Early morning. The sun is up in a clear blue sky. People are still asleep but the birds aren't, and they serenade the shining sun with their most beautiful songs.
J and I lace our running shoes and head out. We run in an easy, controlled pace.The warm sun is stroking our faces, and the wind cools us down. We run past houses, past the edge of the forest. Up the hill, towards the light. Down the hill, towards the sea.
After 4,5 kilometres we're back, but I don't want to be indoors on a day like this. I leave J and keep running, back towards the forest, in the direction of the sun. I want to spread my arms, turn my face towards the sky and just absorb every ounce of sunlight through the pores of my skin. I could run all day. My run takes me past our flat, though, and I know that, after 7,5 km, I should let my foot rest.
Ra, Mitra, Apollo. Throughout history, mankind has worshipped many sun deities. The sun has long been recognised as the catalyst for nature's growth and people's well-being. I understand why; I worship the sun too, in my own special way. I know what it does to my soul, battered by the long nights of winter, and I'm thankful for it.
For every snowy day, for every run in fierce headwind, for every dark, lonely winter jog, I've been building what the Swedes call ”pannben”, and which can loosely be translated as backbone, endurance, determination. Spirit. I've never run through a whole winter before. Now I've made it to spring, even with an injured foot. I've been through the hardships of a really long cold spell and made it to the other side. When the sunny days finally arrive, they bring an incredible joy that is augmented by the memory of the difficult runs.
I guess you need the darkness to appreciate the light.