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Monday, January 2, 2012

Morning Run


As I woke up this morning, the sun was streaming through the window of our hotel room. We are staying in the rainforest in Panama. After a relaxing day by the pool yesterday then falling asleep in the hammock on the porch, I was ready for my morning run.

I have found that running through a place gives you a different view of the area. Whether through the neighborhood I grew up in, along the ocean in New Zealand, among the monuments in Washington DC or on the diplomatic enclave in Pakistan, I see the world through different eyes.

This morning my run took me along a river to the Panama Canal. On our way to the Canal, Chad & I ran through a bamboo stand where the long bamboo poles bent over the road in an arch. They swayed quietly in the soft breeze.

To our left, at the fork where the river met the canal stood an old, grey lighthouse up the bank. The door was opened inviting us in. The steps were overgrown with grass, now just bumps leading us up the hill. We approached the lighthouse and peaked in the door. A set of spiral cement stairs filled the room. Mud nests with brown bugs flying in and out of them filled the corners. Chad went first to be sure the whole thing wouldn't topple down around us. He called me up warning me of bats along the way. Around and around I climbed until I reached the top. Large, open windows looked both ways down the canal. The silty water was still with the rainforest surrounding the area.

We continued up the canal into the little town of Gamboa. Wanting to stay close to the canal, I chose a side road. I had to turn back, retracing my steps because dogs guarded the way. We continued a bit into town before turning around, remembering we had to jog back as far as we had come! Bright colored cement homes lined the town road. A bus stop had people waiting at it.

Headed back along the river a ripple in the water caught Chad's eye. He stopped to examine and we were delighted to find a family of river otters. They ducked up and down. The parents chirped to warn their young. They swam in and out of the brush eventually disappearing from sight.

Back on the path again with sweat dripping off my face, I breathed a deep breath in. What a way to begin the day!

- Kris

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