Exhilarated again

I say again, because I wrote another story about exhilaration in 2016 (below).

When I was led to give up having a car over forty years ago, I had no idea of some of the consequences of doing that.

I knew I would be spending more time outdoors, but not really how much time that turned out to be. Time waiting for the bus, or walking to work. I didn’t anticipate the impact that would have on my photography. As I was out walking or running, I learned to be much more aware of my surroundings. I began to take my camera with me to capture what I was seeing. Taking the camera more frequently, until I fell into the habit of always bringing it with me. The few times I didn’t, someone would invariably ask where my camera was.

The more attention I paid to my surroundings, the more I saw. Nature was teaching me about herself. I began to have to leave for work earlier and earlier to compensate for the time I spent taking photos along the way.

Running became a frequent mode of transportation. I came to love running more, to the extent that became another habit. I ran almost every day. That was another way to be more aware of my surroundings. I also had to be aware of my body, finding the right pace and adjusting my form to avoid injuries.

I am now reading a wonderful book about running.

“To our people, running is our connective tissue and a form of prayer. But it is not for everyone and the run will quickly teach you that.” There are many obstacles to conquer, mountain slopes to overcome, emotions to rein in. The bad weather, physical pain, and living with scarce comforts. All in order to invoke the spirit inside of us in the ritual of running.

Álvarez, Noé. Spirit Run (pp. 46-47). Catapult. Kindle Edition.

—strong runners who seem deeply in touch with the spirit of the land. They talk openly to it, sing to it. I am eager to learn from them, to see what others see, and be fearless in nature.

Álvarez, Noé. Spirit Run (p. 77). Catapult. Kindle Edition.

The reason for writing about exhilaration today is related to the powerful derecho yesterday. As you might guess, I was running when it hit. I checked the weather radar before I began to run, since I’d heard there would be thunderstorms later. I could see the storm in western Iowa, and would have had plenty of time to finish my run before it arrived.

The weather report didn’t anticipate the storm turning into a derecho but that’s what happened. So it traveled much more quickly, hitting when I was about a mile from home. The sky suddenly turned black and the winds arrived, nearly blowing me off my feet. The wind was roaring. The trees whipping back and forth. I heard a branch break. There was really no shelter, so I continued to run enveloped in the storm. It is a bit of an understatement to say this was exhilarating.

I was thankful I was wearing the necklace Foxy Onefeather made for me. She said it was for protection, and it worked. I was aware of it hanging around my neck. I gave grateful prayers when I arrived safely.

The reason I have this photo of the derecho is because I also carry my camera when I run.

Derecho sky, Indianola, Iowa 8/10/2020
Derecho 8/10/2020
Necklace for protection from Foxy Onefeather

Exhilerated Friday, April 1, 2016

I discovered early in life that I am an adrenaline junkie.  Going up against the Selective Service System as a draft resister was an early clue.  Then the years working in Neonatal Intensive Care, and especially the intense situations in the field when transporting critically ill babies from their local hospital back to Riley Hospital for Children proved the point beyond all doubt.

I “enjoyed” a different sort of exhilaration last evening, though I hesitate to tell stories like this for fear it will discourage people from seeking opportunities to reduce their use of cars.  I needed to get to the Interchurch Center for a meeting with local environmental activists to talk about climate mobilization and ALEC.

Although I had planned to ride my bicycle, the tire went flat within a few blocks of my apartment, so I took a city bus to 38th and Meridian (where the route turns left on the map below).  From there it was only 1.7 miles to Interchurch Center.  But within a couple of blocks of leaving the bus, it began to rain.  And then it began to really come down.  Thunder and lightning.  And then the wind began to blow so hard I had to lean way forward just to walk.  And the street began to fill with water, which passing cars threw up in the air, and onto me.

But I was walking past the Crown Hill Cemetery, which was full of trees and plants blooming, and it all looked so awesome in the curtains of rain.  It surprised me that I was enjoying myself so much.

Although I had worn a rain jacket, it wasn’t entirely waterproof, and I was completely soaked, and not sure what to do when I reached the meeting.  John Gibson, of Sustainable Indiana, who I had worked with for years on the Keystone Pledge of Resistance and Indiana Moral Mondays, let me wear his coat.

Then, just as the meeting was about to start, another local activist, Zander Gieryn, appeared, also soaking wet.  I assumed he rode his bicycle to the meeting.  And he was grinning, too–another adrenaline junkie!

I have always appreciated the numerous occasions when my environmentalist friends showed up riding their bicycles, including Jim Poyser and Ted Wolner (both Keystone Pledge of Resistance Action Leaders).

While I always try to avoid imposing on others because of my car-less decision, I was very grateful that John Gibson and Wayne Moss gave me a ride home after the meeting.

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