Merry Christmas - 25 December 2012
Sheep Pen - Salem, New York
If I’m not mistaken, one of these sheep might actually belong to my Step-Mom, Suzy, who lives in Salem, New York. Her house is located on the most eastern portion of New York, just a few miles from Vermont and Massachusetts. It’s “out there” as the saying goes. What I mean is most folks don’t recognize New York as being very rustic. Well, when you’re continually worried about power outages, minimal cell phone coverage, and no hardline internet, you’re out there. This is not bad for those of us who are constantly plugged in. Being out in the woods gives you an opportunity to see things you might otherwise miss. In this case, I happened to get a cool pic of a few sheep just off the road when I went running a couple days ago.
I run for many reasons. One reason is simply to experience the area I'm in. When I’m out in unfamiliar territory as I was a couple days ago, it’s my chance to see things I don’t normally see. These sheep are an example. I do not have encounters with farm animals on any of my routes back at home in New Mexico. Instead I have road, houses, cars, and a few barking dogs. Out there near Suzy’s house, I get to see rolling hills, trees sans their leaves, barking dogs (they seem to be everywhere), and a few farm animals like these sheep. It’s a completely different experience. And, I think it’s a gift.
One of the blogs I follow announced they weren’t buying gifts for their family this year. Instead they were giving the gift of experiences. I wasn’t quite sure how they planned to give such gifts. I think they were planning something other than putting cruise tickets in an envelop under a tree. Anyway, experiences instead of stuff made me think. I thought about this when I was out this morning. Just happened that it snowed the night before so jumping over little drifts, hearing the crunch of snow, and making new tracks were all part of the morning experience. This was definitely not the normal experience back at home in New Mexico.
When I got back, showered, and thought about the Christmas message I would write today, I thought about the gift of experience. I am blessed to be able to enjoy such running. In the past couple of years, I ran on the shores of Hawaii and Florida. I slogged it up hills in New Mexico, New York, and Utah. I suffered through the heat of California desert. I was drenched by rain and froze in snow. I even listened to revelers the night prior to Thanksgiving in Maine. All of these were great experiences I cherish. And, I likely will be with me for years and years, well beyond the lifespan of the socks I got from someone this morning.
Experiences to me are perfect gifts. Things that last years and years and be with them on a moments notice seems perfect to me. I can’t imagine anything better then an experience to fill that role. The best part is such gifts probably don’t cost that much. Instead of an epic thing that costs a log, anything that creates a new experience will probably be cherished for years.
So, when you’re in the middle of administrating todays Christmas activities, remember what you’re feeling and the experiences you’re having. Those are the real gifts this day.