I slept in this morning. I knew my running partners were unavailable. One is in DC visiting her daughter, the other found herself with a rare Saturday with no commitments. Who wants to trash that family bliss by starting it far too early with a run? So I woke without an alarm, had my coffee, fed the dog, and headed up to the mountain for a solo trail run. It rained last night for the first time in 3 months. The smoke and the dust are gone. I greedily gulped lungfuls of fresh, moist air. I like to run by myself, especially on trails. I get to run at exactly my pace, and the trails on Moscow Mountain are more like dancing than running. When I am struggling with something, going solo gives me lots of time to think. When I am feeling bad about who I am, it makes me feel strong, and feisty, and independent, to take off on my own. And yet, I texted a friend with my time of departure and my planned route. I also let them know when I had returned. While I ran, I thought about independence. About having everything I need, but not necessarily everything I want. I thought about my continued dependence….and I concluded that perhaps interdependence is the way I want to live what remains of this wild and precious ride we call life.
I work for myself, I am a sole proprietor. Yet, I work in the context of teams of people in schools, or within tight-knit family units with my infants and toddlers. They need me, I need them. My kids are grown and gone away to school. Yet, my son calls for instructions on how to mop a bathroom floor, or how to store salad greens. My daughter takes me out for breakfast because she is now, “a grown woman”, with a work-study income. They still need me, I still need them. Yesterday I put the boats to bed. I got boats unstacked and pumped up in preparation for the winter in my friend’s warehouse. I did this all by myself, yet I cannot stack 3 boats on a trailer solo, and I still can’t back that trailer into the warehouse. I called for help, and was rewarded by a Friday evening of wonderful conversation and company. I need my friends. I made chili for dinner. I raised the tomatoes all by myself. The lamb that formed the base was raised by a friend of mine, and the onions and garlic came from my CSA. Sure, I paid for that food, my farmers have big mortgages. Yet, I know nothing about how to birth, raise, and butcher a lamb. My farmers need my money, I need their food. I watched the VP debates this week, and the argument surrounding heath insurance always makes my blood boil. Since there is no such thing as private competition in the state of ID, health insurance for my kids and I is my largest monthly bill. The money that the community raised on Jim’s behalf pays that bill and will continue to do so until they have, hopefully, jobs and insurance of their own. I am not sure if my community needs me, but I sure do need them. As I ran the trails on Moscow Mountain today, feeling strong, and feisty, and independent, I realized that my enjoyment depended largely on the trails that Jim envisioned and the work that MAMBA put in to build and maintain them. MAMBA depends on the benevolence of private landowners for access and landowners are rewarded by well maintained and patrolled land. We all need each other.
I finished my run. I texted my friend of my return. They need to know that I am safe, and I need to know that somebody cares. My dependence continues. And that is OK. Independently, I have everything I need. Interdependence gives me what I want.
When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe. John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra, 1911