A.M. Affirmation*

5:30 The alarm sounds, the room, the world is dark and still… except for the cats that respond out of reflex and react too.  Somewhere between leaving the ball like wad of fur burrowed under the blankets and hitting the floor they wake.

5:34 I reach the main floor, drop my running clothes on the couch and feel my way through the house to the bathroom and flip on the light.

5:38 Back into the darkness and the base layers goes on, top first.  Then the underwear, socks and second layers.  The cats get verbal.

5:40 To the basement, descending like a cat shepard, they bound head long 2 steps at a time and beat me to the food dish.  With blinking eyes and subtle cries they explain to me that their food is gone.  I fill them 3/4 of a cup each per the vets orders.  Two bowels, three cats.  Meowie waits.

5:42 Back upstairs. my Nikes are on, the neon yellow Reebok reflector vest, hoodie, SmartWool hat and gloves are in place.  I reach for the door and flip the switch for the outdoor Christmas lights.

5:43 Stepping out while pulling the Anderson storm door behind me, I turn to the weather and it tries to discourage me.  Cold stinging fragments of moisture pelt my face.  The cold air fills my lungs, God thank you… this feels great and makes me realize I’m alive.  It is sobering… I look to the sky and take a few more deep breaths while walking to the monster oak I use to stretch out against.

5:44 Slight twisting at the waist, then further.  Bending to my toes, push against the tree is if I can push it over.

5:46 I walk away from the house, west through a break in the fence that the sidewalk follows and began a slow trot.  Doing everything I can to soften the impact of this activity.  The multiple myeloma has threaten my hip joints and spine base, I treat them as gently as I did my daughter and son when I first held them.

5:47 Cold air in my face causes my eyes to water, combined with the darkness and haunting lights, causes my vision to blur. I focus on my pace. There is no one but me out here.

Through frozen tears.

5:56 I round a corner and see that the film crew for the Bruce Willis movie “Set Up” is still here.  The set is empty shy of security.  The makeup trailers and crew quarters  are dimly lit, looking faintly like a cruise ship off in the distance.  The houses they are using for the scene are behind them.  A deeper layer in the fabricated veneer of the production.  I’m seeing what millions will not.  It always amazes me the effort that truly goes into the production of a film.  Later this morning all the streets around here will be filled with parked cars from the gaffers, sound teams, lighting, caterers, prop artiest… you name it.  A hundred or so with Michigan plates.

Darkness resting on the set.

5:59 Passing the trailers the security staff acknowledges me with a nod. I keep running but their presence has caused a slight change in my path for the week.

6:05 The silence of the world is so loud and powerful.  I’m alive.  The emotion is so strong and real that I cry.

6:08 Making another turn I face the one and only hill on my route.  An elevation change of about 40 feet over a block.  I make-believe it’s bigger.  Visions of the time I drove a rented Suburban up a two-track on Smuggler Mountain near Aspen, one morning before a session at the Aspen Design Conference come to mind. I was looking for a trout stream but encountered several old guys running up the same trail.  At that elevation it was extremely impressive. I also remember the look of disgust they gave me in my big stupid truck. This 40 feet should hardly feel like a challenge but it does.

6:12 I try to separate the rhythm of my breathing from the rhythm of my feet.  I have a theory that your feet conduct the orchestra if you let them and create a un-natural breathing pattern that tires you prematurely.

6:18 The head of my street… feet do your thing, lungs do your own.

Running past only to walk back.

6:22 Falling snow creates a blurry cone under each of the street lights.  I run past my house and began to see hints a stop sign which stops traffic when there is any but also is the stop of my run.

Stop... you did it.

6:26 Stop. Turn. Began the walk back to the house as my cool down.

6:30 I open the door and I am greeted by the “Fur-muda Triangle” as my son puts it.  The three cats that will sit with me during my next morning ritual… 15 minutes of meditation and prayer in a dark but warm living room.

Fur-muda Triangle the day before our first winter storm.

Movie set for "Set Up" as seen while driving past on my way to work.

House for scene with silks at front door, tinted window van used to shuttle the cast back and forth to the make-up trailers and meals.

* The first time I heard the word “affirmation” was when a good friend and fellow designer, used it to define an expensive but well designed solution someone might buy for themselves as if to say “Yes… I’m worth it”.

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4 thoughts on “A.M. Affirmation*

  1. Jon, this is so beautiful. Thanks for the reminder. If you are ever looking for a great read, I am reading a book called “Original Blessing” by Matthew Fox. It is a very spiritual book, dealing with the beauty and paradox of pain in life. I realize my “suffering journey” is distinctly different than yours, but this book has offered much comfort and meaning to me during this season.

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