November has been a little crazy. We began the month without power, and with kids out of school for a week and a half, due to a wild late season hurricane. My mother had moved in with us just before the storm, after falling down her stairs and breaking six ribs and her scapula, deputizing me as LPN and OT. I ran as a last-minute write-in candidate for our local Board of Education, using only word of mouth and social media to campaign, and on the day after we got power back, won the seat. My mother-in-law came to visit for a long weekend, bringing the total number of grandparents in the house to two. And then there was the the Thanksgiving meal and my mother's departure, five weeks after she'd arrived.
So I was especially relieved to have a low-key weekend.
We don't do Black Friday around here. In the morning, I went to the Y, and in the afternoon, we went geocaching at a local nature preserve, driving in the opposite direction from the mall. On Saturday, we supported Small Business Saturday by going to one of our local farm markets, and then buying ingredients from our local health food store for the cookies we'd make for the online bake sale (final tally to be announced later this week!). On Sunday, we went to a fabulous playground and ate what may possibly be the best pizza on the planet (kale and butternut squash pizzas, be still my heart), and then we came home and made a fantastic mess with flour, rolling out gingerbread dough, N. eating about dough as much as she rolled. That night, I watched as the bids began to come in for the Hurricane Sandy Relief bake sale items, and the tweets started to appear, and the blog posts started to proliferate, feeling amazed and proud and overcome with emotion that my fellow bloggers had rallied around and stepped up to the plate when I asked them to lend their time, their talents, even their blog space.
Any of those things could have been my Perfect Moment for the month.
But there was one moment on Thanksgiving that moved me, that grounded me, that I thought was worth sharing.
Almost every year we run the 5K Turkey Trot in my town. It's practically shameful for us not to run, given that the race course goes right down my street, allowing for ample porch space for visitors to watch. It's quite the show: some people run in Santa suits, one team in a large cardboard replica of the Mayflower, many with turkey hats, some in tutus and suits, and this year, even a random banana. It's a huge race; this year, over 6,000 people participated. And because it's so large, it's not really possible to run your best race; there are too many people with strollers, or dogs, or small children running, and no one seems to pay much attention to the signs at the beginning that tell you where to stand if you run a 5-minute or 6-minute or 10-minute mile.
At times, this becomes frustrating. If you are me, you're trying to run off your apple pie in advance, you see. You have the best intentions of completing this course in less time than last year. And you can't do it if there's a six year old in the way, or a wall of sorority sisters trotting, arms linked, five across the road.
But there's a point in the race, on the uphill coming back into town, where you can see ahead and behind you. If you're in the middle of the pack, which I usually am, you can see the throngs of people, all running together. And suddenly, this sea of people feels important. We're all bent on the same goal. We're there to support each other. It's not a race, but a challenge.
As I ran up the hill this year, looking ahead of me and knowing that I was more than halfway done, I felt an adrenaline rush. It really was an amazing thing, this running together. I felt strong, and connected, and free, and part of something much larger than myself. And it was, for that moment, absolutely perfect.
Have you ever felt like you were part of something much larger that yourself?