But oh my goodness, this Saturday it was worth it.
It was about 6am, and at that time of day (in Spring) in Joburg, where I live, the air worships your warm skin with its cool crisp freshness. It had rained gently the night before, and the sun was starting to twinkle through the treetops. The world felt like it was brightening from a night of gloom, the birds sang their hopes and dreams, and my aspirations of “maybe walking for half an hour” were extended to – “I think I’ll just try the 10k route.”
|The start of my route
I started up our steep road, panting more than usual (I am not as fit as I used to be), but somehow with all the beauty around me, it didn’t seem to matter. The roads were carpeted with purple flowers, and the flowers not fallen echoed back in the tall branches above me. The ivy on the pavement was a shade of green that was so vivid that it defies being caught on camera, and I looked ahead, the slight shimmering of light making me think of all sorts of half-remembered poems about misty, moisty mornings and the like.
It was so peaceful too. The occasional runner, one or two cyclists (who did disturb the peace – cyclists, you talk a lot, and very loudly – I suppose you can’t hear too well through those helmets you wear), and hardly any traffic.
My route took me up and up, and then down a less shady road, and I basked in the sunshine. On this road the grass on the verges was lush and gorgeous, and sparkling white iceberg roses in full bloom seemed to cheer me on – I could almost see them waving at me.
I ran to my local coffee spot, and was greeted by the barista, who lets me help myself to the water on offer whilst he pours the perfect brew, and checks that my order is still the same. The cheerful friendliness of the place, comfortable in its familiarity, made me smile.
And as I walked on, sipping my cappuccino, and enjoying more delights – the beautiful shades of green in the different hedges, the tall tall trees, the array of springtime in the gardens, and turning into yet another Jacaranda street, gasping aloud at the incredible delight – the same, yet different to my own road, I felt grateful. To be alive, and be able to enjoy all this sheer wonder at the start of my day and my weekend. How lucky am I? What a painting I live in.
Appreciating the beauty of a morning is just one of the many reasons to get out of bed early and exercise outdoors. But today it was enough of a reason for me.
There isn’t a law against running on a Saturday morning. On the contrary, I think, sometimes it should be compulsory.