Thursday, July 5, 2007

Mother Ocean

Yesterday to celebrate Independence Day after puttering around the house, doing some Windsor Pilates, cooking for the week, and enjoying nestling in my bed reading Esmerelda Santiago's Almost a Woman, I took a ride into San Francisco with Joe who is recently back from Canada.

My goal was to run to the ocean. The weather was wonderful...breezy, warm. It made me confortable in my shorts (something I haven't been comfortable wearing before this running thing). The route was Golden Gate to Anza to Geary to the Ocean.

Late afternoon made the weather perfect and as I climbed up to Washington High School and then saw the Ocean before me as I came up and over the hill I was amazed.

Pound, pound. In the Fillmore district there were firecracker noises...gunshots? Upper Hayes Valley I ran through a block party that was thinning out, but kids were still bouncing in the jumpy-gym.

At 27th Avenue I encountered an incline that ratched my pace down to a walk. At 28th Avenue I began the run again.

5.3 miles.

The Cliff House glowed white and my eyes hurt to see the reflection of sun dazzle on the water. The sky was perfect blue. The breeze pressed against my face, but not against my progress.

I passed the Palace of Fine Arts and paralleled places I have driven to and bussed to, but have never ventured to walk to. It doesn't feel far anymore.

My feet pounded their percussion on the sidewalk. The iPod played music to lift my feet forward and kept a smile on my face. Toward the end of the run the familiar sweat and salt crust formed on my forehead and cheeks.

When I got to the sand I walked toward the water. The waves teased against the shore. I walked toward the ocean and let the water's tongue lick my shoes and wash up on my ankles.

I waded in the water, squatted down to touch the coolness, said a sacred "Thank you" and thought about this running journey I have taken up since January.

Running alone. My Independence.

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