Run. Dog. Cat. Cat. Me.

Everything you need to know about running and life and any other random crap I find bouncing through my mind like a ping pong ball. And always be sure your shoes are happy.

Winter and Spring, Endings and Beginnings

Friday morning in Prescott, Arizona and it’s a beautiful day.  At 5,500 ft elevation the sky always seems crisper and brighter to me.  I see Ponderosa pines from every window and the early sun glints off the pine needles as though the tops of them were glass.  My mom feeds a scrub jay unsalted peanuts in the shell and he is currently flitting about wondering what is taking her so long to get outside.  This early in the spring he is already familiar enough with her that he will take the peanut from the table even if she is standing in the doorway.  By summer he will probably be taking the peanut from the patio table as she sits there.

I haven’t tried to fit in runs this week; I could, mom would not mind, but I don’t want to carve out 1-1/2 or more hours right now.  Mom visits dad twice a day, usually staying until he falls asleep in the morning – maybe 10:00, 10:30, 11:00 – then runs any errands she needs, eats lunch, takes a nap and back to the care home until dinner time, so I have been following her routine.  The care home is 2 miles from their house, however, and my solution has been to walk there.  I’m getting 4-6 miles of fast walking daily and since I’m not training for anything right now that’s working out fine.  At 5,500 ft it takes a week or so to acclimate to the lower oxygen level anyway, my run last Thursday was a pain fest of asthmatic gasping for air and I walked every half mile, I think I managed to run about 1/2 minute faster than I’ve been walking … I felt like a newbie! Which is a good thing, I never want to forget what it feels like to be a beginning runner.

So, while I see my father failing, I am also spending part of each day watching the springtime world come alive.  In northern Arizona the soil is sandy grey/brown and most of the trees are some shade of evergreen, it’s a rather monochromatic world that I love, the Arizona desert in which I grew up and weekends camping in the Arizona mountains, but spring brings bright pops of color: deep purple, bright yellow, reds.

I leave my parents house in the shade of the pine trees.  They live in an older part of town and every house is different.  First a two story traditional cabin, next is a clapboard, pale yellow with white and maroon trim and a yard full of wild daffodils and one brilliant red tulip.  Next, and one of my favorites, a chocolate brown Swiss-chalet with white gingerbread trim and a natural stone yard with pines guarding the corners.  There is a brilliant orange/yellow flower that grows wild, the blossom is twisted tightly shut, shaped like a teardrop, and then unfurling in the sun, the color bright against the grey soil.

This morning there’s a crisp bit of breeze but walking fast in the sun it feels good.  My route is becoming familiar, I see the house with the three black dogs, already when I come near the yard they run to the end of the fence to greet me, two wagging tails and one doing a token bark so he feels he earned his keep.  They trot along the fence beside me.  Then the house with the little barn behind it, a cultivated field to the side where I saw two Pygmy goats one morning.  Mom said one day she saw the owner taking the goats for a walk.  They don’t bark at me.  Next door is where, one sunny afternoon this week, I saw a cat sitting in every single window – except the window owned by what was probably the Head Cat, as he got to lie in the sun splayed out across the back of the couch.           

I pass the field with two horses, one a young frisky guy who is usually trotting about tossing his head or rolling in the dirt.  Finally I pass the tiny ancient little house with the tiny ancient little lady who apparently spends nearly every waking hour sitting huddled under a blanket on her tiny ancient little porch either talking on her cell phone or smoking.  I have not seen her do both at the same time so apparently she is not a multi-tasker.  Her dog sees me coming and barks me all the way past the house while wildly wagging his tail; we’re friends, lady, but mom needs to know I’m keeping an eye on things, you understand.  And I do.

I arrive at the care home and see Help Me Lady, who spends all day motoring the hallways in her wheelchair doing fine and every evening in her bed shouting “help me…help me…” continuously.  Bruce shuffles down the hallway with his walker, thinking he just arrived and which is his room, he doesn’t have his wallet, can he pay for the room tomorrow?  I’ve made friends with Joanne, we are in cahoots because I watered the bone dry plants bearing the sign loudly proclaiming not to water them and she saw me and approved.  

