Tuesday, January 20, 2015

all the places to love

Last night I had a specific thought as I put the pirates to sleep. But I was tired, and I wanted them to fall asleep quickly, so I tried to push it away. Instead the thought took a seat and stuck around. I sang a song and thought "Tell them about your run in Ruston..." I sang another song. "Maybe you should them about your run in Ruston." I sang a short song. "TELL THEM ABOUT YOUR RUN." Oh my heavens. It was such a random thought and I couldn't think of any relevance to the situation, but I couldn't get rid of the thought either. So I did. I had them close their eyes and together we hopped in the stroller (the very one we kept in the front room so it wouldn't get roaches) and walked out our front door. We walked to the end of the street, past the house with the doberman, and then started running where we always did right after turning the corner. (I paused to tell them how we found a scooter by the side of the road.) We took the slight downhill at a quick pace so the great big uphill wouldn't seem so big, and then we crossed the busy street... 

I explained how we would turn left to go to the post office and right to go to the library. I told them how we'd bumpbumpbump across the ancient brick sidewalk, and showed them the one and only fire anthill we unfortunately found on one of our first days there.

But for our run we would go straight, so that's what we did. The Museum was on our left and the Peachtree School was on our right. We kept going past one more busy street, we ran for two blocks and then we stopped to look at the "diggers."

The diggers were right next to the building with the pretty green barn doors.

At the doors we ran uphill for one more block, and then turned the corner to cruise a four block downhill. We ran past the self storage, past the house with the crazy dog that threw himself at the screen door, past the ravine, through the half block tunnel of trees, and into the cemetery.

I told the pirates how, at the cemetery, they were usually sound asleep, but we would do at least three, sometimes four, half-mile figure eights and see the same people almost every day. There was a steep downhill on the side bordering the high school track, where I'd put my hand through the safety strap and let my legs fly. (When they were awake, Robs and Erik would yell "wheeeeeeeeeeeee!" - long before Erik was able to pronounce any other words.)

I told the pirates how the track was one of my favorite places in all of Ruston. We'd play with the hurdles (I'd go over, Robs would go under) and the two of them would jump on the high jump mats. We'd sit on the ancient tractor that lived under the bleachers, and Robs would climb to the top of the stadium while Erik held both of my hands and took tiny steps. We'd wave to Robs at at the top and watch her scamper down. In the Spring and Fall when the weather was as perfect as perfect gets, we'd take off our shoes and run across the football field - the one and only grassy area free from fireants and stickers. (It was my oasis.)

But by the time I got to the track, the room was totally quiet. I paused to see if the pirates were still awake. Erik's voice cut the silence, "Moom. Keep telling..." 

So I told them how on long run days, we'd keep going. Past the cemetery, past the track, and up the longest hill known to man. (It tuckered me out every single time.) But the view from the top kept me coming back. At the top there was a quiet spot that looked out over I-20. The pirates would watch the cars make their way down the corridor of pines, whilst I drained their sippy cups of any extra water. And then we would run home the same way we came. 

But as we turned to head back, I told them about the tennis courts right next to the track. And the friends we'd meet there to play with before the day got too hot. I told them about the rain storm that left inches of water, and the adventures we had stomping those puddles. I told them how one day we explored almost every square inch of the historic high school campus. And by the time I finished telling them about my run in Ruston... I knew why I'd needed to tell them. 

I had needed to remember. 

I rubbed their backs. I kissed them goodnight. And then I whispered to them, but mostly to myself, how we are so much more than we are in any one given moment. 

(All of these photos were taken by a three year old Robs in a stroller, on a little camera we got thirdhand after it was purchased secondhand for thirty dollars. I will treasure them forever.)

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