No More Sprinting For Me

When I was in junior high, I ran track. My events were always sprints. I never did get the hang of running distances over a hundred yards. I ran the 400 relay and the 100 yard hurdles. I was never the best, but I always placed. If I had been a little bit taller though…

I loved track meets. I felt so cool walking around the football stadiums in my cleats. I loved the way they made you walk funny and how they made a click, click, click sound as you walked. I also loved pounding my blocks into just the right settings and placing them at just the right spot for the best start. It’s a bit of a science.

The most nerve-racking part of the whole process is just before you step into your blocks. You stretch. You check out the competition. You try to breathe out the nervousness with some deep inhales and exhales, then the Starter says “On your marks!” You quickly get yourself into your blocks with your fingertips up to the white line as close as you can get without touching. Your focus is only on the lane ahead of you and that finish line. “Set!” You push into your blocks and hands and lean forward as far as you can to get the best possible launch into action. Then the Starter shoots his pistol and the race is on. And…then it’s over. Like that (I’m snapping my fingers.)

I decided to move out of state in November of last year and ever since then, I feel like I’ve been perched in my blocks, waiting for the Starter to fire the pistol. I ready. I’m sweating with pent up energy. Why won’t he fire the damn pistol?

But as they say, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” I mean seriously, why should I be in any hurry, getting frustrated with the time it’s taking, and missing out on the fun along the way?

I’m enjoying going through all of my stuff and enjoying, even more, the process of letting a lot of it go. I’m only taking with me what I truly want, which isn’t a whole lot. I want to eventually minimize down to the basic necessities. Perhaps Tiny Home basics, even.

I also want to savor the time I have left living with my niece. She has been with me for seven years, just me and her. It’ll be a major adjustment for both of us. (We may be slightly codependent.) But she’s a big girl now and I’m excited to see what she does with her life.

I’m not going to miss a lot about this place. Temperatures are in the teens today with negative wind chills. I won’t miss that. I also won’t miss the ninety percent humidity in the summer. Or the Omaha stare. The Omaha stare is perhaps the thing I hate most about Omaha. It happens when you go to smile at or greet someone, who is looking right at you, but they suddenly look past you and pretend they didn’t see you. No expression whatsoever. Even people you know do this. As a girl who grew up in Texas where everybody greets everybody, being confronted with the Omaha stare has been the bane of my existence for twenty years.

Of course, I will miss my family. My brother and his family are still here, as well as my other grown up niece and nephews. I’ll miss my extended family, my tiyospaye, up at Maple Landing, but I can always come back for Sundance. I’ll miss my yoga studio and the healers that have helped me over the last five years or so. And my kittens! Man, am I going to miss those two little rascals.

So I suppose, instead of racing for the finish line, I’ll just mosey along and enjoy the little time I have left here. The end of this race will be over before I know it. Luckily, there are lots of other races to look forward to.


Oil Refineries Make Me Homesick

What is it about Autumn that makes us nostalgic? It happens to me every year. It’s always tinged with a bit of sadness and I know I’m not the only one this happens to. The definition for the Welsh word hiraeth describes the feeling exactly.


When I was out for my drive the other day, I had the most visceral reaction come over me. I guess you would call it hiraeth. I felt as if I were transported back in time to the TriState Fair in Amarillo when I was a teenager. I used to love the fair. I loved the damp smell of the hay in the animal pens. I loved seeing all the different farm animals us city kids never got to see. I loved all the exhibits, even the ones for housewares. I loved the scuff of boots on the hard dirt and the cowboys in their wranglers with the Skoal rings on the back pocket. And I loved the rodeo, not for the events, but for the cowboys. I love me a Texas cowboy. It must have been the distant smell of a feedlot that brought the memories flooding back and I hung on to it as long as possible.

A little bit further down the highway, I passed a food processing plant in the distance. It brought memories of late night drives home from my grandparents’ house in Kansas. I don’t know if you’ve ever driven through the Texas panhandle, but there is a whole lot of nothing for miles upon miles. You can see a town in the distance and think you’re getting close and an hour later, you still aren’t there. When you’re driving at night, it’s almost as if you are the only people on Earth. The sky is so black and you hardly ever pass another car. I knew we were close to home when I would see the eery blue-white glow from the lights at the Pantex plant near Panhandle. Pantex was a big secret back when I was a kid. One of my parents’ best friends worked there, but he wasn’t allowed to tell us what they did. We all knew, though, that they manufactured nuclear missiles, but we weren’t supposed to talk about it. I wondered why, if it was such a top secret operation, they lit it up like a neon sign in the desert. It didn’t matter though. I knew I was almost home. Finally, I’d get a whiff of the oil refineries and I’d know we were home. To this day, I find the smell of an oil refinery oddly comforting.

The funny part is, I had a terrible childhood. It was full of pain and sadness. So why do the memories of home bring such warm feelings? Is it like any traumatic pain in which our brains cannot recall the level of pain we went through as a protection method? When you break a bone, you remember that it hurt, but your brain won’t allow you to feel the actual feeling of pain. Once the broken bone is set and casted, the pain subsides and you have a good story to tell. Maybe that’s what nostalgia is: the good story you tell yourself in order to not relive the pain.