i ran outside the other day for the first time since Christmas day, relishing the fresh air and the slap-slap-slap of my sneakers upon real pavement (rather than the rubbery track or unwelcome treadmills i’ve reduced myself to in this recent winter freeze). although i’m usually the first to complain about cold weather and loudly tell anyone in shouting distance that i cannot wait to live in So-Cal and be able to happily run outside every day of the year, i’ll admit there’s a certain joyful freedom in conquering the cold air by pounding it into the ground and braving January head-on. i am not one to start shying from challenges.

coming home from the run, i felt really content with the world and my own little place in it at that moment, the way fresh air after weeks of the great indoors works to revitalize any onset of the winter blues, and i was happy enough just to have gotten outside. and then, as i was turning my key in my lock, i looked up.

and it happened.

against a falling dusk of a seashell sky streaked with pinks and peaches and the fade of cold light (atypical for a season of gray), the air above my apartment suddenly burst open with hundreds of delicate black birds exploding with the deftness of a moment’s grace. i was rendered speechless, motionless for that moment in time, eyes riveted to the unexpected beauty of a world bigger than myself; a promise of kinetic magic afire with forward motion, where an ending i would never be a part of stretched somewhere in the distance and i was allowed, for that brief time, to experience a tiny portion of a journey i was never meant to understand.

this had nothing to do with me, and yet it taught me more about myself than anything else that has happened to me this week has done.

i spend far too much time grounded in the selfishness of my own footprints, and not enough time learning how to map the sky…and all i ever had to do was look up.