Moving Forward by Chris Cameron

Some runners wear headphones and listen to music or audiobooks, but I love hearing the sound of my shoes hitting the road as I run through hills of Northumberland. Different sounds for different roads: pat-pat on pavement; critch-critch on gravel; and a kind of a wash-wash on dirt roads.

It isn’t unusual for me to run for several hours, and some people are amazed that I actually enjoy this. My reward is the peaceful contentment that comes from moving myself forward from one place to another under my own power. In the years since I moved to Meyers Island, south of Campbellford, I’ve run all of these pathways countless times, and most are as familiar to me as my own driveway.

Yet somehow, each run is slightly different, each path finds something new to throw in my way, and it is those differences that keep me guessing and engaged. Every step forward adds to my knowledge and experience for the next time.

You don’t have to go out and run for hours to know that some things are hard. Home-schooling children is hard; trying to run a storefront retail business is hard; isolating yourself from loved ones is hard. They were hard during what people are calling the “before-time.” They’ve been even harder this year. There have been more hills to climb, more trees fallen across the path.

People seem to like lamenting the loss of the good old days, and everybody is looking forward to a return to normalcy. Some on social media have been billing 2021 as some kind Elysian fields, where we can all go back to the wonderful life we led before the bad old days of 2020.

It reminds me of a Facebook group I followed for a while: a lot of people wondered why life couldn’t be like it once was, when ice cream was only five cents. I suspect that if Facebook had been around back when it “once was,” there would have been a group wondering why life couldn’t be like it was when ice cream was only one cent.

There were no good old days, unless you count Carly Simon’s maxim that they are happening today. There are just days, one after another, like steps along a path. We move forward, by running, walking, wheeling, or simply by living. We clear the hurdles any way we can and we keep going. When needed, we stop to help a fellow traveller along.

I think we should congratulate ourselves at the end of this year. It’s good to see how far we’ve come and to collate what we’ve learned so we can use it on the road ahead.

I used to have a mantra I repeated in the tough parts of a very long endurance event, when the night had settled over me and all my energy was gone: I’m alive and I’m moving forward. As long as these two things are true, nothing else can stop us.

It’s probable that 2021 will throw stuff at us we can’t even imagine yet. As the late Gilda Radner reminded us, “It’s always something.” Who knows? Maybe someday we will look back on 2020 and sigh wistfully, remembering when all we had to do was wear a mask. But we will have our experience, our vision, and our humanity to help us navigate our way home.

And isn’t it marvellous that we still have ice cream?

8 Comments Add yours

  1. felicity936 says:

    Thanks for this, Chris! All best wishes for 2021 and moving forward.

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  2. Yes, moving forward is my mantra too. Thanks Chris

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  3. Such a discerning reflection, Chris. Thank you for sharing. As both a woman and Black, I get the chills when people talk about certain earlier periods as ‘the good old days’ because women had few rights or my family was enslaved. But even I use this saying (the good old days) at times, when referring to my rural childhood – till I think how tough it was, even then, for my parents and grandparents. You’re so right: we have to keep moving forward- and creating our own good days. Thank you for this article.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. mikecroucher says:

    Well said, Chris. Keep on keeping on. Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Delightful with serious undertones. Perfect for the times. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. kimaubrey says:

    Wise words, Chris! I agree that there are no “good old days,” and that kind of nostalgia is not helpful. All best to you for every day ahead!

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  7. Great post. Makes me nostalgic for running. And you are so right. We must carry on and not be defeated by these circumstances.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Moving Foward |

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