The sun emerges from behind the trees at the beginning of her morning run. She always runs in Central Park. Headphones are blaring a little Foo Fighters to get her heart going and to help her keep pace. It’s a warm morning and a little too humid for Spring. She’s clad in a tank shirt, running shorts, and bright purple running shoes. She loves purple, it’s one of her favorites. Running is too. It keeps her lithe, lean, and healthy. Makes her smile at the thought of pushing her body to it’s limits. Makes her feel alive. Free.
As her feet keep pace with her breathing, she takes in the scenery. The scents and the sounds too. She loves running this route. Looking at the folks sitting on park benches. They’re feeding bread crumbs to the birds and the squirrels. She slides over to the far most side of the path so as not to disturb the animals and their feeding time. After she passes them she slide back to the middle of the path and picks up her running pace.
Her heart rate increases and so does her breathing. She loves this part of the run. She’s run two miles out of her normal three mile trek. With the increase in respiration she can smell the freshly blooming flowers on the path. She loves this time of the year. She knows the lilacs will be in bloom soon. She thinks, what is better than the aroma of those purple beauties? She sees new leaves on all of the trees. Everything is so green. Even she feels young and new today.
Then she sees it. It stops her dead in her tracks. Her heartbeat is heavy in her ears, her breathing still quick and her body does not want to rest yet. But she has to stop. For she sees in the path, a lone stalk of new wheat. It is green, glistening and bent over with the weight of morning dew. The sun hits it perfectly. She is mesmerized because it reminds her of home. Of Michigan and of younger days and running in wheat fields. It reminds her of her first kiss. Laying in the wheat field behind the farmhouse she lived in as a kid.
She walks up to it and then drops to her knees to take a closer look. She decides, what the hell and lays down next to it. Just like when she was a kid. From this angle she feels 15 again. She remembers kissing that boy in the wheat field. She smiles and looks at the stalk. She sees the sun shining through the dew. Reaches out and touches it lightly with one fingertip. She touches the dew drenched tip to her lips and remembers him.
With her eyes to the Heavens, she looks at the clouds. She shields her eyes from the sun with the back of her hand, then lowers it. She breaks off a piece of wheat, pinches the stalk in her teeth, and grins. She starts walking through the field and feels the softness of the stalks on her hands, her fingers and her bare legs. She is clad in a short cotton dress. The tiny cilia at the tops of the wheat tickle her fingertips. The wind caresses her face like the hand of God. She takes her fingers and removes a tendril of hair from her mouth. She keeps walking through the middle of the field. She’s heading to the barn, but she didn’t want to take the path. She figures why take the easy way, when the unbeaten path is so much more fun? There’s nothing like the feel of the wheat caressing your hands, fingers and legs in the warm summer sun. These moments of joy are few and far between in this life. They may be simple, but some days they are the only joy we feel.
She stands staring at the sky, in a field filled with wheat ready for harvest. She places her hands in it. She grips the stalks in her fingers. Feels the course beauty of it. Smells the wholesomeness of it in the air. The wind makes it sway to and fro as she releases it. Her head is spinning and she wonders how she got here. All she remembers is running. Away from the pain of the news she’d just heard. Of the phone call and what they said.
She looks up again and sees the blue of the sky. The clouds like cotton. The sun’s golden rays passing through them. It’s like seeing God when she stares at those streams of light. She has to mourn her grief. Her loss. She wonders how she’ll go on without him. Without them. Where does she begin? How does she live?
She raises her fists into the air and wails. It’s not the cry of a small child, but the scream and rant of a wounded animal. She keeps screaming until she is spent. Her hands raised, she keeps cursing at God. She keeps asking why. Finally, her knees buckle at her utter exhaustion. She falls to the ground. She lays in that fragrant and warm wheat field. Finally after many minutes, she gets to her knees, clasps her hands together, and closes her eyes. She feels the breeze blow her hair as if God himself was touching her. Her trembling subsides and she begins to pray.