Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lesson 86: On the Road to My Favorite Song

While we are taking our backwards trip to my favorite song of all time, we will take a rest stop at Favorite Song #2--Broken Road by Rascal Flatts.  I love this song and I don't think I'll ever tire of listening to it.  I've listened to many artists sing their versions but my very favorite is a duet preformed by Gary Levox of Rascal Flatts and Carrie Underwood.  That is one big wow if you can find it on the Internet somewhere.
Here is a photo of the pair singing it.  Beautiful.

This seems like a sad song, but it really isn't.  It is a song about heartbreak, but the pain of it all leads you on a path to something greater, that it's all part of a grander plan, as the song suggests. Therefore the pain is purposeful.  Lesson learned.  I'm a girl who prefers a good laugh over a good cry any day.  I don't want to list my heartbreaks in life and make you sad at the end of the summer.  Instead I'll tell you about this summer's true "broken road" experience.  A jogging story, and a humorous one at that:

If you've been following this blog for the last year (10,000 hits in 12 months), you are aware that I have taken up outdoor running as my newest form of exercise.  I've been a treadmill addict for years and quite preferred the sanctity of my basement for my daily exercise.  But that got old after awhile so I decided to change it up a bit.  In May, I tried my luck on the road a time or two and limped for a couple days afterwards.  My shins were mad at me.   But in time, they grew used to the new pounding and my daily trots were something I looked forward to.

I always take along a fanny pack when I go jogging.  When you are outside in the countryside, you never know what you may run into.  I have water, Kleenex, Benedryl, bug spray, a whistle, dog biscuits for those flesh eating farm dogs (I'm trying to make friends with them), my cell phone, and Ellen's little camera.  The snapshots from the above photo movie are from my morning jogs around my area and where we go camping.

I kept at it all summer long--I never missed a single day---6 days a week, allowing for one day of rest on Sundays just as the Good Lord ordered.  One morning a few weeks ago, I encountered my first rainstorm.  The lightning delayed my run for about an hour, and it seemed to be letting up.  I didn't want to break my streak, and was determined I'd get out there, even for a short one, just to say I did it.  It was this day that I will always refer to as my Broken Road Run.  Read on.

I sneaked into the bedroom as not to wake my snoring mate, and thought I'd just throw on my jogging undergarments beneath my pajamas which the pj bottoms read GAP GIVE BACK, across the arse.  They weren't something I'd ordinarily be caught running in, but hey,  I was just going for a short run, and no other lunatic would be dodging lightning bolts down in the park, so I took my chances.

Note:  whenever you try to sneak, you always seem to get caught----because that is just what happened to me--I awoke the sleeping beast and he very encouragingly said, "I hope you plan on getting wet."  My husband is nearly blind without his glasses, so he didn't see me stick my tongue out at him.  I grumbled and moved on.

That comment kind of put me in a grumpy state, so no songs from my God's Songs playlist.  I needed to run fast because I knew it could very well rain again, so I opted for the heavy metal folder on my iPod--mean, shouty music with lots of guitars and drums---yeah, that would be perfect.  I put my iPod in a protective baggie, clipped it to my fanny pack, and got my fanny moving.

I no sooner rounded the corner to the park and a cloud let go--like one of those cloud bursts out of nowhere--a total down pour.  Rather than go home and face the I Told You So of an unsupportive husband, I decided to change my attitude.  I switched my iPod to Luke Bryan's Rain is a Good Thing, and thought of the thirsty vegetables growing in my garden that needed it.  Change your attitude Eloise and you can do anything, God reminded me.

Maybe today I would try something different.  Maybe I'd try to run fast like Kenyan Karen, my super speedy sister.  Yeah--that's it.  I'll try a short, fast, heart pumping run today--even if it was just a mile or so, it would be good for the old ticker.  I decided to sprint through the rain as fast as I could to the pond about half a mile from my house and seek shelter under its lone tree.  I was doing pretty well until that little thing called a MUSCLE CRAMP got me in the right calf.  Crippling pain.  I made it to the Pond Sign, which is full of bullet holes, and grabbed it to steady myself while I stretched out my calf.  I kept thinking, If I am holding onto this metal sign and God sends a lightning bolt from the sky in close proximity to where I am standing, would I be electrocuted?  

