I run because I'm happy. . .I run because I'm free

Monday was the first official day of summer and my birthday and it was my best birthday yet. I planned to enjoy myself by celebrating the simple but beautiful things in life. I woke up to an arrangement of flowers from BJ, a note of love, a keurig and a home-made fruit salad.
 I enjoyed my breakfast on the back porch while Molly snuck in some time to play with Anna Cate's guitar in her high heels.

Both girls had swim practice and then we headed to Marian's for brunch. 

 They were treated to summer gifts, which included a beautiful book called GRATEFUL, which Anna Cate read to us.

 And my birthday present to myself was a long run in the battlefield, made possible by Marian who watched the girls for me.
I grew up in the country where I felt like I did not have the opportunities my children have. . .like swim team. Therefor, it is not lost on me that what I treat myself to on the day I could do anything (well most of anything) I want is enjoy something I did have growing up . . .long roads in the countryside.  On these jaunts, there is nothing but the countryside, my thoughts on life, spiritual understandings and an appreciation for the blessings of my life which I pause to celebrate on my birthday.

The reason we have such expanses of nature in the midst of suburban sprawl and icky strip malls is the historical preservation of the Civil War battlefields.  I chose to run on my birthday in the steps of the Battle of Fredericksburg, but in past years I've run in others nearby. 
I stop and take pictures, stretch, breath and focus on all the metaphors in life I can as a way of seeing the connections in this one, wild and precious life. It is almost like Pandora knows these longs runs are times for me to reflect because the music provides such rich connections to my thoughts and directives for life.

I just keep thinking about how grateful I am for the experiences, family and health.  Most of all I focus on the clarity of perspective age has bestowed on me, which seems most clear as I run in these open spaces.  I think about how much I appreciate this time and space that has been available to me my whole life. Like the good witch tells Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, "you had it all along."
I ended up running/jogging/walking 8 and it felt so good. 
I listened to songs on a black spiritual station I've discovered, where I find the soul of a joy and faith in these songs inspiring.  With each step and deep breath, I'm reminded of the faith journey of my own soul and all the friends and loved ones I've had along the way. I am not sure what I believe about theology but I'm convinced of the presence of the Holy Spirit. 
I feel most closely connected to the center of this spirit as I breath in the beauty of simple scenes of nature.  Running and focusing on my blessings reminds me as the song did that His eye is on the sparrow. . so why should I be discouraged?

These songs come on the "Oh Happy Day" station. . . and, that it was.
This journey, both the run and my life,  beholds so much beauty. Of course there are hills and times I have to stop and walk, yet like the disappointments, the scenes and stories take my breath away. I'm continually thankful for what I've had all along.
To be admitted to Nature's hearth costs nothing. . .you have only to push aside the curtain. 
~Henry David Thoreau