I often run during lunch at work. Everyone asks if it is too hot. Sometimes it is. Like yesterday. But most times it is fine. I like to get out. To get away from the office for a bit. When I am running my mind empties out. Sometimes a random song will pop into my head, out of nowhere. My own subconscious Pandora. A lot of times I get really good ideas when I am out running. Maybe there is something at work that needs to get done but I’m not sure how to go about it and then, while out running, I get the solution.
When I run, always go the same route. Most people who run at work tend to head down to the ocean. Maybe go in for a swim and then run back to the office. Running at Ala Moana is unappealing to me. That was where I ran right after I gave birth to my son. I was overweight. Clunky. Running was not fun. So I don’t like to run there anymore. Instead I run towards downtown and then up the big hill at Ward. If it wasn’t for that big hill my time would be killer but I have yet to be able to truly conquer it. Some days I feel like a runner but I never feel like kill that hill.
Part of my route takes me past the Honolulu Design Center. It is an architecturally interesting building that sells furniture which is generally out of my price range. It also houses a café, a restaurant and a wine bar. There are tables out front with umbrellas right off the street. For the past couple of days this week there has been an older gentleman sitting out front smoking a pipe. And each time, part of me wants to stop and sit down with him. Or near him. To smell that pipe smell.
When I was a child my great grandfather on my mother’s side of the family was a wizened old man who ultimately lived to be over 100. I remember him being short and bald with a prominent nose. His name was Earl. He purchased the house that my mother lives in now but back then it was only a summer house. It had no insulation and no heat. My grandmother would take him out there for the summer. I would sometimes stay with them. My great grandfather smoked a pipe. The smell of a pipe is nothing like cigarette smoke or the smell of a cigar. It is juicy and prominent with no hint of unhealthiness. I loved it as a child and I still do. I think that air fresheners should come in pipe scented smells. So there I am running and then out of the blue I run through this big pipe scented cloud of memories. I can see my great grandfather sitting on the chair in the house. I remember having to shout for him to hear. I remember that he slept on the bunk bed in what is now my sister’s room. And that he was always reading. And as quickly as this smell has stimulated these thoughts, they are gone. It is all so fast. And that is why I want to sit down next to the man with the pipe. Because running through the cloud is just not enough. I want to steep in it. Bask in it. Let it soak into my pores. To have more than a moment to live in the past when so much was still yet to be.