Every fall, it feels like I need to remember how to muster. That is, remember that even though I am warm and cozy in my house (or wherever) and that it will be wet, or cold, or wet and cold to do some other thing that I want to do that involves leaving the house (or wherever) on my bicycle, that it is always worth it.
(worth it to be out here!:)
Earlier this week, I was planning to meet up with a running group that I’m trying to make friend with who run mostly in Forest Park on Tuesday evenings. They move around to different trailheads, and for this run, it was about 8.5 miles from my house. Which, on a nice evening, is totally no problem. Heck, on a mediocre evening or even some shitty evenings once I’ve eased into shitty again, it’s also no problem. But this past Tuesday was pissing rain, super dreary, also the first day that felt fully cold in a long time. And when it got right down to it, I did not want to ride 17 miles round trip in the rain to meet some people I barely know to run in the woods in the dark.
Instead, I biked 2 miles round trip in the rain to Mt Tabor and ran by myself in the woods in the dark there. That felt more possible. And, as I knew it would, it was totally amazing, even though I got fully soaked, again, as I knew I would.
So in that case, I was not really fully able to muster, but I did muster for the smaller version of what I’d been imagining, the version that felt more possible. Which is what I mean when I say that I have to get used to mustering again every fall. I haven’t quite worked myself yet into remembering that 8.5 miles of biking in the rain to run in the rain is actually not that bad once I get rolling. (For realz! I know this is true for me sometimes!) But 2 miles felt attainable.
(mushroom with a snow hat from work today:)
Even this evening, which was clear but cold, I almost had a hard time mustering. I’d been planning to run at work, since I was out in the Silver Star area with the work truck checking on some trails, and I figured I’d stay out a bit longer to run there. But I didn’t for a variety of reasons that included active mining at one trailhead and much more snow than I was expecting, so I figured I’d just bike over to Forest Park once I got home since I didn’t go on Tuesday.
It was cold, though! And it’s been so long since I’ve practiced all my layering tricks for how to be warm enough for a bike ride but not too warm for a run in the middle of the bike ride (while still being able to either wear or carry all my layers with me while running so I don’t leave anything on my bicycle).
The trick, though, is always to just start packing. Once I grabbed my running pack and put some water and my headlamp in it, then I was on my way to making it happen — the inertia had turned, heh. And of course it was fully lovely, Forest Park turning all fall-colored and mushrooms and lichens everywhere, so quiet and peaceful. And this is how mustering happens, each little incarnation of this, of me doing it even though it initially feels hard, and reminding myself in the doing of it that actually it’s not as hard as I thought it would be. More and more evidence that I can do it that I can draw from next time it’s hard to motivate.
(more magical fall woods:)
I will say, not owning a car does mean that I have a built-in gut check. There are definitely some things that I do not ever end up mustering for. And I take it to mean this: that even knowing that it’s never as hard as I think it will be, there are some things that I just don’t want to do, and those are the things that are maybe not worth my time. I frequently wonder, if I had a car, if I would just mindlessly do them because it’s easy — and honestly I’m grateful that I don’t have a car so I keep making intentional choices about what I want to include in my life, what I want my impact to be.
So, I’m welcoming myself into this transition season where I’m re-learning how to muster, and remembering that the muster always seems like it’s going to be harder than it is — and that a muster that is truly insurmountable, not just in need of a work-around like going to Mt Tabor rather than Forest Park but fully insurmountable, is a good indication of something that maybe deep down I don’t actually want to do.