This morning Fiona completed the final 2 kilometres of her 42.2 km Kid's Marathon challenge. Her parents had ordered her a medal to commemorate the accomplishment.
We found a little spur connecting two longer trails that has a reasonable grade, is relatively shaded and exactly 1000 metres in length. We've run it, back and forth for 2 km, approximately every second day for the past 5 weeks.
It's been a wonderful exercise in simplicity and in the value of time spent with a child doing something together over and over. Over the weeks we've felt the temperatures and humidity increase. We've smelled the wildflowers and fruit blossoms and noticed how they've changed. She's learned to pace herself, to feel the subtle difference in the uphill and downhill grade and adjust her pace accordingly. She's got stronger and more fit. She's learned the landmarks of the run, and how to estimate 100 metres, or half a kilometre. She's able to identify bear scratches on the trees, deer hair on the ground, to differentiate purple asters from purple knapweed (the latter a noxious weed, which we pull by hand every time we spot it along the trail). We've watched the cherries along the trail swell and redden and used them to power the return leg of our runs. Fiona named them Original Organic Sport Cherries. We've tasted their sweetness day by day as it peaked. We've watched the leftover ones darken and wrinkle, or show up in the bear scat along the trail. We talk when we run; heck, we often run holding hands. But what we talk about is mostly what we notice. And as the weeks have gone by, we've noticed more and more.
And still there's always more to notice. What a rich world we live in.