March 24, 2009

Taking to the Trail

Slow, steady, consistent. The dirt beneath my feet is moist, at times soft and almost muddy. The dark cloud overhead makes the afternoon seem later than my watch indicates. My stride is anything but graceful. My running shoes have been an vacation for the last week or so, but today, they were the only friend that could clear my mind and put my emotions to rest.

The current economic situation hit home today. Until this morning, I felt disconnected the with television and radio reports, repeatedly altering Americans and the World to the next crisis or reason for fear. I purposely don't read the front page of the newspaper; too depressing. I stopped following the stock market, too daunting. Today I didn't have to rely to any media sources to know what is happening to the free markets; today I felt the impact directly.

I got off easy. I still have a place to report tomorrow morning, at least for now. Others weren't so lucky. The impact of decreased consumer spending, tight credit lines, and the ever elusive bottom line profit became real for me today.
I wanted to cry, but I had to go back to work. I wanted to grieve, but that seemed inappropriate, I still had a job. I wanted to scream and yell and stomp my feet. It just isn't fair; people have families and children. Why not me? I felt sorry, but sorry enough to offer to switch places? Sorry enough to give up my monthly wage in order for someone else to receive one? I wasn't the one making decisions. I don't know what the outcome would be if I were.

I needed refuge, I needed clarity. I needed to get out, for the selfish purpose of self-preservation.

On a bike there is so much to think about; gears, brakes, pedal stroke, heart rate, glass in the bike lane. In the saddle I am training, focused and with a purpose.
I needed simplicity.

Running is simple. I don't have to think about the upcoming hill, my legs know what to do; they have done it so many times before. Running is cleansing, like a dunk in cold, yet familiar water.

And so I ran. Awkwardly at first, working out the kinks, and the cobwebs and the tears. My stride soon grew longer, more fluid, more natural. My breath ceased to occupy my mind, my muscles relaxed, and I ran.

If I had been the one to receive bad news today, I would have been okay. If I receive bad new tomorrow, or next week, or next month, I will be okay. For now I am with employment, with a company that genuinely cares about its employees, with a CEO that made a decision to save the company he has worked so hard to built, and part of a team that will look forward toward success.