For everything there is a season

It was like greeting an old friend as soon as my feet found the pavement. The snow had melted just enough and the air seemed balmy in all its glory of forty degrees Fahrenheit. I’ve always found it amazing just how different forty degrees can be, depending on the perspective you’re taking. When the seasons change from summer to fall, 40 degrees seems like the coldest temperature on earth. But, when the winter chill backs off a bit and lets in some of that 40-degree air, it’s as if spring has come early. It’s the same temperature and yet, it’s different.

I had considered making up a quick playlist of songs I could listen to while I ran, but I opted to leave my iPods at home, instead. The birds sang as I left the cul-de-sac I have lived on my whole life and let my legs carry me out to the main road and down the hill. I was surprised at how good I felt and let that carry me through the pain as muscles were put back into use after remaining dormant for nearly two months. The pain gave me something to think about and something to distract me from the mountain of homework I had to do and the hardships I had been dealing with on a regular basis.

When I was running, I didn’t have to feel anything but the pain from the exertion I was putting my body through. When I thought about it hard enough, I could feel my heart pounding in my chest, but if I just let my mind wander and let my legs do my thinking for me, nothing really mattered. I ran by a business that owes my dad money and considered trashing it. But, I didn’t. I kept running and made my way toward the hill that stood menacingly in the not-so-distant distance.

My energy deteriorated once I reached the top, but I kept on running. I reached my halfway mark and kept going. I thought about how natural it is for me to run and how effortless it can be once I am in good shape to do it. I thought about the summer and how the three of us took part of this same route in an effort to be in shape for cross-country season. I thought about how fast the time goes and how it doesn’t make sense to try and cherish every moment. If you’re too busy cherishing, you’re not living. You’re just trying to keep it in your memory forever. A memory should be something you remember effortlessly, not something you save onto the desktop in your brain so you can click on it and wait for it to load.

I decided against taking a shortcut and instead went the whole way around and back to my street. I took a left, ran down to the green Pennysaver box and then took a right, thinking in my head about that last 200m that I face with every race I run on the track. I ran halfway up my slushy driveway and then bent over to catch my breath. I always do this, and then I bend my knees carefully before reaching my full height (5’2″ if you were wondering) and then walking around a little bit, my hands over my head.

I entered through the side garage door, made my way through the traffic blocking my way to the house door (sleds, snowshoes, etc) and shed my running sneakers (New Balance this year – a brand I never really gave a chance until over the summer), grabbed my already-full glass of water off of our butcher block-esque island and downed it in a second.

My ears stung from the cold and my breathing was wheezy with each inhale and exhale I made.

“How’d you feel?” my dad asked.

“All right,” I replied. “I started out too fast and was dead by the end, but it felt good to run. I’m gonna go lay down now.”

I entered the family room and plopped onto our brand-new couch to catch my wheezy breaths. After thirty minutes passed without my daddy turning on the TV, I went upstairs and grabbed The Lovely Bones and continued reading from where I had left off right before daddy had picked me up at the school just barely an hour previously. We sat there, father and daughter, reading our books of choice: his a Yankee book that someone had gotten him and mine a novel that had been made into yet another movie based off of a book. He wore one of his many pairs of $0.99 reading glasses and I wore the sweat and dirt of a girl who had almost made it through one of the toughest weeks of her sixteen years of living, and was coming out on the other side unscathed and perfectly fine.

At 4 o’clock, I tossed my book down and ran the shower upstairs in the bathroom that all of my brothers had vacated and bestowed unto me (we painted it a light brown and pretty light blue and got rid of the old Mickey Mouse theme that had previously reigned).

Before shedding my clothing, I focused on the length of my hair in the mirror. Back in ninth grade, it was a shock of bright-red curls. Now, it’s back to its normal color (brown/blond/red depending on the season and amount of sun received), though the curls have been kept (I have not dyed my hair since November 2008). I’ve decided that I want it to be long for when I take my senior pictures. I thought to myself Oh yeah, it will be long enough by the summer after this one!

And then it hit me.

I will be taking my senior pictures this summer. It’s crazy just how much time flies and how one change in your thoughts can create a chain-reaction of changes throughout your entire mind. At the moment, I am halfway through my junior year of high school. In June, I will sing in the Chamber Choir and watch some of my best friends ever don those white and blue robes and graduate from our little sliver of the universe and move on to bigger (and better) things. This hit me hard because I realized that I haven’t exactly enjoyed my high school experience that much. In recent months, Misery had taken over my entire being and forced me to look at everything pessimistically. But now, happy little Emily is back, and she plans on staying happy and little until she is forced to grow up in a year and a half.

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This shows how observant I am

I honestly am not a very observant person. I don’t recognize details (unless they’re important to me), and I almost never notice anything. Maybe this explains why I made a blunder today.

We had our first “real” Track meet of the 2009 season today. I got up in the morning with almost everything ready, but I needed to grab my cross-country hoodie from the dryer. I wrote a note to myself and stuck it onto my mirror so I would remember to grab said hoodie from the dryer.

Okay, so I remembered just fine without the sticky note, and I went downstairs and pulled my hoodie from the dryer. I put it on over what I was wearing and went along my merry way. I got to school, wore the hoodie for a little while, then put it in my locker before heading off to Health.

For our Track meet, I put on my uniform, my sweats and the hoodie. The opposing team we were to run against arrived just as I was stretching my hamstrings on the steeple. I figured they would see my name on the back of my hoodie and try to swallow their fear. You see, most teams see me as a threat. I fought back a laugh as I pictured the reactions upon seeing my name. Then, I went along with the meet.

