Sunday, March 24, 2013

The daily sniff, and 11 other gifts

One morning this week, while I was walking my dog, a neighbor approached and thanked me for having picked up after her a few moments earlier. He'd been inside and had watched me scoop her poop, and stepped outside just to say thanks. My first response was to think it seemed silly - I would never leave dog poop on the ground, anywhere. As a runner, I understand well the frustration of bobbing and weaving around canine land mines. I don't need to be thanked for doing something that is not only required by law, it's a basic civility to which it is not difficult to adhere. I gave him a "don't mention it" kind of a response, but as we parted ways, thought further - and was glad he did mention it. It did actually make me feel good to know that this simple choice makes life a little easier on him, and it was lovely that he took that minute out of his day to step outside and tell me so.

The sweetest-smelling block of Second Ave.
As we kept walking, I made my regular stop a few houses up to smell another neighbor's roses, and a beautiful bloom of wisteria. Throughout most of the year, you will find well-tended roses blooming outside of this gorgeous old home, and I've thought on many occasions how nice it is that they keep them out along the sidewalk rather than up against their house and behind the fence where we wouldn't be able to enjoy them. This house is just around the corner from me, so stopping for a sniff is a treasured part of most of my runs, while I'm warming up or cooling down. Having just received the simple gratitude of another neighbor for something I give no thought to doing, I decided to thank the owners of the home (who I don't know) for this little gift that they've given me on a daily basis for many years now. It was early in the morning, so I went home and wrote a note that I went back hung around the inside of their fence as I headed out for my run.

There's a lot of talk about gratitude these days. While gratitude journaling is surely a worthwhile activity, I'm hereby challenging myself to not just think and write about gratitude, but to live it. And as with most things, for me it will start with running. There are a lot of people and institutions that have made running possible for me, and who, like the owner of these roses, should be thanked for the ways they've contributed to the joy that it brings me. I'm launching a personal mission to identify and acknowledge a dozen of these folks, and will report back.

In the meantime, who makes running possible for you (or in some other way makes your days brighter)? Have you told them lately? There's no time like the present.

6 comments:

  1. You are so right! I have recently run on a couple city maintained run/bike trails and have, along the way, been inspired to dig a little deeper by the sweet aroma of jasmine or the bright, yellow bed of daisies. Both simple things, but ones which truly make my runs more enjoyable and remind me to appreciate simple gifts.

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    1. Oh, the smell of jasmine! Always a bonus during an evening run. And we've got orange blossoms going crazy right now, which will literally stop me in my tracks to turn around and smell them. =)

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  2. Great post, as always :) I am ready for a new week now! I am grateful to my husband for enabling my running. I don't drive and he takes me to my favorite trails whenever I want to, and walks the dog while I run, sometimes waiting in the car reading for 1+h when I do my long runs... He loves the trails and walking, so it's not like this is torture for him. But he always makes time around our meal timing and the weather for my runs. I will thanks him again tonight :)

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    1. Thank you! This is very sweet. It's so true, our partners in life have to get pretty involved, whether they run or not. My husband doesn't run, and, like yours, does a LOT of logistical juggling of all of the rest of the "stuff of life" to help me make training happen! He is #1 on my list of people to be thanked, too!

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  3. That happened to me and I commented on my blog how I was amazed someone thanked me (he actually came running up to me yelling at me a thank you). I had a neighbor just look at me speechless saying, "I've never seen anyone do that before." It's part of my job to pick up after my dog.

    I love smelling flowers, especially this time of year.

    I'm thankful for the countless friends whom sign up for the runs with me. I'm thankful to my wonderful boyfriend who always supports me in exercising. I'm thankful to my parents; they sent me new COOLA sunscreen (three differ bottles) and the runner's model of mace (goes around the hand), because they were scared for my safety after reading about the death of a runner in South Dakota. My friend also bought me a rape whistle. I'm thankful for Memorial Park, because they are doing what they can to clear out the trees that died in the drought last year and replanting new ones. I"m thankful to Hermann Park for opening the bridge that connects one part to the actual park without crossing traffic.

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    1. Yes! It's definitely our job, and it's a good reminder that people should be thanked even for doing jobs that they get paid to do! People doing their jobs well and with love have my absolute respect. I love your list (and I loved reading about your new local pedestrian bridge too!), and will thank the workers in my city's Parks & Recreation Department for all that they do to maintain the beautiful spaces around me.

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