Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Making Music

By Susie Crossland-Dwyer

This week Chris and I retreated into the woods and countryside of Adams County, OH (thanks to our amazing friends Paul and Karen who let us borrow their incredible log cabin).  The winter cobwebs that just a few weeks ago covered me have now been gently swept away and I am ready to indulge in the new life of spring.

As we prepared to head east, we hauled along our Vitamix, a cooler full of the regular smoothie fixings, tossed two days worth of running clothes and a stack of books into a duffel bag. We knew there probably wouldn't be cell phone service or a grocery store or the sight of another soul all weekend. We couldn't wait.    

The rolling trails through Shawnee State Park, the chirping of unusual indigo and coffee colored birds, the sunshine on our white winter bodies, the space and silence to breathe, sleep and read all came together to create the perfect weekend.  
We started on this trail in order to do recon for Chris's upcoming "Triple T" (three day triathlon) that takes place on this very terrain. Signs of spring were just starting to emerge. I will be curious to see how it's changed when we return in a few weeks.
On Saturday, while spending the day in what's been dubbed the "Little Smokies," I did something I've never felt safe enough to do as a female training in Cincinnati. I ran on the trails all alone. It was hours of pure bliss. Every so often Chris would double-back to check on me and then dash into the woods like a man on a mission. For a few moments I could see his red and green Nike outfit bobbing through the trees, then he was gone and I was left to my own rhythmic footsteps on the crunchy ground, not yet saturated with the green of spring.

This daredevil constantly helps "stretch" me by making me see life in new ways.
I hadn't expected to feel so overjoyed to be by myself in this unfamiliar territory. The only other time I've run alone in the woods was during my 50-miler in Wisconsin where my focus on the speed of race prevented me from fully absorbing my surroundings.
In the past year, I have come to find that I need very little to be truly content. The above criteria makes up a good deal of my happiness. I know I wouldn't thrive if I was in the country 24/7. But, taking the weekend to create space in my life reminded me of the importance of purposely creating the conditions for our happiness as well seeking out new experiences to get the brain to fire in different ways. 

Beautiful music is made not only from the sound of the note but with the space of silence between notes. This week I worked on both--new notes AND rest between them to make my life sound more melodic as well as become more rhythmic.
My #1 condition for happiness. 

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