. Not quite anger but close enough. Emotions that can’t quite come to the surface as what they are so they growl and writhe and start to whisper.
The familiar urge to run… to chase them down and push them away rises. Giving in, the water is where my sight sets to find some calm and release.
But tonight something else unfolds as I reach the water. The waves are huge tonight with the wind on the narrow beach that I find myself after my run. I stand and reach down to feel the water on my hands. It creeps higher up the beach than I thought it would and my feet are enveloped. The cold and shock feel good. My hands tingle from the cold and my entire body aches to go in. Instead, I stand, close my eyes and the tears come. I lift my arms and feel the wind moving around and over me. The emotions I can’t quite touch finds their voices and the scream feels good lost in the waves. I can feel the wind blowing and I reach up and take my hat off, letting my hair loose. The wind catches my hair and the chill send shivers through me…
Racing as fast as I can up the steps from the beach to the trail… hat in hand, feet soaked and hands almost numb from the water I splashed on my face as I left… This time as I run the trail along the cliff top the wind blows hard against me again, but differently. The change in how it feels to run with hair being blown in my face and to feel – really feel – the chill and the bite of the wind is striking. My pace quickens and I run as fast as I can… the sense of being not quite fully in control hasn’t been felt in a long time…and it feels good. A little scary, but good. Laughing, smiling, tears… what comes up is let out as I race myself along the shore until I’m winded and have to slow to an easy run. I settle and find my stride at a softer pace as I follow the path that leads away from the water and towards home.
Hat still off and hair flying as it’s blown by the blustery wind…No longer guarded, no longer sheltered and shielded. Open to the elements and feeling.
It feels good.