August 11 – While Running – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

“To see takes time.” Georgia O’Keeffe

While running in May, I saw a neatly trimmed hedge, and sprouting briskly through its symmetry were scraggly blue flowers wildly obeying no form. It made me smile, for I have spent many years resisting being pruned and shaped. I loved how the wild blue just hung there above the hedge.

While running in June, I saw an older man out pruning that hedge. He was so involved: clipping gingerly, then backing up, sweating through his eye, as if the world depended on his diligence. I was touched by his care. We nodded briefly, and without a word, it was clear that it wasn’t the hedge, but that he needed something to care for. I realized this is how I’ve lived since surviving cancer.

While running in August, I came upon a slim fountain gushing from an unseeable center, as high as it could, reaching without arms until it ran out of reach, and at its closest to the sky, it began to fall back on itself; always what was rising up replacing what was falling away. Sweating and heaving, I realized that this is what it means to be free.

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