WOOOAAAAHHHHH! What happened? It’s been four years since I last published a blog! I looked back at my drafts, and I have a blog started that says something like, “Woah!! Two years went by!” That was obviously two years ago. Ahem. Anyway. I had several loyal readers pestering me to revive this thing, and so I finally came around. (Ok, it was only one reader. Probably my only reader. Love you mom!)
The title “Four Years Gone” has a bit of a negative connotation I suppose, because I don’t really feel like they’ve gone… the last four years have been nothing short of beautiful. If the title is reminiscent of the Led Zeppelin song, “Ten Years Gone,” you would be on the same page as I am. A meandering exploration of sorts, the past four years have taught me about the fluidity that is inherently present in life and getting comfortable with change. It has taught me about the paths we walk, versus the paths we seek. From “Ten Years Gone,” these lyrics are particularly meaningful:
“Then as it was, then again it will be
And thought the course may change sometimes
Rivers always reach the sea.”
So in a nutshell, here’s what we’ve been doing:
- Kai: We discovered the overwhelming love and gratitude of adding Baby Kai to our family. With sleep deprivation so bittersweet and heavy like honey, Mike and I developed an ebb and flow of nurturing our little dude. At the same time, we gave each other the gift of taking turns with Kai so we could get out in our element, whether that be surf or trails. Being a parent has no doubt been our most difficult endeavor yet, but not a day goes by that we don’t crack up laughing at the things he does or says. While it’s almost never easy, our home is always filled with love and laughter. And farts. Boys fart SOOOO much.
- Running: Running in the mountains is everything. My heart still races when I’m driving towards the mountains, and my heart swells with awe. My breath slows as if I’m saving it all for the trail, like I will be nourished by the mountain air more so. Exciting right? I’m excited just writing about it. I still run barefoot, but mostly just in our neighborhood now a few times a week. Trust me, my neighbors think I’m really weird. I’m ok with it. The trails are too rocky/hot or I’m too much of a softie to get out there. The trails in Portland were way more doable! Anyway, I’m still running in minimalist footwear on the trails with my top three being Merrell Pace Gloves, Luna Sandals, and Vibram Spyridons. The relationship between being a mom and being a runner is also important to note. Being a runner makes me a better mom. I’m so thankful to see my little guy when I return home, after the air drains my irritability. On the other hand, being a mom has made me a better runner. Running feels easier now, and I’m more grateful, present and peaceful when I’m out there. Taking that time for granted is not an option anymore. Plus, pushing a baby out of your hoo-ha without any pain medication gives you new perspective on pain. 😉 Sitting in my wheelchair in the NICU a couple of days after my child was born, I wasn’t sure what my prognosis was going to be to be able to walk across the room normally, much less climb mountains again. My poor midwife had only seen 4 cases like mine in her 25 year career. The first time I ran 8 miles on the trail with Mike, about 6 months after Kai was born, I sat at the summit and sobbed for a good 10 minutes. So, so grateful for my son’s health, and mine.
- Community: Ventura is still where we live, and it has become our home. Living in one place for a while, we have found out how a place and its community sneaks into your heart and takes hold. Mike and I are wanderers, and after moving around the country with minimal belongings, we still feel that wanderlust at times. But when it comes down to it, we love our friends so much. The ones with kids, the runners without kids, Dirtbag Runners tribe, and all the weird and wonderful people that bring us balance.
- Katie: Katie, my childhood friend and my college roommate, moved to Ventura County to do a couple of rotations as a travel RN. During that time, she moved in with me, and we were roomies again. She was so easy to have around, just like when we lived together in college. And hilarious, as usual, telling gross stories over breakfast as she got home from the night shift, and I was just starting my day. Katie and I are about as opposite as you can get, except we both love to run. Katie and I shared many miles together, both while we were living together in college, and whenever she would come visit me in Portland or out in Ventura. Over the miles and the years, it was easy to call her one of my best friends. Trail running came naturally to Katie whenever she would come to visit, but especially when she came here to live. A creature of habit, Katie ran 4 miles almost every day on the road, but had no problem running 10+ mountain miles with me, even though she hadn’t run a hill in the months living in TX prior. Katie was a badass in her own right, solidified when she became a solo skydiver (I’m sure the skydiving community has a better term for that) and then ultimately a B.A.S.E. jumper. To make a long story short (this really needs an entire blog post), Katie and I hugged goodbye one last time when she walked out the door to jump her self-described “bucket list bridge.” The Bixby Bridge in Big Sur was the one she always wanted, and it would be her last. Everything felt like it was shattering for days after Katie’s death, and nothing made sense. A sentiment, I imagine, many families are feeling now in the wake of the Las Vegas massacre. Love to all of you in the trenches right now. Katie visits me in my dreams, which is both heart-wrenching and wonderful, leaving me both tearful and ravenous for just one more minute with her. Katie was maybe the biggest Led-Zeppelin fan I’ve ever met, so when I was thinking about writing something tonight, the title seemed appropriate. She even learned to play “Stairway to Heaven” on the guitar and debuted it at our best friend Lindsey’s wedding. She stood next to me at mine. She wasn’t perfect, much like anyone else, but this made her more likable and fun to be around. She also wasn’t fearless, like she may appear on the surface. In fact she was full of fears, however hilarious and irrational they might seem at the time. She was terrified of a ditch one time while we were on the trail, and the rain terrorized her on another run, creating fog and funny sounds. For some reason, she would duck and say with wide eyes, “What’s that?!” As if ducking would help with the rain situation. This is of course, was all ironic considering she routinely jumped off buildings or antennas. What I’m getting around to discussing, is the daily inspiration I gather from the life that Katie lived. I know for a fact that Katie was terrified of flying in planes, so she decided to start jumping out of them to overcome her fear. I know for a fact that Katie was filled with anticipation and fear every time she jumped off an object, and that was immediately replaced with joy, adrenaline and the feeling of being weightless and flying. We talked a lot about that moment: The moment where you step off the ledge, and what was in her headspace. I think it was a meditation of sorts for her, that elevation out of her body to a place where fears and anxiety don’t exist. That’s a place where many of us never have the pleasure of going, or never have the guts to venture there. The degree to which Katie rose above her fears is knock you off your feet inspiring, and a practice which I’ve recently tried to cultivate in my own life. It may be to a lesser degree, but getting out of my comfort zone is on the horizon to be sure. My gratitude for having Katie in my life is never ending.
- Vegan: You guys! I went vegan!! It’s amazing! You know I’m doing a whole ‘nother post on this so I can tell you what the hell happened with my health. Returning to the sentient, compassionate person I was meant to be has been nothing short of humbling and amazing.
The last four years! So much happening and not a single blog post. Haha! I’ve been too busy loving, laughing, running, grieving, and exploring. The future is so bright! I have so much hope, intention, curiosity and so many goals that I can’t wait to share with you. So, what’s been going on with you? Reach out to me, message me, run with me, hit me up. Community is how we will thrive, and I can’t wait to share with you. Leigh Scarber on Facebook, bareleigh_running on instagram, and I never use Twitter but you can find me there too 🙂 Peace and love and happy trails.