So now I am paranoid, in pain, and soaking wet.  Not a good combination for a crabby Eloise.  I suddenly wished I would have turned back because my cramp won't go away and I have the urge to kick something, so I kick the sign post.  Hard.  At least the pain in my toe trumped the pain in my calf for about 3 seconds until I landed on my butt.  I was so full of grouchy, I kicked the sign a little too hard and lost my footing and fell......right into a pile of goose poop!

GAP GIVE BACK got something back alright.  Crap. Literally and figuratively.  I had to regroup and needed the tree as an umbrella.  I limped over to the tree to lean against it, forgetting the tree is a locust.  The trunk was smooth, but the immature branches of a locust tree have big, sharp thorns protruding from them.  I wasn't looking closely when I leaned back onto one of those thorns and now I had to pluck one of those out of my wet, muddy, goose pooped, GAP GIVE BACK pajamas.

Then and there I almost quit.  ALMOST.  Seconds away.  But Eloise is not a quitter. I never give up.  Then I looked to the woods and noticed the opening.  It is the first picture on the movie.  I started to think that it was probably drier in there, and heck, I was wet anyway.  Change your attitude Eloise, and you can do anything the Lord reminded me again.  I blew kisses to God and thanked him for the revelation, and started out on the next leg of the journey in a better mood, albeit a bit slimy.

I was quite surprised that the woods was really no drier than the open fields, and after stepping in my second puddle, I realized I put my newer sneakers on--not my old beater ones for when the earth is muddy. I think a bad word again, then apologize to God because I know he heard it.  Tsk, Tsk, Change your attitude Eloise....God said.  OK, OK--I heard 'ya---I guess I now have two pair of beaters.  Yeah!

I looked at the woods on that stretch with different eyes as I ran through the rain, paying no mind to any puddles.  It was beautiful.   The bark of the trees were dark with moisture.  There was so much humidity in the depths of those woods that it made this beautiful fog throughout the forest.  There were places so pretty that I decided to stop and snap some pictures.  I had Ellen's little camera but unfortunately it wasn't powerful enough to grab those images in the darkness, so I'll just have to remember those places in my mind.

While I stopped to get one of those photos, I kicked out two deer.  They almost ran right over me and one I swear was an elk.  He was H-U-G-E.  He must have been eating my apples from the tree in my yard.  I still had the camera in my hand, so I tried to snap his picture.  Tried and FAILED I should say.  Killed the battery on the dumb shot I took before that one.  Great.  I almost died from a head on collision from some sort of freakishly huge mule deer and I can't even get a picture of it.  Here comes the nasty again.  It's creeping back.

Just get home, my precious, muddy child, the Lord says to me.  Okey dokey, was my response.  I took off flying through the rest of those woods.  I was wet, muddy, crabby, pooped on, and out of breath by the time I popped out of the woods and hit the road to home.  Just a couple of football fields and I'd be back in the safety of my garage.  I turned my nice, even, controlled pace into this ugly sort of "run like the devil's chasin' ya' sort of thing.  I wasn't really paying attention, because it took every ounce of my gumption to keep my legs moving at that rate when I looked up to see a truck beside me.  I didn't hear it because I was blasting Metallica in my ears.  It was Fitzgerald my neighbor--the bane of my existence in junior high because he constantly teased me--then bought a house three down from mine as an adult.  We've since become friends, but he's not the sort of chap that you want to see you in that condition.  He honked, waved, and I could see him toss his head back in a chuckle.  Man did I hate the whole world right then.

