Nothing is Impossible

If you say never then there is no room for maybe. -me

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A run in the snow. . .

The rude and currently unwanted buzzing startles me back to reality. It’s unwanted, yet previously invited, cue to remove the blankets and sit up make me groan but I accept it anyway. I roll over, grab my phone and hit the snooze button. I lay there thinking that I should just go back to sleep and I need the rest more than I need to subject myself to freezing temperatures and the elements of winter. But my logic argues that I’ll regret it if I don’t and besides, there is no time later for it. Logic beats out slothfulness and I sit up.
The sun has not yet risen and my sleeping family lies unconsciously in their warm beds. I turn off the snooze and stand up. Once my feet have hit the floor I’ve committed my self and despite my yawning and the stiffness of my back I pull on my clothes. A quick peak out side and I debate once again what I’m about to do. It snowed all day yesterday and looks as though it continued through the night. Then I think about the slice of pecan pie I had last night before bed and I make up my mind. I give my slumbering babies a kiss and I sneak downstairs. As I tie my shoes I think about the path I will be taking. It’s still early and I will be by myself. I should take the main street first just to be by more people during the last lightless hour of morning, but since it snowed the sidewalks will not yet be clear. So I decide on one street over so that I can be on the road without too many people driving by but yet busy with enough traffic to create tire tracks which are better for my purpose than an untouched foot of snow.
I open the door and a cold winter blast hits me in the face. I consider my sanity as I step outside to a sleeping white covered world. I select a playlist on my ipod, hit play and as the first song comes on I tell my feet to move. Slowly, as the rhythm of the song starts beating in my ear, I begin my run. I feel the bitter cold on my eyes and through my pant legs. I’m grateful for the extra layer I decided to wear and tell my self I will get warmer soon. I run through a set of fresh tire tracks but as my feet slip slightly with every step I hope that once I hit Lester it will be better. I round the corner and begin focusing on the song playing in my ears, Ace of Base singing about some girl who just wants another baby. I don’t really get the song but it’s got a good beat and it’s fast enough that I can move with it. I round another corner and I am thankful that a few neighbors ventured out this morning before me so that I have some sort of track of footprints to run through. I reach the main road and some parts are clear enough to run at my normal pace but most of the sidewalks are fairly snow covered. I imagine if this is what it’s like to run through mud. And then I think about soldiers running through mud in heavy army boots and I decide the snow isn’t that bad. I make it to yet another corner and I turn. No sidewalks on this busy street so I stick to the side of the road and hope I make it to Lester before any cars come down.
I make it to Lester without incident and turn. Ahhh, this is what I wanted, a quiet road with just enough traffic to break down the snow. I am able pick up my pace a little and as I run I stare down the long white seemingly endless road. Black Eyed Peas begin bumping in my ear and as I approach the one mile mark, that warmth I knew would come begins to wash over me. The bitter wind on my face isn’t harsh anymore and now I welcome it.
I start to feel my legs give way to the run. My lungs hit their stride and I am a machine now, pumping oxygen and pushing bone, blood and muscle. With each beat of the drum my feet pound away at the snow packed ground. I can feel a smile come across my face as I begin to feel magnificent. The all powerful machine that is now my body moves rhythmically to my breathing and I begin to push my legs faster. The oxygen in my blood is rich and I feel unstoppable. I am a machine and I can do anything. This is what I woke up for. This is why I brave the elements and fight exhaustion. It is my addiction, the high that I crave daily. As my body powers against gravity and sings from every muscle with pure adrenaline I am released from the bonds that the daily stress of life hold me in. This is my joy.
My smile lingers as I push my feet through snow and slush. I pass the last block of houses and as I run onto a long houseless street I suddenly feel a quiet warmth as I am enveloped by the snowy fields around me. I am inspired to remove my ear buds and slow my pace. I can hear the buffeted sounds of cars far off in the distance passing over the snow. It almost sounds like the world is breathing and its echo bounces repeatedly off each flake of snow. I can see the east mountains painted white and surrounded by a somber mist. White blanketed fields on either side absorb the sounds of my footsteps and suddenly I feel as though all that exists now is the snow covered valley and me. The tranquility of this beautiful scene sinks into my soul. The thrill of being a machine quiets and I am running now with nature. A new joy sinks in, one that I have never felt before. The joy of being alive and feeling the earth live with me. I am still strong and magnificent but I am no longer a force fighting against the ground and earth with my feet. But I am flowing with my surroundings as they move with me. A wave of optimism and ambition overcome me and my mind is flooded with ideas and hopes for the future when suddenly I come upon the end of this blissful street.
I would round the corner here and head towards the busy street and take my chances with the snow just to add distance to my run but something has been stirred inside me. I turn around and forsake my typical path for the tranquility of the oceans of snow that surround this special street. My smile still sits on my face as I run back on my path. I relish the sounds of nothing that deafen my ears and I wonder what life was like in this valley before civilization invaded. The majestic peace of the frozen valley beckons my imagination and I am temporarily lost in another time as I run.
Two rows of houses pass by before I realize I have come to and passed the end of this street that has stirred so much. I instinctively reach for my ear buds but then stop. My ears scream for continued abstinence from my ipod’s chatter and as I run through the neighborhood my thoughts keep pouring back to the peaceful valley that once was.
My thoughts see a simpler time. A time without ipods, traffic or email, before carpools, mortgage payments and text messages. A time when what mattered most was the basic needs of each other. My heart sinks a little as I yearn for a life I never had. A life in this valley more saturated in this quiet peace than would ever be possible now with so many lives running in chaos around it. My longing to experience this valley void of technology and progress has become central to my thoughts. I search for a way to find my imagined valley of peace but my mind comes up empty.
A sudden attack on my senses startle my wondering mind, and heart, as I hear two dogs yell at me from the corner house. I now realize I’ve turned down Crystal, the last leg of my run. Usually this would be mile six for me, but with the snow and my frost covered eyelashes, three miles will have to do.
My eyes wander up towards the horizon. I am east facing now and I can see a glimmer of light peaking over the mountain range. The bright warmth that is just beyond reach excites my soul. What will this beautiful orb of optimism bring? What magic journeys will be had today? I think back to my peaceful street, all snow and ice crystal laden, and decide that it is exactly what I need to pursue, quiet tranquil, undisturbed peace in a life less than perfect. The screaming of the traffic I fight daily, the mountain of laundry that never seams to shrink, the disaster that is the floors of my home, the maze of uncurled, split ended hair that I all to often pull up in a lazy pony tail just to be done with, these are the things I yearn to escape from. The headache of schedules, the heartache of the daily news cast, the ulcer of technology overload. Then it hits me as I feel the slushy ground give way to my pounding feet. Escape is exactly what I am doing, leaving the chaos behind for simple, pure, undaunted joy as I morph into the machine that takes over in these cold early morning hours. This is my paradise.
My smile returns in full force. My legs begin to pump harder. I am less prohibited in my strides on this street and I run with purpose. My muscles continue to pump adrenaline as my lungs fill and collapse repeatedly with pure fresh oxygen. And as my legs carry me, almost with a mind of their own, my soul flies. I become something else, something brimming with confidence, purpose, and joy. I am a machine dancing with the pavement.
I return home to a rising sun, my lungs alive, and my mind clear. I stretch briefly before retrieving my key. I can hear the faint voices of my children, the energy they have resonates through the door. Energy only little children have about rising with the sun. I imagine them sitting at the breakfast table, their father sleepily assembling their cereal bowls as he tries to keep up with their usual overload of morning chatter. I’m happy to be home, to greet their smiling faces, and I’m looking forward to a sun filled day with my little angels. I am renewed. Stronger, happier. I turn and glance at the white drenched road behind me. I smile, and as I vow “see you tomorrow”, I turn the knob and walk in.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Snow Angels

