The World Through My Shoes is my look at living this incredible gift God has given us. As a busy wife, mother and daughter I relish the alone time I receive on my early morning runs. It is in the stillness of those predawn mornings where I often am inspired. Thank you for taking the time to read my words.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Learning Tree

The sky a blanket of grey; the rain misty.  The air is cool on my face.  After sleeping in a bit and enjoying a morning with my boys, I left for my run a bit later than I typically do on a Saturday morning.  Ankle recovery isn't all bad.

The neighborhood begins to hum.  Saturday plans begin to unfold in each home. My pace is easy. I round a corner and The Learning Tree comes into view.  A massive oak tree with branches straight up to heaven. 

Years ago I nick named this oak The Learning Tree. Each year as spring begins to kiss winter away, parent eagles will use this tree to teach their young to hunt.  A young eagle will be found in its branches while the parents swoop down on rabbits and squirrels and critters in the surrounding field.  An impressive sight that never tires.

No eagles teaching this morning.

My hope is to run 7 miles, the longest since twisting my bad ankle (again).  The weather is world's apart from last week and the excitement shows in my step.  I am happy to be out running with no snow, no ice, no wind.  I make my way to my favorite country road.  A road with beautiful views and rolling hills.  This will be a good test of my ankle.

I've gone a quarter of a mile and another runner pops out from a long driveway.  She waves and turns away from me.  A runner with beautiful form and impressive speed.  I watch as she turns down a private road. 

A mother-daughter duo emerge walking from their property and onto the road.  It isn't long before I catch up to them.  I do my best not to startle them and we wish each other a beautiful morning.  The birds sing, we all smile.  A beautiful morning indeed.

Looking ahead I see people gathered at a mailbox.  Neighbors being neighborly.  As I approach I hear "CHERIIIIII!!!" and the older gentlemen holds out his to give me a high five.  I give him a high five.

"Steve!  I wondered if I'd see you today!"

"CHERI!!!" a familiar voice calls.

I turn to see the people Steve talking with and discover my cousin Ted and his daughter Olivia.  They live up the road and were out talking a walk.   We laugh at the realization we all know each other.

Steve, being retired, has more free time now to do things he likes to do and that includes running.   The first time I ran with Steve was on that country road.  Two runners sharing the same road and a bond cements.  We chat for a bit before he says he needs to go so his wife doesn't worry.  Ted, Olivia and I carry on and it isn't long and we all part ways.

Unexpected encounters interject fun into my run.  I am smiling.  The highest hill of the road is fast approaching.  The house half way up the hill is still not finished.  How long has it been?  2 years?  3 years?  There is always progress, yet it remains incomplete.  I've decided the owner is building it and doing it with his own funds.  What I do know for certain is the house will be a stunning work of art.  The new wrap around porch makes me long for summer days.  The views they will have will be amazing.

3 1/2 miles in I turn around and head back toward home.  As I crest the hill again, I look toward my favorite vista to see the low hanging grey clouds have concealed it's beauty.  It's ok, I'm out here.  And running.  I am happy.

The fields are a yellow-green brought on by winter.  Soon it will give way to the lush green of spring.  Water is running in the ditches and through the culverts.  It's melody of a creek.  I see where the land gave way sliding into the ditch; another reminder of the harshness of last week.

Branches are strewn everywhere.  The Great Silver Thaw, Snowmageddon and wind storms snapped branches off the grandest of trees.  Tall evergreens stand like wounded warriors.  Their massive branches broken and lying on the ground.  The sight makes me awestruck with the power of last week's storm.

The Learning Tree comes back into view and with it the unmistaken sound of eagle chatter.  A young eagle is perched atop of the mighty oak.  Although I can not find them, the parent eagles are close by watching from a row of evergreen trees.  Their instruction was clear and the eagle dives toward the field.  Breakfast is served.

My run complete, I open the door to the smell of eggs and toast.  I smile.

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