Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Running Away

The theme of this post is running. Everything in my life seems to be on fast forward at the moment, everywhere I look people and thoughts and ideas are galloping off, over the hills and far away. I seem to have adopted a slightly elegiac mood recently, in contrast to the world around me. May, surely, is the best month of the year, yet all I seem to do is shake my head sadly and contemplate the way the year is running away with itself. All this rampant growth – be over soon, I say, with an air of resignation. The lilac’s on the turn already. The tulips are over for another year. The hedgerows are poised in that delicious moment where they are half-dipped in cream, yet all I can think is that in a blink of an eye everything will be heavy and torpid and the nights will be almost drawing in. Cheerful aren’t I? I need to emulate my grandmother, who at 95 is full of plans for the future. She runs a critical eye over her patio garden and thinks about getting it grassed over and more roses planted for next year. I feel fear stalking me and my heart tightens a little when she says this. Think positive, she says. I want more summers, no reason why I can’t have any more, she says. I should think I can count on a few more summers myself, so let’s hope I shake off my morbid torpor and live in the moment a bit more. What’s not to like about these unexpected long hot days, after all? (Especially as they are apparently about to end).

But my big news is that I’m running. I'm pounding the pavements with all the zeal of the newly converted. Why has it taken me so long? I love that clean, empty feeling I get when I run. I feel like I’m running away from everything. Clients annoying you with their strategy meetings and their need for ‘seamless integration of next-generation services’? Run, run. Kids whingeing? Lengthen your stride. There’s nothing else I can think of that combines that trance-like, meditative quality of mind, with the grim determination of making my body keep going, despite the pain, and the little voice in my head that tells me to stop and have a nice cup of tea instead - childbirth, possibly, though I don’t think I’d be signing up for that three times a week. Like childbirth, with running any pride in your appearance has to go out of the window (though I admit running isn't quite as undignified). Not content with being sweaty and puce in the face, my running mate kindly pointed out that I have this habit of closing my right eye when I run. I don't suppose it's very fetching and I have no idea why I do it.

Meanwhile, in my non-running life, the garden is coming into its full vigour and demanding my attention. I can weave my way lazily through the alliums, the rampant honesty, the self-seeded poppies, and of course, the weeds. Dandelions and buttercups are everywhere, but huge clumps of bluebells and forget me nots have appeared alongside them. My ‘canary bird’ rose is out in all its shining gold glory. The cherry blossom’s over for another year (there I go again) but the willow tree is just taking on it’s deeper tinge of green and the children will soon be able to be lost underneath its canopy again. The herbs and vegetables are growing by the minute, too. The children are blowing bubbles and some land amongst the deep blue and the paler pink geraniums, where they shine like iridescent fairies. Maybe I won’t run away just yet.

On an entirely separate note, I went to stay with an old friend in London at the weekend. I hadn’t seen her in ages and she greeted me with the news that one of the candidates on The Apprentice is someone she knows very well. And she knows the outcome (well the final two, a least). Now, I love The Apprentice. It’s the highlight of my viewing week. But I am such a child that, after downing a substantial quantity of wine, I forced her to tell me what happens. I am soooooo cross with myself. But don’t worry, the secret’s safe with me.