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On Mornings II

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Back in February, I wrote about mornings: about feeling sad, homesick, and overwhelmed.  These days, my mornings aren’t sad, just lazy.  After waking up at 4:47 AM for crew practice for four years, I now find it hard to get out of bed before 9:00 AM.  So today was a first: I went for a run before work.  I am newly converted (alarm set for 7:15 AM tomorrow!).  There is an airstrip in Palena, used mainly for evacuation in the case of medical emergencies, but also for jogging by middle-aged men.  I haven’t been drawn to run on flat pavement when there are miles of dirt roads in every direction, but it was fun to mix it up today.  I ran what we called “pieces” in college: defined hard sections, marked with measured rest.  After an off-and-on relationship with running last semester, I am now at the point where I am genuinely disappointed if there is no time to run at the end of the day — that’s where mornings come in.

To my surprise, the fact that I run still seems to make headlines, especially with the little ones.  On Monday in 2nd grade, I ended up asking students to raise their hands if they had seen me run, to avoid each kid individually calling it out.  At recess, a first grader ran up to tap my arm, panting:

Miss, I have to tell you something!
Okay, tell me.
I saw you running!
 
Another moment with a first grader:
 
Tía, do they use cars in your country?
Yes… what exactly do you want to know?
Well… do they use cars, or do they just get around jogging?
 
I’m not exactly sure why this is so novel, given that a) I’ve ran (to an extent) all year, and b) other people in Palena run.  I think the difference is that people run on the airplane strip, not in town, and those people are generally men.  Sometimes I’ve felt self-conscious or awkward about running, but at this point, the cat is out of the bag, and I know I need to do what I need to do to make me happy.  Today someone stopped by the office and greeted me with, “Miss Margaret, she is so great at running, so fast!”  I smiled and kissed him in greeting, and only later figured out that he owns one of the grocery stores, and is the father of one of my prekindergardeners.  
 

 

And of course, running is the tangible, the medicine for everything else.  I am here and I am leaving.  I am proud and I am frustrated.  I am afraid of the sadness and jarring changes to come.  Last week, I left kindergarden, saying, “Goodbye,” and the whole class said in chorus, “Goodbye, Miss Margaret!”  As I walked out, I heard a voice call out from the bathroom: “Goodbye, Miss Margaret!”  It was Luís, a rolly-polly boy a head taller than his classmates who looks like he might fall down every time he runs.  Sometimes he goofs around with the other “trouble maker”, Sergio; other days he participates eagerly, yet interrupts with “Tia, I’m behaving well, right?  Tia, how have I been behaving?”

Recognizing his voice instantly, I called back, “Goodbye, Luis!”

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One Comment leave one →
  1. David Russell permalink
    Thursday, October 13, 2011 3:48 am

    Beautiful!

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