“Come on Dad” rings the young energetic voice of my son. He’s staring at me with his big brown eyes, his little sister at his side with her soft brown curls poking out of her pink hat. Both kids are securely padded in black, pink and red, nylon and cotton. They look like multicolored marshmallows with bright little faces peering out, ready to hike the Arctic Circle. It’s the first real snowfall of the season and my wife has convinced me, or maybe I should say guilted me into taking the kids outside to play in it. I’d much rather sit inside, on the warm couch and enjoy one of the few times the Jazz game is televised on basic broadcasting. But as I turn back to check the score the tiny sweet voice of my pint size daughter chimes “I so cited for snow fakes.” How could any father resist? I grab the remote and hit the red power button. As I pull on the boots that my wife lovingly has placed beside my coat and gloves, I notice her grunting and groaning on the ottoman trying to tie her boots. She’s eight and a half months pregnant with our third. Her swollen belly pokes obtrusively through her sweatshirt and I can’t help but chuckle to myself. She is so adorable, as she tries to maneuver around the unknown child in her belly, to perform such a simple task. I stare at her beautiful face framed by dark silky locks, and as it tweaks and scrunches it hits me, I should probably offer assistance. She’s grateful and as we both tell the antsy children bouncing in place by the front door “one more sec,” our eyes meet. She gives me a grin and says “let’s go, I’ll grab the camera.” I give one more longing glance toward the television and think to my self, she’s probably right. I don’t want to do this now, it seems like a lot of work for a half hour of activity, but I will be glad we did it in the end. She often has an idea of something we should do as a family that more often than not requires a good deal of preparation and planning, and a lot of energy exerted. All of which I perceive beforehand as hassle, but she insists we do it anyway. Then after my complaining and resistance, she finally convinces me to go along. I groan a bit at the beginning, but once the activity commences, the joy and fun that follow are priceless, as are the memories.
I zip up my coat and query “are you guys ready to make snow angels?” “Yeaaaaaaaaaaaa!” erupt two tiny and excited voices. I open the front door and as our children scamper outside I notice the big fluffy white snowflakes floating down slightly at an angle. They are beautiful, perfect little ice creations of nature. Their symmetry, too small to see, is amazing. And here we are to squish, throw and trample through these formations without regret. It’s only 6:20 and the evening sky is pitch black, but the cold world is bright with the clean beauty of the snow fall. My wife and I follow our offspring as they scream and giggle with delight. My son’s first task to be diligently performed, as he stated earlier in the evening, is to create a snowball utterly doomed to hit me in the head. “Dad, it’s not working,” he sulks. Is it ironic or just my karma that I have to assist my son in preparing the object of my demise? I tread through the foot that has already accumulated to where my son’s furrowed brow sits bent over his project. “Let me show you a good trick” I tell him. As I pack snow into my gloved hand, I notice the look on my son’s face, as he studies my movements. He is intent on my actions, his nose creased with intensity. He is watching and slightly mimicking my movements as I produce an apple sized orb of frozen crystals. His scrunched lips smooth into a smile and he grabs my snowball and releases a slightly sadistic laugh as he hurls it at my head. The child inside me responds as I grab another handful of snow, this time intended as my own projectile. I pack the snow as quickly as I can and turn to aim my retaliation. But my son has moved. My track of snowball war is abruptly halted and I just watch. My wife is sprawled out upon the snow, her arms and legs stretched out in all directions, her head barely visible behind her round belly. Next to her I see a pink fluffy little girl, mimicking my wife, as she lays on her back staring up into the dancing snowflakes. My son plops down next to her and for a moment the three of them just lay there catching snowflakes on their tongues. The picture is serene. Right there, five feet in front of me, lays my entire world, my world of wonder, adventure and of love. They fill every cavity of my heart and soul. There they are, they are beautiful, perfect little creations of my family. My heart sings.
My small daughter begins swishing her legs back and forth. Her arms follow suit. I see my son’s head turn towards his sister and giggling he copies her. My wife soon joins in and the three of them, with smiles beaming across their faces, make snow angels. I stare for a moment, and then feel my legs moving as I step next to my son. I’m careful not to disturb the smooth snow in front of me as I turn around. I spread my arms wide and, without a second thought, fall strait back onto the snow. I stare up into the dancing white and begin rhythmically moving my arms and legs.
That night as I kiss my son goodnight, I squeeze him extra tight. “Ouch daddy, not so hard” he giggles. I smile and as I turn off the light I notice his blinds are still open. I walk over, grab the draw string, and glance quickly out the window. Something catches my eye. Four figures, angelic like and perfectly white lay in the snow. Their smiles are beaming towards heaven as they lay there, beautiful, miraculous, and perfect. I smile back and close the blinds.

