Winds of Change

“There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge.”

-“Red Wind”

“You and me tonight, Joe… ya ready?”

“Heck yeah, Summer, let’s do this!”

It was one of those perfect fall days in Southern California.  The untimely warm weather had faded into a cool but perfect night as some of the most dedicated Bastards lined up in Eaton Canyon, ready for 4×1 mile repeats.  Eric had instructed us to choose a few people with like ability level and as usual, I had chosen someone just a little quicker than me.  The wind was blowing softly, a mix of warm and icy cold blasts that encouraged us to run to keep from getting chilly.

Joe and I took off together on our first lap, but about 1/4 of a mile in, I felt an elbow in my side.  I turned to see Eric pass with a smirk and my gate quickly sped up to match his as I sprinted up beside him, running him into the embankment on our left.  Only  momentarily caught off guard (and only due to his iPod), he quickly recovered it and nudged me out of the way before I detonated.  Just because he was beginning to get so much faster than me, didn’t mean I couldn’t screw with him a little.  Out of breath, I slowed my pace back down and let Joe pass, keeping myself close to him.  Watching him run always amused me.  He had improved so much throughout the course of the last few months, but seemed to have no method to his madness at all.  Sometimes I wondered if Joe honed in his skills if it would throw his speed off the charts, or if his ‘arms flailing, bobbing from side to side’ ways was some big secret fast way of running the rest of us just hadn’t wised up to yet.  Clearly he was doing something right though, as I struggled to keep pace with him this night.

“Drinks tonight?”  Forrest asked, still a little out of breath, as we rested between laps.

“Yeah, absolutely, as long as the cripple one will  join us.”

I had seen Monya earlier that night, introducing her to one of my favorite ankle braces for her sprain.  Our run the Sunday before that had lead to a trip to the doctor to confirm no break, but that she might be down for a little while.  So finishing the last few intervals, we gathered our little gang consisting of Monya (who was in fact still waiting for us), Forrest, Eric and myself for what seemed to be a ritual trip now to the pub after practice.

It is human nature to never want to stay still, and to consistently be moving forward with goals and accomplishments, otherwise what is the point of life, really?  But what about those times, and those people in your life that you want to keep consistent forever, the ones that you want frozen in time?  I wondered if 30 years into the future, Monya, Forrest, Eric and I would be getting drinks after practice, Monya still responding to a dare by posing on the bar, with a figure at 65 that would still make a 20 year old jealous.  Would Forrest still be rounding up our little fouresome and instigating immature but fun college games?  And would Eric, completely covered with tattoos at this point, still be reaching for the nearest napkin and pen to illustrate a story that really needed no illustration?  At what point in your life do you realize that you found the right people that you want there forever, and that instead of letting you remain stagnant, together you will all push each other to achieve things beyond your wildest dreams?

It was only a few days later that the Santa Ana winds came through, stronger than they had in over a decade.  Coincidence?  Maybe… but with them they did bring change.  I had no idea that night that my life would be turning completely upside down, only just a week later and really, by no ones fault but my own.  The truth is that as much as you may want to stay within your security zone, it is only by leaving it sometimes that you find out what you really want.  What that is, I can’t really answer right now, I just know I need to keep doing the ‘next right thing.’  For me, that will be to watch the Western States lottery tomorrow, and see at least on some level where this coming year will lead.  I’ve cried, felt pain, had fear.  But it is in the courage to manage my decisions, right or wrong, that will help me come to terms with who I actually am.  I think it’s finally time for me to face that and to find out who that person really is.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: