But...it is kinda slow around here right now- the holiday hoopla is done. Ry isn't turning 5 until May. I'm not running a long race anytime soon. We're not going anywhere for a few months. Our big home project (PV installation) isn't scheduled for at least 3-4 months... So it's time to stop feeling bored and start doing something. And since Kona has been gorgeous the past 4 days- vog free, strong cool trades and clear star-filled skies at night...Rich had a great idea...why not pitch up a few tents and go camping? We haven't done it in a while, and the boys LOVE it.
So we did. We camped at a beautiful, private location, just 500 ft. above sea level so we could still hear the waves crashing against the shore all night (without the risk of getting swept away by high tide). And because we pitched our two tents directly beneath two large trees on a bed of soft green grass, we could hear the leaves rustling all night long. It was the most soothing and meditative camping experience EVER- and it all happened in our backyard. ;-) We set up two tents (Riki insisted he needed to sleep alone for 'privacy')*, slipped into warm jammies, roasted marshmallows and talked 'round the campfire while the boys screeched and played all evening long.
*I made sure to strain my ears & listen for any late night visitors, muffled giggles or tent rocking.
|What happens when you send kids in Hawaii off to go and fetch firewood...they bring back ti leaves, palm fronds and papaya branches. (Highly smoky and ineffective, btw.)|
|It was freeeeezing last night. So much so that Ryan almost put on shorts. Almost. I think it got down to about 60 in the middle of the night. (Maybe even...59.) Intense. I think I lost 3 toes and a 7 fingers.|
|The best part of camping- putting out the camp fire!|
|Learning to dive with Aunty Malia, his instructor.|
I run on the road about 2 times a week. And each time that I do, it always frustrates me to see the volume of litter lining the side of the road. Especially the bottles and cans. I find it so baffling that there are people who willfully try to mar the beauty of our little island with recyclable items. It's like a double whammy. And so for months...no, years- I have vowed that I would do my part to help keep our island beautiful by picking them up. But I haven't...for a variety of reasons- none of them good, but the main one essentially boiling down to 'what will the neighbors think?'
So today's run started off like most others, me grimacing at the occasional bottles and cans, vowing to pick them up 'next time.' But at mile 10, after passing about 7 cans over a period of about 50 yards- something in me snapped. I knew that I had to get them, but because I didn't have anything to carry them in, I said out loud- "If there is plastic bag in the next quarter mile, it's a sign." And lo and behold- within 50 yards...there in the brush was a brand new, still folded, shiny gray trash bag... gleaming and fluttering in the wind. So I got the message loud and clear. I grabbed that bag, doubled back and grabbed all 7 cans.
And over the next 2-3 miles, I continued to pick up every single bottle or can that I passed. It was deeply satisfying and fun- almost like an Easter egg hunt, if you will. I was so euphoric to FINALLY be doing something I'd been yapping about for years. And as a side benefit, it made the last few miles blow by quickly. Here's the most disturbing part- over a period of less than 3 miles, I picked up fifty-five bottles and cans. Fifty five.
The second most disturbing part? Because it was a giant trash bag, and because some of the cans/bottles had extremely sharp edges, I had to hold it out a few inches in front of my body to avoid getting cut. Which unfortunately, had the unsettling appearance of someone who had just picked up her dog's poop and was gingerly carrying it back to her car. But as the bag grew larger and larger (remember, some of those bottles I picked up were large liter bottles and 40 oz. beers), it started to look more like I was carrying a giant pile of elephant poop.
Was it hard to run carrying a trash bag? Definitely. Not initially so much, but once I had a few pounds in there, it definitely tired out my arm and affected my gait. I would definitely be prone to injuries if I did this regularly. Was it embarrassing to carry a large gray plastic bag for 3 miles? Highly. I definitely felt the stares of passing motorists who were trying to figure out why a runner was carrying a large bag of dog poop but had no dog. And it was even more befuddling to the drivers who saw me AFTER Rich and Ry stopped to grab the bag from me (they were driving out to meet me at Costco and also wanted to know what I was doing). Because even though I had handed over the now uncomfortably heavy bag to them, I found two more shiny green bottles of Heineken. So for my last half mile- some people saw me running with two beer bottles, one in each hand. It was either very disturbing, or very motivational for others to see. Wow?! You can still booze it up AND exercise? AWESOME!
So here's what I took away from the incident-
- Stop waiting for 'another day' to do the right thing. Just do it. Screw what other people think.
- I will definitely start to do this regularly. Perhaps a few times a month (since any more than that along the same routes wouldn't make much sense), and only at the tail end of runs so I only have to carry the dog poop bag for a few miles at a time...saving me from injuries.
- Doing good always pays off. In this case, we stopped at the redemption center on our way home and got nearly $3 for my efforts (which is now sitting in Ryan's college savings piggy bank...and thanks to inflation, will someday buy him exactly one sheet of binder paper). ;-)