My feet scramble beneath me, striking the slick pavement and trying not to lose traction. I’m on the outer edge of the bay and am in the prime spot for getting pelted by horizontal rain. The wind is blowing so hard that it takes the air from my tired lungs, but my legs move without thought, one stride after another. I’m shoved by another surge of wind and flail to catch onto the chain-link fence that separates me from the churning gray below.
And I laugh.
The gale carries the sound with it, but still, I laugh, incredulous at the sheer force of it all and the fact that I’m still choosing to be here, doing this. It wakes me and makes me humble.
My contact lenses are close to flipping from being waterlogged and my face is flushed from the elements and I remove my earbuds for fear of them being swept away with the wind.
All of my senses are heightened, and I feel a rush of emotion because I’m grateful to be present in my body, fully and deeply.
It’s sad to say, but that mindfulness is rare. I spend over 8 hours a day staring at my computer, only to take breaks to stare at my phone, to then round out my day with time staring at the TV. I’m numb in the blue light. I often forget that I’m the one in control — not the devices that lure me in with their notifications and updates.
But here, I’m aware of every muscle twitch, the pops of yellow leaves lining the blue-gray path, my tangled ponytail wrapping around the back of my neck. I savor every inhale and exhale as I propel myself into the wall of wind.
I pass other runners and walkers who are just as crazy as I am and we laugh together at our absurd choice to trek out to Castle Island this morning. We should be miserable, but instead, we’re cheering each other on in solidarity. I don’t know their names, I don’t know their stories, and I don’t know what they believe in, but we’re bonded by the moment. I don’t know about you, but I’ve really missed connecting with strangers.
Running in the rain can be hard. It can drain you, scare you, and sometimes give you a cold. But it’s also unbelievably empowering. It offers a place of quiet and meditation. It’s a reminder to wake up and be more human.
One stride after another, I relish the storm.