Near and Far


“The far and the near must be relative, and depend on many varying circumstances:” so spoke Elizabeth Bennet in Jane Austen’s, Pride and Prejudice.

Once, I was enrolled in a German class, where the instructor went around the table, asking where people lived. I told him I didn’t live far. When I said the name of my village, he scoffed: “Not far! That is fifteen kilometers!”

“Yes,” I replied, “only fifteen kilometers.”

Apparently, our definitions of near and far were different.

Some of my German friends (and some of my American friends) are astounded I drive to coffee group once a week, which takes exactly fifty minutes. “You drive all that way?” some people exclaim. Yet, while visiting family in the states, nary an eyelash is batted when I drive from one side of Des Moines to the other, which can take 45 minutes. In the end, near and far are simply matters of perception.

In a few weeks, a ten-mile run will seem short. Already, six miles doesn’t seem far. Four miles—ha! An easy day. My training schedule currently has me running two miles on two of the days, which seems like nothing—I can still see my house from a mile away.

Ten miles. I took my usual route up the hill and into the adjacent agricultural labyrinth. Since I didn’t want to simply run in circles for two hours, I explored some of the dirt paths that stitch together patches of wheat, corn, and sugar beets. I found a new hill: a long, twisty, steep one, which bordered a canola field.

Now that the canola is blooming, the countryside has taken on the appearance of a soft, yellow and green crazy quilt. It is stitched with reddish-brown paths, dotted with deep green poplars, and bursting with pale-pink pom-poms of apple trees. Like some kind of migrating animal, I instinctively followed the canola trail.

My son left his bike at the top of the hill and followed me down on foot. He was exuberant and cheerful, and asked me every few seconds when we would turn back. To him, we had gone far.

I have been to most of the great capitals of Europe. I have seen the astounding works of man. But nothing is more beautiful than being in the quiet countryside, with the gentle fragrance of apple blossoms on the breeze, the yellow field of flowers glowing as it catches rays of the unseen sun, and my child, waiting for me at the top of a hill.

I’m certain a day will come, when I feel he is too far.


Miles: Friday 5, Saturday 0 (swim training), Sunday 10

Weekly total: 21 miles

Overall feeling: When I returned from Sunday’s run, my husband said, “You don’t look exhausted!”  That must be a good sign. I have to admit, my legs were rubbery. I also took a power nap. When I woke up, I made a pot of coffee. And took some ibuprofen.  The only thing that hurt was my big toe…and I’m still not sure why. I feel great though. Even my big toe is better today.

The Crazy Quilt


One response »

  1. Beautifully written and very inspiring! I think that we have talked about people who are afraid of leaving their hometowns, anything new is “foreign” so somehow, when we return home, we are foreign too.

    I find it amazing that you can run 10 miles..amazing and wonderful. It is amazing because you have had four kids, surgery and get glutenized occasionally. I find it wonderful because I see how much is possible and that you are taking the opportunity to grow in many ways. I am sure that your children find it exciting too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s