It was a rough day. School holidays in the rain with two young, restless children. A mostly successful day out at the waterfront in Geelong had gone rapidly downhill on the drive home. I was cranky, wound tightly, pacing our small home like a panther, back and forth, back and forth. Outside, storm clouds hovered in the place on the horizon that meant certain rain. The wind was howling, and it was 4:30. It would be dark soon.
When my husband suggested the run, by rights my answer should have been no. Yet I was out the door moments later, two layers between me and the wind.
It rained immediately, cold, blowy rain, but I didn’t care. I was free and my sneakers scritch-scritched on the gravel road. My plan was 14km, further than I’d run here before. The trail was pocked with puddles, with only a few cold parents struggling along.
But I felt light as a feather, sprinting and sliding down my favorite trail, then dashing across the Barwon River Bridge. My turn-around point was further than I’d expected, and I found myself alone on an empty trail as it rapidly grew dark. I’m from New York. Dark and alone equal danger to me, and I was suddenly scared. I raced along the shipwreck coast,feeling haunted by ghosts long gone. My pace saved me, and soon I left the fear of empty dirt track behind, re-tracking my way across the bridge.
Faced with a further dark woody trail, I chose the beach that ran alongside instead. Fear disappeared, replaced by joy. Waves crashed, dogs leapt after balls, all was safe again. At 10k, I assessed my body, and was pleased all was good. For a little while then, I was just in the zone, not noticing much but the growing dark.
All of a sudden, I was drawn to look at the sky. That instant, a huge, bright full moon shone through the clouds. It was like a second sun had appeared to light my way home. It felt like a blessing.
When I came to the final trail section, it was fully dark, but that moon shone straight down my trail, lighting up the puddles and holes, and I sprinted, loving this unknown running in the dark, the solitude, the sense of being wrapped in a warm,, safe blanket.
The final hill appeared, steep, dark. The rain, which had stopped long before, suddenly began again. It was cold, and wet, and a super-steep climb. It should have felt awful. But it didn’t. There was no place in the world I would rather be in that moment. The moon disappeared then, as if it were winking.
When it came back out later, I was warm and dry, in my lovely home with my perfect family. I showed it to the children, that moon, but I couldn’t quite explain why it felt like my moon, and my moon alone.