Country roads, take me home…

To quote another song, “My bags are packed, I’m ready to go…I’m leaving on a jet plane…” I would cry, but memories of my sister and I crooning that song loudly and off-key enough to scare off all nearby wildlife (aka “Duffy”, our dog) brings a smile to my lips instead.

(Okay, actually, it was me singing off-key, my sister being born with all the musical talent.)

But, it’s true. My bags are packed and I am ready to go, albeit in a bittersweet sense. Saying good-bye is never easy, no matter how long I have been in my hometown visiting with my family, no matter how much I look forward to saying hello to my husband who has been holding down the fort in Istanbul – and walking the dog – for the last 5 weeks.

Which brings me to three things I have learned since embarking on a lifestyle that is wondrous but fraught with long-term good-byes:

  1. You can’t bottle it up
    I can spend 7 x 24 with my family, but it’s the day-to-day that matters, and they are with me always, whether it’s via email, skype, or telepathy.
  2. Be thankful you have someone (or someones) to miss
    I would so much rather face the euphoria of hellos and the heartache of good-byes than have no one who I could miss that much (or they me)
  3. Live life
    We all have a path to follow. Sometimes it takes us further afield than we had planned, but what is distance when there is love (and skype and airplanes)?

So, to my loved ones who always make each summer visit such a warm, fuzzy, funny, comforting, and conversation-filled privilege and pleasure: thank you…though words could never do justice and, luckily, don’t need to because you already know.

On a side note, I just want to add some pictures from the country roads that provide me with my favorite run on the planet.

(Despite being in Illinois, it’s not a flat run, which is generally my preference. Raised on flat surfaces, anything exceeding a 5-degree incline is pretty much a mountain in my book.)

Even with the uncommon, heart-stimulating hills, though, I still love it. The soft stillness broken only by the stirring of nature. The vast corn and bean fields stretching down the valley in straight rows, their lines softened by the morning haze. Red barns nestled among trees and fields. Cows standing amicably side-by-side, chewing slowly (probably wondering at the strange being passing by in such a hurry, at least to them and their comparable slow motion existence). The smell of fresh straw permeating the air and coloring the sides of the road yellow, a souvenir from a recent tractor. It just sweetly envelopes me in its essence and I forget about my legs or my lungs and just lose myself in the serene surroundings.

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Makes waking up early to go running seem a little less crazy, doesn’t it?

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