There is something different about running in the fresh country air of southern Virginia that fuels the soul and mind. It’s the same air but not at the same time. It’s quiet and peaceful and perfect for digging deep into one’s mind and thinking through the stuff that we don’t have time to weed through daily. You can see the sun rising on the horizon that you would swear you could just reach out and touch it’s so close. At the early morning hours as I tread on the pavement the residents are getting their days started and the Amish folks already have their day well under way with their business and farming. I wave at everyone because here, everyone here waves at me. I’m recognized as my mother’s daughter now, the one that runs since everyone knows my parents and each other and everyone talks about and to everyone else. Here you definitely run with a stick as I found out today passing the three amigo mutts. One decided to run just behind me a bit letting me know who’s territory it was. I also run with Mace but this really didn’t warrant radical action even though I did think about breaking it out for a second. A simple shout back letting him know that I could eliminate him if I wanted to with a firm voice did the trick just fine. There are sections of my route that are a little creepy and lacking life but they are not very big and I’m past them before I finish thinking about being nervous running there alone. Virginia, as many places, has a lot of poor sections. Houses in disrepair or falling over and even abandoned. It’s like a scene from a picture of America long ago when everyone struggled and family values were something different than the waning and changing ones of today. It’s a reminder to me about how fortunate I am to have all that I do. It’s easy to get caught up in daily life and complain about what we don’t have to which I am no saint. The house needs paint, the roof needs repair, the floor needs to be finished and about a hundred other things that aren’t good enough the way they are. When I come here, all that goes away because I am among people who struggle much more than I do. When I come here I am sure to remember to thank God daily for the life he has provided to me and the family that I have. As I run here, I miss home not for the things I have but for the people in my life. Their absence makes me so happy that I can miss them so much. When I am here I look forward to the Blueberry bread that my father makes. It’s so good and he feels so happy when I ask him to make it for me. I’m happy that he can still make it at 86 years old and I ask him to make it on purpose. Partly because he’s been diagnosed with Dimentia and the days of his memory and coordination and lucidity are getting shorter and that makes me sad. So while he is still all together I do what I can to make him feel useful and happy, besides it gives me a reason to go running here so I can eat it! So good! Time is in slow motion here and the days are really long with little to do. Running although the same as it is at home mechanically just seems to last longer here as if the air were gelled and thick to move through. You’re just forced to look around and take it all in. Runs are always happy and pass by in the nicest fashion setting the day up so it can be nothing but good. There just is nothing else like running to fill your soul like the back ass sticks of Virginia!