Today my run along the humbling river starts from a place dark and deep. The seeming boundless edges of grief, teetering over and once again, seeping into the beginning of my day. I need to dam it up. Or let it rush out. I’m not sure. The numbness leads me out along the trail, wooded in solitude, with it’s secrets whispering to me, yet, I’m not responding and registering. My body goes through the motions, while my mind wanders aimlessly, mostly in the dark haze of sadness.
I enter the park that leads to the shores of Lake Houston and as I approach the man-made watering hole where ducks, geese and other occasional transient water fowl gather, I notice it’s emptiness. In it’s place are at least two dozen buzzards. These guys have a presence about them, daunting and ominous. There are a few lumbering on the edges of the trash bins, and as I run within ten feet of them and pass, I grin looking right at one, not quite sure how they view my presence. A funny scenario plays out in my head, reminiscent of the grackle attack while running a few years ago. I think, hmmmm am I their next meal? They only eat dead things, right? I scan the area and I don’t see any one thing that they’re hovering around or planning to devour. I nod as I pass, I respect them, why they’re here and their means of survival. Eerie, yet comforting knowing this is how mother-nature intended.
I decide to run to the shore and along the skinny boardwalk shared by fisherman and their gear, risking a wayward hook from an oblivious cast. I don’t care, the headwinds get stronger, and I’m drawn in, thankful for the reprieve from the stale air. Fortunately, for me, the vibrations along the wooden walkway alert the fisherman to my approach and they share their space and awareness with me. I’m coming alive. The soft pitter patter of the water reaching the shore soothes me. It’s hypnotic and calming, lifting me out of this cloud of grief.
I zone in and listen closer. My senses bombarded with the beauty of this day, the beauty of this life. The memory of Ning. I cry as I leave the park. A sob with such intensity, so deep and powerful, and I let it rush forth. The dam has broken and I allow it’s healing powers, enmeshed with my running, to take over. I still can’t believe she’s gone. A life so young and vibrant. A life so like my daughter’s. As I breathe easier, settling back into my rhythm, the overwhelming sweet scent of Carolina Jessamine infiltrates my senses. Such a beautiful aroma, carrying me along the trail, never lessening in it’s intensity. I know this is Ning. And I know that life is sweet and full of joy from the unexpected. For the two miles back home, I was accompanied by an angel just passing through.