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Running Away

[Featured on Perissos 1/27/16]

Last summer we moved to Georgia. I wanted to run away. As soon as the buses took my kids, I ran hard toward the dark canopy of the trees near our new house.

My anger matched the summer sun and my fear matched the thick humidity. I would remember my kids crying about school, getting lost on the way to the store, and all the love we left behind. I would pound that pain into the winding path. Forsaken and alone I didn’t pray anymore. But the trees sheltered me with leaves larger than my face. I would run panting across the intersecting roads to get back under their generous covering, grateful.

From the very first run I felt the woods offering me friendship. I was enchanted. Ducks and dogs rushed to greet me. Shiny laughing crows teased me. Deer and sparrows tiptoed in the periphery. Spotted red mushrooms smiled. The lake sparkled.

The trees were my favorite. The short one with blue flowers at her feet cheering me on at the start, the arched one reminding me the big hill was up ahead, the jagged one that threw spider webs at my face. Such a tease. I started to feel like I belonged with these new friends.

I ran longer and farther in the autumn air. I was lonely. I slowly started to talk with God a little in the woods. “Thank you for these bright yellow leaves. For these little red ones. For the fat brown ones. Thank you for this quiet beauty.” The trees left treasures for me at every turn. Acorns with jaunty green caps to share with my daughter, bouquets of terracing yellow mushrooms, and huge pine cones. It felt like courtship.

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Now for the first time, I’m running in winter. I couldn’t bear to be without my trees. I wear a hat with earflaps, gloves, and long underwear to meet them. Even though my nose runs and the cold air burns my lungs, I feel happy on the path. I lift my eyes into their high bare branches, and know they are still sheltering me. I can see better which trunks sit fat and grumpy and how the skinny ones sway, a little drunk. I nod to the family of white trees that cautiously bend toward the lake and those standoffish dark ones deep behind the stream. They are stark and honest. We’ve accepted each other.

Last week I fell.

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©Aimee Fritz & Family Compassion Focus, 2016.

 

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