A collaboration celebration by Serena Hicks & Julianne Wenner

Today we did a thing. 


And this is why we’ll be ok. 

Julianne took up running this spring as a way to escape the walls that seemed to be closing in on her during COVID lockdown. She’s not fast and she doesn’t particularly enjoy it, but it makes her feel powerful and productive and healthy — all feelings in short supply during this time.

Serena’s been running for years, and fall is usually her favorite season of races. She ran her 44th half marathon in March, just a week before everything locked down. She runs because she has to, and moves between seasons and years with the miles under her feet.

We run for different reasons. 

We move outside, listen to podcasts, grieve, rejoice, complain, hurt, play. No matter the goal, we take the bits of ourselves that are left between emails, hummus and crackers for dinner (again), another bottle of grocery store Pinot, and we work toward things that no one may ever see. 

This is why we’ll be ok.

We cut the syllabus again. 

We spend more of the week talking to students than teaching. 

We sit in the doorway overlooking our patios at the end of a run, scroll through pictures of things we used to do, and enjoy another cup of coffee–the cups we used to drink on the drive to campus each morning. They stay hot now until we finish them.

We breathe the air that has cleared, now crisp with the dying beauty of falling leaves. 

We watch our children enjoy extra time at home with us, their smiles absolutely contagious.

We sigh. But it’s a sigh of stillness, the one we’ve needed but haven’t gifted to ourselves for a long time. 

This is why we’ll be ok. 

Today, together.

We celebrated something we could check off the list, something that would come to an end. Something with cookies, flowers, and neighborhood finish lines. 

For ten kilometers, the river to the left, then the right: Serena told stories she needed to tell, and Julianne heard them as she moved further than she ever had, squinting for the bridge Serena told her was just around the corner, but wasn’t, watching for the “just up ahead we’ll turn around.”

We are all looking for the turn around. 

But now we are around the last corner: a make shift finish line. “Run in the middle of the road!” Serena says, and a small group of distanced, masked friends wait with celebration. 

And for a moment, an exquisite, pure moment, everything is perfect. 

The race is finished, the friends are together, the conversation is light and easy. Love and joy mix in the street, pushing away the anxiety of COVID, racism, elections, Supreme Court positions, climate, and fire.

Serena asks, “Now that you’ve done this, what will you do next? What will you run?” pushing Julianne to keep racing, keep running. Julianne laughs it off, not because the race was terrible or painful and not because she’ll never run another race, but because she doesn’t want to think about “What’s next.” She wants to sit in the moment, absorb the love through her sweaty pores, and just be.

Until she runs again. Which she will.

We keep moving. 

We move together. 

This is why we’ll be ok. 

Published On: September 28th, 2020 / Categories: Blog /