All winter I slacked off my running because it was too cold. Through the spring I kept saying I would start running regularly again after it got just a bit warmer. For summer I was reluctant to go running because it was too hot. Finally it’s not too hot and it isn’t freezing cold and I have no reason to procrastinate on getting back to my exercise and availing of my proximity to the National Mall, so last week I started running again: about 5 miles to start, three times a week.
So I was about to go out for my first re-run last Wednesday when I paused in front of my pocketable items. Habit when I leave home is to stuff my pockets with the standard cellphone and wallet and Palm and handkerchief and keys and sometimes camera, and my reflex was to put all that in my shorts. Impractical, of course: you can’t have all that jangling while you’re jogging. All I really needed was my keys, iPod, and a bottle of water. And yet, my mind rebelled against this minimalist cargo: What if someone calls? What if you need cash to get a Metro card to go back if you’re too tired? What if you see something Flickr-worthy and need to take a photo of it? For a moment I thought of Christ’s instructions when he sent out the apostles: “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics.” I really was loving the world at that moment, I guess. But I would only be out for 45 minutes to an hour: calls could wait, there was really nothing to spend money on, if I got tired I could pause on a bench and walk the rest of the way, and some days you just don’t need to snap photos of everything.
It felt good to let go of the pocketables and run with my mind off worldly things. (Of course, I was kicking myself in the rear on Saturday for not bringing a small camera when I got to Lincoln Memorial and saw a red fox sitting in the grass nearby — a rare site in those crowded areas in the middle of the day. It eventually snuck off in the direction of a fenced-off construction area. Maybe I’ll find a decent small camera which won’t knock around my pockets when I next go running the scenic route.)