A few chilly Sunday mornings ago, as I walked from our church to our car with the boys, the wind bit my face. I knew I’d be miserable during that afternoon’s run if I didn’t find some armour.
Now, years ago, when I was much younger and probably more foolish, I wouldn’t have reacted this same way to Mother Nature. But, being older, wiser and with much more delicate skin, I knew I was going to need a balaclava to get me through the winter. I don’t mean the criminal style with just the eyes and nose showing (although I have recently been called “criminal fast”) but an open-faced balaclava. So, that afternoon, off to the Running Room I went.
That night, my black balaclava was the last thing I pulled on before I headed out into the cold wind. “Mom!” cried #1, “You look like a criminal!” I started laughing and replied, “Let’s just hope I don’t hear any sirens.”
Heading into the first stretch of my run, I knew that I was going to love my balaclava; what, I wondered, took me so long to invest in one. Soon after, I noticed the stomping.
“Is that me?” I thought. “Man, am I making a lot of noise tonight!” The pounding of my feet reverberated around me, annoyed me and made me grateful that I didn’t weigh any more than I did. After a few more blocks of irritating footsteps, I realized this was a result of my new balaclava; it was capturing the sound around my head, making it that much louder. I focused on my run, doing my best to block the noise and finished 45 minutes later.
I’ve donned my “criminal gear” for many other runs during the past month but it wasn’t until this past week that the pounding of pavement rattled me again. As my mind wandered in my attempts to mask the noise, I started to think about RS, this little guy at school who is hearing impaired. RS wears a hearing aid in each ear. When people walk, he senses the vibration; in gym class, bouncing balls reverberate for him; if he sits in an assembly, applause, music and cheering kids can cause him grief. He deals with this every minute, every day. My surrounding noise, the shaking of the ground beneath my feet, would only last 45 minutes.
I thought about little RS as I ran, and the elephants went away.