Running toward Summer

  

 The sidewalk seems to glow as my feet hit the pavement. The sun’s reflection on the white cement makes it nearly impossible to look down as I run. Rays from the sun sit on my skin but a whisper of a breeze makes it bearable. It’s early afternoon and Chris and I are not the only ones enjoying the return of warmth. My limbs are finally starting to thaw from an impossibly long winter and my body is soaking up the heat as though it is my life source. Running outside is nothing like running on a treadmill at the gym. Instead of the smell of stale sweat and the ever present humidity that hangs like a cloud in the air, the air is fresh and new and on each block I get another whiff of Summer. The tangy scent of fresh cut grass coupled with the growl of a lawn mower takes me back to high school Summers where my biggest concern was the proper amount of time I should lay out on my back before flipping over. Waves of intoxicating gasoline from an idling truck mixed with the sun make me long to spend the Summer on a lake in a boat that we don’t own. Even the baking asphalt appears to have familiar smell, welcoming me back to simpler times.

My feet continue to pound the sidewalk in an even, rhythmic pattern. My favorite part of running is finding this groove and letting my body fall into routine so that my mind can wander. Each deep inhale tastes warm and dry. Even though he could run faster, Chris keeps pace with me and I am glad for the companionship. We encounter the last hill before our house and lean forward to pick up speed. We are both quiet, focusing on the task ahead, panting seemingly in time. With our  sharp breath and the beat of our tennis shoes slapping the street we create a song that carries us up the hill in its melody. Our house is in sight and my legs move faster than I thought possible. I picture myself as a cartoon character with a cloud of dust behind me. Chris easily matches my pace and we race to the driveway where we both collapse in a heap on the hot ground. Beads of sweat roll into my eyes and I close them. The brightness of the sun shines through my eyelids. My chest heaves up and down, my breath slowly regulating. The sun lays a blanket of heat gently on my entire body and despite my overheated state, it is a welcome comfort. It is Summer and I am home.