Friday, February 5, 2010

Good Morning

Today I went on my first run in Kalleda. At 7.30am I was early enough (or maybe late enough) to be nearly the only person on the road. I turned East out of Kalleda and headed toward the rocky hills, hazy in the distance. The road is on a raised embankment with a lake to the left and fields to the right. In the beginning I ran alongside the lake, silvery-white and reflecting the morning sun, which shone up through the soft pink petals of Rose of Sharon bushes. A single woman was already washing laundry on rocks at the water's edge and white egrets were scattered amongst empty lotus pads. The road moved away from the lake and I turned off onto a smaller, shady path lined by bushes and the occasional lean-to from which cows looked up sleepily, not yet ready for the day's work. By the time I turned around I began to pass men headed out to the fields on bicycles. They looked bewildered and slightly amused by the strange sight of a white girl running past their fields but took it in stride and even returned my Namasthae. Nearly back to the school, I gave in to temptation and clambered up a pile of the smooth boulders common to the area. From the top-most rock I surveyed the scene, looking first toward the lake from which a giant heron-like bird took flight. As I turned I could see the rocky hills, a farmer crossing his field, paddy, palm trees in the distance, green parrots taking the place of leaves on a bare tree next to me, and finally the white walls of the school compound. I think I've found the perfect way to enjoy the land around me on a daily basis. Running allows me to cover greater distances while taking in the sights, sounds, and smells every step of the way. I feel more free to take in my surroundings and enjoy them at my own pace when I run, rather than as an observer from the car or an object of the villagers' interest when I walk through. Finally, a reason to force myself out of bed and into jogging shoes every morning!

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