Here's how I think that is probably not how most of the rest of the world thinks:
I think, I can run a big loop for an hour and twenty minutes, pick up my running buddy who did not want to go that early or that far, loop with her to come back to my house at the end of her part of our run together so that I could pick up my dog
so the dog could run the last hour with me.
It worked. I made my friend's porch about three minutes late, and my dog got slightly more than an hour's run, and I made my 9:15 meeting fed and washed. Our milk was spoiled, though, so I did not get my Taza Mexican hot chocolate recovery miracle.
And feeling pretty amazing for having trundled up and down our neighborhood hills for three hours and ten minutes. THREE HOURS AND TEN MINUTES! Booyah.
Before I picked up my buddy or my dog, I had time to think.
Today I thought about the memorial service many in our neighborhood attended Saturday, for a wonderful, fierce, too-young mother-artist-athlete-wife-friend (in no particular order).
I also thought about shouting - not because I was in danger, but I wondered how loud I could shout, and knowing whose houses I was near, I wondered how many neighbors my voice would carry to. Many of these neighbors who were at yesterday's service, and the one before that, and the one before that, and the one before that...
Putting these lines of thinking together, I thought about how much generosity these neighbors have shown each other in these recent times of struggle. We have opened our pantries and cooked for one another, we have opened our wallets for donations honoring these struggles, we have given of our time whenever it was asked of us, without a moment's thought about being inconvenienced.
I thought about how even though we'd all rather have everyone in our lives remain well, we know the way the world works and at the slightest hint of trouble there'd be an email and meals scheduled three months out, with a waiting list filled with those who got the email too late.
I also thought about my upcoming fundraising party, and a concert I'm producing in April, and all kinds of other things. But my happiest thoughts, as I ran past street after street on which I knew so many who had given so much to others nearby, were of gratitude for the strength of these networks.
But there's another thing, too. This network of care feels very midwestern, less of how I have lived for so long in Yankee Boston and more of how I might have grown up in Ohio.
No one would be more surprised than my younger self to know that one day I, too, would take my part in such a community. Sort of exactly like an It Gets Better moment. It got better than I ever dared to imagine. Maybe it's a function of getting older and living in one place for a long time, but it feels like something else, too.
I know that distance training brings up all kinds of emotion. I've written about the snowglobe effect I've experienced. And I'm sure that the folks from around here haven't given this a moment's thought, that in a slightly different time or place someone like me would think twice before attempting to participate fully in a community.
And yeah, the world has changed in a lot of places, but not everyplace, and I am filled with gratitude to be where I am now, in this community, where I am not even the only crazy running machine, and my covered dish quietly, rightfully, takes its place in the queue of outpourings sustaining those in need.