I have been running on the Farmington Canal trail through Hamden a lot recently. Isabel has gymnastics class several times a week and the trail is a short drive from her gym. This gives me two or three excellent opportunities in the midst of an often-busy workweek to get out and run four or five miles without feeling like I should be somewhere else, doing something else.
Since the New Year, I have seen the same hawk, perched in the same tree, each time I have run the trail. The time of day is always the same, the tree is always the same, and the bird is always the same. I am not really sure how I even saw it the first time. It sits so still and its mottled feathers match the bark of the trunk it tucks up against so perfectly that it is sometimes hard to spot, even though I now know exactly where to look.
I have gotten to the point that I now stop and say hi to the bird. (My daughter thinks this is slightly crazy.)
Each time I have run the trail these past three weeks, it has been cold and often it has been snowy. There have been very few other humans out there in that oddly beautiful little valley running through some fairly developed neighborhoods near some heavily trafficked roads. I have had a lot of time and space and quiet to let my mind wander the way it will during a good run.
Where my mind has wandered lately is to the idea of “change.” New Year’s resolutions are all about making changes. Barack Obama ran hard on the notion of making necessary changes. My wife and I have been contemplating what sorts of changes to make in our lives.
Yet, the status quo has such power and things can feel so frozen.
As I run through that valley and hear the stream gurgling through the snow-covered rocks, it feels like winter will not end. Actually, that doesn’t quite explain the feeling. Rather than winter not ever ending, it feels as if the changes the Earth and Sun need to go through to make winter turn to spring will never happen. It is not a feeling of hopelessness, but rather one of powerlessness. Spring absolutely WILL happen. There is just nothing I can do to make it happen any sooner. And as a result, winter feels like the permanent state of affairs.
A few days ago I thought about getting the hawk’s opinion on this idea but when I stopped to try, one look at him told me he would not understand. One look at him told me that he is patience personified, (or should I say “avified?) That hawk would not want to make spring come any sooner. That hawk is waiting. It is what he does. He waits. Spring comes.