Sunday morning has come around again; much too quickly. It came with two possibilities: a passive, meaningless stretch of twenty-four hours or a moment seized and gently squeezed of its goodness. We chose the latter.
After a two year battle with the world, I appear to be content. Contentment is so different from its superficial cousin, happiness. Contentment doesn’t wear a showy smile. Contentment doesn’t belly laugh. Contentment doesn’t leave without warning, leaving a grey vacuum that swallows the pain of having to live without it.
Contentment just is.
So here is me, content. And this morning, to build upon this feeling of being here, we went for a run in the countryside. We being my lovely wife and me.
To start with, as we drove to our route, we chunterred a little about aspects of our lives. Our middle daughter has completed her A Levels and has put off university for a year. She now sits with her smartphone, sits and sits. Her bedroom is the stuff left by hurricanes and her mother is reaching the end of her patience. My wife’s workplace is undergoing change (the type of change that has become the byword and trite idealogy of educational institutions, “We must get better and better!”). She is feeling the stress from that and I, having gone through my own psychological wildfire, am on hand to offer a comforting perspective.
As soon as we reached the area for our run, the world began to lift.
It’s a difficult run but so rewarding. Up and up and up with calves straining against the effort. A desire to stop to ease the rapid breathing but a continuation in order to reach the top. Once there, the panorama is reward enough.
We run in a rough circle that takes us along trails in fields and ones in woods. It is the woods that I most like. There is a stillness about so many trees so close together. They stand and watch our passage without comment. On more than one occasion I have been on the receiving end of an arboreal prank with hidden routes reaching up from the ground to catch the toe of my trainers and send me on a slow-motion tumble. Now, I keep an eye on them.
When our run has brought us full circle we are allowed to descend the steep climbs and make our way back to the car that is parked up by one of the most picturesque churches one could wish to see.
Fully evercised and fully exorcised, we are content.