Friday, April 27, 2012

An Hour to Listen

Weekday mornings my alarm rings at 6:30. I push back the covers, still half asleep. I put on the clothes that I laid out the night before. Don't bother looking in the mirror. I tiptoe around my darkened bedroom, so as not to wake my still sleeping husband. And I creep silently out of my apartment.

I am a runner. And early on weekday mornings, I run in the park. Central Park, that is. In all four season. In driving rain, blinding snow, bitter cold, and stifling heat. I run the park.

Each morning, I walk the 3 blocks to the Park's entrance. The streets of the Upper West Side are empty. Silent.

I start to run. The Park, too, is silent. But not empty. There are other runners quietly making their way around the loops. Most, I notice, like me, run without headphones on these early mornings. Some probably do it for safety. But not me. I leave my iPod at home on these early mornings for another reason entirely.

To listen. To listen to the mood and rhythm of the Park in the early morning. To listen to the pounding of the sneakers of an army of early morning runners. And most importantly, to listen to myself. To hear my own thoughts. Sometimes I spin words and stories as I run my habitual morning loop. Sometimes I work out the answer to a particularly vexing problem. But always, I am listening.

And what I discover when I listen on these early mornings? My own thoughts. Pure and quiet.

These early morning runs are a small gift I give myself. An hour alone. Before the day begins. Before my time is no longer quite my own. Before coffee, and clients, and memos, and emails take over.

Living and working and writing in this city is a tall order. It seems wherever I look there are people. Thinking people. And sometimes it feels like my thoughts get all tangled up with theirs. And that makes it hard for me to listen.

And I need to listen. To think. To feel.

So I run. And I listen. And I learn.

Today's post is part of the Momalom Five for Five. The topic is Listening.


  1. This is lovely. I am a morning runner, too. I usually run with music but I always, always drive in silence and the reasons why remind me of what you describe here. One funny story: one day I saw a friend of mine heading out for a run without an ipod. I asked her how she ran without music and she said, oh, she had plenty of voices in her head. Oh, me too, I said, but I need the music to drown them out! xox

    1. It's funny because if I happen to run in the afternoon I always, always take music. And if I'm running in the gym I turn on every single device I own just to get through it. But there is something about my early morning runs that seems to call for quiet. I think it's probably because, as a youngish lawyer, I have other people's voices in my head all day, so I just need an hour each day where I only hear my own.

  2. "It seems wherever I look there are people. Thinking people. And sometimes it feels like my thoughts get all tangled up with theirs. And that makes it hard for me to listen."

    Love these lines. They ring so true.

  3. I have a long commute to work, and that time spent in silence listening to my own thoughts is absolutely precious. I love this picture of you running. Your routine. And what it gives you. So glad to have "met" you this week!