I wake up and I kick off my covers. I tiredly move around the room, while my body struggles to keep up with me. I brush my hair into a ponytail, I tie up the laces on my sneakers into small blue bows, I pull an old sweatshirt over my head and I run.
My feet carry me away from Colby Hall and up Bridge Street. I run down bare, cracked sidewalks, passing Abby’s café. My feet cut right onto Main Street and run by dark windows. I keep running right until I am along the river. The water is loud as it races over rocks and fallen parts of trees, creating bright white splashes of water droplet supernovas. The trees are tall and looming above. My heart is pounding in my ears, my feet are heavy. Crossing the bridge and looking out over the metal ledge, it gets loud.
I think about the print edition of The NewEnglander and wonder who is going to read it. I wonder if they will be afraid to pick up a copy. I think about my friends who I used to see in class every day and wonder if and when I will get to ever see them again, some of them were seniors. I think about Massachusetts and the beaches I grew up falling in love with and wonder if anyone is there. I think about my research thesis project and how I stared at an empty methods page the night before, wondering if and wishing that I will get to do it. I think about how I was supposed to start practice with cross country this spring but now I am running alone. I think about family and playing cops and robbers. I think about growing plants in the greenhouse. I think about being 6-feet apart but feeling much farther. I think about the news and the sadness hangover it induces. I think of the doctors with no masks. I think of the schools with empty classrooms. I think of New Hampshire. I think of the world. I think of everything.
All the things that seemed so clear and exciting a little over a week ago go through my mind and I feel like a human earthquake inside my skin because suddenly there’s so many things that do not make sense. There are people hoarding toilet paper and hand sanitizer. There are people with no food, there people that are sick, people going on vacation, people who can’t go home and my mind can’t understand any of it. I feel myself getting angry, but I don’t know who to be angry at. I don’t want to be angry and I am out of breath.
I listen to myself inhale and exhale quickly, trying to catch my breath, resting my hands on my head, and listening to the river. The sun is beaming through the clouds and I can feel the warmth radiate around me.
And I think.
The unknown is unsettling. I don’t know what is going to happen at the end of today or tomorrow or next week. What I do know is that the world doesn’t need any more angry people. Wasting my time being angry won’t make the world any better. Although I feel helpless and lost because everything has become indefinite, I can be patient and I can be kind in a world that is desperately trying to heal.
If running and being kind is all I can do, I will do that.
“If the world is cold, make it your business to build fires.” – Horace Traubel