Seasons of Life Through Mud Puddles
Today was my regular running day, and even though we had lots of rain and flood warnings I learned a long time ago not to allow less than perfect conditions to hinder my runs. For me, rain and mud puddles are perfect conditions as long as the temperatures aren’t below forty degrees. Today I had mid fifties in February, so I stripped down to shorts and a t-shirt, my five finger shoes, and I was off. I had ran hard on Monday, this was my Wednesday run, so I wanted it to be recovery, and relaxing knowing I will be doing an eight plus mile trail run this Saturday in Spruce Pines, NC.
I don’t use an I-Pod with ear plugs very often, but I did today and found myself listening to Simon and Garfunkel. It seemed appropriate today as the songs brought back memories of a different season in life. It created a mood for reflection as I ran along intentionally hitting every mud puddle in my path. I loved feeling the rain on my sweaty face and observing the fast and furious Crooked Creek that is usually a lazy, uneventful stream that host folks peacefully trout fishing. Not today! It was a creek running wild which excited me, and made me long to fit in a kayaking trip down it that would normally not be possible. I had just finished my last water session with a client, and decided after my seven mile run, there would be no time to load the kayak and get everything else done that needed doing. After reaching my mature, responsible decision which is rare when I get those kinds of temptations, I happily trudged on stopping to take photos of all the scenes that captured my interest on this rainy day.
As the child inside of all of us began to take over I was remembering how much I enjoyed mud puddles as a child during the season of spring in my life. It was not with siblings or friends, but with my horse and dog. I loved riding Victor, my palomino, bareback galloping in the rain taking her through all the big mud puddles I could find. She seemed to love getting covered in the mud as much as I did. How free I felt! I remembered wallowing with my dog, Yalla, in the puddles on warm days. I just cleaned him and me up in the creek before presenting myself to other members of the family. I did make some mud pies occasionally while playing “house” with siblings, but it was a last resort of entertainment for the tomboy in the family.
My mind went on to days the tomboy became a mother of four small children and the days I would take them walking in the rain while living in South Carolina. There were dirt roads running through farmland we enjoyed strolling many afternoons. I would often take the children out in gentle thunderstorms barefoot, dressed in as little clothing as possible so we could enjoy the rain and mud puddles with our black lab, Duke of Earls, better known as Duke. We squished the mud between our toes and felt the pleasure of cold mud on bare feet. Duke would lie in the larger puddles, and the children would pile on top of that wonderful natured dog as I observed their joy and listened to the music of their laughter. Oh, how rich we were!
Today I suppose I am in the autumn of my life, even though I see signs winter might be approaching. Those children are all grown and married living in other places. I run today with my chocolate lab, Lady Godiva, who is another incredible lab. I am still hitting all the mud puddles I can possibly dance through. It still brings me as much pleasure as it did in spring and summer. I am very much at peace with the day. I find myself thanking God for giving me all the gifts He sends in all seasons of life. The ones I value most are priceless, and cannot be purchased, because they come from Him. Thunderstorms, spring, summer, or winter showers that create mud puddles are a child’s delight no matter what season we are in. May we learn to keep our eyes peeled for the good and perfect gifts that come from the Creator Himself and not allow age to close the eyes of the child inside all of us. Mud puddles were created for our enjoyment in all seasons of life. Let us find comfort in one thing that will never change—no matter the season His enduring Presence and steadfast love that will never leave us or forsake us, ever.
(Photos taken during the run)