As I turn the bend on a seemingly quiet, back dirt road, in Northern Michigan, I come Tulley Toes to a Leaping Legs froggy trying to cross over to the marsh on the other side of the street. Of course I haven’t seen any traffic for miles, to just now hear the rumble of a local farmer’s truck coming up the way.
I instantly hear, in my head, my daughter’s words, (which I know came from her Kindergarten teacher), “I love nature so much. I would do ANYTHING for Mother Nature.” So, I do my own leap frog, bound out into the middle of the road, scoop up this little guy, resist the urge to scream or squish him, and deposit him on the other side. The truck rumbles past. I give a friendly, ‘Up North’ everyone waves at everyone wave, and see one last glimpse of Louie Long Legs as he leaps into the grass.
Just as many of us outdoorsy types, take risks, and live to ____________ another day (insert your outside adventure of choice here), this frog too, will live to leap another day.
We do however, need to do what we can to reduce risks, and to consider, past ourselves, those around us.
I had a chance to save the frog from impending death, and ironically later in that same run, my sister will have saved me, from potential mauling.
As I was hop-skipping my way out of the campsite to the up-beat music already on the speakers, my sister halted me, wanting to know where my dog spray was. I felt like a little kid who had been caught with their hand in the cookie jar….. I did have my road ID tag on, but alas, no safety spray. With my ‘tail between my legs’ I walked up to the camper and was handed, dog spray.
My brother-in-law had recently experienced a horrible encounter with some dogs that left scars that no one should ever have……so it was foolish, and selfish, for me to even consider going out without something to potentially protect myself. No matter how ‘simple’ I want to run or how ‘free’ I feel, I’m certain that getting bit by any animal would negate any acquired sense of peace.
As the run would have it, I did find myself, lost in thought, only to be startled back to my surroundings when I hear not only one barking, but a whole pound of puppies coming at me. I didn’t have any music in my ear, so I was able to hear them with enough distance to stop, catch my breathe, and work a plan in my head that I would soon have to work for real. I stayed calm, and as they kept coming, teeth showing, I used the spray my sister had armed me with. It only took one squirt for the dogs to realize I wasn’t someone they wanted to mess with, and all but one turned around. I stayed my ground, turned on my serious voice, and firmly told the pooch to, “go home!”
I didn’t have to spray again as the dog wanted to be with his puppy pals more than he wanted me to pepper his eyes. Giving one last yap, the dog turned and ran back.
I got lucky in the sense that I went out for a run, and passed people who cared more about my safety than about any reason why I ‘don’t like’ to carry things when I run. In this case, I learned that part of finding peace, balance, and clarity while running (or doing anything out-of-doors) is all well and good, as long as one lives to bring the story home.
So, wear reflective pieces of clothing, plan enough water and fuel for the weather and anticipated time out, and wear an ID ‘something’ so others know how to help you if you can’t speak for yourself. There are lots of safety sprays to be conveniently purchased (probably at the same places you buy your on-the-go-fuels), so have one on hand and take it when warranted, let people know when you’re leaving, possibly your plan, and your return time. Keep the ear buds for the gym and let nature, or the traffic you need to NOT be hit by, be your soundtrack. Give your skin some love and use a sunscreen, so that after you go out today and get happy outside, you can do it again tomorrow! Every outdoor adventuring has their rule-book to follow……..and anyone who participates really does know that. These safety precautions and ‘rules-of-the-game’ are often from people who have come before us, who learned the hard way, and were willing to look past themselves enough to share.
Keep in mind that there are those families and fans who are excited to hear your stories, be inspired by your sweat, but that most importantly, want to hear the stories first hand from you…..when you safely come back home.
Groovy Girls Go……….Safely