Around The Panhandle

The rain has set in again, and it looks like it will stick around over the Christmas weekend. The roam on Sunday afternoon is still on, regardless of the weather (the forecast for the day shifts every time I look at it), but it seems that oppportunities to ride without getting wet are going to be limited. I got pretty lucky with my commute on Tuesday, which was slightly damp only on the last leg, but I am not sure I will be so fortunate today.

Running, however, is something I don’t mind doing in the rain so much – like walking – so it seemed like it would be helpful to get some running in while I have some days off. The problem there is that I haven’t run at all since the first couple of weeks of the lockdown in the spring of 2020. The combination of the slight sickness I had at the time – which in retrospect seems more likely to have been an extremely mild case of covid – and the general anxiety at the time about runners breathing over everybody, was enough to put an end to running. 

On Wednesday afternoon I gave it a try. Knowing my limitations, I thought a trot to the end of the panhandle with an extra loop around Alamo Square if everything was still functioning, would be enough. I made it, and had the physical effects that I was expecting, with muscles a little grumbling and sore at being asked to move differently, and feeling a little stiff in the legs afterwards. But otherwise, it was a good start.

I noticed how quickly and happily I veered towards the grass when I reached the green space, and how much better my legs felt for it. My shoes are minimal and probably due to be replaced. They quickly got sodden, but that made me happy too. I noticed that a small part of me was telling me I could stop any time, but really I had no need to. I noticed how I saw the neighbourhood a little differently to how I do when I am passing through on my bike, with more time to notice details and buildings. And I noticed, once again, how dogs pay so much more attention to the world they are passing through – by sight and by smell – than the people walking them.

Looking for a post that referenced my sickness at the beginning of the lockdown, I took a browse through the archive; I always find interesting, and mostly unremembered, material in there (some of which will get reposted over the coming weeks), and generally enjoy re-reading the personal posts as well. I thought to do a word search for ‘lungs’, and most of the posts, unsurprisingly, referenced running – with one exception for wildfire. This is the world we live in. With my upcoming dharma talk at Zen Center, which I will use as an opportunity to look back on the talk I gave right at the start of 2021, there is a poignancy about how I wrote about the pandemic in its earliest stages – because of course we could have had no idea.

The view from the Tuesday evening ferry, with a little rain in the clouds.

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