Springing Into Summer

AJW's TaproomThis morning, for the first time in several months, I awoke without the aid of the alarm. Outside, the birds chirped enthusiastically as the early morning sun poked its head over our little town. Inside, there was a delightful stillness in my slumbering, still-quiet house. I padded downstairs and put on the coffee. As my mind slowly cleared and I pulled together my running stuff, I felt a subtle jolt of energy that had been missing recently. After several months of figuratively slogging uphill, I was now beginning to seemingly float downhill.

I hopped off my doorstep and began to run. The first mile through the quiet streets felt smooth and still. As I crested the small hill that brought me into the local forest park, I smiled. Transitioning to singletrack trail, I wound my way along, listening to each footfall and breath as if they were part of a song. The rhythm of my run became more palpable as I began the gradual climb up to the park’s high point. It was just a few hundred feet up but the added exertion centered me and a bit of sweat dripped off my brow. Beginning the descent back down to the playground and the trail exit, I pulled off my singlet and opened up my stride. A quick glance at my watch told me I was running a sub-seven-minute mile for the first time in a while.

The fifth mile of my little morning loop brought me back to the pavement and to the base of one last grinding hill. It’s a part of my run I typically dread as I leave the trails and transition back to town, but today it just seemed to flow. I barely noticed the effort as I pranced up the final climb. Cresting the hill to begin the final descent back to my house brought with it a small burst of exuberance. I even laughed a little. Getting back to my front door and entering the house, I felt revitalized and refreshed. It was as if the past 40 minutes had somehow changed me and given me a stronger sense of purpose and focus. I was fully engaged in my day.

Over the years, I’ve noticed that with the arrival of spring, the longer days and warmer temperatures bring with them a sense of renewal. This renewal is felt most acutely in my running but extends to other parts of my life as well. I am not sure if there is any science to back this up, but it’s as if the life that is bursting out around me in the natural world is also energized within me. In fact, it is during the spring that the animal in me seems to awaken, even as I grow older and more deliberate.

So, here’s to the wonder of spring and the impending arrival of summer! In a time when much of life seems uncertain and fragile, it heartens me to have a place of restful comfort and simple joy. For when I lace up my shoes, put one foot in front of the other, and begin my running song, everything else in the world comes a bit more into focus. And, along the way, I dare say, the crooked way is made straight.

Bottoms up!

AJW’S Beer of the Week

Brooklyn Brewery Brooklyn LagerThis week’s Beer of the Week is a great one from Brooklyn Brewery in Brooklyn, New York. Their Brooklyn Lager is an old-school Vienna-style lager made in the 19th-century ‘Vienna’ tradition. Full bodied and wonderfully balanced, this classic beer from one of America’s classic brewing areas is a great accompaniment to a sultry summer evening.

Call for Comments (from Meghan)

  • If spring is in full swing in your neck of the woods, how does it make you feel?
  • Do lengthening days and warmer air temperatures add more spring to your step?
  • How do you see your psychological state evolve each year as the seasons change?