Is it really the end of August already? This strange summer has flown by.
I am never ready to let go of summer and this year is no exception. I love the heat, the light, and the ease of this season. I love the abundant fresh fruits and vegetables, wearing sundresses, and “glowing” so much I am dripping after a run. Sigh!
Let me catch you up on what’s been happening since July.
When I wrote my post for July, our trip to Colorado was my “Something Ahead“.
We had never taken a car trip of that magnitude before, but with our grandson’s fifth birthday approaching and our trepidation about flying in close quarters with hundreds of strangers increasing, we canceled our flights and decided to hit the road.
Our state has quarantine rules concerning several other states, so we mapped our route carefully. I’m so glad we went.
Not only was driving much better than expected, we got to celebrate this guy’s special day with him. So much better than Zoom!
In this photo, he is displaying a butterfly he rescued from his pool. I thought the butterfly was a goner, but he insisted we could save her and gently dipped his hand into the water to scoop her out.
Sure enough, the butterfly soon began to wiggle her antennae, then her legs. Before too long, the Colorado sunshine had dried her wings enough for her to flap them and she fluttered to the shelter of a nearby lilac bush.
It reminded me of the story of the boy throwing starfish back into the ocean. He really made a difference to that one butterfly.
The long drive and several overnight stays gave me plenty of time to read, so I read quite a few books this month. I will discuss three of them.
The most highly anticipated (by me) was also the most disappointing, Save Me the Plums, by Ruth Reichl. I give this book 3 stars.
Ms. Reichl was the editor-in-chief of the now-defunct Gourmet magazine. While I was never a regular reader, I do love food, travel, beautiful photography, and good writing, all of which Gourmet was known for, and I did read issues occasionally.
The book contains well-written stories about scrumptious food and luxurious travel but the focus on the office politics of the magazine’s movers and shakers made me shrug.
I got lost trying to keep track of the major players. Who was Larry? Tony? Richard? I would have to go back and remind myself. By the end of the book, I no longer cared. Maybe regular readers of the magazine would like this book better than I did.
The second book, Human(kind), by Ashlee Eiland, I give 4 stars. Maybe 4.5.
In this book, the author tells 27 vignettes about her life as a Black woman living in the U.S. Each short story is accompanied by the thoughts these episodes engendered. A story titled “Camping While Black“, for example, is accompanied by the subtitle “Adventure“.
Ms. Eiland is an engaging storyteller. Her thoughts on life are illuminating. This book is an easy-to-read lesson in humility and grace, a peek behind the curtain of a perspective different than mine. Any book that helps to generate empathy is worthy of praise and respect and this one is an excellent read.
The third book, Ten Marathons by Doug Schneider, a slim volume by a regular guy who happened to run long races, had the most impact on me. I give it 5 stars with a caveat: it was the right book for me to read at the right time; it may not have the same effect on everyone.
Mr. Schneider writes about marathons the way I remember them. They are grueling. While other (younger?) authors may wax eloquent about digging deep at mile 22, finding their inner strength and picking up the pace to the finish line, Doug (I think he would not mind me calling him Doug) and I slogged it in one miserable step at a time.
He writes the way I felt.
Here is one passage that spoke to me: ” (W)hat we can control is whether we stay interested in the world. We can make the effort to get back up when life knocks us down. And if you keep getting up and stay interested, anything is possible. There are always more hills to climb, and your reward for getting over the last one will be the chance to climb another.”
Like Doug, running helps me to get back up when life knocks me down. Also like Doug, my plan is to run as much as I can for as far and as fast as I can without thinking about it too much.
I don’t want to say this too loudly, but I will whisper it to you, dear readers: “I think I got my running mojo back.”
It hasn’t been very long, but my runs have been happy occasions lately, quite different than the fraught affairs of the spring and early summer.
A lot of credit goes to Doug Schneider and Ten Marathons for helping me change my outlook. I will keep you posted.
Last year, my husband and I ran the Hellbender Half Marathon near Danville, PA with a friend.
The race was tiny, run on a rail trail, and supported stream conservation, a cause near and dear to my heart (a hellbender is a large salamander that can only live in pristine streams).
This weekend Hubby and I are running the our first in-person race since January’s eight-mile trail race in Florida, The Hellbender 5K with our youngest son – his first race ever.
To say I am filled with joyous anticipation is a vast understatement.
I hope to give you a full report of the event very soon.
I am linking up with Heather Gerwing for her “Four Somethings”. Thanks, Heather, for giving the opportunity to think and write about four such compelling topics.
You can find the places I link up here.