Upon return to my house, I tried to sneak in without being heard.  Do you remember the special reader's note I put on here earlier:  when you try to sneak, you get caught...well I got caught.  Hubby was up and looking smug.  He greeted me with an "I told you so" which I pretended not to hear as I unpacked my very wet fanny pack.  Bug spray--no damage; dog biscuits---disintegrated; Kleenex--resembled wet toilet paper; camera--dried off the lens but still OK; cell phone----cell phone-----cell phone----OH MY GOD WHERE IS MY CELL PHONE!!!!!!!!  I realized it must have fallen out when I opened my pack way deep in the woods to photograph Dasher. ...................................................I put all those dots there because I can't really write what I said on this public blog, so you can fill in what you think there.  Pretend it's a guessing game.  Have fun with it.

I jumped on my mountain bike and headed back down.  It had stopped raining for the moment, so that was a good thing.  Just had to concentrate on finding that cell phone before it got soaked.  I was riding downhill pretty fast and when I hit the woods trails I noticed something happened between the run and the bike ride.  The temperature must have climbed 5 degrees and there were these big black clouds hanging low in the woods.  What the heck?????  I said.  I really wished I would have thought that one instead of said that one because I found out soon enough.  9 million mosquitoes or maybe gnats came out to play in those warm, moist woods.  Whatever they were there were swarms of them.  I drove right through them on my bike.  They went up my nostrils, down my throat, and I inhaled a couple.  I coughed and spit and gagged up bugs for the next quarter mile now in a pissier mood then ever.  I was just about to scream a very bad word at the top of my lungs to no one in particular, when I saw it.  MY PHONE!  There she was, lying on the side of the path with but a few raindrops on her.  She was alive!  I had to get her out of the rain and I realized I left my fanny pack on the kitchen counter.  There was no place else dry to put her, so I had to shove her down the back of my GAP GIVE BACK pajama bottoms.  They got something back alright.

Change your attitude, Eloise the Lord reminded me again.  Sigh---okay, okay, can't get much worse.  I thought I'd liven things up a bit and pretended in my mind that I was Lance Armstrong on the Tour de France.  I was going to pedal as hard and fast as I could no matter how much my quads burned.  Heck, I had a twitchy calf, a stubbed toe, and a locust thorn in my arse, so what's the matter with a couple of lactic acid filled quadriceps?  Plus all those bugs were chasing me because they were pissed off that I just ate some of their friends.  I was a wanted woman.  What I failed to factor in is that mud gets very slippery when its wet.  I probably shouldn't have taken that last hill by the creek at top speed because my bike slid out from underneath me and I wrecked.  And it was an ugly one.  I was bent, tangled, muddy, and this time I did scream.  I picked up a rock and threw it just because it felt good to throw something.  I called to my elk to come help me up and do you know that apple eating jerk didn't even come to my rescue.  Forget him.  The hunters can have him come November.

I prayed that I would have at least one broken bone, just so I could muster up some sympathy from my hubby, but I was able to stand on my own two legs without needing assistance.  Shoot.  I looked down to see my chain had fallen off, so now add GREASE to the list of things that covered my body.

Defeated, I rode slowly home, hoping to get hit by a bolt of lightning--you know, that sympathy thing again, but no luck.  I walked into the kitchen and hubby was sitting at the counter eating pancakes, of which he saved none for me.  "What in the hell happened to you?" he said.  I couldn't even respond.  I needed a shower, some floss to remove the gnats from my teeth, and a surgeon to remove the hooked tip of the locust thorn from my bruised backside.  The bruises there were nothing when compared to the bruises on my ego.

I sighed and took five steps through the kitchen, only to hear a clatter on the floor.  It was the cell phone and it had just fallen from the leg of my GAP GIVE BACK pajamas.  Guess they gave me my phone back.  My back was to hubby, so I can only imagine his expression of (surprise, bewilderment, disgust--you choose).

And that my friends, is my broken road story.  I bet you'll never think of this song the same way again.

God bless you,

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