Last week, I went for a mid-morning run. The air was cool and the sun was warm. A strong breeze was blowing and it seemed to infuse me with energy. I turned around at the usual turn-around spot, a bridge at the bottom of a short hill. The bridge spans an inlet into a tidal marsh. At high tide there is a large pool of water under the bridge and on either side of it. At low tide, a narrow rivulet flows under the bridge and out in either direction. At low tide, I often take an opportunity to pause at the bridge to watch the sandpipers and heron who gather here and to scan the sky for hawks.
I don’t remember if it was high or low tide that day. I don’t remember if I paused to take in the scenery and catch my breath. I do remember that when I turned to head up the hill, I was met head-on by the wind. The wind that had been gently accompanying me was now confronting me. If I hoped to maintain the same pace, I would need to expend twice the energy. Not in any particular hurry, I paid attention to my excessive exertion and the sluggish output it generated. I was acutely aware of the not so subtle pressure against my forward motion. Each step was laborious and the thought of running home in this condition was exhausting. How could it be? On my way out, I hadn’t even noticed it as a tail wind. It had just felt like a beautiful, buoyant day.
And that was when I saw the learning opportunity.
My white privilege is an invisible tailwind. As I run along through my life, this privilege influences every step and how I feel about each step. For a black, brown or indigenous body, that same breeze is a strong and persistent headwind. What I experience as a lofting energy or momentum is experienced by another person as a hindrance.
Yesterday, on the same run, I felt as if I was running into the wind and uphill both ways. Some days are like that. I am grateful that not every day is like that. It is my deep wish and fervent prayer that that could be true for us all.
On the Autumn Equinox
As light and dark find balance in our skies, may we find balance in our lives.
As the hummingbird leaves for warmer climates and the chickadee arrives for the long winter,
May we all recognize and arrive in our places of belonging.
As the tomato plants die back and the unripened fruit falls to the ground,
May the seeds find fertile beds to rest until it is time to crack open.
As we navigate a landscape riddled with fear, violence, and disruption,
May we also notice and cultivate companionship, safety, and opportunity.
As we enter the season of growing darkness,
May we find light in our hearts.
May the light in our hearts rise like the sun to usher in a new day.