I forgot how good it feels to run outside.

Across the city, in perfect shorts-and-t-shirt weather. To hopscotch around ambling pedestrians, to find quick footing after stumbling curbs. Through bursting lights and Friday-night crowds and a lavender sunset. Up mile-long hills and down five-dozen shallow steps.

Running outside means drinking crisp air, trusting my body, dancing with traffic, becoming the moment around me. It’s forgetting to count miles, forgetting to count steps and breath, forgetting to do anything except exist. It’s an inexplicable pause; I leave home with the heaviest heart, the loudest mind, and without acknowledging any of the facts or worries or hypotheticals, I return with an unwavering answer, with certainty, with quiet. Every time.

Worn sneakers on cracked sidewalks is a lifetime removed from the detached, mechanical repetition of five-thousand steps in the exact same place, from glazed-over eyes begging the digital screen to step outside the construct of time and count minutes and miles faster. It’s a different plane, another dimension, some basal sliver tucked away from a hundred evolutions ago.

And so, in my footfalls, in my miles, in my aching joints and in my soft gaze and in my gulping lungs, I let go of some things.

 

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