I did not like coming here at first, it felt sad and mostly dead and depressing.  But I’ve come to appreciate and rather cherish these dear people at the end of their days.  I’m a person of faith although I do not talk about religion or politics; I’ve done that a couple times and it always ends badly with some sweet person insulted and indignant about what they think I said which is not what I said at all but there’s no telling them that now, now that they know what I said that I didn’t say.  I am not at peace seeing my dad struggle and suffer, of course.  I’m very grateful he is not in pain but no one likes seeing the once strong man who was their father unable to eat, unable to move half of his body, confused and disoriented.  

Mom will get him home today with hospice and some in-home help, and I will fly home Sunday. He will last as long as he will last, and it will be as it will be, neither of these statements easily learned or embraced but they are the tenants I believe and I am fortunate that I have struggled and fought my way to a firm faith and belief that there is something more, something better and I have no fear for my father who is in the winter of his life now, but who I believe is also in the spring of his life.  

Sent from my iPad

Single Post Navigation

7 thoughts on “Winter and Spring, Endings and Beginnings

  1. This is an absolutely beautiful post in so many ways. I really feel as if I’m experiencing the sights, sounds, and feel of northern Arizona. Thank you for sharing this with us. However, I also feel your struggles with your parents’ situation. Peace to you and your family as you make this transition with your father. Running will always be there for you, and love, of course, simply never ends.

  2. Oh Terri, this has to be one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. It is a testament to many things, not the least of which is life. You and your parents are in my prayers daily.

  3. Becky on said:

    Miss you and what a fabulous way of putting things. 🙂

  4. My father too is in a care home and there is a help me lady there as well. Maybe there is one in every care home. The place is pretty depressing but I know he is safe and he is where he needs to be. But I also know that he has lived a great life, provided for his family, and loves us all. Thanks for sharing Terri!

    • Blessings to you and your family and your dad! I too, was happy to have dad cared for. The people who work in those facilities are very special people indeed. They were always pleasant and patient; they are people with a special gift. Prayers for your dad and your family!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

In my own words

Noli timere

The Science of Sport

Scientific comment and analysis of sports and sporting performance

It's A Marathon AND A Sprint

And a 10K and a 200 Mile Bike Ride and an Obstacle Race and Anything Else We Find!

The Paper Kind

Creative living.

Running On Healthy

Living Life Healthy, Fit, and Happy

Ash Rae Eining Yoga

Diving into the wonderful world of Yoga, Peace, & Wellness.


Just. Take. Another. Step.

Be Happy, Be Kind & Be Loving

A great site

Pages and Stories

Reflections on Writing, Traveling, and Food

Morning Story and Dilbert

Inspiring, Encouraging, Healthy / Why waste the best stories of the World, pour a cup of your favorite beverage and let your worries drift away…

Living the Life

Staying spirited (while attending college): happy thoughts on the happiest time of your life

Trek Ontario

Hike | Camp | Canoe | Snowshoe | Geocache | ...

Chocolate Covered Race Medals

Where I race to the chocolate bar

Exchanging Words

Everything about Anything

Wake up and Live!

Everything you need to know about running and life and any other random crap I find bouncing through my mind like a ping pong ball. And always be sure your shoes are happy.

Marc Hemingway

Trying to keep track of my life (and my life on track)

Midwest Sweet Tea

A movement towards balance and self-discovery.

pipe down piper

I'm tired and I'm hungry.

Looking to God

Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. (Matthew 6:33)

Fatness to Fitness

Practical strategies for making a lifestyle change.

Run5kaday's Blog

Daily distance running adrenaline!

hungry and fit

A young couple focused on great workouts and feasting well -- all on a low budget!

Top 10 of Anything and Everything - The Fun Top Ten Blog

Animals, Gift Ideas, Travel, Books, Recycling Ideas and Many, Many More

Mountains to Mats

The Modern Art of Muay Ski-Jitsu...

Philly Tales and Trails

Running adventures through the City of Brotherly Love

Spread Positive Vibes. Give Love. Be Happy.


awe, humility, hope and a few other things I might notice


A great site

Hollis Plample

draws comics

borscht and babushkas

mostly adventures from peace corps ukraine


Just another site

The Fit Wanderer.

forever wandering

Jello Legs

My love hate struggle with running

Bucket List Publications

Indulge- Travel, Adventure, & New Experiences


Passions For Books, Writing and Music-however it manifests itself

Sure you can run that far, but why?

The story of my first half-marathon


The work and activities of a writer/bargee


Follow me as I go from beginning trail runner to ultra marathoner! Dreaming of running a 100 miler ...

%d bloggers like this: