Running in the Dark of Winter

It’s December 18, which  is only three days from the Winter Solstice, the “shortest” day of the year. Living in the Pacific Northwest at this time of year requires enduring long nights and short days.  Today, the sun didn’t rise until 7:53 a.m. and the sun will set at 4:19 p.m., which means that really the only way I will get to enjoy the light of day will be to look out my office window. On Saturday the 18th, us Washingtonians will enjoy a mere 8 hours, 25 minutes, and 24 seconds of daylight. Thankfully, on December 19th the days start getting longer again, albeit slowly. Very slowly.

Ah, winter in the Northwest.  Not only are the hours of daylight reduced, the quality of light during day is pretty low, and the weather tends to be pretty crummy, too.  It really does rain here–a lot. This doesn’t do much to boost a person’s mood.

So why did I decide to go see a tearjerker last  night?

Dallas BuyersLast night I saw “The Dallas Buyers Club” at the local independent movie theater in town. I knew it was going to be a good movie based on the reviews (from professional film critics and friends), and I knew it was going to be sad (because, well, it’s a true story about trying to treat HIV and AIDS), but I wasn’t really prepared for how good and how moving it turned out to be.  Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto completely disappeared into their roles.  Although the subject matter is tragic, there were uplifting aspects to the story.  One notable message of the movie is that we get only one life, and that we had better make the best of the one we have been given.

I left the theater a little blue but going home to my kids and the chaos of our house distracted me from the movie.  When things quieted down after their bedtime, I reflected on that message from the movie.  In my belief system, you do get only one life—so make the most of it.

Making the most of it included jumping out of bed this morning at 5:40 a.m., ready to go for an early morning run in the pitch black. Normally I need to be scraped out of bed—and by “scraped” I mean sleeping through two snooze-button cycles and refusing to emerge from bed until my half-asleep husband elbows me out of it so that I’ll turn off my alarm and let him sleep. But this morning was different. I have only one life.  And I was making the most of it!Evernote Camera Roll 20131218 100143

The weather was dismal. Cold-ish and misty. At points I think there was a little sprinkle of rain.  But I was out there, and I felt good.

I ran for an hour with my running partner. Not for mileage, but for time. We both have  kids and jobs, and this early morning running time is ours alone to enjoy before tackling the rest of the day.  That time is precious.

Even in the deepest darkness of winter, even if the weather sucks, this is life. Make the most of it, damn it.

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