I'm running again.
Those of you who knew me five years ago, when I first had to give running up, know: This is a really big deal for me.
But forget the runner I was five years ago, training for a marathon and beating my high school 5K PR. Nope, in the last month, as I've tentatively tried out my legs, it's been for baby runs. 20 or 25 minutes, once a week.
I don't know how many runs I have left before my knees decide they've had enough. It could be next week, it could (maybe... maybe???) be never.
This I know: every run is a gift. The fresh air in my lungs, the fall leaves shuffling under my feet, showering like confetti around me. The familiar rhythm, the old tiredness in my legs and lungs, the half-conscious thoughts and prayers.
Running makes me happy. That endorphin thing is no joke; my moods are a lot more even when I'm pounding out the pavement.
Running is my favorite way to hang out with friends. And would you believe it, on Sunday I got to run with my friend Maya.
Running brings the beauty that's around me and settles it somewhere deep in my heart. I don't ache for the birch trees and mountain horizon of Fairbanks when I'm running through beech leafs and exploring endless foot trails by Czech cottages.
Most importantly, running makes a place home. I get the know the intricacies, the nearby forest, the little creek that runs by town. Step by running step, I take ownership of it in a way I never could by car. I pave the paths with this happiness, my stride marking my place, these runs marking tracks in my mind as they do on the trail: I've been here. This is mine.
I don't know how long it will last, but this I do know: Every run is a gift.