On September 11th this year, I woke slowly, languished in bed and finally got up. I checked email, blogs, facebook, noting many comments and tributes to 9/11 on facebook and twitter. I read an essay in the paper that summarized one writer’s view of our country over the last 10 years, and agreed with much of it.
It was a regular Sunday, with no plans on the horizon until dinner time. I got dressed and drove to the trail head for my longer run of the week. I trudged along, thoughts spinning through my head - sometimes thinking about 9/11 and what I’d read, sometimes thinking about things to get done this week, sometimes thinking about how my SIL drives me crazy. Just random things coming and going.
I am a woman who sometimes runs alone, and I don’t bring my dog on my longer runs. Though the path is well used by others on a Sunday morning, my senses are always on guard. I am constantly aware of my changing surroundings and the people around me. Sad, but reality.
I saw up ahead, a small cluster of people sitting on a rock wall at the side of the path in the shade. As I neared, I realized it was a mother and her two young sons. The youngest was perched in her lap and she held a stick in front of them. On the stick was a nice, long slug, and they were examining it up close and personal.
Despite my own desire not to be too up close and personal with slugs, it swelled my heart to watch this mother, out for a Sunday morning walk with her boys, taking the time to stop and learn and appreciate the world around them.
I continued on my way, my thoughts back to their random ping-pong in my brain. I went to my turnaround point and headed back the other way.
With a short ways left to go, I spotted the mother and her boys again. They were walking now, and she and the oldest were commenting on the half mile marker on the pavement. It read “0.5” in white letters on a blue rectangle. He was learning that 0.5 was the same as 1/2. He was repeating the information back to her to see if he had it right.
The world around us can change in a heartbeat; a second is all it takes to turn our world upside down. If there’s one thing I hope we learn from tragedy, I hope that we are all a little more inclined to take the time to appreciate our loved ones. To take the time to appreciate the world around us - to learn an unplanned lesson, to awe in the wonders of nature, to take the time to spend the time with those we love.