The 4X8 went rather well, if I do say so myself. I got a rather decent split time (2:33), and got our team the lead we needed. We won that one.

It was after the 1500 and before the 3000 that I got a clue to my blunder. The 200m races were going on, and all of the people on the infield were to be crouching down so the officials could see one another from across the way. I didn’t think I had to crouch down – I thought I was out of the way. The officials yelled out to me, and then yelled “Hey, JEEVES!” and then when that didn’t work, “GOWANDA!” and, believe me, I crouched. The thing is, I didn’t catch the “JEEVES!” comment at the time.

After the 4X4, I pulled my hoodie back over my head. Suddenly I noticed that there was a rip near a hood, and it made me really sad. The hoodie had taken me through years of running seasons, and there it was, falling apart. I had also noticed earlier that it seemed more stretched out than I remembered, but I figured I must have lost a little weight. (Haha…)

My friend dropped me off at the baseball field to join my parents, and I walked up to them and said: “after years of hanging in there, this hoodie is finally falling apart.” Then my dad sort of looked at me funny and said: “you do know that you’ve been wearing your brother’s cross-country hoodie this whole time, right?”

Suddenly, it hit me. Everything made sense.

His hoodie says “Jeeves” on the back, and I realized that that was what the official had yelled at me earlier. It was obviously stretched out because he’s a little bit bigger than I am, and lastly, I did remember that his hoodie had sort of been tearing near the neckline. I blushed, said: “that explains a lot!” and then flushed with more embarrassment because of my cocky thoughts about how my opponents must have been “swallowing their fear.” What a joke!

If I had taken one quick glance at the name on the back of the hoodie, I could have saved myself from this little “incident.” I bet my friends were all wondering why I was wearing my brother’s hoodie, but they never said a word. I guess this just goes to show how observant I really am.

‘Tis the season

It feels good to be back in the swing of things. After taking two months off, I am back and hopefully will be better than ever.

Instead of going home to a TV chock full of possibilities and a cupboard of chips and unhealthy snacks, two of my best friends and myself go running everyday after school. After cross-country ended, we all sort of stopped. Now we have greeted running like an old friend we’ve missed greatly.

The feeling of running is like no other. That freedom; the endless possibility. The knowledge that though yes, cars and modern transportation are faster, our legs can also do the job just as well. Give us time and we will run for miles and miles.

Track is just around the corner, and I intend to make this year even better than last year (and last year was phenomenal for me). I feel great, running feels good, and the air just doesn’t smell as sweet as it does when you’re running. The heavy breathing, the struggling to talk to the person you’re running with – I’ve missed it greatly. I cannot wait for the Track season to begin. My intentions and confidence will take me far.

Emily’s poetry, a history

I’ve been writing poetry for years. My mother named me after her favorite poet, so why not carry it on? I started out with a composition notebook that I decorated with stickers. Everyone just assumed it was my diary, as if it couldn’t be anything but a shallow notebook with all of my deepest secrets and fears hidden inside. Nobody gave me enough credit. Boys would steal it from me, but I managed to get it back without any harm done. They were only teasing. Teasing is harmless, right?

After that was filled, I moved onto a pink camouflage notebook that had pens attached to the front of it. It was nifty because if I had an idea I didn’t have to hunt for a pen before being able to write it down. The pens were just there. That notebook was also known as my “diary” and even a teacher asked: “why do you bring your diary to school?” To which I simply replied: “it’s not a diary.”

I poured random thoughts and whimsical dreams into those notebooks. Within about a month, the pages started ripping out of the pink camo notebook, so I saved the paper, but threw the rest of the notebook in the garbage. It was time to move on again.

I found a regular old yellow spiral notebook and plastered it with quotes, stickers, drawings, and pop-up sunflowers that I ripped off a thing I had at home. Poetry was transferred from my head onto the pages of that thing for about a year. I entered the seventh grade with the same notebook, and only showed the ones I was proud of to my then English teacher (who is now a teacher in the high school). The boys in my grade grew up a little and stopped calling it my diary, and I continued writing.

For my birthday that year, one of my best friends (we barely speak anymore…) bought me a hardcover spiral notebook with puppies on the front. Said notebook lasted me for nearly two years. That notebook taught me something important. Because I wanted the notebook to last, I only wrote poetry when I really really felt like it and had a good feeling about an idea. I decided that I didn’t have to write about everything – but there are some things that I will always wish to remember. I still have one page left in that notebook that remains empty. If I fill it in, the notebook is done forever. I always want to have the option of being able to fill it up totally. It’s amazing to go from the earlier poems in that book to the last few. It’s like traveling through two years of my life in thirty minutes.

Eventually, I took a little notebook that was a party favor at some birthday party I went to (I think it was Carin’s) and ripped out the used pages. I then covered it with duct tape, and voila! New notebook.

Using the duct tape notebook, I rewrote some of the ones I am really proud of, but I also wrote a year’s worth of new material. I am still busy filling it up with my life, so it’s a work in progress. It’s crazy to see how much I have grown in the past year. There are some poems in said book that are extremely naive and young-sounding. I know I will say the same thing in the future when I look back at what I wrote when I was fifteen (the present… for now), but I like what is exploding out of my pen at the moment. Maybe I will post some examples in the near future (which is defined as: later today).