A Place Behind the Hills

There is a place behind the hills,

behind the deep-dark forests and rocky roads,

Photo Credit: maureenness.com

where the trees are bright and the flowers purple.

There, storms are a pleasant breeze,

and the lakes are so clear you can see all the happy fish.

There, the sun rises at 5:30 every morning

and goes to set when you’re ready.

There, there are no downsides,

except for the cows’ bellies that swing as they walk.

But, to get there, you’ll need to run.

You’ll need to hike and climb and swim,

Photo Credit: jeremybatesbooks.com

but most importantly, you’ll need to run.

There are tall monsters and mean witches

waiting for you to stop and catch your breath,

waiting to hold you by your legs and arms

and never let you go.

So don’t catch your breath, not now.

Now is not the time, but the time will come.

Now, you must run past the monsters and witches,

Photo Credit: 4.bp.blogspot.com

through the forests and along the rocky roads,

past the dark shadows that are hunting beside you.

But then, believe me,

there is a place behind the hills,

where the trees are bright and the flowers purple.

Where the only shadows will be of the lazy cows in the sunset.

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My Future

I’m really confused about how my life is going to go in the future. I know what I want to, I’m just not sure how I’m going to do it.

My plan was to go either UCSB, Stanford, USC, or a college in Australia to study Marine Biology and/ or Environmental Science. I would then go to law school and become an environmental lawyer. At college, I would swim and play water polo.

Well, now I’m really in to running. I love triathlons too. I know I’m going to play sports in college, but which ones?

Recently I’ve been thinking about become a humane officer. It pains me to know that so many animals are suffering and abused. I want to dedicate my life to stopping the cruelty that takes place everyday.  I want to do this, but there are some issues.

A humane officer makes 32,000 dollars annually. I don’t have millions of dollars in family money, I don’t have a billion dollars in my bank account, and I want to stay in California. I’m afraid 32,000 dollars would not be enough to have a home, a car, and eventually kids.

So, my plan is now to stick with being an environmental lawyer. I still really want to be a humane officer though…

Again, on the topic of money, I realized that I’m not going to have enough money to go to any of the colleges I want to go to. I could go to junior college. It would save a lot of money and I can save up for my next two years at a university.

I also want to take a gap year and go to the Peace Corps…

Will I go straight to a four year school? I wonder where I’m going to live after college? What college am I going to go to? What law school will I go to? Will I still want to be a lawyer, or will my opinions change? What sports will I play? Will I have a boyfriend? Will I get married? Am I going to have kids? When will I retire? Will I become a humane officer?

I don’t know, honestly. But maybe in thirty years, I’ll come back to this post and reflect on everything I did or didn’t do.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Respect the road.

There is a road that I run all the time.

Since I’m currently training by myself, I get to decide where I run. I avoid this road as much as possible. But during cross country season, when I’m at the mercy of my coaches, most of our workouts involve the road in some way.

Going down is smooth sailing. Going up is hell.

photo credit: nelseverydaypainting.blogspot.com

The road is more like a hill, a giant, mile-plus long hill. It’s on a constant incline and, as you get closer to the top, it gets steeper.

At first, I absolutely loathed this road.

I always hated it in the beginning, because it turned even my best runs turn into something that made me feel like I was putting myself through torture.

The road is sometimes unforgiving. The more you climb, the weaker your legs feel, the more your lungs burn, the more you feel like your brain is about to explode.

I used to fight it. Each day, I felt like I was preparing for this great battle, in which only one victor would prevail: me or the hill.

But, eventually, I started to realize that it wasn’t really a battle of physicality; it was more so a battle of wit. I learned to work with the road instead of against it and things started to make more sense.

I learned to take advantage of even the tiniest bit of downhill, to take the straightest line possible. I started to read the road, to take note of how it felt when I ran a certain way.

To this day, I still don’t like running it. But, I’ve learned how to do it properly.

The road used to be some foreign, intimidating beast that I thought I would never be able to understand. Now, I realize that it was really just an old, wise mentor for me, my very own Mr. Miyagi. 

Last night, I was headed up the road on the bus and, as I looked out the window, I knew exactly what point we were at solely based on the glimpse I caught of the tops of the oak trees. It made me smile, seeing how far I’ve come.

The same miles of curving pavement that used to seem endless to me are now ingrained into my memory, including details down to which tree is positioned where on each corner.

The countless days of practice, all of the sweat-soaked t-shirts and aching muscles really did pay off, in so many more ways than for just my running.

If only I knew back then just how much I would come to understand the road and how much it would come to understand about me.

I wouldn’t have believed it three years ago.

The painted ladies

On my way home today, I stopped to say hello to the mountains.

