I just finished my final run in H-town before leaving for Arizona. It was a perfectly beautiful night at the park, fresh after a day of pouring rain, the fog rising from the piles of ill-fated trees that didn’t survive the drought. The birds were going berserk twittering like crazy while all the little insects and unknown creatures of the pond were buzzing, humming, hooting and gargling together in a joyful chorus that seemed to herald in the first days of spring. The air…the AIR!! There is nothing sweeter than the deep, sultry air after a fresh rain, still misty and dripping with newness. There was one point along the path that just overwhelmed me with the rich scent of pine, initiating a momentary flashback to summer camp. Those were the days!
But speaking of insects, my complete euphoric delirium that I was experiencing was quite rudely interrupted as I approached the last half mile of my run. In fact, the feeling that I was Laura Ingles on Little House on the Prairie running carefree through the field of wildflowers in the opening credits was brought to an abrupt halt when an unseen insect decided to kamikaze dive all the way to my lungs. Just as I was taking in a deep slow breath to get every ounce of sweetness from the air, marveling at the beautiful fog slowly rising and the symphony of insects playing their tunes, one torpedoed his way down my throat. Needless to say I spent that last half mile completely oblivious to the natural beauty and instead was trying all manners of regurgitating a bug.
My struggle brought back a memory of another run-in I had with a kamikaze bug a couple of years ago. While on a nice little run through the neighborhood one hot evening, I was attacked by something in my ear. This was no swat-at-it-and-it-will-go-away kind of attack. No, it was a full-on attack in which the bug went in and did not come back out. And I could feel him in there. I spent the rest of my run tipping my head to the side and smacking the side of my head trying to dislodge the bug that was fluttering around somewhere deep inside my ear canal. The feeling was enough to make me scream. I imagined all sorts of gross scenarios that you would only find in a cheap dollar store horror movie, like what if the bug went in deeper and I could feel it fluttering all the way through my head and eventually crawled out my nose? All those canals are connected, aren’t they? I’m certain anyone who saw me on that run thought I was an escapee of the local nut house. I got home and was going nuts. Then I came up with a brilliant plan: “I bet I could drown it out!!” My idea was to take a shower and flood my ear with water, causing the bug to either float out or fly out as it would have to come up for air. After banging the side of my head for a good 10 minutes in the shower, I noticed I didn’t feel anything any more. Even after getting dressed and sitting at my computer, all was quiet. PHEW! I did it! I was in the clear!! The bug floated out and I didn’t even notice! Just as I was feeling relaxed again, thankful that the bug had found its way out, the fluttering started all over again in my ear, with a vengeance. I started flipping out and ran into the bathroom and was banging on my head (AGAIN) when out crawled the bug and landed on the bathroom counter!!!! It was one of the most unpleasant experiences I can recall. Other than the intestinal problem in the woods.
Anyway, now that I am way off track….I am busily doing laundry and trying unsuccessfully to check-in online for my flight. The joys of travel. But I’m getting anxious, in a good way. I am actually a little bit excited, which is a relief because I’m sure Saturday night I will be more on the nervous side. I’m reminded of a phrase introduced to me at an annual Hood family gathering in Clear Lake, IA many summers ago. My aunt, who shall remain nameless, shared with us what she learned at one of her frequent self-empowering seminars: As one of many ways to take control of the day and approach it with a positive attitude, it is recommended that as soon as your feet hit the floor in the morning when you roll out of bed, you should touch the floor and jump up as high as you can and shout, “I’M EXCITED!!!”, not just once, but three times. Considering I recently grabbed my phone and cussed it out when the alarm went off in the morning, this may be a challenge for me. But just for fun, I’ll try it out here:
I’M EXCITED!!!! I’M EXCITED!!!! I’M EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
“As long as a man stands in his own way, everything seems to be in his way.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson