I like creating rituals for myself. As someone who frequently does too much, takes on too many projects, it's a way for me to feel grounded when my world so often feels up in the air. For the past several years, really since leaving Massachusetts, life has felt as though it's running-running-running and not slowing down, always on to the next thing, rarely allowing myself time to breathe. It makes sense, for both Chris and I our professional careers have expanded in the past few years, and with that comes more responsibility, more time given. For that reason, and for countless others, it's become imperative that I carve out time for myself. Time to feel connected, not to my job or my commute or the million-and-one tasks that require my attention on a daily basis -- but to myself and my surroundings. My latest ritual has involved a Sunday afternoon run along the banks of the Schuylkill river. With so much of my life taking place between the small stretch of 1-95 that connects home with work, these runs have become my away game, a chance to leave my neighborhood behind and see Philly from a different perspective. Living where we do, in a place that we might not have chosen to live if it weren't for a job that brought us here, it's too easy to feel disconnected from it all. To allow life to take place within the confines of our neighborhood. We don't spend a lot of money on entertainment and prefer to cook our meals at home, which are habits, I've learned, that aren't exactly conductive to feeling "at one" with city life! So now that the weather is (sorta, kinda, not really) warming up, I've been making more of an effort to get back to exploring. As I was finishing Sunday's run -- which was miserable and cold and windy -- I experienced a brief moment of clarity as I saw the Philly skyline peeking from beyond the Art Museum, the whole scene framed by magnolia flowers. It was beautiful, really. And it made me think back to when we lived outside of Boston and I'd see runners along the Charles or along the streets of Cambridge and imagine what their city-bound lives were like. How nice it must be to run in the city! Well, now I know. Living in South Philly, the runs aren't always the most picturesque, but I've learned to seek it out where I can.
A few days ago, we sought out another corner of Philadelphia in Fairmount Park. Admittedly a place I haven't explored nearly enough, but one I hope to spend much more time in. Chris was helping me shoot these photos for work on the most freezing cold spring day, by the end my hands were frozen. But in doing so we stumbled upon the Japanese garden, and the most gorgeous flowering cherry trees. It was a complete surprise, but a welcome one on an otherwise wintery day.