Image credit: allposters.com

But while I originally had pulled over to say hello to the mountains, I also got to say hello to the painted ladies – the butterflies.

There are hundreds of thousands of them, all passing through and I’m lucky enough to live along their migration path.

No one knows exactly why they choose to come here, but I’m happy they do.

I heard they are headed west. Maybe they’re chasing the sun.

So, as I sat alone outside my car, I blew kisses to the mountains, to thank them for being so magnificent.

Image credit: travelandleisure.com

I blew kisses to the butterflies as they flew by, to wish them good luck on their journey.

It’s days like these when I know I wouldn’t be able to live in a place where the sun seldom shines.

There wouldn’t be nearly enough mountains that compare to Ojai mountains and there definitely wouldn’t be enough painted ladies.

I hope they all reach their destinations.

And if they really are chasing the sun, I hope they catch it.

when the sun changes

How do you make the sun come up faster?

I asked the internet, but there weren’t any answers. It didn’t seem like anyone has ever asked this question before.

I’ve been trying to figure it out recently. The sun goes down later now, which I like, but I forgot that it would also start to rise later.

I’m not mad about it necessarily, I actually like to watch the sunrise sometimes. I just wish it would still come up at six every morning instead of seven, like it does now.

Image via blogspot.com

I always say that I wish sleep was optional. I love waking up early and I love staying up late, which becomes problematic when I’m running on five hours of sleep and way too much caffeine.

I fell asleep with my window open today. I didn’t really think much of it.

It was about eleven thirty in the morning when I went to sleep and I woke up three hours later.

It had gotten much breezier by the afternoon. And the light had changed.

I’ve always loved how the shifting sun makes everything look different. There is a distinct difference between how the light looks in the morning and in the afternoon. At 9 am, everything is bright, more of a white light. But by 3 or 4p m, it’s so much more yellow. And it feels different too, especially in the summertime.

I don’t know how to describe it exactly, I just know how it feels.

I’m still trying to find more ways to make the sun come up faster. I’ll let you know if I do.

my thoughts on time.

I prefer not to measure time in minutes.

Maybe that’s because it scares me,
time does.

But, it’s comforting to think
that the same wet grass I
walked across today
will soon turn brittle and dry.

“The Persistence of Memory” via allthatsinteresting.com

It’s comforting to think
that, with the help of the rain,
the fields will fill up with wheat,
which will later be cut down
and turned into hundreds of bales of hay,
all lining the bottom of the hillsides
in a grid of little golden rectangles.

Then, in time, they will be shipped off
to somewhere far away from here
and the cows will return to eating
the new grass, gently swishing
their tails as they chew.

It’s comforting to think that
the world will continue to spin
and the sun will set tomorrow
and the next day,
just as it is meant to.

And I hope,
that in time,
I will see, and do, and live
just as I am meant to.

The story of kale, tangerines, and the realizations I made.

I ate a piece of kale the other day.

It was growing in a garden box at school, so I pulled a leaf off of the plant and ate it.

It was a nice, sturdy piece of kale. It tasted pretty good. I continued munching on it as I walked over to the baseball field.

Photo Credit: Pinterest.com

Kale can be a nice snack, if you’re into dark leafy greens. But, as many experienced plant-eaters know, raw kale is quite tough to chew.

My jaws were getting a little bit tired, so I switched over to eating a different leaf that I had also picked from the garden box. I’m not sure what plant this was, but it was softer and sweeter than the kale.

As I was chewing, I twirled the piece between my thumb and my pointer finger.

I started to study the leaves. The kale was dark and rough. It was much more aggressively textured than the other leaf.

It was at that moment when I stopped chewing, for I noticed dozens of very tiny, white bugs all along the sides of the leaves.

I swallowed my bite, then tossed the remnants of my half-eaten leaves aside. I decided not to dwell on it too much, because I didn’t want the thought of the bugs to take away from the otherwise positive experience I had eating them.

(I would like to apologize to the innocent lives I took that day. I didn’t thoroughly inspect the leaves before eating them, and that was selfish of me. To the bugs that once inhabited the kale: I am sorry.)

On a completely unrelated note, this morning my parents and I went out to our tangerine trees. It was time to prune them. After about an hour of picking fruit and chopping branches, my dad said to me: “This is a chore that very few other people your age have to do, but you have to remember that it just makes you more cosmopolitan.”

Though I didn’t really enjoy being outside when it was 40 degrees, I did find comfort in the fact that our work would provide more fruit for us next season.

I never realized it before, but I am so thankful that I know how to take care of citrus trees.

I live in a place where I am fortunate enough to grow my own food. I take that for granted.

I hope that I will always have this luxury, bugs and all.