Sunday, 13 December 2015

Wet December

This past week I was out in Surrey for work on a tight deadline. There is no way to make that sentence sound good.

5am felt like midnight felt like 7am - drops against my window, a thick dark as I tripped over my cat on the way to turn on my coffee maker. The half-submerged seawall to myself, the hazy lights of distant freighters muted by the rain.

The hour-long drive out to an office building, farmland on one side, looking out on a highway then a big-box store against a horizon that never really seemed to get light. 7:30am, leaving my place, 8am, my headlights still on, sloshing along the 91 at 60km behind a semi truck. The drive home with my windshield wipers drowning out the radio, pajamas, bed.

(Sidenote: I have a friend from Denver, a city that apparently gets over 300 days of sun a year. He told me, "you Vancouver people, you think you're all deep, but really, it's just the rain that makes you depressed and you mistake it for character.")

As for the work itself? Work has felt like mile 23 of a marathon - where the pace is hard, is supposed to be hard, and your legs are already tired. You've come a long way, but you don't think about that, because the finish is still far enough off. That's the point of a marathon: to keep you pushing when it's not easy.

It doesn't feel so much like Christmas as the dying of a year, like it is always dark, or getting dark.The deep inhale before the seasons start to change and the light creeps back in.  And even this week - the light crept back in. Heading along the 99 with a hard grey ocean on one side, there was a break between rainstorms and the sun slanted out, illuminating the underbellies of clouds into a bright yellow. Later that day, I looked over, past the highway, the stores, to see the sky breaking up blue over the skeletons of trees.

The thing is - we needed the weather, the rain, the cold. Down here, we feel like we are drowning. Up on the mountains, hidden by the clouds - the snow is growing. After a restless, too hot summer, watching the rivers shrink every weekend to naked boulders, it feels right to have the snowpacks building. The mountains look wilder, look like themselves again.

It's felt like that kind of year. Maybe I'm just that kind of person. I hobbled through August, did short runs through Indian summer in September. As the rains came, I went longer - chasing Lucy down slick roots through forests choked with mist, finally getting around the seawall again in the mornings. Starting to go fast feels like chasing the ghost of my old self through the trails - and I let her go on, ahead, hoping that one of these days she will stop to get her breath, and I will catch up.

The storms will keep rolling through. Still - there are rare perfect days with a clear sky, low buttery sun lighting up the new snow, the smell of it - cold and perfect.

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