It was a late snow storm that covered the city for three days. Having forced most of us to stay in for most of such time. I really longed for some physical activity, aside from shoveling the driveway, of course.
The day after the stormed ceased, some sidewalks were cleared by the city workers, the skies opened a little, so then something deep prompted me to go for a run, despite the fact it was still cold and that snow was still present at the trails. On top of that I did not have trail or mountain shoes either.
So, for a few times I resisted the idea, but the subconscious push was too much. I gave in and laced up, covered in a few layers of clothing.
I started the run on mostly clean sidewalks, and in no time got to the park where the trails were covered in absolute white. There were traces that some people had already ventured into it to walk and appreciate the scenery on the most accessible trails, but there were other sections in which the powder was fresh, others in which it had turned to mush, and others in which it had compacted already, turning to ice.
I knew it was going to be difficult to advance in some sections of my favourite 4 km trail, yet I was already there and was not going to back down, I was committed to finish the run.
After some minutes my legs were the first to complain: having to exert extra effort in stepping out of the sinking holes each step created, tensing quickly where the slippery ice invited me to become horizontal, having to dodge low branches heavy with snow and ice, going around frozen puddles, supporting the extra weight and imbalances when chunks of snow falling from the trees hit my head and shoulders… the works.
After a few minutes of incredibly beautiful sights, and lots of heavy breathing, I heard the crunching of the snow created by steps following and approaching me. Another runner had had the same deep desire to run that day, however he had been smarter: his shoes were trail shoes. He was catching up to me quickly.
No fifteen seconds had passed from the moment I turned to see him when suddenly everything was upside down. I fell hard. I slipped in a flash, realizing that my fast reflexes in putting my hands in front to muffle the fall and cover my face were ineffective because my hands slipped too. I was flat on the snow.
“Are you all right?” He asked as he got close to me, “are you hurt?”
“I’m fine,” I said as I stood up and started shaking the snow off, “only my pride hurts.”
And we continued the swosh, swosh, swash, swosh, swash, swosh, swosh sound of our footsteps on the white stuff, he started creating distance ahead of me, and eventually disappeared.
After a few more minutes of solitude running, leg consoling, and deep thinking, my face was covered in white again! I fell for the second time, my legs had been warning me they were becoming more tired and weaker, and I could not break the fall with my slippery gloved hands. This time, though, nobody was near to ask me if I was not hurt.
In starting to stand up I realized both times my left knee had been the first to hit the ground, well, the snow. So, yes my pride hurt again, but then my knee was hurting badly too. Shook off snow, and continued the run, more slowly though.
Why do I tell you this? It’s not interesting or even funny. I know, I know.
It’s just that once I finished the run, rested for a few minutes and took a shower, I understood why the strange desire to do it was born: it was just a reminder.
Whether it is a new school we are about to attend, or right after we move, or when we start a new job, a new enterprise, go live in a different city, or country, whether we start a new relationship, personal or businesslike, whatever we venture in, it is as close to a run in the snow as it is in real life.
We know it’s not the most appropriate setting, but we start anyway.
We know it’s going to be difficult, but we start anyway.
We know we don’t have the best or most suitable tools, but we start anyway.
We know it is not the best time to do it, but we start anyway.
Then, once we started and as we go along, realizing in fact it is difficult, we continue no matter what. Then we fall, but we stand up not giving up.
Then we are tired, but we press on not giving up.
Then we fall again, but again we stand up not giving up.
Then we are hurt, yet we do not give up.
And, isn’t it life itself a run in the snow? How many times have we fallen? How many more times we will fall and be hurt physically, or in spirit?
Yet we know we will finish the run.
Continue anyway, do not give up.