I run so early in the morning I’m seldom met or passed by a car. When I am, I’m amazed all over again at how much pollution even one vehicle generates. It happened this morning, when I was overtaken by a small late-model pickup as we moved towards the stop sign by the fig tree. As I ran through the fumes, I took shallow breaths until I was clear of the exhaust. The driver turned left. I turned right and filled my lungs again with clean air. I could never run along a busy thoroughfare during the day, as I see people do. Not only would taking in so much exhaust defeat the purpose, I’d be sacrificing the beautiful quiet and privacy of running in the dark before dawn, when I can see the clouds and stars and hear the robins breaking into song. For me, running in the bright light of day alongside four lanes of traffic would be like being involved in some kind of emergency — fight or flight versus peaceful, calm locomotion, demonstration versus tranquil invisibility. I’m fortunate to live where I do. I have a choice. If I had to run in traffic or not run at all, I’d choose the latter, and find some other, healthier way to lose my mind.
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Tags: Birdsong, Breathing, Calm, Clouds, Environment, Figs, Light, Mind and Body, Morning, Peace, Pollution, Robins, Running, Stars