Monday, January 18, 2010


As a young girl I often sought comfort in old television shows. I was a Nick-at-Night junky and would stay up hours into the night escaping reality into the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. My best friends, Lucy Ricardo, Genie, Robert Petrie and Maxwell Smart joined me every night as I laughed, cried and eventually slept the night away. All the predicaments, schemes, situations, and special moments that I viewed in those late hours have stuck with me, but there is one episode in particular that though I don't remember it that well, I have taken from it a sort of motto you might say. And though I don't always follow my motto I do wholeheartedly believe in it.
This particular episode was of The Dick Van Dyke Show. It begins with Robert Petrie eating breakfast. He hears a song on the radio called Bupkus. This song, he soon recognizes, is one he wrote years ago with a fellow writer. Rob is irked, to say the least, that his old writing companion is making money off of his work. The show goes on with Rob seeking him out and rectifying the situation. But the word Bupkus intrigued me.
Soon after I made a trip to the library and researched this word. I discovered that it is a Yiddish word meaning "nothing." As in, "all we got was bupkus!" I thought this word was pretty cool. I liked the fact that I knew what it meant and I began using it when ever I could. It became my word. I used it as my handle on my very first AOL account, I wrote it on my notebooks and binders. And I came up with my own quote using my word. "Bupkus is impossible," I would say. You see, I incorporated my word’s meaning into an idea from a favorite Disney song, Never Say Never from An American Tail. This song sings about the idea that by saying "never" you are giving up all hope and accepting that what ever that something is, is impossible.
Now even as a young bright eyed adolescent I knew that nothing should be deemed impossible. This world is huge, with endless people, ideas, and possibilities. There are endless problems and thus endless solutions. With so many minds and situations at work one could never say "impossible" without having some margin of error. I believed anything was possible. So I attached this word to myself and began stating to those questioning my special word that I can achieve anything and that “nothing is impossible.” And as the years have gone by, experiences have been had, and I've seen so many amazing things I have come to believe that if you truly and wholeheartedly believe you can do something, then you can. The only question is how. Because after all, if you say never then there is no room for maybe.