I saw some pictures recently which jolted me back a decade. Back to where I was – both literally and figuratively. Photos from a fun and important weekend. Photos filled with people who aren’t in my life anymore.
Much has changed in those ten years. Big changes. A new family. A new home. A new life.
Some important things have not changed. Reading and running are constants.
Not just reading – but my favourite authors. Writers I have been reading for many years. Writers whose brilliance and insights add richness to my life. Writers whose words help make me who I am.
Those authors include David Mitchell and James Lee Burke. Each has a new novel out. Buying those books brought me joy comparable to the proverbial kid on Christmas morning. I wanted to dive into them.
Dive slowly. I hate the idea of ‘page-turners.’ The best books should be savoured, not raced through. Every page turned is sad, because it is one page closer to the end of something special. I take my time – underlining and starring my favourite passages – beautifully turned phrases, and insights into life.
David Mitchell creates worlds that remind me that life is mysterious and filled with connections both seen and unseen which bind us all.
James Lee Burke captures the horrors of my profession, the complexity of humanity and our spiritual nature.
I’ve never meet either man, but they are as much a part of my life as my best friends. Constants.
Like running. The routes have changed but the runs continue.
A decade-ago I ran along the ocean daily. No more. Now on my daily runs I hit the trails. Roots and rocks. Oceans of trees, streams of water.
I love it all the same. My favourite run now is just a few minutes from home. It’s quiet and calm. A challenging uphill that is neither too steep nor too long and rewards every repetition with beautiful vistas. It is the running place where I find the greatest beauty and the greatest fulfillment. Like my favourite novels, I never want those runs to end.
Today it ended very well. I descended from the hills through our neighbourhood. Coming towards me my wife was in the midst of her own run, pushing our daughter in her stroller. We met up, and switched up – she raced ahead while I ran with our daughter, who, minutes later, asked me to stop at a community book box – one of those ‘take a book – leave a book’ community libraries that make all our lives a little better.
I opened the box and my daughter’s, attention focused on colourful covers – with pinks and purples trumping all else. I pulled out the pinkest and purpliest for her – I Heart Vegas. Needless to say, it is not exactly a children’s book. But a book she wanted nonetheless, as a present for her mom. We hid it underneath the stroller and snuck it into the house where she placed it on my wife’s nightstand, so proud of the gift she was going to give. So proud of what she called, “the fanciest book I ever saw.”
Ten years. It seems like so long ago. It seems like yesterday.
Life changes. None of us knows what’s in store up the next hill or around the next corner.
The constants in our lives help us navigate those changes, enjoy the journey and prepare us for those unexpected moments. I’ll never read I Heart Vegas. But I’ll treasure it forever.