This year we are “Thanksgiving orphans,” in that we don’t get enough days off to make a cross-country plane trip worthwhile for this holiday. Our dinner will be tonight at the home of some generous friends of friends. I made the persimmon bread and chocolate truffles that we are bringing to the feast yesterday, so I found myself with a little time this morning.
Mountain View High School just around the corner (where my daughter goes), has been pushing their Annual Spartan Turkey Trot pretty hard. Maybe they do so every year, but this was the first time I’d seen it . . . and seen it, and seen it. Like my blogging friend Mel Pine on Melting Pot Dharma, I have a curmudgeonly streak about forced gratitude. I also have a curmudgeonly streak about running, especially in a turkey costume. So, I’ve never trotted on Thanksgiving before. This event seemed more attractive than some, because at least there was an option to walk.
I showed up a little after 8 am to the high school track. By California standards, it was cold outside. There were some people in full gloves, hats, and fleece. That struck this East Coast girl as overkill, but there were also some people in shorts. That struck this East Coast girl as crazy. A week or so ago, I was missing the fall colors in my old hometown in Massachusetts, thinking that there was no way that fall in California could compare.
It doesn’t, exactly, but as we were off, with us walkers bringing up the slow rear, I ventured into a section of the neighborhood that I’ve never seen before. Some of the trees here are spectacular in the number of different colors visible on a single tree. At one point I left the confines of the marked route to take a picture and almost got run over by some bicyclists. “Heads up! Heads up! Stay on your side!” they yelled, as they rushed past. (I had thought–or had hoped anyway–that I left that rushy attitude ahead with the fast runners, or behind back in Boston).
I chatted for a while with one mother whose kids were lagging. And I took more pictures. I seemed to be the only one doing so. The juxtaposition of palm trees and regular deciduous trees side-by-side still fascinates me, not sure why.
I began to feel gratitude–not forced–that I live here now. In a place where I can go for such a walk right in my own neighborhood, and get all my pedometer steps for the day before lunch even starts.