As I drove west across northern Indiana today in the midst of a beautiful warm and windy afternoon, I was deep in thought. The kind of thinking that you know you’re fully engaged in, but yet, you also kind of feel like you are simultaneously sitting in the passenger seat watching it all go down. Perhaps I subconsciously knew my thoughts were revelatory; or rather, I wanted them to be.
The sunroof was open, the radio was blaring, the shades were on. Spring air filled my car as an enveloping warmth of memories flooded my thoughts. Something about weather’s smell that takes me down memory lane.
As an ’80s song started screaming from my iPhone, I was transported back to the Minerva High School track. That cinder circle my spikes used to fly around effortlessly until I either caught the one annoyingly gifted girl ahead of me or the boy du jour’s attention as he pretended not to watch. It was all about timing. When would I make my move and which move was more important? What “win” was I really after? I only had 4 laps and just under 6 minutes to make this decision, mind you.
That scenario, one of many, reminded me of a time in life when things were easy. Sweet and innocent (well, High School innocent-ish) prevailed, and no future worry other than whose house was sponsoring the weekend party was on anyone’s mind. Why in the middle of a time when materialistically I had nil, did I fail to realize I had everything? That the most pressing decision I had to make was should I run faster or look good doing it so maybe I could get a ride home in a Trans Am with T-Tops makes me shake my head and smile. (…I walked home, by the way).
Today as I past the little houses on tree-lined streets complete with actual sidewalks lovingly begging to be crossed, I felt happiness on two clear fronts. In that moment – built-up by winding country roads, perfect music and beaming sunlight – I was extraordinarily thankful for having a wondrous childhood complete with experiences which could be triggered by sweet smells.
Of equal if not more importance, I was also exceptionally thankful for having the ability now as an adult to discern when I’m actually right smack dab in the middle of running those 4 laps. And for the faith and certainty to know that when the race is over, I’ll get home one way or the other. Even if I have to limp a little bit.