An Imperfect Situation at Lake Miramar = An Opportunity To Connect

Miramar Lake, a 15-minute drive from my house. I used to chuckle at my husband for driving 15 minutes to run five miles, as we can just as easily run five miles from our doorstep, down one road, and up another, to a bike path. Plus, the route from our doorstep included hills, unlike the very flat road around Miramar Lake (another plus in my husband’s opinion).

It wasn’t until I ran the lake a couple of times to realize why I now drive the 15 minutes there to do my shorter runs.  

 
Lake flora on a foggy morning.

Lake flora on a foggy morning.

 

I started to notice the constant smell of exhaust coming from the many cars on the road by our house, as I ran, in addition to all the cars speeding by, constantly. At the lake, no cars, and much more wildlife and plant life to observe. It is a pretty popular lake, so there are also many other people there walking, running, and riding bikes. I still, now, find it much more pleasurable than an exhaust-filled run from my house.

I arrived at Miramar Lake this morning ready to pump out a “quick” 7-mile run, as required for my training plan, when I arrived to a closed gate. Miramar Lake is now closed every first Tuesday of the month, due to their restricted budget. Ahhhh, where can I park?? I quickly turned around and, luckily, snagged a spot close by in an adjacent lot. Good, I’ll still be able to run the lake.

When I got to the lake I saw a gate was closed on one end, with no way to get around. I already heard of people who went all the way around, only to find out they had to come back the 5 miles they just came. No worries for me, I could do a nice 3.5 mile out and back to make my 7.

 
A moment of captivating stillness at Miramar Lake

A moment of captivating stillness at Miramar Lake

 

Since the gates were closed, there were considerably less people around, meaning the bird show this particular morning was quite magnificent…scrub jay, scaly-breasted munia, towhee, spotted towhee, goldfinch, and more!

I went to put on my headphones, when, to my surprise, I realized I forgot them. Crap! Seven road miles with no headphones?? (Training for this ultramarathon, I have had to resort to earphones to keep me focused on running…otherwise I just stop constantly to look at plants and animals. It’s kind of comical sometimes.) Then, I thought, wait, this place is full of nature, especially this morning…what an opportunity to tune into my senses! And I did.

The sounds were just incredible. A symphony of birds. Every now and then the sound of humans, the sound of my breathing (ok, huffing & puffing), the sound of my water swishing in the bottle, the wind, machinery. I could hear the textures and layers of sound. It was beautiful.

 
Saw a beauty, like this guy, towards the end of my run. Photo credit: iNaturalist

Saw a beauty, like this guy, towards the end of my run. Photo credit: iNaturalist

 

Then I thought of my sense of touch, how the wind felt on one side of my body, the same with the sun and the heat I felt on certain parts of my arms and face, the way my skin felt under my clothes, the way the asphalt felt under my shoes, and the way the moisture of my sweat felt on my face and forearms. Towards the end of the run I felt the fatigue set in, and how it felt to push my body harder, and how cool it was that I have built the strength for my body to rise to that demand.

Throughout the run, my sense of sight was constantly engaged, looking at the many beings in motion, birds, people, dogs, trees and plants swaying in the wind, the beautiful purple-ish wire lettuce that has been blooming lately, along with the laurel sumac, and some monkeyflower. I particularly paid attention to people, shouting a louder “good morning” than usual, to each person I passed head on, and every person I passed. As our culture becomes more and more self-absorbed into their computers, phones, earphones, and such, I work to try and stay connected with other people, through eye contact and conversation.

 
Wire lettuce in bloom all around the lake

Wire lettuce in bloom all around the lake

 

As I neared my turnaround point, I came across a woman walking her return trip, shouting into her phone her extreme disappointment in the gate being locked (Making her 5-mile morning walk before work, a 10-mile one. It sounded like she might be talking to her boss). Coming as a surprise, I understand the rather immediate reaction to be one of, um, freaking out. But, when you think about it, there is nothing you can do other than walk back, so might as well enjoy the fact that you just got another hour plus of exercise and connecting with nature. Score.

So yeah, it was a good morning. I’m glad the lake was closed, and that I forgot my earphones.

-M

 

Michelle AbbeyComment