Saturday, August 14, 2010

Beautiful Morning

Saturday mornings of late have been refreshingly busy for Erin and me. She runs with the Cross Country team in Nolde Forest on Saturdays, and I've been running on the Thun trail with a group from A Running Start. This morning, however, was a bit different.

Earlier this week I stopped by a house on our street to ask the folks who live there permission to photograph their flower gardens in the early morning hours. I have been running past this house on occasion, and their home is almost swallowed by the vibrant plant life growing all around. Trees, flower beds, and a vegetable garden all attest to a love for beauty and growing things, yet the wild state they are in also speaks to a lack of ability to quite keep up with it all. Scattered all through the beds are morning glories, phlox, tomatoes, cucumbers, and regally waving above them all; sunflowers galore.

Every morning since I received permission to photograph to my heart's delight, the days have dawned to overcast skies and drizzling rain. Now, I am thrilled to have the rain- and so is my poor, parched yard. But these were not the conditions in which I wanted to shoot photos in a flower bed. This morning brought the return of the sun, and my plans to run were shifted as the flowers took priority.

I dropped Erin off at Nolde and drove to the garden. I have a Minolta film camera that was generously given to me by a friend, as well as my digital SLR. Still testing the Minolta, I was planning to duplicate my shots on identical settings with both cameras. Wandering around the flower beds as the sun slowly rose gave me many more things to shoot than I originally planned, and the film was soon finished. There are numerous gadgets and gizmos fashioned by the elderly couple who lovingly tend this garden intending to keep the birds and varmits away from their veggies. Whimsically scattered among the plants, these became some of my favorite shots.

As the sun crested the row of pine trees to the East of the property, there was a magical 60 seconds or so when everything first caught the direct rays of light and I shot as fast as I could, moving gingerly through the garden. Even the cucumber vines took on an endearing quality in this light.

At some point I realized that I was finished and went back to the car. Picked Erin up after her run, got home, loaded the photos onto the computer and took an initial look. These decisions won't be easy- there are a lot of neat shots mixed in with a lot of mediocre and poorly lit shots as well.

Since the morning isn't as blazingly hot as we've recently experienced, I went for my run, stream-of-consciousness pondering of the photos and their possibilities gave my mind something to do other than list the roll-call of physical complaints as I pounded down the road. I ran my normal, relatively flat, three miles and grabbed few sips from my water bottle which I'd left on the bench in front of our house. Erin had put my energy-chewy-thingies next to the water, so I popped one of those and continued back on the road in the other direction.

The hills are this way.

Down the one severe drop I ran the way Erin had learned in training, opening my stride up and letting myself fly down the hill. It was a bit scary as gravity took over and I knew that the wrong placement of a foot here would end in disaster, but there was an exhilaration as well. One and a half miles later I turned around and headed back home, walking on that one severe incline, and finished strong.

Six miles.

I have finally run six miles! I don't know, since the uphill walk broke it up slightly, if I experienced the five-mile thing where it doesn't hurt anymore- a theory one of the Saturday morning marathoners shared with me. But I am euphoric over getting that distance under my belt! Good, long stretching with my kitty Emmi, refreshing shower, and I'm ready for the rest of my day.

I think tomatoes may be involved...

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