Based on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada, Sparkles and Dirt is a blog by Louise Brunet. Her posts explore the beauty and the struggles we all encounter and how we can, just maybe, show up for all of it with compassion and grace.

An Unexpected Coach

An Unexpected Coach

I haven't been able to run since May because of an issue with my left leg that just won't seem to change yet. So I go out for walks with stairs and hills thrown in. I do this partly grumbling that I’m not running and partly grateful that I can move and walk at all. I call it my ‘un-run.’

I was out un-running today in the rain feeling more grumbly than usual, with the week’s news and world events on my mind and with my family far way on this long-weekend.

Crikey, I didn’t know it would be this hard adjusting to all of my kids living in other cities. (Lots of deep breaths and un-runs, meditation, Netflix, and maybe a little whiskey)

I used my snarkyness today to power the stair and hill repeats, but I felt weighed down by everything.

After about half an hour, the exercise started to feel good. I increased the uphill intensity, matching my mood, which also started to feel good. Therapy through hill repeats. I recommend it.

I tested a circuit where I sprinted up a hill, walked back down and then did 10 pushups against a bench at the bottom of the hill. This seemed to be ok with my leg.

This is a stock shot as I didn’t have permission to take her photo today.

This is a stock shot as I didn’t have permission to take her photo today.

On one set I suddenly noticed a crow staring at me from about 8 feet away. She looked beautiful in the rain, with drops of water clinging to her feathers and beak. She was soaked and magnificent.

I gave her a little nod and said hi as I launched up the hill again. At the top of the hill I turned around to see her on a railing near me, looking right at me. She cawed loudly.

I walked back down the hill and watched, with some surprise, as she flew down to land on the bench. At the bottom again, I did my push-ups against the bench while she supervised, 2 feet from my head.

Then we did it again. I ran up the hill; she flew up, landed on the railing and cawed at me, then we both came down. This made me laugh; it seemed I had a coach.

Perched on the back of the bench, she bent her head down a little, puffed up her back feathers, raised her wings slightly, and made a laughing sound. This made me laugh.

Then she laughed again.

We went back and forth like this for a few rounds of laughing.

Then we did 3 more hill sets together with some laughing and cawing (the cawing from her, not me). By this time I was smiling and having genuine fun, so I thanked her for pulling me out of my “the world is going to hell in a hand basket and dammit I miss my kids” funk.

My heart softened and my chest relaxed a little. I told her she made my day and I was deeply grateful to her.

She cawed loudly and flew away.

 I’m still smiling about my unexpected and delightful coach, and marvelling at the power of laughter and connection to transform and elevate. What a gift she gave me today!

Speaking Truth To Power

Speaking Truth To Power